Slogan for high baseball prospects
Feb21

Slogan for high baseball prospects

Cru baseball is back in season, and the team is ready to “find a way.” Head coach Derek Dunaway is in his first year in this position for the purple and gold and is hopeful for a successful season. “When I got the job, I was sitting around one day thinking about things people were asking me, ‘how are you going to do this and that?’ and I said ‘we’re just going to find a way.’” That’s when Dunaway knew he was going to share the new slogan with the team. “When everything starts going bad, we’ll find a way,” he said. “We put it on the back of our shirts for a reason. It’s not just a cliche.” It’s early in the season, and so far the record is 1-5, but Dunaway and the Cru are not going to give up easily. “It hasn’t been good on paper, but in the long run, I think this will be a good experience for us. As long as we can stick together and keep doing the right things, eventually we’re going to start winning some games.” Junior sport management and finance major and pitcher Andy Evans is not going to let a rough start bring him down. “It doesn’t stop the excitement our team has,” he said. “There are a lot of good things happening beneath that 1-5 record. We are honing in to find the spark through our focus and hard work every day at practice.” Evans said they are “content with where they are and know what lies ahead of us,” and he is certain the team is capable of achieving it. They are a young team with “a lot of new faces,” Dunaway said. “We’ve got a pretty special group of guys this year,” he said. “We talk about team chemistry and being a family …. We’ve got that part going.” As head coach, he is pleased with how the team is functioning. “Guys care about each other. They’re playing for each other…. They’re playing hard and working hard.” Senior economics major and right fielder Ricky Brenek is thankful for “good team chemistry. Everyone has good work ethic, and we all pick each other up,” he said. “Things are not going our way right now, but I think working together and working hard will eventually turn things around.” The Cru will be on the road more than at home this season. The next trip is Feb. 25 to Mississippi College. Dunaway said, “No matter what it is, you can either find an excuse, or you can find a...

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Australian Open begins tennis year in good form

The first grand slam of the year has come and gone after two weeks filled with spectacular tennis, stunning upsets and silly commentators. For those who didn’t make the adventurous trek overseas to Melbourne for the Australian Open, this also means a return to normal sleeping habits. Because of the difference in time zones, matches played in the afternoon in Melbourne are televised well into the wee hours of the morning here in the U.S. This year’s champion for the Men’s single was Novak Djokovic of Serbia. He won the Australian before in 2008, making this his second grand slam title. Djokovic has long been a player whose hype never caught up to his results – until now. He finally performed under pressure, beating Roger Federer in the semifinals. Though both tennis giants, Federer and Nadal lost, Federer made the semifinals, and Nadal made the quarters. No easy task, especially considering the quality of the players they defeated in their matches. Anyone who’s watched tennis before knows that match commentators have the propensity to say some funny stuff – this year was no different. Veterans like Cliff Drysdale, Dick Enberg and Brad Gilbert were joined by long-time college football commentator Chris Fowler from ESPN, who earned the award for funniest line of the whole  tournament. In the match between Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka, who has the nickname Stan the Man, when Wawrinka began to crumble under the force of Federer’s game, Fowler said, “Stan the Man? More like Stan the Tomato Can.”...

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Basketball hopes to clinch ASC
Feb08

