Ballplayer gets second chance
Feb18

Ballplayer gets second chance

By Michael Crosson   To most collegiate baseball players, the big prize is a shot at the major leagues. For one Crusader, it is about playing the game he loves and making the team better.   Emery Atkisson is one of 30 members of the UMHB baseball team. He plays second base and shortstop. Atkisson is grateful for his position on a team. For a time, he wondered if he would ever be a college athlete again.   “The game finds a way to humble you. Although my shoulder injury was unfortunate, I have found a new love for the game and gained a greater understanding of life as well as the importance of a good work ethic,” says Atkisson.   Before the ballplayer’s injury, major league scouts from the Colorado Rockies and the Atlanta Braves franchises were following Atkisson.   “I had a set rehabilitation program at Stephen F. Austin, but I tried to push myself too hard, which ultimately prolonged my recuperation process. However, it has been two years since my surgery and my arm is feeling better than ever and I am ready for the 2015 season,” he said.   The idea of an athlete going from NCAA Division I to Division III means Atkisson has to work harder to prove he is still an elite player.   “The biggest difference between Division I and Division III is the lack of athletic perks in terms of scholarship opportunities. We are encouraged to play for the love of the game. The passion we have for this game will ultimately lead us to becoming a better team and better individuals in the long run. We play because we love it and we learn life lessons through the games of baseball,” Atkisson said.   Atkisson believes his work ethic and positive attitude toward the game of baseball is the most valuable attribute he brings to the team.   “My work ethic was compared to Robert Griffin III in high school, I feel like that is what I bring most to this team,” he said.   Atkisson is excited for the opportunity to be a more vocal leader for the team.   “When baseball is good, Emery is good and I plan on having a very good spring,” Atkisson said.   If this team can push itself not only in beating Concordia or LeTourneau Universities, but in getting to the Division III College Baseball World Series in Wisconsin, then this team can become one of the elite Division III programs in the nation.   Chase Burrow, is also a member of the baseball team and plays left field. He said...

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Men’s volleyball makes strides
Feb04

Men’s volleyball makes strides

The men’s club volleyball team began last spring and has continued to expand. The team has already began their season by travelling across Texas competing in tournaments and matches from Waco to San Marcos to College Station. The team competes in the National Collegiate Volleyball Federation which governs collegiate volleyball clubs all over the United States. The men are working hard to compete in the NCVF National Championships in Kansas City, Missouri, April 9-11.   This year’s Cru roster consists of 15 students of all ages, ranging from freshmen to seniors.   Aaron Jackson helped develop the club team. He is a junior double major in business management and marketing who currently serves as the team’s captain.   “My favorite part about being on the men’s volleyball team is being able to play college volleyball at the division-1 national collegiate volleyball federation level. It has always been a dream of mine to play volleyball in college, so now I get the opportunity to do so and building memories with these awesome guys,” he said.   Jackson grew up watching his sister play which sparked his interest in the sport.   “During my junior year in high school, I started playing and going to open gyms, trying to learn as much as possible. That brought me to love the sport and want to play at a collegiate level,” he said.   The team’s current coaches are Elleny Ohendalski and Ally Bermea. Ohendalski, a freshman nursing major, found out about the team last semester from last semester’s head coach.   “I joined the team this past fall, Katelyn Holm, who was the head coach at the time, asked me to practice one day. Then I just continued with it throughout the semester. Now she has graduated, and I am still staying at the position of assistant coach.”   Junior exercise sport science major Andrew Flores and junior finance and management double major Drew Davies enjoy being a part of the squad.   “It started up in the spring semester, 2014. I have been a part of it since it started. My favorite part of being on the team is just being able to play the game that I grew to love with friends,” Flores said.   “My favorite part of volleyball would have to be the sense of community. We take volleyball pretty seriously and practice four times a week, sometimes at five in the morning. It’s just a really good feeling when the whole team is helping you get to where you need to be and that I get the opportunity to help other members reach their full potential as...

