Sport Spotlight: Taylor and Tori Tucker
Feb11

Sport Spotlight: Taylor and Tori Tucker

Taylor and Tori Tucker are sisters and compete together on the Lady Crusader basketball team. Taylor is a junior and Tori is a sophomore, and both are exercise sport science majors. They went to many different schools growing up across Texas, attending Bryan Rudder and Oakwood, but graduated from A&M Consolidated High School in College Station. This season, the Lady Cru are 14-7 overall and 14-4 in conference play and currently are tied for second place with the University of Texas-Dallas in the American Southwest Conference. The Tuckers picked UMHB because of the opportunity to keep playing basketball with each other. “We chose to play together and also like the atmosphere and how family orientated everyone is,” Tori said. Outside of all the time spent on basketball, both sisters agreed that they enjoy sleeping, hanging out with teammates and play videogames. “I love playing, I love the atmosphere, and I love the audience. I also love playing with my teammates and just basketball pretty much takes away any problems you might have at the time, it’s a whole new thing when you step on the floor,” Taylor said. The sisters’ favorite memory was last season on the road against Concordia University. “We went into double overtime, so we had a lot of time on the court to play together, and we all fought really hard to win that game,” Tori said. In the game, Taylor and Tori combined for 38 total points and memories that will last forever. The sisters spend a lot of time with each other off the court as they also live together. “It can be challenging at times, but she’s not only my sister and my roommate, she is my best friend, so it makes things a lot easier,” Taylor said. After college, both have set their plans on what they hope to do. “I want to play overseas, and then after that I want to be a strength and conditioning coach and work with kids and train them,” Taylor said. Tori wants to stay near the Belton area. “I plan on attending PT school and be a PTA or physical therapist around the area,” she said. Though Taylor has only one more year left of basketball, the Tucker sisters want to enjoy it all while it lasts. “Taylor has one more year, and I’m just trying to get back out there ASAP with her. God has blessed us both with talent, and to be able to use it together on the same court is amazing,” Tori said. “Taylor pushes me to be a better player myself. I don’t compare myself to her, but we...

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Cru basketball hits hot streak
Feb11

Cru basketball hits hot streak

It’s been a rollercoaster season  for men’s basketball, but recent wins against Louisiana College and Mississippi College have given new life to the Cru as they prepare for the final stretch of the regular season. Senior guard James Allen said the wins were a crucial momentum boost that could propel the team into a prime spot in the conference tournament. “Both of those games were big for us because they would bring us up in the conference standings,” he said. “We have to keep winning in order for us to stay strong in the end.” Allen became the Cru’s Division III era career scoring leader during a 76-56 win against LC Jan. 30 in Belton. The two teams were tied at 13 early in the first half before the Cru pulled away to a 40-28 lead at the half.  Allen led the team with 20 points to go along with six assists and five rebounds. Antonie Chaney and Jerard Graham added 17 and 15 points respectively as the team shot 50 percent from the field as a whole. Head coach Ken DeWeese said the team performed exceptionally well in all aspects of the game. “We played extremely well offensively and defensively against Louisiana College, and we played with a great deal of consistent effort,” DeWeese said. The Cru then went on to earn a hard-fought, 78-70 victory Feb. 1 against Mississippi College. Things started slow as the Cru didn’t score until the 15:21 mark of the first half, but the team bounced back to grab a 36-32 halftime lead. A James Allen three-pointer put the Cru back in front for good at 45-42. The team capitalized on a multitude of fouls as they made 41-51 free throw attempts. Allen led all scoring with 22 points to go along with 19 from Graham and 11 from foward Kitrick Bell. “I must give them credit, Mississippi College played well the entire game,” DeWeese said. “It was good for us because we had to extend our effort for the duration of the game to be successful.” Sophomore guard Layton Zinsmeister said the victories are just what the team needed to turn things around. “The recent wins were huge because we need to start getting back on the winning track,” he said.  “We’ve had a couple of games that we lost that were so close, so it’s nice to win a couple of games against teams that are up at the top.” For a team that was in the National Championship game just last season, Zinsmeister said it’s important for the Cru to focus on their next opponent instead of looking too far...

