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Archive | Sports

Athlete Spotlight: Travis Connor

Posted on 25 September 2013 by Dynamo Staff

Most homes have a security system to keep unwanted intruders out; the University of Mount Union has senior sweeper Travis Connor.

The 2013-2014 men’s soccer season is well underway, and the team is producing the desired outcomes they were hoping for. Their new style of play has the team working hard and excited to reach the goals they set for themselves.

“We feel we have the experience and talent to finish at the top,” Connor said. “Not only do we want to win the regular season championship but also win the conference championship.”

After two tough losses on September 14 and 15 the Raider’s are hoping to bounce back and continue on the path toward championship success. The team is now 4-3 overall with a 3-0 winning streak at home. A large portion of their success has been credited to strong underclassmen filling key roles.

“Underclassmen have certainly stepped up and played vital roles so far this season,” said Connor. “Injuries are always a big part of any sport, so we will need any freshman that plays to step in and be comfortable.”

Connor is captain this season and his leadership on the field proves why. As senior defender, it’s Connor’s duty to see the whole field and direct his teammates. His dedication and work ethic stem to his teammates, ultimately producing success. Standing at 6’2, Connor fills the large-responsibility position of sweeper with ease.

“Being a defender you have the ability to the watch the game unfold in front of you,” said Connor. “I have to be vocal to all players and organize what player needs to be where. Any breakdown in focus can result in a goal so I have to be aware of everything in front of me.”

Good luck to Travis Connor and the rest of the Raider’s soccer team on their journey to victory this season.

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Raider’s Home Opener

Posted on 20 September 2013 by Dynamo Staff

By: Stephanie Treubig

After dominating during the season, defeating every team during the play offs, and bringing home the National Championship, there were high expectations for the University of Mount Union’s football team. Not only did the Raiders have an undefeated season, but head Coach Larry Kehres stepped down after 27 seasons and passed the team onto his son, Vince Kehres. Heading into the home opener against Franklin was a historical moment with Vince leading the Raiders onto the field as head coach.

Isaiah Chambers, starting cornerback and senior at Mount Union, has been a part of the football team since he first stepped foot on Mount’s campus four years ago.

“The transition of coaches has been very smooth, considering our head coach is the son of the legendary Larry Kehres. Everything is still being ran the same, just a different voice calling the shots. Overall, nothing has changed because we will still continue the winning tradition that has been set before us,” said Chambers.

Following a season that had seven consecutive shut-out games, many students and fans were expecting the same to continue this year. However, the Purple Raiders gave their school and admirers a scare. After scoring a touchdown in the first few minutes of the game against Franklin, the Raiders began to fall behind and only came out with a 30-27 win over the Grizzlies.

“The first game of the season went a little shaky, only having a couple starters back from last year’s team. Overall, we took Franklin’s best punch, which is expected coming off of the year we had last year. But good teams always find a way to win,” Chambers stated.

With only one game down, the Purple Raiders still have a full season ahead of them. The next game is scheduled for September 21 at Muskingum, where the team will take on the Muskies.

“I believe this season will be a successful season for us because of the fact that we have the same standards as any other team we had in the past. With all of the hard work we put in during the off season, head coach Vince Kehres will make sure every time we step out onto the football field we will give one hundred and ten percent of effort,” Chambers shared.

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Run Fast Cross Country Teams

Posted on 20 September 2013 by Sarah Kelly

The Purple Raiders men and women’s cross country teams had impressive performances at the second meet of the season.

The women’s team placed first, while the men’s team came in at a close second at the Ric Sayre Invitational on Saturday, September 7. Mount Union raced teams from both the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) and non-conference teams at the invitational, which was hosted by Walsh University in North Canton.

The women’s team scored 25 points, which was 15 better than John Carroll who took second. The women beat out six teams including Walsh University, Cuyahoga Community College, Notre Dame College, Hiram and Lorain Community College.

The Raiders were led by junior Brooke Mathie, who finished third out of 79 runners with a time of 18:51.79. Close behind was junior Catie Campbell, who finished in fifth place with a time of 19:03.58 and junior Stacy Cameron (19:07.38), who finished in sixth place.