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Cru sports foresee promising spring season
Jan22

Cru sports foresee promising spring season

As the new year begins, the men’s and women’s basketball teams have hit the middle of their schedules. Both teams are currently in position to qualify for the ASC Championship tournament, but need to finish their regular seasons with more wins to capture the post season spot.   The Lady Cru are in seventh place with a 8-7 overall record and 4-6 in conference play. The men are in second at 11-4 and are 8-2 in conference.   The men defeated conference top-ranked Hardin-Simmons University in overtime 90-81 last week.   Freshman pre-physical therapy major Meghan Turner plays point guard for the Lady Cru. Meghan talks about how they are preparing for the conference championships.   “We are taking every day one by one and making every practice count,” she said.   Junior exercise sport science major Tori Tucker mentions the team’s preparation.   “We work hard every day and we know what’s at stake. We want to not only do this for ourselves, but for our seniors. We don’t want to be sitting in Belton during the tournament knowing we should be there. We are ready and determined to turn this around this next go around,” she said.   Tucker also enjoys the atmosphere the Crusader fans bring to the game.   “Having students back on campus is nice for the games due to more fans and more energy in Mayborn Campus Center. Having student life back on campus also brings liveliness on games days and knowing that they will be there on game night is exciting. We love our fans,” she said.   The Lady Cru and Cru will host Sul Ross State and Howard Payne University this Thursday and Saturday in Belton. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Thursday and 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Mayborn Campus Arena.   Both match ups are conference games that will impact seeding in the ASC post-season this March.   The other spring sports, baseball, softball, tennis and golf have begun the first steps in their spring seasons.   Senior exercise sport science major Angelie Juaneza is ready for the tennis season to begin.   “I’m excited for what the season has in store for us. We are going against a handful of tough teams that we haven’t played against before. It’ll be a season full of new experiences for sure,” she said. “Being a senior, I want it to be the best season ever, but tennis is a team sport, so everyone has to work together in order to achieve our goals.”   Junior sport management major Elizabeth Davis reflects on the...

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Men’s win count spikes before tourney
Nov25

Men’s win count spikes before tourney

  UMHB is a powerhouse when it comes to sports, and the new men’s volleyball team is looking to be nothing less when the season officially starts in the spring.   Although the team just officially began tournament play this year, they have already recruited 17 players that range from freshmen to seniors.   Junior business management major Aaron Jackson was appointed captain of the team.   “It has always been a great passion of mine and I’ve always wanted to play volleyball as a collegiate sport …” Jackson said. “Once I found out there was a big passion for volleyball here at UMHB as far as guys, I felt like we definitely needed to get something started here.”   As captain, Jackson says his job is to motivate his team, make sure they show up to practice, hold them accountable and make sure they take initiative to do what is expected.   Since Texas does not have NCAA men’s volleyball, the Southern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association was created, thus letting this group of guys start something new on campus.   The men have been travelling to different schools this semester to participate in tournaments before their season starts in Jan.   Nursing major and assistant coach Elleny Ohendalski says the guys have greatly improved since the beginning of the semester.   “They’re playing good at the tournaments … they just seem shy on the court … but they are improving,” she said.   The team is preparing to host their own tournament in December, inviting other schools in the division to Crusader turf for some matches. Fans are encouraged to come out and see the guys play.   The group practices at 5:30 a.m., where they learn how to set, serve, rotate, do drills and communicate on the court.   Though this is a new thing at UMHB, Jackson says he can really see the passion and growth in his teammates.   Along with improving their skills, the guys have found friendships in each other, learning how to connect and play as a team both on and off the court.   “As a captain, it is my job to oversee the team under the coach … I try to keep my boys motivated because they’re my teammates … I care more about my team than myself … because without them, I am nothing,” Jackson said. “It takes a team to do everything on the court and I can’t beat six other guys by myself.”   The first ever Crusader Classic will kick off Dec. 6 in...

