Sports Spotlight
Sep16

Sports Spotlight

Ben Hammonds is a senior business administration major from Flower Mound, Texas. Growing up, Hammonds participated in many sports, but favored baseball and soccer. Once he moved from St. Louis to Dallas, he decided to pursue his love for soccer. Hammonds is currently the team captain for the UMHB Men’s soccer team and plays the position of center forward. He has contributed to the team each season. His freshman year, he scored two goals. As a sophomore, he added another goal and earned All-ASC Honorable Mention. For his junior campaign, he was named to the All-ASC Second Team for scoring four more goals. This season, Hammonds and the Cru have begun this year with a road trip to the West Coast. Hammonds enjoys the freedom of the game. “My favorite thing about soccer is the freedom of it. Aside from free kicks there are no set plays, no timeouts or stoppages. Just 45-minute halves where players are free to do what they want to beat the opponent. I love my team. My favorite thing about the team is that we are truly brothers,” he said. Outside of soccer, Ben enjoys hanging out with his friends, taking in the Austin music scene and participating in student government. He is a representative for UMHB’s NCAA Student Athletic Advisory Committee and was once a member of the school’s Student Government Association (SGA) where he served as the athletics representative. Hammonds also enjoys watching soccer matches when he’s not playing in them. His favorite team is Chelsea FC, which competes in the Premier League. His favorite player is Frank Lampard, who is currently a member of the New York City FC. Because Hammonds has big aspirations for his career, he knew UMHB would be the right fit. “I had a few other offers from similar schools, but UMHB stood out to me. Coach Bankhead was a major factor in my decision. It was clear he cared about his players deeply and they respected him as well. I also had great interactions with the players on my visits and when I watched them play. UMHB is also beautiful. It was a really easy decision in the end,” he said. “One of the best decisions I have ever made.” Once Ben graduates this December, he plans to pursue a job in college athletics. However, he has not given up the option of playing professionally or being a member of a folk rock band. But before he graduates, Hammonds will be focusing on making an impact on his squad this season. “As a senior I hope to lead this year’s team to accomplish something special as...

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Cru defense stymies Millsaps
Sep16

Cru defense stymies Millsaps

The Crusaders got off to a slow start in their first game of the 2015 season, but they managed to shake off the rust and responded with a 65-12 thumping of Millsaps College Saturday night at Crusader stadium. After forcing a Millsaps three-and-out, the Cru got the scoring off early when senior quarterback Zach Anderson connected with junior Wykeyhe Walker for a 37-yard touchdown strike. After a 46-yard field goal from Jacob O’Neill, sophomore running back Duane Thompson ran around the right side and picked up a block from wide receiver Robbie Seybold to spring an 11-yard touchdown that put the Cru up 17-0. With 9:21 remaining in the second quarter, Anderson broke free for a 41-yard scramble to the eight yard line. Backup quarterback, Blake Jackson, entered the game and hit Walker on a fade in the endzone to extend the lead to 24-0. On the next drive, Jackson connected with junior wide receiver Lin Gillham for a 12-yard touchdown to make it 32-0. Anderson left the game in the second quarter with back tightness after completing five of nine passes for 92 yards and a touchdown, while adding 53 yards on the ground. Jackson was able to pick up the slack by going 10-for-15 with 116 yards and two scores through the air and another 46 yards rushing. Jackson admitted that the passing game wasn’t as efficient as it could have been in last week’s game, but a solid week of practice helped the offense get back on the right track. “We executed really well during practice and coach harped on me all week to strengthen that aspect of the game,” he said. “I worked my hardest to do that and got it done.” Senior running back Malcolm Miller scored the final touchdown of the half when he rumbled 20 yards up the middle to make it 39-0 at the break. The Cru racked up 375 yards rushing during the night and had six ballcarriers eclipse 40 yards. “We’re very talented, and there’s so many guys with the ball in their hands who can really do a lot of things. We just want to continue to give them the ball,” Head Coach Pete Fredenberg said. Millsaps attempted and recovered an onside kick to begin the second half. The Majors then mounted a 12-play drive that was capped off by a four-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chance Clowers to Beau Wells. A failed extra point would leave the score at 39-6. The Cru answered with a 10-play drive of their own that ended on a three-yard scoring scramble by Jackson to make it 46-6. After a pair of...

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Football poised for another conference title
Sep01