Senior Rachel Smith and junior Jana Sleutz also finished in the top ten, earning them recognition at the awards ceremony.

The men’s team tied John Carroll for first place, with a score of 38 points, but was declared second place winners after a tie-breaker. The deciding factor was the sixth runner for John Carroll, who beat out Mount Union’s sixth runner by 00:04.

Junior Dan McGeary was the first Raider to cross the finish line with a time of 26:10.84, placing him second overall out of 83 runners. This performance earned him the title of OAC Runner of the Week.

Sophomore Alex Wilson finished in third place overall with a time of 26:11.38.

The third Raider to cross the line was junior Dylan Garritano (26:53.73), earning him 11th place.

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Athlete Spotlight: Nyejel Thomas

Posted on 11 September 2013 by Dynamo Staff

What do Nyejel Thomas and Dwight Freeney have in common? A National Championship ring that took hard work, dedication and sacrifice to achieve. While growing up, Thomas idolized Freeney and worked to mimic his style of play. His imitating paid off after earning three varsity letters and a championship ring, with one season left to perfect his Mount Union career.

“He’s (Freeney) also a relatively short guy for a defensive end, like I am,” said Thomas. “So I’ve always enjoyed watching him dominate bigger guys on the field.”

The University of Mount Union football team kicked off their season Saturday, September 7 with a home opener against Franklin. The team has been working hard during preseason to reach their goals and earn their spot in Mount Union history. The long practices, strength training and hard work all seem worth it when a National Championship ring is placed on your finger.

“My goal this year is to help my team win another National Championship,” said Thomas. “Double digit sacks would be nice also.”

Thomas is looking at the big picture and trying to make this year’s players’ dreams a reality. A tradition of excellence has been set by generations of Mount Union athletes who know the meaning of working for a desired outcome.

“I think one of our biggest strengths this year will be the leadership of our captains,” Thomas explained. “We voted for some great leaders on and off the field this year in Colton Bridges, Luc Meacham, Hank Spencer, Kevin Burke and Matt Fechko.”

Playing a sport at Mount Union is a privilege for any athlete; not a right. Thomas explained he has been blessed with great opportunities and relationships that might not have happened had he not attended the university.

“It means a lot to me to play for such a successful program, and have a shot at winning another National Championship this year.”

Thomas is a communication major with a double minor in Spanish and writing. After graduation, his plan is to attend graduate school for linguistics. The work ethic and self-motivation Thomas has gained through playing Mount Union football will help him earn a successful career.

Good luck to Nyejel Thomas and the other Mount Union football players this season.

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Baseball Preview

Posted on 02 March 2013 by Sarah Kelly

The standards are set high for Mount Union’s 2013 baseball season.

The coaches as well as the players have their eyes on the prize to take home the NCAA Championship.

The Raiders finished second in the Ohio Athletic Conference last season, but the team has confidence that they will make it all the way this year.

“We were so close to winning last year. We need to be more consistent and finish off games as a team, which is something we didn’t always do last year,” Anthony Morino, sophomore, said. “If we do that, I think we’ll make it to the NCAA tournament.”

Most of the ‘12 starting players will be returning to the field this spring. Head Coach Paul Hesse believes this will be beneficial for the Raiders.

“The team’s experience is what is going to help them this season,” Hesse said. “We’re physically and mentally more mature this year, so that puts us in a better position to win.”

Zach Carlino, junior captain, agrees that this will make the team stronger.

“Most of us have been playing together for three years now. We’ve become good friends and that will definitely help on the field,” Carlino said.

The determination to win is reflected in the practices that the team has had so far this season.

“Our practices are a lot more intense this year and so is the conditioning,” Carlino said. “But all the extra effort will prepare us to win.”

Hesse said the reason for the tough practices is to push the athletes past what they think they are capable of doing; to break down their mental walls.

The plan for the team is to build off of the foundation that was formed last season and continue to grow from there.

The season will start for the Raiders with eleven games played in Winter Haven, Fla. as part of the spring training trip. The team will host Wittenberg University for the home opener on Mar. 24 at 23rd Street Field in Alliance.

