Cru football kicks off its 15th season
Sep11

Cru football kicks off its 15th season

Comebacks have long been the epitome of sports history. From the Buffalo Bills’ Steve Christie booting the 32-yard field goal to cap off ‘the comeback’ against the Houston Oilers to Tracy McGrady’s 13 points in 35 seconds to overcome the Spurs, every sport has witnessed the impossible. A comeback was brewing for the Cru as they were overcoming a 21-3 deficit against the Wesley Wolverines last December. On a fourth and three, quarterback LiDarral Bailey and the offense were surging down the field, creating a miracle, but as he stepped to pass, he was hit from behind, incomplete. A defender was able to overcome the protection of the offensive line and disrupt the pass attempt. Head line coach Joe George said, “I don’t remember what the break-down was there, but we’ve put that behind us because we’re looking forward.” With the new season, expectations are high for the team — unanimously picked to once again be the American Southwest Conference champions. The Crusaders picked up each of the 24 first-place votes, signaling that not only the UMHB nation, but its opponents as well, see the team as the forerunner this season. To remain out in front, the team will rely on the men up front—the big dogs, the offensive line. While most fans are enamored with the quarterbacks and focused on where the ball is, they miss a vital part of the game. Down in the trenches the offensive linemen battle to keep the ball moving. Without a solid performance from the line, it’s unlikely that the Cru will have any chance of winning. Junior finance major Cody Lee plays offensive tackle. He said “All of our goals are to win a national championship; it’s the standard that we are holding ourselves to.” With each day being an opportunity to improve, the Crusader line knows the importance of taking care of every detail—”even in practice,” Lee said. “We want to practice like champions and to continue to work that way.” The linemen are prepared for the season, and they know what it takes to be the leaders of a solid offensive attack. Senior EXSS major Sam Maxie plays offensive tackle, and after starting 13 games last season, he provides the talent and experience the team needs. “We’ve got to come together. As soon as we have a lot of chemistry on the offensive line, that’s when things really start rolling,” Maxie said. In a base set, there are five linemen working together to make sure that the players who score the points can get there in the first place. “We want to be fundamentally sound, and when we’re fundamentally...

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From the ASC to the NFL, Menkin excels
Aug21

From the ASC to the NFL, Menkin excels

Under the bright lights of Reliant Stadium in Houston, one of Mary Hardin-Baylor’s very own lives out his dream. Of the thousands of athletes within and beyond the NCAA, Nate Menkin joins the lucky few among his peers to stand out as a professional athlete. It wasn’t until his senior year in 2011 with Cru football that Menkin began to realize that his size and stats compared to that of NFL linemen. Soon, the thought of reaching the NFL drove the offensive tackle to push his efforts into overdrive. “(Menkin) took a lot of pride in getting his body physically prepared to be the best that he could be,” said Joe George, UMHB’s offensive line coach. Menkin started all 13 games in the Cru’s 2011 season and was a part of an offensive line that allowed only 16 sacks over the course of the season and blocked for an offense that racked up more than 3,700 yards rushing. After turning heads at Baylor’s pro day, Menkin went on to the Super Regional Combine in Detroit to post impressive numbers: 5.0 second 40-yard dash, 39 repetitions of 225 pounds on bench press. He weighed in at 294 pounds and measured six feet four inches in height. Menkin graduated from UMHB in May, and did so as an undrafted free agent for the Houston Texans after signing with them in late April. Now halfway through preseason, he is competing for a spot on the Texans roster. The rookie has seen a couple dozen snaps in the two victories he has shared with the Texans, two games deep into the preseason, but still has much to prove. Patrick Starr, editor and owner of the website State of the Texans, touched briefly on Menkin in an article previewing Texans training camp. “Not many people have heard of this Division III offensive tackle from Mary Hardin-Baylor … but this Lago Vista native is a player to watch.” He has the strength and size to compete; however, there is one thing that critics point out time and time again. “(Menkin) will have to make a huge jump from Division III football to the NFL level,” continued Starr in that same article. Menkin himself admits that at first coming from a Division III school did have an effect on him mentally because he wasn’t used to the competition. Additionally, his technique wasn’t as fine-tuned because he played Division III. “I was … bigger and stronger than a lot of my competition, and my technique didn’t have to be as good. So there was definitely a big learning curve once I got here.” There are also those...

