Crusaders bring ASC title home
Apr13

Crusaders bring ASC title home

By C.J. Halloran Staff Writer Running back Kenneth Cormier, Jr., in the championship game with Hardin-Simmons in Abilene on March 27. Photo courtesy of AMZImages. In a year where nothing has felt familiar, one thing remained consistent, and that is The Cru’s dominance of the American Southwest Conference on the gridiron. Case in point:  the Cru made huge plays on both sides of the ball at the end of the game with Hardin-Simmons University to hold off and defeat HSU, with a score of 23-15 for the ASC Championship. The stage was set for the Cru coming into the Championship game in Abilene on Saturday, March 27. According to the only media that has been ranking Division Three Football this year, Jay Sports Network, UMHB and Hardin-Simmons were batting for the number one spot in all of D3, prior to their game, on top of an ASC Championship. Wide receiver Brenton Martin runs with the ball toward the end zone In the Championship game with Hardin-Simmons at Abilene on March 27, 2021. Photo courtesy of AMZImages. When championship day came, the Cru started strong, as a blocked kick and 43-yard reception by Kadarius Daniels set up a 3- yard touchdown run by Cru QB Kyle King. Both teams were held scoreless the rest of the quarter, and UMHB Kicker Brandon Cunningham pulled off two field goals before the half, giving the Cru a 13-0 lead going into the second half. That second half saw much more action, as Hardin-Simmons’ Mark Reed threw for a touchdown on the first possession of the half. After another Cunningham field goal, the Cru forced a punt and drove down the field, capping off the drive with a sneaky trick play that saw wide receiver Brenton Martin make a 7-yard pass to Gary Ruckman. Defensive back Jayden Smith tackles a Cowboy In the Championship game with Hardin-Simmons at Abilene on March 27, 2021. Photo courtesy of AMZImages. Hardin-Simmons attempted to battle back with a 4-yard touchdown run by Myles Featherston, but the Cru defense had them shut down. A Drake Johnson interception to end one possession, followed by a lock-down performance by the Cru defense to force four straight incompletions. Their very next possession shut out any hopes of Hardin-Simmons winning the Championship. The Cru rushing game dominated the Hardin Simmons defense as Kenneth Cormier, Jr., Kyle King and Montana Miller combined for 231 yards on the ground, setting up nearly every scoring opportunity the Cru had. King also showed his prowess in the air, throwing for 148 yards. Kadarius Daniels showed out in his final game as a Crusader, receiving the ball three...

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Football team finds good results in practice and extra long wait for start of playing season
Mar01

Football team finds good results in practice and extra long wait for start of playing season

By C.J. Halloran Staff Writer Senior wide receiver Jaylan Jenkins connects with quarterback Kyle King during practice on Thursday. Photo by C.J. Halloran/The Bells After 427 days of being starved of UMHB football, CRU football fans were finally allowed to eat again on Feb. 6, as The Crusaders traveled to Mississippi to face Belhaven University.  The Crusaders arrived in Belhaven looking to extinguish any doubts of whether such a long break would affect their play or not. The CRU came out strong in the first quarter, opening their score with a 37-yard-run from quarterback Tommy Bowden. The CRU didn’t let up in the first quarter either, thanks to a fumble recovery-turned-touchdown by linebacker Glen Thornton. Tommy Bowden throws a screen pass as the offensive line buys him as much time as he needs during practice in January. Photo by C.J. Halloran/The Bells The second quarter was much of the same for the CRU, as they put 13 more points on the board, thanks to two touchdown passes from Bowden to Kad Daniels. The Crusader’s defense remained impregnable as well, holding Belhaven’s offense back at our 2-yard line to keep them from scoring in the first half. The second half began much like the first and saw Tommy Bowden run for one more touchdown late in the third quarter before being substituted for Kyle King. King also got on the score sheet, connecting with Brenton Martin for a beautiful 35-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.  Junior wide receiver  Romello Cook leaps for a catch as he prepares for his first game as a Crusader against Belhaven University. Photo by C.J. Halloran/The Bells Though the Crusaders as a whole shone on their first game back, the star of the game was undoubtedly Tommy Bowden. After spending his freshman year playing backup to Jace Hammack, the quarterback who led UMHB to their 2018 title, Bowden stepped up in his first ever collegiate start. The sophomore threw for 104 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for two more touchdowns. Historically, the CRU has dominated Belhaven every time they’ve played, holding a 4-0 record against the Blazers and outscoring them 190-47, prior to the game Feb. 6. The CRU had been practicing with a certain excitement not seen on campus in months. Though their fall season was postponed, the football team took no time off. The entire fall break they practiced and watched film from last season, looking to improve. Still, given that the team hadnot played a game since December of 2019, the fall practices seemed endless. The energy of the team was high, however. Though the season is finally back, it is...

