Crusader duo ace the tennis courts
Apr21

Crusader duo ace the tennis courts

In athletics, it’s always interesting to see siblings competing alongside and against each other. One sister duo that comes to mind is Venus and Serena Williams. Both of them are highly ranked tennis players who find themselves facing off for intense matches. However, sibling competition is even more entertaining when they’re twins. UMHB has its fair share of them involved in athletics. Kaylan and Kelsey Gangle both play for the volleyball team, Jude and Julius Austin competed on the soccer team and Kirsten and Kristen Leverett have won conference championship rings with the football team. This past fall, the university welcomed another set of twins to the Cru family. Megan and Mallory Aarhus are freshman cell biology majors who play on the tennis team. They were recruited out of Georgetown, Texas, but they’re originally from Baton Rouge, La. They moved to the lone star state during their sophomore year of high school. Mallory said, “The pastor of our church started a new church here. They’re friends of the family so we’ve helped them with it.” In high school, Megan had a record of 48-3 and received the Golden Eagle Award while Mallory won district her senior year and was voted MVP. The twins showed interest in both Tarleton State and Howard Payne University, but decided UMHB was the best fit. “It was close to home and close to family,” Mallory said. Coach James Cohagan believes they are talented and have only scratched the surface of their potential. In just their first college season, they have already done impressive things. “Megan has won player of the week individually,” he said, “and they have won player of the week as a couple.” Cohagan now has no problem distinguishing who is who, but admits to being confused at first. ”In the very beginning, it was a little difficult because I learned their names backwards,” he said,” but they are two unique individuals and very easy to tell apart.” They actually come from a family of tennis players, which explains their endowment. Mallory said, “My mom played in college, and my dad just picked it up.” Megan, who is older by a minute and a half, describes her sister as being strong as a player and having a good serve. “As a person, Mallory is caring in a way that is very frank and honest,” she said. Cohagan said, “Mallory is creative, spontaneous and willing to try most anything. She is a free spirit. Megan is a little more reserved and plays the big sister role.” They get along on and off the court and have blended well with the rest of the...

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Softball slow start; hitting harder to have a successful rest of season
Mar31

Softball slow start; hitting harder to have a successful rest of season

  The Lady Crusader softball team kicked off its season with a rough start. Now, mid-way through, they are looking to turn the season around. The team has played several preseason games, participated in a couple of tournaments and started its ASC conference play. Junior first base, Courtney Johnston said, “I think this season has started off a little bumpy, but we are still learning to play with each other. Each day we grow and become closer as a team.” The Cru is 7-13 overall and 0-4 in conference play, losing two double headers to Howard Payne University. At the LeTourneau Tournament in February, the team went 2-2 for the weekend, beating Nebraska University, Wesleyan University, and Southwestern University and dropping games to U.T. Tyler and East Texas Baptist. The women then participated in the ASC First Pitch Tournament going 3 for 1 overall, capturing victories over U.T. Dallas, University of the Ozarks and LeTourneau. The team’s only loss in the tournament was to the Mississippi College Choctaws.   This past weekend in Louisiana the Cru lost two close games to nationally- ranked DePauw University. The team also suffered from two devastating losses against ASC East Division Louisiana College on Saturday. Head Coach Kasey Blomquist said the team is striving to be able to play in the championship game of the post-season tournament. “As a whole, we are disappointed with the start, but we are working hard and turning things around. We have been practicing extremely hard this week, and the pitchers have been working hard to cut down on walks.” Although the season started off rough, the ladies are not giving up making it to the playoffs. Johnston believes the team has what it takes. “It will be harder than we would like, but I think it’ll give us more drive to get the job done,” she said. The women also celebrated the recognition of teammate Erica Salazar as ASC West Division Hitter of the Week for games played during the week of March 2. “Erica went 6 for 11, which gave her a batting average of .545,” Blomquist said. The second base junior had two walks, a double, a home run and 3 RBI’s at the ASC First Pitch Tournament. “Becoming hitter of the week never once crossed my mind I’ve just made sure to work hard during practice and continued to correct the little things I was doing wrong, and it definitely paid off,” Salazar said. The Lady Crusaders will continue their conference play Friday night at 5 p.m. in Kerrville, Texas with double headers against Schreiner University, which is 3-1 in ASC West Division. The team...

