2012 brings season of firsts for baseball team
Feb07

2012 brings season of firsts for baseball team

Today marks the first game of the 2012 season for Cru baseball team members. Coming off  a 9-12 conference record from last year, the team hopes to improve for this season. “Our big thing this year is defensively making all our routine plays, and if we ever have the situation where we can turn a double play, we need to turn it,” Head Coach Derek Dunaway said. “The pitchers have really been working on attacking the strike zone and cutting down on walks.” Another important ingredient to any successful season is team chemistry. The Cru are working hard to make sure they have it. Senior business administration major and pitcher Trevor Alaniz said, “Teamwork is very important. The closer we are, the better we will be during the season. We are pretty close as a team already; we have been through a lot. Teamwork is very important for us.” With the addition of many new players this season, senior exercise and sport science major and pitcher Sam VanHoozer knows that teamwork will be crucial to having the best season possible. “We had a lot of transfers come in, so we are working on communicating and coming together as a team. We had moments last season where we didn’t connect much, so we are just working to come together as a whole,” he said. In the Preseason Coaches and Media Poll, the Cru was picked to finish fifth in the ASC West Division. This ranking gives the team even more of a reason to prove everyone wrong this season. “It doesn’t matter if you are picked first or fifth or last, but we are practicing like we are going to be first,” VanHoozer said. Although the season is just starting, team members have some ambitions they think are in reach for the season. “Our team goals are pretty high. First, we want to win the conference championship and go to regions. Our ultimate goal is to hopefully win the National Championship,” Alaniz said. These goals could not be met if the team hadn’t started preparing for the season last semester. “Ever since the fall, we have been working hard,” Alaniz said. “We had 6 a.m. workouts, and all of us showed up and worked really hard. We have been working over the break, and as individuals we are all pretty determined.” Dunaway thinks that goals can be met with the group they have this season. “This is the most talented team we’ve ever had since we’ve been in the ASC,” he said. “We are very blessed to have a lot of talent, a lot of great guys who care about...

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Former Crusader takes on the NFL
Feb07

Former Crusader takes on the NFL

Many “boys of fall” aspire to play football in college but only dream about playing for the NFL. This dream  is coming true for UMHB’s own Jerrell Freeman, who was signed by the Indianapolis Colts three weeks ago. From University High School in Waco, to UMHB, to Canadian Football League, and now NFL, Freeman has an impressive football record. “If you want to do something and have the passion for it, go for it,” he said. Freeman played as a defensive end for the Cru from 2004 to 2007 and is still the all-time leader in tackles for the school. The Tennessee Titans drafted him during his senior year. At the time, he was a Cru team captain, named Defensive Player of the Year by D3football.com and three-time American Southwestern Conference First Team All-Conference selection. “UMHB has a really good (football) program, “ Freeman said. “They trained me well.” The CFL drafted Freeman after the Titans cut him before the season. He played for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the worst team in the league at the time. In the three years he played for the team, he quickly made a name for himself by winning the CFL Defensive Player of the Week three times, runner-up for CFL Defensive Player of the Year even though he led the CFL with 144 tackles, 13 sacks, three interceptions and four fumbles. He was also named CFL All-Star and led his team to two CFL Grey Cup games. After his contract was up with the CFL, Freeman was scheduled to visit and work out with several different NFL teams, but his tour was cut short when the Colts gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse. “A UMHB player making it to the NFL has a major impact on us,” Vice President for Athletics Ben Shipp said. “It provides name recognition for UMHB and gains us another level of respect with the media and football establishment.” Shipp explains that it is a cycle. By recruiting good players, keeping good players, and continuing to win, more good players are drawn in, and the cycle continues. “It was always school, football, football, football growing up, and it just happened,” Freeman said. “It helped being on the front line of a great team, but I definitely never thought ‘NFL’ when I went into D3.” With 11 hours left to complete his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from UMHB, Freeman struggles to find the time to finish his classes after football took him away before he could graduate. He stresses the importance of obtaining a college degree even for professional athletes and wants to set an example for other...