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Women’s basketball second half rally not enough against Hardin Simmons
Mar01

Women’s basketball second half rally not enough against Hardin Simmons

A Sader Bells member cheers on her team with the Crusader hand sign during the UMHB women’s basketball with Belhaven Jan 16, 2021. Photo by C.J. Halloran/The Bells By C.J. Halloran Staff Writer The CRU women’s Basketball team fell to Hardin-Simmons University 71-64 in a hard-fought game on Saturday, Jan. 30. The CRU started the game on the back foot with the Cowgirls opening up with a 13-4 run. CRU’s graduate student point guard Taylor Kollmorgen looks for quick options as she saves a ball from falling out of bounds. Photo by CJ Halloran The Cowgirls didn’t let up either, continuing to lengthen their lead to as many as 13 points before the first half came to a close. The Crusaders stormed back to tie the game in the third quarter, thanks to a 17-7 run capped off by leading scorer Olivia Champion. Unfortunately for the CRU, they were unable to carry their newfound momentum into the fourth quarter. Junior Guard Alexia Martin shouts Instructions as the CRU dominates McMurry University. Photo by CJ Halloran Hardin-Simmons battled back with a 10-2 run at the beginning of the fourth quarter and brought their lead back to ten points. That proved enough to hold the CRU at bay, taking them to a 71-64 defeat. Champion was the joint leading scorer for the team, scoring 13 off the bench, which tied with the other leading scorer, Bethany McLeod. Sophomore Hannah Eggleston also put up 10 points for the team. Sophomore Forward Olivia Champion Puts Up a Layup as McMurry’s Sydney McHenry and her teammate do their best to shut her down.  Photo by CJ Halloran The CRU next faced an away streak against Sul Ross University and Howard...

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Men’s Basketball hit good stride as the CRU took first games of season
Mar01

Men’s Basketball hit good stride as the CRU took first games of season

CRU Steamrolls Hardin-Simmons for sixth straight victory By C.J. Halloran Staff Writer Josiah Johnson draws a foul from Belhaven’s Rian Shields to extend UMHB’s lead against Belhaven University. Johnson has made more free throws than anyone in Division III this Season and is second in free throws in all divisions. Photo by C.J. Halloran/The Bells When asked about the ASC’s  (American Southwest Conference) new rule of basing tournament qualifiers on win percentage instead of overall wins, Coach Clif Carroll was straight forward.  “It is what it is, but if you win them all, then they’re not gonna keep you out of the tournament,” Carroll said. “If you win them all, you’re gonna be champion. It sounds crazy, but that’s the goal for this team.” Though every coach aims for his team to go undefeated, Coach Carroll took that mindset seriously and has coached the Crusaders to six victories in a row. Their victory came by way of a dominating 91-65 performance against Hardin-Simmons on Saturday, Jan. 30. One of the main arguments that critics of the CRU expressed was based on the team’s slow start, but the Crusaders shut that critique down against Hardin Simmons. UMHB opened the game on a 16-2 run that gave them a lead that did not change hands for the entirety of the game. The CRU absolutely dominated the offensive side of the ball, shooting 56% as a team.  Josiah Johnson continued his hot streak, scoring 34 points and picking up 12 rebounds, while 6’5” guard Ty Prince also picked up a double-double, scoring 22 points with 12 rebounds. The Crusaders showed out on the defensive end of the ball as well, holding the Cowboys to 34% shooting and 22 turnovers. Though one would imagine the team and Coach Carroll to be ecstatic after such a huge victory, they were all business. Coach Carroll went so far as to say he was unhappy with the CRU’s second half. “Today, we relaxed,” Coach Carroll said. “We lost our focus [in the second half]… I would rather us keep two feet on the ground and two hands on the ball [as opposed to some especially acrobatic passing from the CRU in the second half]. “Acrobatic turns into 27 turnovers… you can’t win championships turning it over 27 times,” Carroll said. Though the comments may seem harsh with such a dominant victory, the team shares this mentality and with it comes a hunger that can’t be quenched by any individual victory. The Crusaders have their eyes on one goal: the championship, and they refuse to let anyone get in their way. Sophomore guard Kyle Wright looks for...

