Basketball teams head to tournament
Feb24

Basketball teams head to tournament

Both the women’s and men’s basketball teams have secured spots in the American Southwest Conference play. This is the women’s fourth and the men’s sixth time to consecutively compete in the tournament. The men have made it to ASC play 10 out of 11 years. Women’s Lady Cru head coach Kim Kirkpatrick-Thornton said the team’s success is a result of hard work. “It’s been a good season but a little bit like a roller coaster,” she said. “We’ve played at times the best we have since I’ve been here. We’ve had some good wins and beat some top teams.” The women have had monumental accomplishments. They beat Howard Payne, the defending national champs, Jan. 17, which broke the Yellow Jackets’ 42 home game winning streak. The women have also faced setbacks with early season injuries. Junior Stacie Stephens, a past starter, tore her ACL and junior Courtney Wolfe is out due to a foot injury. The women have designated time to conditioning and strengthening. “They put in a lot of hours of hard work,” Kirkpatrick-Thornton said. “But it’s not just the hours; it’s what they put into the hours.” The coach said the team has made improvements. “Mentally, we’ve grown,” she said. “We were fairly young last year, so I feel like (the players) understand the game as a whole this season, and that helps us.” Kirkpatrick-Thornton believes the lady Cru’s strength is in their defense. “It has been strong in helping us win some games,” she said. “We’ve improved in ball handling. It’s not where it needs to be, but it has improved.” She said the lady Cru have come together as a whole. “This team especially works hard together and competes from beginning to end,” she said.  We are a well balanced team … (and) have some solid players.” The UMHB women are 13-12 overall and 12-9 in conference. They are focused on their goal,  winning the conference tournament. Sophomore Caitlin Barganier said, “Even going in as the fourth place team, we have a great chance of winning.” Barganier said the team works well together and its chemistry has played a major role in this year’s success. “This season has had its ups and downs, but we have all managed to stick closely together and play to the best of our ability,” Barganier said. “Everybody has different roles on this team, and we all use that to our advantage and come together to be the best we can be. We push each other to our limits, but we also pull each other up when we fall down.” The Cru is thankful for their supporters. Kirkpatrick-Thornton said, “We’re...

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Baseball team leaves batting box in a sprint
Feb10

Baseball team leaves batting box in a sprint

Cru baseball split Saturday’s doubleheader against Texas Wesleyan University. UMHB fell 14-12 in game one, and then picked up an 11-2 victory in the second game. This brought the team to a 2-3 season record and knocked them down to third in the American Southwestern Conference rankings. With this being the first week of the season, head coach Micah Wells said he has been anticipating the dynamic of this season’s team because of all the new faces on the field. “We have had the luxury of returners and stability,” he said. “There are a lot of new faces, and with that there is excitement. Seeing these guys come together, start to gel and play as a team is where the real excitement comes in.” He said in preparation for the challenges that lie ahead, the team spent quality time doing drills to learn to work together. “We are looking at having a new short stop, first baseman, second baseman and third baseman. So we are working hard to find out what everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are and communicate. These are all issues that come up in a game,” Wells said. As the team continues to prepare for the season, Wells said the team just needs to focus on playing the game as it knows how. “We have good, talented baseball players that work hard and have great attitudes,” he said. “So, if we can go out there and play hard and do the things we coach and practice like we are trained to do, then I think the wins will take care of themselves.” Junior Andrew White said the team’s youth would not take away from its abilities. “The team has shown a lot of character,” he said. “A lot of younger guys have had to step up in key positions. The older guys have taken them under their wings. It has been a key asset to our team’s growth.” White said as the team continues to play together, kinks will be ironed out. Looking back at the Southwestern game he said the team has put it behind them and will focus on eliminating big innings. “If we could eliminate that one big inning from them, there was no way their team would be able to beat us,” he said. After the team fell to Texas Wesleyan University, White said the team is regrouping and will keep on trucking. “Coach has told us, baseball is a game of failure. If you dwell on the past, there’s nothing to be achieved. Take it one pitch at a time,” he said. Senior pitcher Hunter Hawkins said he, too, has looked forward...

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Cru strives for victory
Feb10

Cru strives for victory

Though their season is not as impressive as it was last year when they won the ASC Championship, the men’s basketball team members hope they can still go far. With the rest of their games against must-win teams, the Cru know what they have to do and plan to work hard to achieve the team goal of repeating what was accomplished last year. Each of the players has his own unique quality that brings the team in sync. Senior transfer Elmo Williams is a guard. “I bring leadership and a strong defense to the team,” he said. As for a more familiar face, forward Colby Waller plays his second season for the team. He believes each team member brings different qualities to the court. “Rounding and getting the team motivated is what I bring to the team,” Waller said. Like the rest of the players and coaches, he has only one thing on his mind, and it involves a progression of last season. Waller said, “Win the Conference Tournament again and make it farther in the NCAA tournament than we did last year is our ultimate goal.” Assistant coach Kenny Deweese, had been alongside his dad for three seasons and helped him build the team. He believes the unity between him and his father is a reflection of that of the team as a whole. “My dad and I have a close relationship, which allows us to work together well,” he said. “We don’t always agree on everything, but I know that he has the experience and has been extremely successful.” Head coach for 11 years, Ken DeWeese has had a successful career at UMHB and has a history of basketball knowledge. With a 171-92 overall record, Deweese was named the ASC West Division Coach of the Year in 2007. The lowest point of every season however, is when the games and practice comes to an end. “When basketball season is over, I feel that I have lost a family member or a best friend,” he said. Whether it’s the players, the coaches or the fans who go loyally to all the home games and even some of the road games, the goal for all is to see the team advance further than the prior seasons. Junior Kent Benedict is in his third season on the Cru basketball team as a guard. He speaks for everyone when he sums up the players’ goal. “We have one thing on our minds; win the West Division, win the ASC Tournament, make the NCAA Tournament, and advance further than the second round,” he said. This goal can be accomplished, but the schedule...