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Super Bowl XLVI: Giants upset Patriots for a second time

The New York Giants are World Champions. Super Bowl XLVI was an injury-stricken, smash-mouth, football game that came down to the wire. The Giants took an early lead and scored nine unanswered points, including an uncharacteristic mistake by New England quarterback Tom Brady that resulted in a safety and a touchdown. However, the Patriots have one of the most efficient offenses in the league, and they rallied together to put some points on the board. A Stephen Gostkowski field goal opened them up, and was it followed by the last minute touchdown, a short four-yard pass to running back, Danny Woodhead. After the star-studded half time show, fans came back to the Patriots receiving the ball, but it wasn’t until the third quarter that Brady found Aaron Hernandez to waltz it in to the end zone to put them up by eight. The Pats had an opportunity to seal the deal, but a rare Brady interception would eliminate that chance and shift momentum. Two Laurence Tynes field goals would bring the Giants two points shy and would take possession with about six minutes left to march down field, 88 yards to score. Time management became an issue for the Patriots with the Giants knocking at their door. They seemingly let Bradshaw score with just under a minute left to leave themselves some time to make a comeback. After a failed two-point conversion, the Patriots would receive a touchback that would start them at the 20-yard line. The Pats started the drive on a bad note. Two dropped passes in the hands of the receivers that could have changed the game. More bad news struck as Brady was sacked. Belichick was forced to burn his final timeout to set up a fourth and 16 with 36 ticks left on the clock. Brady completed a 19-yard pass to keep the drive alive. At the end of the drive, the best the Patriots could do was set up a third and five on the Giants 49 yard line with five second left. Brady took the snap out of the gun, dropped back and was as patient as possible before he released a 50-yard bomb intended for Aaron Hernandez. It was batted away, and just like that the Giants would defeat the Patriots a second time. A Giants victory opens up a lot of topics, for example during the season there was talk of replacing Tom Coughlin as NYG head coach. While the Giants scraped in to the post-season with a record of 9-7, the man still won a Super Bowl. He isn’t going anywhere. Eli Manning sets himself apart as an elite...

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Softball: high hopes of successful upcoming season
Feb07

Softball: high hopes of successful upcoming season

New lights, new teammates and a new season are about to start for the Lady Cru softball team. Last year, the team won the ASC West Division title with a record of 28-14 and 21-3 in conference play. The team will be working hard to defend the title and make an impact in the conference tournament in April. Head softball Coach Larry Hennig is preparing his team for the new season that starts soon. “We have had two-a-days for some time and even three-a-days some days. We are giving them opportunities to get ready, from extra at bats to throwing, to be physically ready,” he said. Junior psychology major Hannah White believes in her team and all the hard work they have put in. “We are all conveying that hard work and team unity is really going to put us ahead of the rest,” she said. “There is no quick or easy way to be conference champs, and everyone has to put forth 110% every day on and off the field to achieve our team goal.” Junior exercise and sport science major Caitlin Bollier agrees with White. “We are preparing by practicing, conditioning and lifting weights. We are working hard every day and doing everything we can to become a stronger team physically and mentally,” she said. The softball team was picked to finish first in the ASC West in the ASC Preseason Coaches and Media Poll. The Cru had 15 of the 21 first-place votes and 139 total points. Hardin-Simmons was picked second with the other six first-place votes and 123 total points.  The poll is based on ballots from head coaches, sport information directors and media members in the West Division. “Being picked to win the ASC West is an honor. It shows that our hard work last year and this year has not gone unnoticed. We take great pride in being picked to win our side of the West Division, and we will not let the voters down as we know they chose the right team,” Bollier said about the first-place decision. The Lady Cru will start the season by traveling to Georgetown Feb. 17. Their double header against the Southwestern University Pirates will begin at 1:00 p.m....