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Crusader alumnus signs with former world series champions Washington Nationals
Nov05

Crusader alumnus signs with former world series champions Washington Nationals

Landon Dietrich sits with his parents, Chris and Melisa Dieterich, as he signs to the Washington National’s rookie developmental league, the Gulf Coastal League Nationals on June 22, 2020. He signed at home, due to COVID-19 restrictions. Former Crusader baseball player Landon Dieterich was drafted earlier this year to the World Series Champions, the Washington Nationals. In the history of the UMHB baseball program, only 8 players had been drafted. Dieterich raised the number to 9. The road to the majors is very long and full of difficulty, and to do so from Division Three baseball makes the journey all the more difficult. Most college athletes play merely to enjoy the sport they love for four more years, and to develop as a person. Very few actually make it to the next level in any sport. UMHB faced Schreiner Univ. in the home series opener at Red Murff Field, Belton, on Saturday, February 15, 2020. While Dieterich is only playing currently in a rookie developmental league with the Gulf Coast League (GLC), this is an important step that many great players have had to take. Dieterich already seems to understand the importance and difficulty of where he is at. “I am absolutely blessed,” Dietrich said.  “I realize it is a rare opportunity, and I just hope to make everyone proud.”                        Dieterich was never alone in his journey towards where he is today. Along the way he had many of his close friends and family to guide him and give him support whenever he needed it. UMHB and its students and faculty were also a big part of his support system. “UMHB was everything to my baseball career,” Dietrich said.  “It made me into the player and person I am. Everyone from coaches to professors. Definitely the best 4 years of my life.”  His years playing for UMHB mean more to him than most people may understand. “A lot of people do not realize UMHB was my only chance to play baseball,” Dieterich said, “No one else wanted to take a chance on me back then.” However, his job upon graduation from UMHB was not guaranteed, so going through the drafting process was stressful.   “[The draft] started off super stressful, and the stress just kept growing,” Dietrich said. “After all, this was a lifelong dream. So, eventually, I just had to let it go and trust whatever God had for me.” UMHB faced Southwestern Univ. at Red Murff Field, Belton, on Tuesday, February 18, 2020. Dieterich said that he had so many memorable moments while playing at UMHB he could not pinpoint the most memorable. “I think we would need...

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Coach Mike Stawski on board to invigorate Crusader Baseball
Feb25

Coach Mike Stawski on board to invigorate Crusader Baseball

With the retirement of Coach Ben Shipp last January, it was only a matter of time before UMHB hired a coach who would meet the school’s numerous requirements. “When our head baseball coach position became open, our goal was to hire a great coach who would also be a great fit at UMHB,” President of UMHB Randy O’Rear said. “We believe we accomplished that and hired one of the best coaches in the country. Coach Stawski is a faithful Christian, strong leader, and has a proven track record of building championship NCAA Division III baseball programs.” The timing for this change in leadership for the baseball program could not have been more well-timed. With football, volleyball and women’s basketball teams coming off of fantastic seasons in both 2018 and this year so far, it is time for baseball to have its time in the spotlight. Coach Stawski has the ability to turn programs from average into championship contenders. However, that is not the only goal that Stawski has in mind for the program at UMHB. “We’re going to graduate really great kids from here,” Stawski said. “Kids that we are going to be proud of…what we are doing is developing the full person here, which is unfortunately lost sometimes in college athletics. But it will not be lost on us here. I will retire before I put winning ahead of my players,” Stawski said. “People are going to walk away saying, the baseball program developed great people who have made an impact.” Coach Stawski’s devotion to these tenants was reflected in what the players think of him. “He is definitely a genuine guy,” junior pitcher Andrew Hutchings said. “It was obvious that the player-coach relationship really matters to him. Right off the bat, I could tell he was very knowledgeable about all aspects of the game.” “I think having Stawski as the new face of the program is going to get Cru base-ball exactly where we need to be,” Hutchings said. “His attitude and coaching skills are already having a positive impact on all of the players. There is no doubt that this program is heading in the right direction.” Hutchings seemed very positive. “I can guarantee that we will be in the best physical and mental state possible because of [Coach] Stawski, Wilson, J-Rod, and Coach Ram. We are going to play every game hard and we are going to win. Stawski’s strategy and mindset will show on the field through us players,” he said. Stawski had a slightly different outlook regarding the performance of the team these next couple of seasons. “The most important thing…is for the guys...

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