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Baseball swings towards first
Mar31

Baseball swings towards first

After almost two months of play, CRU baseball is tied for first place in the ASC West. Led by head Coach Micah Wells, the team has a good blend of rookies and seasoned players. Even with the loss of a few starters, Sophomroe Chris Joshlin and Sophomore Ryan Swindell, they progressively move forward. “I’m extremely pleased at where we are,” Wells said. “We’ve had some injuries, but we’ve had guys that have stepped right up into those spots.” The freshmen have come through in a big way and have made a positive impact. Junior first baseman Doak Flemming said, “Josh Frederick, Seth Lynn, Ethan Henderson and Sam VanHoozer contribute to our success in ways that we were not anticipating.” Junior right fielder Joseph Villegas said, “We have quite a few new faces. I can remember when we had almost six freshmen in the line-up one game. But I think the mix of rookies and veterans make for good chemistry.” Unlike other programs, baseball teams play a three game series. They usually play one game on Friday that goes for nine innings and a double header on Saturday. This can be both a gift and a curse. If they lose the first game on Saturday, they don’t have time to sulk. Instead, they have to bounce back and redeem themselves 20 minutes later with the second game. Team unity has been important this year, and according to Wells, it’s the team’s greatest asset. “Some days we gotta go out and win it with defense, and some days we gotta score runs. But their ability to pull together and do whatever they have to do to win a baseball game is their greatest strength.” The team will play close to 40 games this season, 21 of which will be in conference. They share a similar goal of making the play-offs and winning a conference championship with 14 other teams. So instead of focusing on wins and losses, Wells takes a different approach. “Our goal is just to be the best team we can be,’’ he said. “I challenge our guys to come out every day and perform at the top of their ability.” If they continue to concentrate on that, the rest will follow. The Cru’s pitching has been top notch this season, as well as team defense. These two things have improved greatly from last year. Pitcher Jared Hopper, who performed well as a freshman, has taken his game to the next level as a sophomore. “He’s made a dramatic improvement,” Wells said. “With a year under his belt, he is stronger and more prepared.” Then there is freshmen Sam...

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Tennis rackets up for wins in conference

The tennis teams begin the meat of their conference play to close out the month. Hoping to recover from a few tough losses to strong non-conference and early conference play, the Crusaders hope to finish strong. “We’ve had the toughest non-conference schedule,” freshman sports management major Josh Pownall said. “We’ve been competing very well. It has taken some very strong opponents to have beaten us.” The men’s team lost the overall match  Friday against Wisconsin-Oshkosh. The match went 8-1. On Saturday the Cru also played Schreiner University and dominated the Mountaineers with a 9-0 victory. The team remains optimistic that these few losses will not keep them out of the conference tournament. “We are entering the ‘hot spot’ of our schedule,” Pownall said. “We have a bunch of must-win matches in the next two or three weeks. We really need to win these upcoming matches, and I think our team can pull them out.” One of the biggest challenges facing both the men’s and women’s tennis teams is inexperience. “I’ve had trouble adapting to the collegiate level,” Pownall said. “I feel like everything is there for me to win, but I haven’t been able to put it together consistently. I feel like our team has the same problem as well.” As for the women’s tennis team, the Lady Cru have been more successful so far than the men’s team. However, they still have their work cut out for them this season. “I think the team has done pretty well so far,” sophomore exercise and sport science major Rebecca Everett said. “Our team has definitely improved since the beginning of the season. We hope to win conference this year, and I am confident that we can do it.” Everett also commented on the mental aspect of the game of tennis. “Tennis is a very mentally challenging game,” she said. “I tend to get down on myself too much when I am losing. Staying mentally tough is a big part in winning a match, and that is something that I work on everyday, and I feel that I am improving. The same goes for the team as well.” While the tennis players face tough mental challenges on the courts, they also face problems in the classroom as they juggle homework, practice and games. “Being an athlete and a student can be hard at times,” Everett said. “You don’t have as much time for school work like others do, but I feel that I manage my school work better knowing that I have to get things done because my time is so limited.” Although the season is not over, the men and...