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Intramurals

Posted on 13 February 2013 by Samantha Sanson

Education, health and wellness are important parts of everyday life at the University of Mount Union. To encourage this, students are offered a variety of intramural sports to participate in each semester.

Competitions are held Monday through Thursday evenings at the MAAC between teams formed by students. Faculty and staff are also able to participate in intramural programs throughout the year.

Each semester, different sports are available for student involvement. According to Dan MacDuffie, the Director of Recreation and Wellness, flag football, sand volleyball, dodgeball, and two verses two basketball are options during the fall semester.  Championship contests occur at the end of each event.

During the spring semester, students can play five versus five basketball, softball, indoor soccer, and indoor volleyball.

Foster Eberly, a senior, has participated in intramural football as well as the five versus five basketball in the past. “Usually the fraternities get together teams as well as retired athletes,” said Eberly. As a member of Sigma Nu fraternity, he has been a part of teams with some of his brothers.

Completing his practicum hours for Sport Business, senior Cameron Baradziej helps with intramurals weekly. He said that football and volleyball have just finished; therefore dodgeball and two versus two men’s and women’s basketball are about to begin. The intramural events last for about a month or a little longer.

Matt Parnell, Assistant Director of Recreation and Wellness, works with the intramural program throughout the school year. “The most popular sports based on participation is basketball, flag football, sand volleyball and indoor volleyball,” he said.

Sororities participate in intramurals as well. Junior Cassie Siskovic, a sister of Alpha Zi Delta, partakes in sports with other sorority members. “We do everything! Basketball, water polo, indoor volleyball the whole nine yards!” she said.

Other intramural activities offered at Mount Union are badminton, quidditch, ultimate frisbee club, bowling club, and the newest addition, pickleball.  According to the USA Pickleball Association, this game is played on a badminton court with the net lowered to 34 inches at the center. It is played with a plastic baseball, similar to a wiffle ball, and a paddle. Essentially, the game is a combination of tennis, ping-pong, and badminton.

Pickleball is becoming popular among all age groups within other areas of the country. For instance, students at the University of the Ozarks recently learned about the game, as well as senior citizens at the Monroe Sports Center in New Jersey.

To play pickleball, Mount Union students have access to nets in the field house every Wednesday from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

All students are able to partake in any intramural sport. A new system has been integrated this year, allowing recreation accounts to be created through IM Leagues. This site allows students to add teams to a particular sport, and view the game schedule by day, week, month, or the entire season. To utilize this feature, go to www.imleagues.com/mountunion.

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Girls ready for domination

Posted on 13 February 2013 by Nyejel Thomas

The Mount Union women’s basketball program is primed for another deep run in the playoffs this year.

Improving each and every year, they have put together quite a string of success (16-9 in 2009, 26-5  in 2010, 26-4 in 2011).

Going 28-2 last year, with their only two losses coming at the hands of Otterbein early in the season and in the NCAA Tournament to eventual national champions Illinois Wesleyan, the Lady Raiders are driven and focused this year under the direction of head coach Suzy Venet.

“Every second counts. We lost on the buzzer last season and we have to play every position out.  It was a heart wrenching loss for our seniors and our team, but life goes on. The sun came up the next day and we still have to live another day,” said Venet. “I won’t let them lose focus.  They’ll get an earful from me if I think we do and we’ll start running sprints,” she added.

The team is ranked sixth in the nation and has started the season off right with a 2-0 start. Of these two wins, they beat last year’s National Champion and currently ranked fifth in the nation team, Illinois Wesleyan, 73-68.

The team is very balanced and experienced this year. All-American Point Guard Senior Rosa LaMattina, Senior Tierney Allen, Sophomore Nancy Osborne, Senior Marybeth Leitch and Senior Center Brittany Kilgore, returning from injury, round out the starting five.

With Kilgore, and the arrival of up and coming Sophomore Aly Daniel, who will be coming off the bench for the Lady Raiders, the team will be able to take control.

“We need Brittany and Aly to control the boards and make up for our two 1,000 point scorers we lost last year. I think, with that combo, we may have the best two centers in the OAC” said Coach Venet.