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Baseball fever is back in Belton
Feb11

Baseball fever is back in Belton

Ben Shipp returns for his second season as head coach for the Crusader baseball team.  Shipp said he is eager to coach this young team after losing six seniors last year. “It’s a challenge, and there is so much to cover. However, I’m not concerned by the youth as much as excited about the talent this team possesses.” Shipp is thankful for his seniors, as they helped the new coaches adapt to the Crusader atmosphere. He said fans should keep an eye out for new players such as Tripp Reeves, Alex Smith and KJ Stark. He believes these three players have a lot to offer the team and is excited to see their future performance. Shipp is confident in the team’s speed and depth, and thinks it will provide Crusader fans with a different style of game due to the power behind their bats. He said, “The key to winning games this year will be consistency in pitching.” Junior left-handed pitcher, Ian Ekery, said, “This year’s baseball team is very young after the loss of six seniors last year, creating a learning atmosphere throughout the beginning of the season.” Although the team is full of younger players, Ekery believes it will be a lot stronger defensively. He is an exercise and sport science major and plans to pursue a career in physical therapy. Ekery wears the number 16 in honor of famous Yankee pitcher, Whitey Ford. Ekery prides himself on his change-up pitch. But he also has a number of other pitches that he has worked on in the off-season. Senior right-handed closer, Danny Horstman, believes he “should set an example in leading the young team” as one of only three seniors this year. Horstman wears the number 7 on the field in honor of his favorite player, Craig Biggio, a retired second baseman for the Astros. Horstman  also majors in exercise and sport science in hopes of pursuing a career in physical therapy after graduation. The two veteran Crusader pitchers believe the key to winning games this year will be the team’s defensive strength and ability to advance the runners. After finishing last season with an even 21 and 21 record, Shipp is confident the team will finish higher in the standings this conference season. The Crusaders, ranked sixth out of 12 in the pre-season conference, will take Red Murff Field in all new uniforms for their first home game Feb. 28, as they take on last year’s ASC champions, the Patriots of UT Tyler. The Crusaders are talented across the board but putting it all together will be the key focus for this year’s team. Last year ...

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Men’s golf to tee off spring season

The men’s golf team is heading into the 2014 spring season with one word in mind: consistency. A talented group of young and experienced players will look to pick up where they left off last season and finish strong. Head golf coach Aaron Rodeffer said, “Going into the spring, I think our biggest strength is just some consistency. Some of the older guys come to mind when I say that. Those guys have been through the fire a little bit. We had a very sub-par performance at the conference championship last year, and I think they are anxious to put that behind them.” Senior exercise sport science major and four-year golfer for the university, Justin Judkins, agrees that the experience combined with the young talent will be something that could propel the team to places they haven’t reached in years past. “I’d say the fact that we have strong freshmen, as well as a group of seniors and juniors that have played together for three and four years will be to our advantage. We are going into the season with a lot of confidence and look forward to keeping up the good play that we had in the fall.” As always, men’s golf in the ASC is packed with quality teams, but the Cru believe they are right at the top of the list. “Thinking about the fall, we played really well,” Rodeffer said. “Probably the best fall we have had since I have been here. The scoring average was 296, and we were bouncing in and out of the top 25, so I think the biggest thing that I look forward to in the spring is these older guys really stepping up to the plate and performing.” The way last season ended provided the guys with a valuable lesson that anyone in the conference is capable of winning. The conference just continues to get tougher as the years go on, but the Cru know they  have to take care of business on their end, and the rest will fall into place. “With Schreiner winning last season, we’ve learned to not count anyone out, so we are just preparing ourselves the best we can,” Judkins said. The weather in just the few short weeks that the Cru have been practicing has been rough, but it is just another thing that the men will have to block out in order to keep up the low scores they experienced in the fall. “Conditions are obviously more difficult in the spring,” Rodeffer said.  “The golf courses aren’t in the best shape. The weather is usually terrible. But, I think they still have...