Football poised for another conference title

As the fall semester begins, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team begins their quest of winning their first NCAA Division III National Championship. The Cru are coming off an 11-1 overall record last year and have won the American Southwest Conference championship. There are multiple new and returning faces to the UMHB football program including Coach Luke Howard and Jack Johnson. Junior exercise and sport science education major Baylor Mullins, who plays safety for the team, is ready for football to begin. “I am very excited to get this season started. Although we won the conference last year, we didn’t win the national championship which is what we are looking for around here,” he said. “We still have tons of improvement, but I feel like this could be the year.” Junior exercise and sport science major Matthew McVey is a tight end for the Cru and is ready to hit the field. “I’m definitely excited about what this year has in store for us and continuing the tradition of winning the ASC championship along with making a run for the national championship. We have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball; we also have a lot of returners coming back mixed in with some new faces,” he said. According to D3Football.com, the Cru are ranked fourth in the nation in their preseason poll. Other familiar football powerhouses at the top of the rankings includes: the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, University of Mount Union, Linfield College and Wesley College. “Home games are so much better than away games. There’s nothing like coming out of the tunnel and seeing a sea of Cru purple and yellow,” said sophomore management major, Haston Adams. “Cru-Nation is definitely deep and they are always live. The team plays more relaxed and it seems like we are sharper when we play in Crusader Stadium.” The Cru are currently 14-2 since playing their home games in Crusader Stadium. This season will mark the third year the Cru will play truly at home. This season, the UMHB football program’s motto is “Earn It.” “After an upset last season, our coaches decided to rebuild the team from the ground up and if you wanted a spot on the team you had to ‘earn it,’ McVey said. “Everyone started from the bottom and had to work their way back to the top during a competitive offseason.” The team’s quarterback, senior marketing major Zach Anderson, trusts his teammates and believes everyone is committed. “Overall I feel that we have an extremely talented team this year that is very dedicated to getting better each and every day. I believe...

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Softball seeks to finish strong on home stretch
Apr15

Softball seeks to finish strong on home stretch

By Michael Crosson   In Texas, spring means sunny skies and warmer weather.   But to local sports fans, spring means baseball and softball season for spirited Crusaders.   The Lady Cru started the season slow by losing seven of their first 13 contests, but then went on a streak to win 10 consecutive games the last month.   Tiffany Birdwell is a pitcher for the softball team. She said the team’s recent success is the result of good team chemistry.   “I feel we need to continue to bond as a team,” she said.   Third baseman Leah Brown said the team is pleased so far with its play, but knows there’s plenty of games left to be played in the season.   “I always feel like we can improve, but I feel we’re doing really well as a team,” Brown said.   Head coach Larry Hennig believes this year’s squad is special because of the good team work ethic on and off the field.   He said, “I guess that the fact that the girls came here and we’re on a mission and they understand that every day is important, teamwork is important.”   Julie Norris, the assistant softball coach, said the thing she loves most about this team is how the players genuinely care for one another.   “We have a really resilient team they’re never out of ball games and the team chemistry is really good this year, the girls get along and play hard for each other all the time,” Norris said.   Catcher Cori Drake said the players have had to rely on each other to get through the mental hurdles of the season.   Drake said, “I think we possess a lot of confidence because we’re really good about motivating our own teammates and keeping a positive attitude during the games, and that really contributes to our success.”   Drake added that as the team continues to improve, they could very well be a tough club to beat.   “I believe the more we play the better we get and the more we come together as a team, so I believe we have a very good shot at going to regionals this year,” she said.   Right fielder Karley Free said the team’s unity and hard work is what makes her most proud to be a part of the squad.   “The team chemistry and how well we can all get along when we’re out on the field, and encouraging others during the game,” Free said.   The team is currently sitting fourth in the American Southwest Conference standings and will host...

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Heartbreaker ends Cru’s season
Mar04

Heartbreaker ends Cru’s season

Led by senior Jerard Graham, the UMHB men’s basketball team made a late-season push to lock up the No. 5 seed in the American Southwest Conference tournament. The Cru’s run came to an end, however, as the team suffered a 72-64 defeat at the hands of Howard Payne University in Thursday’s first-round matchup.   The Cru gained control early and built a 10-point lead early in the second half, but an 11-0 run by the Yellow Jackets put HPU up 44-43 five minutes into the second half.   The Yellow Jackets would build a 54-47 lead, but the Cru fought back to tie the game at 59.   With 4:23 left in the contest, sophomore guard Avery Polchinski drained a bucket that gave UMHB a 63-62 advantage.   It would be the final field goal the Cru would make on the evening as HPU was able to ice the game from the free throw line.   Sophomore Daniel Mills led the Cru with 24 points on the game. The Belton High product averaged 18.8 points over the Cru’s final five games. Mills said his success down the stretch can be accredited to the bonds he built with his teammates throughout the season.   “I think I just got used to having new teammates and my confidence went up a lot,” he said. “I think it has to do with my teammates and coach having trust in me and I’ve just been more consistent with my effort and it has helped me.”   Graham was the team’s leading scorer on the season, averaging 18.9 points per game as he started every game for the Cru. The senior not only led his team in scoring, but became a more vocal leader as well.   “I have felt myself get more vocal in practice and in games. At the beginning of the season I was a tad quiet but now I’m constantly communicating with my teammates,” Graham said.   The team loses Graham and fellow senior Kevin Waller, but will bring back a core next season that includes Mills and point guard Layton Zinsmeister among others.   Zinsmeister said the players became more comfortable with each other as the season wore on, which they hopefully will be able to carry into next season.   “Throughout the season I have noticed our team improving in almost every way. We are starting to make the big shots and play together better,” he said. “We had a few new guys this year and it took some time to get the chemistry going but as of late we really have been playing well together.”   The...

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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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