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Cru football clinches conference title
Nov25

Cru football clinches conference title

The Crusader football team finished the regular season off with a statement last Saturday in their matchup against East Texas Baptist in Marshall. Dominating every aspect of the game, the Cru defeated the tigers 83-19.   Offense, defense and special teams were all in sync for the purple and gold. Even though the Tigers opened the game with the first score, the Crusaders quickly answered by a Blake Jackson run for a touchdown. That opened the door for a plethora of Cru touchdowns.   Kamray Runnels scored on multiple punt returns. Although his first one was called back on a penalty, the team showed that they have the depth and skill at every position to make noise in the Division III playoffs that start this weekend.   “I think we played a good game against ETBU, we brought everything together and it makes it better that we played like that the week before playoffs start. We still have work to do, but we are heading down the right track for sure,” senior offensive lineman Riley Holmes said.   Although the Crusaders racked up 476 total yards, penalties diminished a few scoring opportunities for the Cru, as well as allowing ETBU to extend drives.   “We know what we are capable of on both sides of the ball, but one thing that has to improve is the penalties,” senior tight end Ben Keilman said. “We can’t afford to have that many penalties in the playoffs.”   The offense was obviously explosive on Saturday, but the defense was stout as well, scoring multiple times on that side of the ball. Teidrick Smith and Kris Brown both found themselves in the end zone.   But the story of the day for the defensive squad was junior linebacker Trey Thedford, finishing a career day with 16 total tackles that came up one short of the school record for one game.   With the win, the Cru clinched their tenth conference title in a row. It also propelled their regular season winning streak to 54 games.   Even with those outstanding numbers, the team is searching for the accolade that has been eluding the Crusaders in past year.   “We have high expectations for the rest of the season. Since my teammates and I have become a part of this program, we have been playing for that national championship, and I think we have all of the pieces in place to get that done,” Holmes said.   Just like the past couple of years, the first playoff game will be played at Crusader Stadium. UMHB is currently ranked #2 in the national rankings, trailing...

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Fall sports wrap-up
Nov25

Fall sports wrap-up

With the fall semester coming to a conclusion, the season’s sports have wrapped up and the winter sports have begun.   The men and women’s soccer teams finished their year, qualifying for the American Southwest Conference post-season tournament.   The men ended their year with three wins of their last five games, tying the regular season champion, UT-Dallas. The Cru fell in the ASC Championship semifinal round to the champions, though, collecting five individual awards. The Quad-Sportsmanship Athlete of the Year was given to Isaiah Minick along with multiple All-ASC Selections: Case Carnes (1st team), Ben Hammonds and Julio Mar, Minick (2nd Team), and John Williams (3rd team).   Graduate assistant coach Ben Allen reflects on this year’s squad.   “This year was very special. It’s very cool to see how much the program has grown since I’ve played and to see this year’s seniors graduate who helped when I was a student assistant. We finished strong and would have liked to win it all, but gave UT-Dallas a very good game and have no shame of how we played,” he said.   The Lady Cru soccer team also finished their season, winning three of their last five match-ups. The ladies fell in the ASC Championship semifinals to Howard Payne.   Cameron Shivers was awarded the Offensive Freshman of the Year. Seven members were given All-ASC Selections: Charis Brantley, Kathryn Parker made 1st team, along with Shivers. The ASC 2nd team consisted of Nathallie Morales and Courtney Craig, followed by Miranda Aleman on 3rd team.   Senior business management major Ashley Teague will cherish the memories she made.   “It broke my heart knowing I couldn’t be out there on the field leading as a captain, but I knew God had a different plan in mind for me,” she said. “Even though we didn’t do as well as we hoped, I’m thankful for the memories and how far the team has come since my freshman year.”   The Lady Cru volleyball team finished their regular season on a high note by capturing the ASC title and hosted the conference championship. The ladies continued their success by winning the ASC post-season tournament as well. The Cru then travelled to nationals, where the fell in a heartbreaker 3-2 to Claremont-Mudd-Scrippes.   Senior math education major Bianca Patterson enjoyed being a part of the team.   “The trip to nationals was a great experience. We went last year, and it shows the growth of the volleyball program that we made it again this year. Winning conference was such a blessing,” she said.   Junior mathematics major Kendall Pye is excited for next...

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