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Students hit the hardwood with hopes of earning intramural glory
Feb11

Students hit the hardwood with hopes of earning intramural glory

BELTON, TX – THE BELLS — Just when intramural sports couldn’t get any more exciting, students come up with  unbelievably creative team name. Hoops! I Did It Again!, Cru Chainz and Yao Know What I Ming just to name a few. This year the number of players who registered for intramural basketball grew significantly from last year’s numbers. “Since I have been working for campus rec (this is my second year), this is definitely the most teams we’ve had,” senior math education major Shangrila Pathak said. “The women’s teams are twice as many as last year, and both men’s leagues reached the maximum amount of teams.” That makes 12 teams in men’s three-on-three league, 14 teams in men’s five-on-five and seven teams in women’s three-on-three. This growing involvement could be attributed to the influx of new students, or perhaps students are beginning to realize that “ball is life” after all. Although the campus recreation staff is glad about the large numbers they had sign up via imleagues.com, Pathak, who is also the intramural coordinator, said it has also posed some new challenges. “The only difficult part with having so many teams is having enough time to allow teams to get plenty of games in,” Pathak said. “I love that we have so many students eager to play and stay active.” Junior music education major Terry Livingston is playing intramural basketball for the first time. So far, he has enjoyed the season and is thankful for the opportunity to play. “I’ve enjoyed getting to know some new people and having opportunities shooting around with some good guys,” he said. “I enjoy the competitiveness, but I also enjoy that we are ultimately out there to have some fun.” Junior nursing major Taylor Frank is a veteran of intramural basketball. She is a returning member of the Chinchillas three-on-three women’s team. Frank said that playing for the same team has its benefits. “It makes the experience better because we get the chance to grow in our friendships as well as our skills in basketball,” she said. “Knowing your teammates well makes a huge difference on the court because you can read them better. It’s definitely more fun that way.” Pathak hopes students and others will stay involved through any of the various campus rec events. “I would encourage, not only students, but even faculty and staff to get involved with intramurals because it’s a great way to stay active and have fun with your peers.  It’s also a great escape from the busyness and stress of school or life in...

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Award-winning coach takes opportunity to give back
Jan29

Award-winning coach takes opportunity to give back

THE BELLS — After being awarded ASC Coach of the Year eight times and receiving the title AFCA Regional Coach of the Year seven times, head football coach Pete Fredenburg received the award of Coach of the Year for Division III football from Liberty Mutual Insurance Jan. 6. “Coach Fredenburg’s on-the-field success speaks for itself, but to have an award like this recognize the work he does in molding young men and serving the school and community is a great honor,” UMHB sports information director Jon Wallin said. Along with a trophy, Liberty Mutual presents a grant in the amount of $20,000 to the university alumni association the coach is affiliated with and gives $50,000 to recipients for the purpose of donating the funds to a charity of the coach’s choosing. “It was great to reach out to these charities and an awesome thing for Liberty Mutual to do,” Fredenburg said. He donated $12,000 to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Temple, Texas. The nonprofit serves as a haven where families with extremely ill children can find the simple comforts of home, such as a hot shower and a peaceful place to escape the constant noise of a hospital, during difficult times. “The very generous donation will help us make some much-needed repairs around our 27-year-old house,” Executive Director Susan Bolton said. “The 11-year-old system is showing its age. There are many not-for-profit agencies in Bell County, all worthy of support, but there is a finite amount of money available to help all of them.” The rest of the funds will be distributed to Belton’s Helping Hands ministry, the McLane Children’s Hospital and the Wounded Warrior Project. “I have had involvement with all these organizations, and they all do awesome jobs for our communities,” Fredenburg said. “These are the charities I chose, and the checks have been sent from Liberty Mutual.” Candidates who receive this award are honored for their demonstration of responsibility, integrity, sportsmanship and excellence both on and off the field. “Coach Fredenburg is very deserving of this honor, for his work off the field and in the community as much as for what the Cru has done on the field,” Wallin said. “He has always had our student-athletes involved on campus and in community service because he understands how important those things are in forming good people and good leaders.” Fan voting decides the top 15 coaches from each NCAA division, and then an objective scoring model determines the top five finalists for Division III coaches. “My time at Mary Hardin-Baylor has been incredible,” Fredenburg said. “My success has been because I surround myself with great,...

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