Cheer prevails in Austin
Apr12

Cheer prevails in Austin

Among the university’s student population, one group in particular stands out with their toned build and  1980s Reebok high tops: Cru cheerleaders. Since the end of January, the team has spent hours working on a routine to compete in the Texas Collegiate Championship hosted by St. Edward’s University in Austin. Cru Cheer coach Farrah Dunaway explained the motive behind entering the competition. “The team enjoys every moment that they support Cru athletics; they wanted to have that same feeling of working towards a goal, despite the challenges and laying everything they have on the table to see who will be the victor,” she said. Regardless of injuries and illnesses, the squad maintained determination and stayed mentally tough throughout this year. Cru Cheer returned from the competition with a handful of awards. The team placed second, third and fourth in the stunt competitions, first place in the skills routine — which included Divisions II and III as well as junior colleges — and took first place overall. When it comes to constructing a routine, elements of cheer, dance, stunt and tumble come together. This creates a high-energy, three­­–minute performance. Senior elementary education major Taylor Tyre knows how important it is for the routine to be polished for the competition. “Everything has to be perfect … even something as little as transitions. The slightest thing out of place can lead to a sloppy routine,” she said. Senior history major Ellen Bates describes the stunting aspect to be the most difficult challenge. Stunts give a wow factor to the routine and leave the audience impressed with daring acts of high altitude. “We were changing out bases and flyers up until the last practice before our showcase, which was very stressful, but everyone really pulled their weight and made those stunts work,” she said. Sophomore elementary education major Nicole Rosato admits to keeping her heart in the right direction and maintaining faith from beginning to end. “It was a great experience to be a part of a team that grew stronger physically, mentally and emotionally. We definitely didn’t win simply by skill, but also from the strength God provided,” she said. In all, members of Cru Cheer showcased an award–winning performance, and made their fans and coach proud. Dunaway said, “The team was up against the wall many times, yet pushed through and never gave up. In life, they will be placed in similar situations, and I am confident they will remember how God has grown them and groomed them for success during trials.” Also, in Daytona Beach, Fla., the National Cheer & Dance Association’s Collegiate Championship took place with mascot, CRUnk. The...

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Spanish golfer qualifies for invitational
Apr12

Spanish golfer qualifies for invitational

Some 5,000 miles from his hometown, Cadiz, Spain, freshman economics major Pablo Mena has thrived as a Crusader and has been a crucial weapon in the arsenal of Cru golf for this season on the team. Mena was first discovered by Coach Aaron Rodeffer in an international student athlete showcase in Miami, Fla., last July, put on by the International Doorway to Education and Athletics. He displayed much potential. Rodeffer  described him as the “most accomplished” golfer in the showcase and took an early interest in Mena, recruiting him to the purple and gold in a short span of two days. Mena was approached by several coaches representing various schools such as the University of Massachusetts and North Carolina. Mena said that Rodeffer stood out, and was the reason he decided to come to UMHB. So what brings this international athlete so far from home? His love for golf and his desire to study abroad. He had always wanted to study in the U.S. and said, “I’ve been planning on it since I was 16.” Mena recalls an easy move to UMHB in August, commenting, “I felt very comfortable, welcomed by my teammates and peers.” He was comfortable enough to nickname all of his teammates, such as sophomore criminal justice major Taylor “Baby T” Holleyman and sophomore Spanish and communication double  major Spencer “Northwest” Turner to mention a few. “(He) gets along with everyone and brings a great chemistry to the team,” said Holleyman, further asserting that Mena had a smooth transition socially. However, coming to the golf team at the collegate level was not so smooth. He had a rocky start, which can only be expected when introduced to game play on an entirely new continent. Rodeffer suggests that Mena, “has made a great turnaround this spring.” Mena himself was quick to testify accordingly. “(Last) semester I played terrible, but this semester I am getting my golf game back,” he said. Turner spoke of his progression in a positive light. “Yes, he obviously had his speed bumps first semester, but he has adjusted quickly and is improving on his scoring,” Turner said. In addition to his progress, teammates complimented the Spaniard on his ball striking, enthusiasm and demeanor on the golf course. Mena was recently invited to the California Lutheran Kingsmen Invitational, in Lompoc, Calif., after qualifying for his first top-five appearance. The team finished sixth of 14 total teams in the invitational, and Mena recognizes the event as the most memorable yet of his time as a Crusader. Mena most recently fought for the Cru at the West Region Invitational March 4 and 5, which concluded the...