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Cru golf: hole-in-one with pro coach
Aug21

Cru golf: hole-in-one with pro coach

By Antonio Hebert After a successful previous season, the women’s golf team recently welcomed Nancy Taylor-Capps, a long-time professional golfer as its new head coach. Taylor-Capps replaced Darla Kirby after Kirby accepted a promotion to UMHB associate athletic director. Taylor-Capps is excited to see what the season holds. She said, “I am walking into a great program to begin with. Darla Kirby has done very well. We need to stay focused and pursue the process, and the results will come.” Taylor-Capps began golfing when she was 16. At the time, she lived in Hawaii where her father was a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force. She finished high school in South Korea and then proceeded to Arizona State where she received a degree in physical education. In college she was a walk-on golfer for two years before making the team. She played in the Futures Tour for three years and then progressed to the Ladies Professional Golf Association where she was ranked second in 1986. Taylor-Capps comes to UMHB from Rock Hill, S.C., where she was the assistant coach for the women’s golf team at Winthrop University from 2010 to 2012. Before coaching at Winthrop, she was assistant coach for both the men’s and women’s golf teams at Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, N.C., where they finished second at the Carolinas Conference. As a Christian, her faith has played a major role in her career. According to a UMHB press release, Taylor-Capps said she was looking forward to being a part of the Christian environment on campus. From 1998 to 2000, she was the associate director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ golf ministry in Ponte Verde, Fla. During her involvement with the organization, she organized and led Bible studies for players on the Futures Tour as well as offered them guidance. She is also impressed with the university’s excellence and its goal of being the best in the Southwest. She said, “I believe Dr. O’Rear has a great vision for the university and is doing it right. All the people at the university are quality people and professional.” Kirby, the former head coach who began the women’s golf program more than 16 years ago, is eager to see the team continue its success and is confident that Taylor-Capps will do well. She said, “I think she’ll be a very good coach. She’ll do a great job with the girls. I think we’ll see great things for that team.” Kirby said she will miss golf tremendously but thinks an administrative role is what God has for her at the moment. Two golfers, sophomore sport management major Victoria Thane and...

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Indianapolis’ fate lies with rookie quarterback
Apr24

Indianapolis’ fate lies with rookie quarterback

Beginning in Baltimore, the Colts have had a history of great quarterbacks. Johnny Unitas, Jim Harbaugh and Peyton Manning have all been names under center in times of great success for the Colts. With the end of the Manning era in Indianapolis, Colts fans await the 2012 NFL Draft to reveal the future of their beloved stampede blue and white. Due to setbacks from Manning’s neck surgery in the months following the 2010 season, the Colts lost the eleven-time Pro Bowl quarterback for 2011. Manning’s absence made it painfully apparent just how blatantly dependent they were on his leadership and ability as a player. After watching the performances of Kerry Collins, Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky, the Colts realized they didn’t have a team without Manning. In a decision of preemptive action intended to avoid repeating another 2011 season, the Colts released the 14-year veteran and arguably one of the best ever to play the game. Due to a 2-14 record, the Colts earned themselves the number one overall pick in this year’s draft.  With it, they hope to replace the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft and the player who ultimately led them to the postseason 11 of 13 years as a starter and two Super Bowls. The rookie will have to live up to the success brought to the Colts organization by number 18, and that man has been narrowed down to be one of two players—Andrew Luck of Stanford or Robert Griffin III of Baylor. Luck has been all but downright declared the first overall pick by sport analysts all over the country, but the Colts did show interest in Griffin. All the fuss about Griffin refusing to do a private workout for the Colts does not rule him out. The Heisman Trophy winner released a statement earlier this year in which he said he would not do any private work outs for any team. Griffin believes he has marketed himself sufficiently with the 2011 season at Baylor, the NFL Combine and his own personal Pro day that he held in Waco to which every NFL team was invited. So if Griffin is indeed a viable option, should he be chosen instead of Luck? Comparatively, Griffin is faster and according to NFL Films legend Greg Cosell, he has the better throwing ability. The Baylor alumnus ran the second fastest 40-yard dash all-time for quarterbacks losing only to the versatile Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles. RG3 is also very accurate on the run and can open up the run game with quarterback options. Playing in the AFC he won’t see as much of the...