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Basketball teams wrap-up season with semi-final finish in tournament
Mar10

Basketball teams wrap-up season with semi-final finish in tournament

The Men After a rocky start at the beginning of the season, the men’s basketball players pulled themselves together as a team and came away with a dominating finale. Because of this, the Cru secured a spot in the ASC tournament held in Dallas. After winning it’s first game against LeTourneau University, the team made it to the semi-final round against U.T. Dallas. The first half was close, but the Cru managed to get a lead. At half-time the gap between the two teams was 34-25 with the Cru ahead. Nearing the end of the second half though, the Cru lost their rhythm. The Comets put in their star three-point shooter, and from there the Cru couldn’t shoot the number of points needed. Head Coach Ken Deweese is always happy when his team does well and sets their minds to winning and doing their best. “I am very proud of these guys.  We had an extremely difficult and frustrating early season but they stayed strong in their conviction that we could play and that we would play well,” he said. Deweese gives most of the credit to the team and the dedication from each player. He is also appreciative to the fans who are always at home games and the ones that even make the drive to away games. “Our fans are outstanding,” he said. “They are basketball smart, they are rowdy, they are respectful to the other team and most of all, they are very loyal to UMHB. We absolutely love our fans.” One key player this season was guard Matt Caskey, who is a senior and played his last game of college level basketball in the semi-final round. “(It) was a combination of disbelief, sadness, anger and thankfulness,” he said. “After I got over the initial shock, I just thought about everything I’ve been through and how thankful to the Lord I am.” The men’s basketball team will lose 10 seniors. The Women The Lady Cru also made it to the ASC tournament but lost in the semi-final round. The women played against arch rivals Hardin-Simmons University, leaving the conference with a score of 64-48. After trailing most of the first half, the women took the lead at the beginning of the second. But HSU battled back and won the game through a series of freethrows. Many Crusader fans hit the road and traveled to several of the games. Sophomore Nursing major Ashley Hibbard was among the fans who drove to some of the various away games like the season opener at Southwestern University and one of the games against Schreiner University. “I love supporting the basketball...

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Tennis transforms Cowboy to Crusader
Mar10

Tennis transforms Cowboy to Crusader

By Garret Pekar After defeating every opponent that had enough nerve to stand across the net from him on the ping-pong table in the recreational gym, Ramon Aguirre told the UMHB students that he played ping-pong against some of the best players in Texas in the past. “Coming to UMHB was the right move,” he said. “I like the atmosphere here a lot better.” Aguirre is a transfer student from Hardin-Simmons University, and he just started his first semester as a Crusader in the spring. He is currently a junior majoring in business finance and a member of the UMHB tennis team. Aguirre said that playing ping-pong helps him on the tennis court, too. “The strategies in both games are mostly the same. Ping-pong helps with the touch you need to hit drop shots on the tennis court, and it teaches you patience mentally, which is a big part of being a great tennis player.” Aguirre played on the tennis team at HSU. He only started playing ping-pong in his freshman year of college. “A friend on the tennis team introduced me to it,” he said. “We’d stay up for hours and play.” He quickly became the number one player on HSU’s ping-pong club team, which went to two major tournaments during the year. Aguirre played some of the best players in Texas, even from large schools like Texas A&M and the University of Texas. “The other schools have some really amazing players. I couldn’t believe how seriously they took ping-pong,” Aguirre said. The whole club team was supplied with high-quality ping-pong balls for playing in the tournament, and the hosts paid for the cost of their trip. Aguirre also played in recreational tournaments on campus while at HSU. Many students played in the ping-pong tournaments, including beginners, and prizes were offered for the winners. “There needs to be a ping-pong tournament here,” Aguirre said. Aguirre has been playing tennis since the eighth grade. He grew up in Abilene where he played tennis for Abilene High School. Coming from the HSU tennis team, Aguirre said he was welcomed with open arms to the UMHB tennis team. “We’re happy to have the help, and take it away from someone else,” said senior tennis teammate, Casey Wharton. Aguirre was also eager for the meeting of the two teams during the season. “My partner and I won our doubles match against Hardin-Simmons,” he said. Aguirre’s teammates have given him the nickname “the machine from Abilene.” He has worked many different jobs during high school and college. He said that working all the time was very difficult, and it took up a lot...

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