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Player snapshots
Jan29

Player snapshots

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Football ranked third in AFC poll
Jan27

Football ranked third in AFC poll

Their season overall was almost errorless. With only two losses and the honor of going to the NCAA Division III Semi-final round against a huge rival, the Crusader football team had a great year and worked very hard for what they got. For the second straight year, the Cru met Wisconsin-Whitewater at a critical time, only this game was played at Tiger Field in Belton, Texas. The team had trouble with the Dec. 13 game from the first possession. The Cru started the match from their own 2-yard line and the first play was a carry resulting in a fumble by junior linebacker and sports management major Bryson Tucker. However, the Cru managed to get a safety out of the mess-up, and the score was 2-0. “If I could take anything back this season, I would try and avoid spraining my ankle the first play of the game so that I could have helped my team win,” Tucker said. The first half was not an exciting one for the scoreboard for either of the teams. By halftime the score was 12-10 with the Warhawks barely in the lead. With unlucky wind and an illegal touch of the ball, the Cru was not off to a phenomenal start in the first play of the second half either. Wisconsin-Whitewater began their play on the Cru’s 24-yard line and the Warhawk’s first pass made a touchdown giving UMHB’s rival team an 18-10 lead. The Crudsaders could not capitalize in the second half, giving their opponents a dominating half. Wisconsin-Whitewater scored four touchdowns, ending the game with a final score of 39-13. Head coach Pete Fredenburg did not let the loss discourage him nor the team. “Wisconsin-Whitewater is a very good program and has been in the championship the last four years,” he said. “We have a lot of respect for them but know we will beat them one of these days if we continue to work hard and improve.” One of the quarterbacks for the Crusader football team is sophomore accounting major Kyle Noack. He played several games this season, sharing the position of quarterback with senior Josh Saenz. He believes one of the greater obstacles was all of the players who were out due to injuries. “The hardest thing to overcome was the multiple injuries which forced new faces in new positions to be leaned on and trusted,” Noack said. “This was very tough because we could have easily just packed it in and said we’ll be back next year.” The coaching staff, the players and the devoted fans that came out to all the games and cheered can all agree...

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Lady Cru respond to close-call loss with wins

The Lady Cru sealed their fourth game of the season against the Ozarks 72 to 59. Coach Kim Kirkpatrick-Thorton, who is in her fourth season at the university, said the team still has potential, even with a 2-3 record. “I’ve seen some great things out of us, and we’ve just played really well at times,” Kirkpatrick-Thorton said. “But we’ve just had a hard time finishing our game.” During the Texas-Dallas game, the Lady Cru had a 15-point lead in the second half, but were unable to hold the Comets, losing the game by a mere 8 points. These close losses served to motivate the team to come out stronger against the Lady Eagles of the University of the Ozarks. The Cru went on a 9-point run at the end of the fourth quarter, holding the Eagles on the ground until the last 30 seconds of the game. Junior Kallie White said, “We know we have potential … We made a huge step forward against the Ozarks, but are continuing to improve on really putting a team away.” Junior sport management major, Jessica Kelly, answered an Eagle’s turnover in the first half with a three-point jump shot. “We want to win the (American Southwest) Conference and then make it into the nationals,” Kelly said. In the second half, Kelly got a steal, was fouled on her rebound shot and scored on the free throw line, bringing her game total to eight points. Sometimes, players and referees don’t see eye to eye. To keep from losing their concentration, Kelly said team members try to focus on what is within their control. “Just knowing that there are going to be bad calls,” she said. “(We know) that we have to overcome it. Just do the next thing right.” There are five additions to the team of 16. Unifying the players is necessary for success on the court. “It’s a challenge, but we … (remind) them about how they felt when they came in and the importance of making a connection,” Kirkpatrick-Thorton said. She realizes that team harmony isn’t instant, but it comes with time and practice. “You have to let (it) progress a little bit naturally. You can’t really totally force it, but you can help create an environment to enhance it.” As for the veteran players, they’ve made the adjustment. “It doesn’t feel like we have new people on the team,” she said. “We know we have them, but it just doesn’t feel like it because we’re like a family.” Time together helps the players form relationships. The team typically practices six days a week for two hours. They often spend...

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