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Softball 20-4 after regular season
Apr24

Softball 20-4 after regular season

Tina and Ike Turner may have an acclaimed rendition of “Proud Mary,” but the Crusader softball team has choreographed an excellent season of its own by rolling over opponents and expectations. Despite starting the season with a losing record of 3-6 the  Lady Cru have really turned their season around. The women steamed past Sul Ross, scoring 61 runs over the course of the four-game series. Senior psychology and counseling major Ashton Feight said, “We use teams like Sul Ross to build up our confidence and work on being better hitters.” Hitting would be crucial as the ladies prepared for Hardin-Simmons. To keep the wheels turning, the Cru would have to face pitchers like Sarah Shurbet, who has tallied 39 strikeouts overall this season. Coach Larry Hennig said, “The biggest challenge is offense. You have highs and lows, so that’s one of the things we spend quite a bit of time working on.” The work paid off as the women overcame the determined Cowgirls; they won three hard-fought games, but only posted ten runs (the lowest total compared to other four game series). “There were a couple of games we didn’t score very many runs,” Hennig said. “The defense we had in the series against Hardin-Simmons was the difference for us.” As the team moves on, it will face stronger lineups, and players must work together as a unit. The grunt work, however, will be placed on the Cru bullpen. Sophomore education major, Chandler Henson —catcher for the Cru — said, “Defense all starts with our pitchers, and so far this season, our pitchers have done an outstanding job on giving us chances to win ball games.” On the defensive side, winning comes by finishing strong. “Numerous times this year, we have lost the ball game in the fifth inning due to errors,” Henson said. “We need to come together as a unit and execute plays and finish the game how we started.” As the ASC First Pitch Tournament winds down, the Cru must remain concentrated as preparations for the Championship tournament begin. Feight said, “We haven’t reached our peak yet, and we need to keep focusing in practice.” For this to happen, every player — regardless of classification — must be prepared to work. This includes the six freshmen, who have surpassed the typical stereotype of younger players lacking concentration. The underclassmen play an important role for the team, and Hennig said, “We call them the rabbits. They help give us that team speed. They play the short game, and when they get on base, it’s really not a secret. We win.” The Cru put Schreiner under the...

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Baseball draws to bittersweet close for graduating seniors
Apr24

Baseball draws to bittersweet close for graduating seniors

With many seniors on the team this year, this season was bittersweet for Cru baseball. “This season means so much to me because this might be the last time I ever get to play,” senior marketing major and catcher Chris Joshlin said. “I am trying to put everything I have into it and trying to enjoy it as much as possible especially with my teammates because they are some great guys. I am very blessed to have the teammates I do on this team.” Senior sport management major and first baseman Seth Lynn also values this season, his last time to play the game at the college level. “Coming into this season I knew this would be the end of my playing career, and I wanted to make sure I left everything on the field. We have a lot of seniors this year, and we all want to go out on top,” he said. After a roller coaster start to the season the end of March brought a slump for the team, but after the double-header against Sul Ross April 6, the Cru went on to win their next seven games. “With the game of baseball, you can do everything right and still fail. That’s the beauty of this game. We did a lot of good things during that six-game losing streak, but we still ended up losing,” Joshlin said. “It’s not about how you start. It’s about how you finish.” The determination of the team over the season aided players to being able to regroup for the remainder of the season. “We haven’t stopped working hard all season,” Lynn said. “As a team, we have been through a lot. We’ve had probably the worst luck you could imagine, but we haven’t given up, and that shows a lot about each person’s character.” April 20-21 the Cru faced McMurry in one of the most crucial series of the season. The three games determined whether or not the team would make it to the conference tournament. “The series against McMurry is probably the most important series I have ever been a part of at UMHB. We have to play the best we have all year,” Joshlin said. In order to secure a spot in postseason play, the Cru needed to win all three games in the series. Friday night the team posted a 6-0 score over the Warhawks when senior pitcher Cameron Arnett threw a complete-game shutout. However, in the first game of the double-header on Saturday, the Cru lost by one with a 2-1 final score. Junior pitcher Chance Ryan also had a complete game and only gave up...

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