Their bench consists of many players who can provide immediate spark upon entering the game. Freshman Annie Bova will receive some solid playing time to add to the young talent for the future. Seniors Maggie Miller, Kensie Kemble, Junior Amanda Turner, and Sophomore Chandler Moore bring much experience to the team.

The Lady Raiders’ playing style this year will be a fast paced, up-tempo offense that will push the ball on fast breaks.

“Our offense starts on defense,” said Coach Venet, “but it’s our goal to score 72 points per game. We’re going to play a pressing, unselfish style of basketball,” she added.

That unselfishness is cultivated by the team’s chemistry. Coach Venet says that it makes her job easy when all of the players are on the same page. She added that team chemistry is paramount to women’s athletics, and is something that needs to be worked on throughout the season.

The Lady Raiders are picked to finish first in the OAC once again. The team’s goal, as well as the expectation on campus, is well known. The bar is set high, but with the talent on this team, it is more than an attainable goal.

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Mount Union victorious in Stagg Bowl

Posted on 14 December 2012 by Reita Silvis

This year’s Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl was quite a show for the 6,027 fans who were in attendance as the No. 1 Mount Union Purple Raiders took on the No. 3 St. Thomas Tommies. There was plenty of pressure for the Mount Union senior class who had yet to see a Stagg Bowl victory in the last four years against Whitewater. Luckily for them, the only thing St. Thomas had won was the coin toss at the beginning of the game, allowing Mount Union to start off with the ball.

The Purple Raiders dominated the first quarter on the clock and on the scoreboard, starting with senior Jake Simon (Parma Heights, OH) scoring a one-yard touchdown at 2:10 into the game, making the score 7-0, Mount Union. They scored again with 3:37 left through senior Charles Dieuseul (Winter Haven, FL), possessing the ball for 10:10 and ending the quarter Mount Union 14, St. Thomas, 0. In between scores, the Purple Raiders received the first penalty for pass interference and broke two records- most first downs (125) in a tournament (124 set in 2008) and most rushing yards (1,473) during a tournament. They also tied the NCAA record for points in a season, with 78 points, which was set by themselves in 2007.

The second quarter was quite a different story, with the Tommies taking up 13:31 on the clock and scoring a touchdown through sophomore Dan Ferrazzo (Mahtomedi, MN) with a fake field goal attempt within the first two minutes, making the score Mount Union 14, St. Thomas 7. While the Raiders’ offensive run game seemed to momentarily falter, the rest of the quarter consisted of plenty of turnovers and punts on both sides, and no additional points, concluding the half with the same score.

It was a slow start in the second half, becoming more of a defensive game for both teams. St. Thomas started on their own 27, finishing the series 3rd and 23 with an incomplete pass, having to make a 54-yard punt, placing the Purple Raiders at their own 22 yard line. With a Hank Spencer (Greencastle, IN) tackle, the Tommies were put at the 14-yard line. The Tommies’ freshman running back Jack Kaiser (Prior Lake, MN) was stopped short by Purple Raider Nick Driskill (Wabash, IN) for a loss of yards, forcing the Tommies to punt again. Chris Denton (Plantation, FL) dropped the ball and it was recovered by St. Thomas. With a pressured, out of pocket quarterback rush, St. Thomas was forced to score a field goal with kicker Paul Graupner (Minnetonka, MN), making the score 14-10, Mount Union. Jake Simon earned his season high eleventh carry in the next drive and not long after did the Purple Raiders make their next touchdown with a 17-yard reception by Denton. The quarter concluded with Mount Union 21, St. Thomas, 10. Mount Union surpassed their tied record for most points in a season with 85 points.

In the final quarter, Jasper Collins (Geneva, NY) shattered the post-season reception record with 42 receptions. Isaiah Scott (Hamilton, OH) did a leaping catch to intercept the ball from St. Thomas and Mount Union capitalized with a touchdown with eight minutes left in the game. The Raiders’ defense sealed St. Thomas’ fate, concluding the Stagg Bowl with  the score Mount Union 28, St. Thomas, 10.

