Tennis teams host Cru Challenge

The spring semester has begun, which means the Cru and Lady Cru tennis teams have hit the hard court. Both squads are back and looking to return to the post season and make a run for the American Southwest Conference championship. Both teams have started their season off at the Crusader Challenge Tournament Feb. 8-9. The competition took place at Yvonne Li Tennis Center and the Cru hosted conference rival Howard Payne University, as well as division III rivals Austin College and Southwestern University. The tournamnet was on pace to have a number of Crusdaers finishing on top.  But due to rainy weather, the remaining matches were cancelled. Head Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach James Cohagan talked about the importance of the Crusader Challenge. “This tournament is a great preseason test, and it is great that we will have three division III schools of fairly similar and close abilities,” Cohagan said. Senior psychology major Will Summers also described the Cru Challenge event. “The Cru Challenge is different than most tournaments. It’s flighted, meaning each team puts their number one player versus the next team’s number one player in a tournament format,” he said. “It is a good litmus test for the team to see how hard we will need to work to accomplish our goals, and allows us to get some match play before conference begins, which is immeasurably crucial at this stage.” Sophomore exercise and sport science major Angelie Juaneza agreed. “The Cru Challenge Tournament is a good way to start off the season because it is getting everyone ‘match ready,’ ’’ she said. Last  tennis season, the men went 9-7 overall, but were 5-1 in conference play. The Cru fell in the conference tournament to the University of Texas-Dallas. The women went 12-6 overall, and were also 5-1 in conference play. The Lady Cru defeated Mississippi College before falling to eventual conference champions, the University of Texas-Tyler. Summers expressed the men’s aspirations this season. “Our goal is to win the American Southwest Conference West division and get a round further in the post season than last year,” he said. Junior nursing major Chaley Shiffler invisions success for the lady Cru. “The team’s goals this season are to become more consistent individually and stronger as a team. We have worked hard and have already seen an improvement this season. The team is looking great so far, and I think we have enthusiastic players that will keep our team together,” she said. Both men and women will host Letourneau University in their first team tennis matches of the season  Feb....

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Men’s volleyball started by students

The championship match for intramural volleyball featured the two teams that were dominant. Team Falcon Punch earned the championship title. Now the two teams that fought for the intramural title have joined forces to forge a men’s volleyball team. The club was chartered by Student Government Association Jan. 29. This officially brought the two teams together into a club sport, something that sophomore business management major Cody Emerson has been hoping for. “Last year we were talking about trying to get a team, but it wasn’t until this year when we got all of the freshmen coming here that we actually had enough guys to put it all together,” Emerson said. Sophomore business management major and founder of the team Dominic Rosato wants the team be able to play at a very high level, hoping to eventually play in the Southern Interscholastic Volleyball Association, which is made up of teams from Baylor, SMU, UNT and others. “As a sport it’s definitely going to be a lot of conditioning,” Rosato said. “We’re not just going to go in there and just start playing. It’s going to be an actual sport. I want it to be legit.” The squad hopes to find a solid number of players and start practicing together on the basics of court volleyball . “For this semester I’d say our goals are really just to get real sound in the fundamentals of volleyball where we can compete with confidence in tournaments next semester,” Emerson said. “Hopefully, once we get everything going good, we can turn this into a good competitive team.” The team held try-outs  Feb. 6 to search for talent. Players were tested on passing, hitting, setting, blocking and serving skills and were evaluated with help from players from the women’s volleyball team. Freshman nursing major Greg Applegate is one of the few players with experience playing organized court volleyball. He hopes to help his teammates adapt to and learn the intricacies of the sport. “My background in court can help me show them the minute things that people don’t really recognize.” The team is searching for a scrimmage in March, with  hopes others will see  they are serious and want to compete at a high level. Applegate said. “This is the first semester for us, so our goal is to have people respect men’s volleyball and recognize that it’s a sport, and we’re good at...