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Tebowing from the mission field to the Mile High Field

One of the most well-known names in the NFL today is Tim Tebow. The quarterback for the Denver Broncos was brought up by American parents who served as missionaries in the Philippines. Tebow, along with his siblings were home-schooled by their mother. Legislation was passed that allowed home-schooled students to be able to participate in sports at the school in their district. This let Tebow complete and play the sport that he loves. Throughout high school, Tebow was a name to watch. He looked at many universities, but ended up deciding on the University of Florida. This was the same college where his parents had met. Tebow would still return to the Philippines for the three summers before he went to college to volunteer with missionary work and at his father’s orphanage. He was the backup quarterback during his freshman year behind starter Chris Leak. However, he was able to use this year to show his potential and added two touchdowns to help the Gator’s win in the 2007 BCS National Championship game. For the 2007 season, he was named the starting quarterback and set many school, personal and national records. That year he won the Heisman Trophy, the Davey O’Brien Award and was named as the first-team All-SEC selection and first-team All-American. Throughout his college career, Tebow set records and won two NCAA National Football Championships. A new rule for NCAA football was established in 2010. “The Tebow Rule” as called by the media, bans any messages on eye paint. At the 2009 BCS Championship game, Tebow had “John 3:16” on his eye black. For the 24 hours that followed the game, the verse was the highest-ranked Google search with 90 million searches. This was just one way Tebow shared his beliefs with the world. In response to the high number of searches on Google, Tebow said, “It just goes to show you the influence and the platform that you have as a student-athlete and as a quarterback at Florida.” NCAA said that this rule was not aimed at any one person since other notable athletes also wrote messages on their eye black. In 2010, Tebow entered the NFL draft with the Broncos selecting him in the first round as the 25th pick overall. With Tebow’s name becoming more famous as his career started taking off, some people raised questions with his statements about his faith. In Nov. 2011, former Broncos Quarterback Jake Plummer said he wished Tebow would stop referring so much to Jesus Christ and his faith. In response to this, in a radio interview with ESPN’s First Take, Tebow said, “So any time I get...

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Wicks: Multi-sport athlete
Jan24

Wicks: Multi-sport athlete

The beautiful game, America’s past time. These two sports do not coincide much; here at UMHB, however, they have one thing in common, Tyler Wicks. College sports are a growing phenomenon. Countless adolescent athletes only dream of playing college ball. A select few do, but only an elite breed of versatile athletes is blessed with the opportunity to play two sports. “It takes a special person  to play two sports at the college level,” said baseball head coach Derek Dunaway, “but … he’s one of those special guys that can do it.” The sophomore sport management major from Wills Point, Texas, has an insatiable thirst for sports. Wicks lettered in football, baseball, basketball, tennis and track at Wills Point High School and played club soccer throughout. Given his resume, one sport obviously was not going to satiate his craving for team sports, and he could only realize those dreams at a school like UMHB. “I love soccer and baseball. I feel like if I went anywhere else I wouldn’t be able to do both,” Wicks said. Initially he joined the Cru to play soccer, his first love. However, his career as a college athlete would immediately take a turn for the worse within the first week  of his freshman year. A minute and a half into a scrimmage, Wicks agitated a previous injury. He underwent light rehab and was given the OK to return, but it did not take long for him to realize that something was wrong. An MRI revealed a minor tear of the medial cruciate ligament and complete tears of both his meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. His season was over before it even got a chance to begin; surgery would bench him for four months. Needless to say, the season was over when he got back on his feet, but he had to stay active. Wicks began working out with his roommate Garrett Kinney, a freshman also from Wills Point competing for the catcher position on the baseball team. Kinney soon persuaded Wicks to go out for the baseball team. They needed a pinch runner, and he needed to compete. He was added to the roster mid-season and finished out the season playing outfield for the Cru, competing for the baseball team before he even wore a soccer jersey for the Cru. School let out, summer passed and fall arrived. Wicks picked up soccer as though he had never stopped. He was moved to defensive center midfielder and even scored two goals to earn his title as a starter. Wicks did not participate in the fall season for baseball, but is...

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