“It’s very heartwarming,” coach Larry Kehres said to the fans and players as Mount Union accepted their championship trophy.

With this Stagg Bowl title, Kehres is ranked fourth in the NCAA’s career wins list among all divisions, reaching 332 victories.

“It was a difficult three years, to see the seniors experience loss in the final game, I felt for them,” Kehres told D3football.com. “But this group inspired me… They were such a dedicated group.”

MVP sophomore Kevin Burke was the only non-senior offensive starter and it is Mount Union’s hope that he will continue to carry this momentum into the next season. All he had to offer as far as the secret to the Purple Raiders’ success this year was:

“We just played Mount Union football.”

_________

The Dynamo has printed a special commemorative issue for the Stagg Bowl victory which was made available to fans immediately after the Raiders were presented with the Walnut and Bronze.

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Captains look to capsize Mount Union

Posted on 12 November 2012 by Steven Kaufman

With the post-season near, the Purple Raiders prepare to enter the 2012 NCAA Division III Playoffs. Now that Wisconsin-Whitewater is out of the picture, Mount Union has clinched the number 1 spot in the playoff bracket, making this their 24th NCAA playoff appearance. Mount Union will start out its road to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl on Saturday as they host the Christopher Newport University Captains.
The Captains are 6-4 overall for the season and have received an automatic bid into the playoff picture after they won the USA South Conference title. For the season, they averaged 24.1 points per game while also allowing 24 points per game to their opponents. Overall, Christopher Newport made 32 touchdowns this season while their opponents averaged 32 touchdowns against them.
In terms of yardage, The Captains have made 16 touchdowns by rushing and gained 2,132 yards overall. While the Captains are skilled in rushing, they lack in their passing game. They completed 121 passes and allowed their opponents to complete 164 passes and 15 interceptions. They only made 15 touchdowns by passing.
The player the Purple Raiders should watch out for is sophomore running back Marcus Morrast. As a freshman, he led the Captains in rushing average of players over 50 attempts with an average of 5.1 yards per rush. Morrast also accounted for 176 passing yards throughout the season including a 29-yard touchdown pass during a game against Maryville College. For this season, Morrast showed his passing skills by leading the team in completed passes and with a total of 772 passing yards.
This week could be the deciding factor in whether or not the Purple Raiders will bring home the Stagg Bowl trophy this Christmas, and the Christopher Newport Captains will try their hardest this Saturday to make sure that the Purple Raiders won’t make it that far.

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Student athlete’s social media responsibility

Posted on 06 October 2012 by Allison Insana

Student athletes here at the University of Mount Union spend most of their time on the court or on the field, after time spent in the classroom, of course. But how do they keep in touch with friends and family while juggling such busy schedules?

With such advanced technology in our generation, we tend to stay connected through social media, Twitter being one of the most popular social media sites. Are there any restrictions that should be addressed within your team on what can and cannot be said on Twitter?

Ashley Rivera, member of the new lacrosse team, stated that her coach had never said anything about social media. “I don’t think that teams should talk about each other, their coaches or other athletics on social media,” she said. “It shows disrespect and puts a bad name out there for your team and Mount Union.”

While tweeting to support fellow teammates may be nice, trash talking over social media can lead to trouble. With hundreds of followers on Twitter, one impulse comment could ruin your school’s reputation, as well as yours.

Sophomore Luc Meacham, member of the Raider football team, expressed his opinion of his coach’s policies when it comes to social media and their team.

“I think we should be able to say when we have a game, or something along those general lines, but going any further I think should be left for the media,” Meacham says.

The Raider football team’s policy is to leave it to the media to talk about the team, which was made known to the players at the beginning of the season.

Ashley Sams, member of the women’s soccer team, also commented regarding her team’s policies with social media.

“Coach suggested making our profiles private and encouraged us to not say anything negative about other schools in the OAC, or Mount,” Sams said. “There is no need to call out other teams or say anything negative in general; I would not want it to come back on the school or my team.”

Part of being a good sport is being able to hold back from negative comments, no matter how much you want to say them. Even though social media profiles may be set to “private,” being respectful towards other teams, and your own, is key, on and off the field.

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