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Conference championship in sight for softball

With a perfect record for the first 15 conference games this season, the Lady Cru softball team has its eyes set on making it to playoffs. “Being 12-0 for conference play has been such a blessing. We’re a dedicated team, not only to the game and our coaches, but also to each other and ourselves,” junior special education major and short stop Laura Sotiropoulos said. She goes on to say that, “I believe that it’s the hard work we put in at practice, and our composure that we have towards every part of the game when we step foot on the field that has helped us keep such a good record this season.” One key part of having a successful year is the teamwork that has been building throughout the season. The Lady Cru has several returning players, but also the addition of new faces, which makes this even more crucial. “One of our mottos is to have faith in each other and yourself, and I believe that is what has brought us together. We have a huge amount of trust in each other to get the job done when it’s needed,” Sotiropoulos said. Senior nursing major and first baseman Megan Bhone agrees. “Teamwork wins ball games. One or two people can’t win it alone. It takes the whole team to contribute. Defensively, we trust in our teammates to make all the plays. Offensively, each at bat counts to win. Once our team clicks, we are unstoppable,” she said. One factor different from last year’s team is the addition of the new head coach. After 12 years with the Lady Leopards at Temple College, Head Coach Larry Hennig was happy to make the move to be in charge of the Lady Cru. “Coming to Mary Hardin-Baylor is one of the best things I’ve ever done. It’s been a real good move. There are things along the way that you like, and then there are things that really are special: the traditions and growing close to the girls that are in the program, which has made it so much fun for me.” On April 15 and 16, the Lady Cru could be playing for the Conference Championship if they have at least three wins out of the four games against Howard Payne University. Although there will most likely be games lost throughout the rest of the season, the team knows they always have members to lean on. “We support each other whether we are winning or losing. We pick people up if they are having off days, and most important, we laugh and have fun together,” junior exercise and sports...

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Mustaches seen around campus
Mar29

Mustaches seen around campus

The years-old tradition of “Mustache March” was bought to campus this semester by the men’s baseball team. The practice was originated by Robin Olds, an American fighter pilot and general officer in the U.S. Air Force. It was his way of showing defiance against the facial hair regulations during the month of March. Now men all across the country participate in this yearly protest. With the season getting off to a slow start, the Cru decided to try something new. “We needed a change in the team. I mean, we started off 0-5 our first five games,” junior exercise sport science major and pitcher Sam VanHoozer said. “(We) figured we could use something to kind of turn things around for us, and it has gotten us back to almost a .500 record.” This was a way for the purple and gold to come together and build a more dynamic team than in previous seasons. “The guys that could grow a mustache participated, but some of the younger guys have a little work to do,” junior sport management major and third baseman Josh Fredrick said. “We are going to try to do it again next year and get the freshmen involved more with (them) using the Just for Men hair product so they can experience what we did.” The team got weird glances and confused faces around campus, but also when they played against other schools. “You have no idea how many looks we have got,” junior exercise sport science major and designated hitter Derek Draeger said. “The girls hate them, and the guys respect us for them. As for other teams, they laugh and kind of take it as a joke, or they just use it to make fun of us.” Even head Coach Derek Dunaway was involved. “I had one for two days until we lost, and then I shaved it,” he said. The rest of the team was soon to follow with the removal of the mustaches when they lost the series against McMurry University March 19-20. “We just took a couple hard losses these past few weekends, which is why we decided it was time for the mustaches to be shaved off,” VanHoozer said. “They are gone, and hopefully we will get back on track for winning.” Fredrick agrees. “We’ve worked hard and are going to continue to work hard. Baseball is a weird sport, and sometimes it doesn’t work out the way you want it,” he said. “We know the task that is ahead of us, and we feel like God has put us in a lot of different situations of adversity. The only way...