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Baseball, softball spring season is underway

By Cody Weems Both the Crusader baseball and softball teams begin play this month, and with the start of the season comes the hope and excitement that each new year brings. The biggest story concerning the baseball team is the return of Head Coach Ben Shipp to the dugout. Shipp coached the team from 1986 to 1996 before becoming the university’s athletic director. Shipp said that returning to coaching has been an invigorating experience. “It has been so much fun,” Shipp said. “I think everybody who coaches baseball will tell you baseball players are so much fun to be around, and I had forgotten that.” Freshman outfielder and accounting major Chase Burrow thinks Shipp has brought a new energy to the team. “I think it’s been a positive change,” Burrow said. “He’s made us have a desire and a work ethic to try and change this program around.” The team will have to deal with a lack of experience in the lineup, as only three starting position players return from last year’s team that finished with a record of 21-17.  However, Shipp believes that solid production from his pitching staff will be a strength. “One thing we’ve really been pleased with is the depth of our pitching staff,” Shipp said. “We really feel good about both the quality and the quantity of our staff and the amount of experience that they bring.” Shipp wants to play fundamental baseball this season while building the program for the future. “I’m hoping that at the end of the year, we can look back and say that we’ve energized this group of guys, their love of the game and their love of the university.” The baseball team will face Hendrix College for a three-game series this weekend. The softball team has high expectations for the season after being picked to win the Western Division of the ASC. Head Coach Larry Hennig said that the ultimate goal this season is to win the conference tournament and advance to the regionals. “Probably the most important thing is to win the conference tournament,” Hennig said. “Winning the conference tournament is something we’ve never done here.” Several players return from last year’s team which won the American Southwest Conference West Division with an overall record of 26-17. “We’ve got the foundation for what we hope will be a very good team this year,” Hennig said. “We’ve been picked to win our division, and we’ve got to be able to go out and play at a high level.” Junior pitcher and exercise and sport science major Rebekah Ragsdale hopes the team can build its success. “Last year was...

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Pennsylvania governor files lawsuit against NCAA regarding sanctions
Jan29

Pennsylvania governor files lawsuit against NCAA regarding sanctions

Rain silently poured on the top of a squad car that would shuttle one of Pennsylvania State’s assistant football coaches, Jerry Sandusky, to a nearby county jail. Onlookers clutched their umbrellas as they witnessed what would be a dreary course of events for the University of Pennsylvania in the days to come. On Nov. 5, 2011, Sandusky was arrested due to suspicions of having inappropriate relations with several young boys, and was to be tried for child abuse. Four days later, head football coach Joe Paterno and the university’s president Graham Spanier were fired for their lack of diligence to report Sandusky’s criminal actions. The following months proved to be a fiasco as decisions were made in the case. On Jan. 22, Joe Paterno passed away. Everything that had once been cherished by Penn State seemed to have been taken. The outcome resulted in Sandusky being accused of 45 out of 48 counts of sexual abuse. More than that, the NCAA had to choose the proper course of action to take on the university. Political science Professor Dr. David Holcomb said that he has no expertise in this sort of case, but that he could see the two prominent viewpoints that people held as to what the NCAA should rule considering Sandusky’s acts. “Some will argue that the NCAA’s move is problematic since there are no specific rules violations in the Penn State case,” Holcomb said. “Others will argue that the situation was so heinous and directly connected to a prominent NCAA athletics team that the NCAA had to act.” The NCAA took the latter route and decided to penalize the university. Penn State was forced to pay a $60 million fine, while the football program was deemed ineligible from bowl games during the next four seasons. The team was also forced to give up 40 of its scholarships during those four years. These sanctions crippled the school. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has decided the NCAA was too harsh on the university. The entire state of Pennsylvania has been affected by the rulings because it is a state-funded university. Junior finance and accounting major Cody Lee said, “I don’t think he had in mind that the NCAA was going to hit Penn State that hard.” Corbett decided earlier this month to sue the organization as a result of the penalties placed on the university. He said, “These sanctions … punished the past, the present, the local businesses and the citizens of Pennsylvania,” at a news conference held at Penn State university at the end of December. It has certainly been a rough road for the school. The NCAA also...