Basketball hopes to clinch ASC

Currently 17-4, the men’s Crusader basketball team has high hopes of winning the American Southwest Conference this season but has to get through a few other teams before accomplishing that. The four games lost were all conference games, which have hurt their standings in the ASC, despite the fact that they are currently leading the conference rankings. Head coach Ken DeWeese has an alright opinion about the team record but doesn’t like the fact that they have lost four conference games. Whether they should have won those games or not, DeWeese knows that basketball is an unpredictable sport. “There is no college basketball game relatively easy for anyone. If not, Duke wouldn’t have lost to St. John’s by 15,” he said. One of the conference games the Cru lost was against Howard Payne University. HPU currently has one of the worst records in the ASC, and that makes it a hard loss for forward accounting major Greg Wiernas. “We simply didn’t play well. Nobody could make a free throw or a field goal, but the main reason was our defense,” Wiernas said. “We really were unable to stop one of their players, and as a result he made the game winning shot.” DeWeese agrees about the lack of defense on the court. However, he thinks a bigger problem has caused the team to slip at times. “We could be better defensively, but the big thing we are having a problem with the last month or so is scoring consistently,” DeWeese said. “You want to score one out of every three possessions, and we’ve had periods of time where we go seven or eight possessions in a row and don’t score.” Howard Payne came to Belton Feb. 3 for another showdown against the Cru. They weren’t as lucky. The final score was 115-69 in which the Cru dominated since the tip-off. Guard Dean Pele is happy the way the game turned out especially since losing to the Yellowjackets in their first meeting. “The second time, though, I think we were trying to prove a point and I think we did,” Pele said. With the ASC title so close, the men’s basketball team is trying just to stay focused on each game and not look ahead. Wiernas said, “I do believe we have the talent to win the ASC but we need to take one game at a time right now due to the importance of each and every game this time of the year.” The Crusaders recently played the Sul Ross Lobos in Mayborn Arena on Feb. 5 which proved to be a close game. The men lead at the...

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Sights set on making it to the championship tourney, Lady Cru pull together as a team
Feb08

Sights set on making it to the championship tourney, Lady Cru pull together as a team

With a big upset over Howard Payne University Jan. 27, the Lady Cru have their hopes set on making it to the final four and competing in the National Championship. “We were able to beat Howard Payne at Howard Payne, which we’ve only done one other time since I’ve been here,” Head Coach Kim Kirkpatrick-Thornton said. “It was a big win while on a hard road trip from Brownwood to Alpine.” The Lady Cru have an overall 13-8 record, with eight of those being conference wins. Teamwork has played a large role in helping them. “The best part of the season so far is truly coming together as a team. We’ve lost people for personal reasons and injuries. We’ve fought through sicknesses and we’ve overcome losses,” senior exercise sports science major and guard Caitlin Barganier said. “We finally fused together and became one.” Junior sports management major and guard/wing Miranda Shorter agrees. “We all really want the best for each other. We don’t give up on each other, but we continue to help make it through hard times as one and pull together. If a team isn’t a ‘team,’ it will break you. I am so happy to be on this one with such amazing people.” With only four games left in the regular season, the women are looking toward the playoffs. “Our hopes are just like every other team’s: win the conference tournament. We’re different though because we believe we can do it and have the passion for it.” The first step is positive thinking and seeing that the goals of the team can be reality. “We are definitely capable of winning this season,” senior math major and post Landie Thompson said. The team knows that any small obstacle can get in the way and not allow them to make it to the playoffs. They are doing everything they can to make sure that doesn’t happen. “We’re like a fist balled up. If just one finger is sticking out, or we have space between the fingers, we’re letting other things get in those spaces or take advantage of that one finger,” Barganier said. “We fight together, live together, die together and ultimately need each other.” The Lady Cru take on the Hardin-Simmons Cowgirls in Abilene Feb. 10. Tipoff is at 5:30 p.m. They hope the game will bring them one win closer to playoffs. “Coach defines W.I.N. as What’s Important Now. For us, that’s finishing the season top 4 on the west side and making the conference tournament,” junior exercise sports science major and guard Brittany Zomora said. “We’ve had a few bumps in the road this season,...