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Men’s basketball makes history
Mar29

Men’s basketball makes history

The men’s basketball team has advanced to the NCAA Division III National Championships four times in the last five seasons, but this season they set a new record making it to the Sweet 16 for the first time. The team finished 20th in the country in the D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll  with a 23-8 season falling to Augustana  College 70-57. Senior management major and guard Dean Pele had higher expectations for the season but thinks just making it to the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history was impressive. “It was a really good season overall. Definitely not the record we had hoped for to start but the end result was just as good,” he said. After the team’s trip to Abilene where they went 0-2, Pele said he thought there was not much hope left. “To really come together and run off the wins we did not only to get into the tourney, but to advance a few games was really special and will not be forgotten,” he said. Head Coach for the Cru, Ken DeWeese considers the season successful despite its ups and downs. “I respect each team member greatly, as men and as student-athletes for facing adversity and experiencing triumph,” he said. The team was able to meet his expectations. “We lost in the conference (ASC) tournament finals. That was disappointing, but for the guys to put things back together for the NCAA tournament and get to the third round was extremely gratifying,” he said. DeWeese said shooting was an upset for the team and is something to be worked on for the 2010-11 season. “We had games that we did not shoot the ball well in, as evidenced by the Sweet 16 loss to Augustana. We need to shoot the ball better as a team, and I am rarely satisfied with our team defense,” he said. DeWeese believes the players picked up a lot, but will have to work hard again next year. He said, “We must guard against the feeling of entitlement next year.  This past year’s success was hard fought. Next year the fight starts all over again, regardless of what we did.” Junior business major and  guard Sterling Phillips thinks the team could have won it all but is still happy. “The season was a successful one …. We played hard together, and the results show,” he said. The team will lose only two seniors, and Phillips is positive about the future. He said, “Next season—I’ll just say it.—I expect to win a national...

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Chemistry for golf players high
Mar08

Chemistry for golf players high

With the men’s golf team beating its competitors by a 21-stroke victory, the women’s golf team hopes to do the same this week during the UMHB Spring Invitational tournament. The men’s team has won this home tournament three years running and is starting off the spring season strong.  Players have set high goals for themselves and hope to accomplish them before the ASC Championship tournament in April. Men’s golf Coach Aaron Rodeffer said, “Our expectations are to win the conference tournament for the third time in four years and to compete in every invitational tournament we play this spring.” Rodeffer realizes that the cohesiveness between the golfers and the mixture of mature players and young talent are just a couple of the team’s strengths this spring. Sophomore accounting major Ryan Berry also sees the team’s has a strong chemistry and believes it will help them be successful.  Berry took second place at the UMHB Spring Invitational, helping him earn the title of ASC Men’s Golfer of the Week in February. The men will play in three more tournaments before the championship and hope to make it to Nationals in May. March 14-15 the team will travel to Blanco, Texas, to play in the Texas Lutheran Invitational tournament. “I would compare the tournaments we are playing now to quizzes in class and the conference tournament as the exam,” Berry said. “If you are consistent with your quizzes, then the exam should come easily, but hard work is a must in order to succeed.” The same goes for the Lady Cru golf team. The players set high expectations early on in the season and are already looking toward winning conference and going to nationals. Women’s Coach Darla Kirby said, “We set our goals very high. It is easy to meet minimal goals, but if you settle for the utmost goal of winning a national championship, you are going to work very hard.” The women won two tournaments in the fall and hope to achieve at least that and more this spring.  Kirby sees that the women are huge competitors, and she knows  they work hard until the very end. Freshman finance and accounting major Kelly Gonyea won an individual title last season at the Schreiner University Fall Classic and is already looking forward to nationals this season. She believes that the women can, “hit the ball pretty far, and that our bad days aren’t as bad as most other schools.” The team is also young with five freshmen and two sophomores, but they do have one senior, Allison Williams. Kirby said, “She has worked really hard to improve her game, and...

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