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Men sustain division dominance
Jan29

Men sustain division dominance

By Leif Johnston The men’s basketball team has been on a fast track straight to the top of the ASC West division with an impressive 12-1 record. Recently knocking off a stingy Howard Payne team by double digits, the Cru looks to keep that momentum as they finish conference play. Hitting the road to play quality teams will prove to be a tough task, but the Cru believe it isn’t anything they can’t handle. “There is no doubt that the road trip will be tough. It’s easy for teams to lose focus while traveling so much, but coach has done a great job to prepare us for what to expect,” senior business finance major Cory Meals said. The Crusaders provided themselves a great deal of momentum going into the grueling road stretch. A blowout win over a talented HSU team was just what the Cru was looking for. “The Hardin Simmons game was huge considering we were both tied for first place in the East Division. They are our rivals, which made the win that much better,” freshman biology major Layton Zinsmeister said. With younger players having to step up, the strong core of seniors provides a source of experience that has been vital to the team’s success. The Crusaders continue their winning ways by playing hard-nosed defense and taking care of the little things. “I really thought this would be a team that would shoot the ball consistently between 48% and 53%, but we haven’t reached that yet,” Head Coach Ken DeWeese said. “We are shooting the ball OK, but we are not shooting the ball nearly as well as what I think this team can.” The men’s program has been successful in the past and has set its sights on a deep run into the national tournament. This year’s team is no different. After a couple of early losses, the Crusaders have been doing whatever it takes to take their game to the next level. “Our team goal this year is to win every game. Each game is just as important as the next. Our ultimate goal is to win a National Championship; we just have to stay focused and continue to work hard every day.” Meals said. The unselfish approach that the Cru have taken to this season has made a tremendous impact on their production. Not to mention forcing their opponents to stay aware of each player on the court whether the player is a starter or coming off the bench. “The past couple of games our first and second leading scorers have been off the bench, Thomas Ore and Antonie Chaney,” Deweese said. “The...

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Dream Bowl is dream come true

A 13-win season, an ASC conference title, an appearance on Sports Center’s top 10 countdown, and a trip by four players to the inaugural Dream Bowl are just a few of the accomplishments that were a part of Cru football’s 2012 season. The best seniors of DIII NCAA and NAIA football are selected to play in the Dream Bowl. Exercise sport science majors LiDarral Bailey and Sam Maxie and sports management majors Javicz Jones and Michael Coles represented the university together one last time in this game. “It was very nice getting to play with three of my teammates,” Maxie said. “That really helped with team chemistry.” The game took place on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Salem, Va. as part of a celebration of the excellence, commitment and sacrifice made by players and their families. Bailey and Jones were selected by their team to be captains. “It was a great honor being captain,” Jones said. “Of all the great all-stars that attended, they elected me. I felt like we represented our school well.” Bailey helped lead an offensive attack that scored 37 points. He rushed for one touchdown while throwing for another. This performance won him the offensive MVP trophy for the game, an award only topped by his stumbling touchdown pass earlier in the season that landed him on Sportcenter’s Top 10. Jones anchored a defense that pitched a shut-out against the opposing Patriot squad in the Dream Bowl, helping his team to a 37-0 blowout. He also was awarded the American Southwest Conference defensive player of the year for a second consecutive season. Jones’ achievements on the field go even further. He was  awarded with  DIII defensive player of the year by D3football.com based on a season where he recorded 131 tackles, five sacks, two blocked kicks and a school record eight interceptions. Jones joins current Indianapolis Colts linebacker Jerrell Freeman as the only Crusader to win the DIII defensive player of the year awarded by D3football.com. Although his days playing for the Cru are over, he says that his love of the game is by no means dwindling.  Jones and other players had the chance to showcase their talents in front of professional scouts at the Dream Bowl in hopes to help continue their football playing profession. “Yes, I do still have the same drive, but it’s in overdrive right now,” Jones said. “Next step is to play professional ball, NFL or CFL.” Offensive linemen Michael Coles and Sam Maxie who helped pave the way for a lethal Crusader offensive attack also received their fair share of awards. Coles was awarded ASC offensive lineman...

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