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Kirkpatrick’s strong love of God, game
Jan25

Kirkpatrick’s strong love of God, game

If there is a greater love in head Coach Kim Kirkpatrick-Thorton’s life other than women’s basketball, it is her relationship with the Lord. And she hopes that all the players on her team are able to have as great a love for Him as she does. “It’s awesome for me to see them grow as people, and I hope that they grow and have a stronger relationship with God than when they left here,” she said. Recently going on a trip to Uganda with the Baylor College of Business for two weeks, Kirkpatrick worked with the Uganda Christian University women’s basketball team and provided them with some new equipment which was donated by UMHB. She also worked with children and helped at a local carnival. “I think it is important for us to take care of those in need,” she said. Aside from her strong faith, basketball has been a passion for many years. Receiving a bachelor’s degree in exercise sport science and a master’s of education with an emphasis in exercise physiology, Kirkpatrick had been coaching more than 19 years before coming to coach the Lady Cru. Once getting her master’s from Baylor University, she coached at the high school level for both volleyball and basketball. “I loved high school and I loved being a public school educator. I like coaching at that level because I love the players, and I like teaching fundamentals,” Kirkpatrick said. Despite enjoying the high school level, she does like the collegiate level as well, and her players can vouch for that. Senior guard Caitlin Barganier likes that Kirkpatrick is always concerned with the women, whether it’s for their personal lives or them as players. According to Barganier, she is always wanting the best from the Lady Cru. “I feel that Coach K has a big heart and passion for the game,” Barganier said. “She wants us to get every type of experience from basketball that we can in order to take it into the real world.” Attending some of the women’s games, senior nursing major Ashley Hibbard can see from her seat in the Mayborn Arena that Kirkpatrick loves the game. “You can tell that she has coached the players to play the game well and when they do something wrong, she’s not afraid to let them know,” she said. Barganier admits that Kirkpatrick loves winning and hates losing. But losses now and then are inevitable. What has always drawn Kirkpatrick to the sport was the fast speed at which it is always played. “One thing I love about it, but you can find this in every sport, is that it teaches...

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Super showdown, Pack vs. Steelers

The Superbowl is in Dallas this year, and both the Packers and the Steelers are looking to win it all in Texas. Aaron Rodgers is a young quarterback good enough to push out Green Bay legend Brett Favre. But is he good enough to overcome another legend? The six-time Superbowl champs Pittsburgh Steelers have made a habit of winning playoff games. They have more Lombardi than any other team – and a pretty good quarterback themselves in Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers steel curtain defense dominated football in the 70s. And in the 2000s they were able to snag two championships behind more dominating defense. But the Packers are just as rich in history. They won the first two Superbowls in 1966 and 1967. The trophy is even named after their historic coach from the 60s – Vince Lombardi himself. History is just that, however – history. The two fan favorite teams need to be excellent on Feb. 6 if they want to win it all. The problem with the high-scoring offense of the Packers is that they are fairly one-dimensional. Granted, Rodgers is one of the most elite passers in the game, but good defenses can’t be beaten through the air alone. Green Bay will have to muster some yards on the ground to keep the defense from keying on the pass. Pittsburgh has one of the best defenses overall and should be a tough challenge against the green and yellow, however the Packers also have a strong, blitzing defense. Expect hard hitting and impressive defensive plays on the big Sunday. The biggest match-ups will be the Steelers center against Green Bay’s nose tackle B.J. Raji and Steelers safety Troy Polomalu against Aaron Rodgers passing attack. Pittsburgh has found much success this season thanks to rookie phenomenon and pro ball center Maurkice Pouncey. The rookie anchored an offensive line that has seen its share of struggles and inconsistency throughout the past few seasons. Unfortunately, Pouncey was hurt in the AFC championship against the Jets. He may have to be replaced by a backup like Doug Legursky who mishandled two snaps and basically mishanded a safety to the Jets. That’s where Raji comes in – possibly literally – The 337-pound monster of a man would like nothing less than to be up against a shaky replacement. He shuts down starters on a regular basis. If Pouncey is out, the Steelers’ run game and pass defense could be dramatically stunted. Everyone knows what Rodgers can do. He is an excellent passer. But Polomalu has an even better reputation. He is considered among the best, if not the  best, playmaker in the...

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