Written by Phil Cerroni
By Jess Paniszczyn
On a gloomy January day in 2008, three teenage friends drove down a lonely stretch of wet road. In a few panicked moments, the driver lost control, the car struck a telephone pole and a precious life was lost.
Happily, the ending of Jerry Frank Hux II’s life, aka ‘Bubba,’ does in no way define it. A vivacious 17 year old junior at Nimitz High School, Jerry loved his friends, his family and sports.
A Nimitz baseball player from 2006-2008, Jerry wore number 00 while playing center field and catcher. Before the Nimitz and Irving High School baseball game began on March 12, Jerry’s family, friends and teammates were joined by the evening’s players and fans in honoring his memory. Members of the Nimitz varsity team wore 00 on shirts under their jerseys and 00 on their helmets. Coach Robert Mendoza presented Jerry’s parents with a crystal baseball. And a permanent five foot baseball memorial was dedicated in left field to Jerry’s memory.
“The boys know what it is. It is very humbling for them to see that and to remember that there is more to life than just baseball. You really should be careful," said Shannon Buffington, a member of Nimitz Baseball Booster Club.
“You should always remember a teammate when something like that happens, no matter when you play. Most of the boys who play baseball now don’t know who Jerry was, because they never played baseball with him. But he is still a teammate.
“The Hux family was very happy. It was the first time they had been back to the stadium since Jerry passed away. There were probably 400 people there last night. Of those, 200 were Jerry’s family and friends.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 March 2013 10:50
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Phil Cerroni
0-6, 6-2, 7-6
The ATP Dallas Tennis Classic was well into round 2 of main draw play when veteran German athlete, Matthias Bachinger faced off against 20 year old American, Denis Kudla in an exciting, neck-in-neck contest.
The first set went completely in Bachinger’s favor with a final score of 6-0.
“He didn’t miss a ball,” Kudla said. “I don’t know much about him, but I expected him to miss a bit.”
Besides Bachinger’s strong play, Kudla did not take the initiative, playing a mainly defensive game that left his backcourt relatively open.
Despite his slow start, Kudla quickly took the lead in the second set with powerful shots and managed to keep it with aggressive play. He spent the set wearing Bachinger down, always ready for both his volleys and short lobs. Set score: 6-2.
“That’s what I based my game around, being physical. If I’m not in my top shape, I don’t win matches,” Kudla said. “I kind of somewhat modeled my game after Ferrer – be the machine out there and the game will take care of itself. I know I’m not the most talented guy out here, but if physically I can control that and be in the best shape possible, I will.”
The young American’s athleticism shone when, after a long rally, he chased the ball across the baseline and, while still facing away from Bachinger, executed a 270 degree forehand stroke for a pretty, if somewhat lucky, score.
By the third set, both players were quick on their feet, and 40-40 trading advantage was common. Compensating, Kudla added looking for the empty spaces to his high operational tempo, and despite faults and Bachinger’s intelligent, basics-oriented play, Kudla pulled through with 6-6 in the set and 6-4 in the tiebreaker.
The match point was beautiful forehand shot that looked like it would go straight to the baseline, bounced over the sideline in the vicinity of the hash mark, instead.
Part of the reason, Kudla was able to mitigate the damage from what was sometimes sloppy offensive play was his ability to consistently plug the holes in his defense.
“When you’re aggressive and coming like that, you’re going to get the lobs, you’re going to get the overheads, so for the most part it’s what I was expecting,” Kudla explained.
Kudla has a healthy fear going into the third round but enough confidence to turn it into a weapon and not a liability.
“I’ve had kind of a little bit of a rough start to the year,” he said. “I came in the qualifiers, not taking a wild card and trying to get some matches under my belt. I’m just happy that I can get these wins out of the way against really good players – 7-6 in the third nail biters.”
Last Updated on Monday, 18 March 2013 16:29
Written by Phil Cerroni
Madison Pressel of the University of Texas and Casey Grice of the University of North Carolina are co-champions of the North Texas College Shootout with scores of even-par 71 at Las Colinas Country Club. The players each earn a sponsor's exemption to play with the best professionals on the LPGA tour at the North Texas LPGA Shootout at Las Colinas Country Club, a member of the ClubCorp family of clubs, April 22-28.
"This is a great opportunity for me to play with the pros," said Grice, a junior at UNC. "I'm a native of College Station [Texas], so I was excited to see the LPGA return to North Texas. I figured this event would be on a course set up longer than we usually play, so I practiced with my longer irons and that really paid off."
Pressel is the younger sister of LPGA star Morgan Pressel.
"Being able to play my first round in an LPGA tournament with my sister will be awesome," said Madison Pressel. "I had to sit out for five months with a torn labrum, so playing this well in a competitive round really gives me some confidence heading into the finish of the college season and looking ahead to Q-School."
Mocio and Ruzickova are teammates at Texas A&M and have earned the opportunity to play in the LPGA Monday Qualifier on April 22 against a field of professionals competing for two spots in the LPGA tournament proper. Mocio carded a 73 and Ruzickova finished with a 74.
The North Texas LPGA Shootout will be held April 25 to 28 at Las Colinas Country Club. The 144-player official money tournament is the Tour’s first in the North Texas region in more than 20 years.
Source: North Texas LPGA Shootout
Last Updated on Monday, 18 March 2013 16:28
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Will Jukes
Garland, TX- SMU men's basketball played it's last regular season game against UTEP March 9th at Garland's 7,000 seat Curtis Culwell center. The game ended with a loss for the Mustangs, 76 to 63, as they head into tournaments next weekend. SMU fell behind early in the first half, allowing a gap to form that they could never fully close.
UTEP played an aggressive game, and it showed in the stats; top scorer Julian Washburn was 9 for 13 from inside the three-point line and 1 for 2 from the three-point line. For comparison, SMU's Shawn Williams went 4 for 12 and 0 for 2, while Cannen Cunningham was 7 for 7 and 0 for 0. The game got vicious, with both teams winding up in bonus by the end of the game, and SMU winding up with double bonus. Despite this advantage, the Ponies were unable to overcome the driven, aggressive play of UTEP.
“When I got the job and then I saw our team I expected a lot of games like this, to be honest with you. Score wise, not effort wise,” said head coach Larry Brown, who took the helm of SMU men's basketball last spring. Brown complemented UTEP's coaching and playing, but also emphasized what he perceived to be a lack of effort on the part of his player's as a factor in the day's loss.
“We had great effort most nights...but tonight was real disappointing for us,” he said, despite the effort of Shawn Williams and Manuel Ryans, whom he cited. He also emphasized that this was not a recurring problem in his opinion. “We were in every game, except two UTEP games and Rhode Island, I really believe that,” he said.
The confusion and discomfort of relocating to the Culwell Center was also cited as a possible factor. “They had more fans than we did, more people cheering,” said Brown. The Mustangs will be playing in the Curtis Culwell Center while their traditional home, Moody Coliseum in Highland Park, TX undergoes 47 million dollars worth of renovations.
The loss put SMU at 15-16 going into tournament play, while UTEP faces a more auspicious 17-13 record and will go into conference finals boosted by a strong win. Despite this, SMU isn't giving up just yet. Brown wants to focus on program building, and hopes to improve SMU's postseason showing. SMU has only won one tournament game in the school's history. SMU begins tournament play Wednesday March 13th in Tulsa, facing off in the conference championships in a matchup to be determined.
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 March 2013 16:09
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Will Jukes
SMU's Gerald J. Ford Stadium hosted the 7th annual Patriot Cup supporting the Wounded Warrior Project. All ticket revenues for the March 1-2 event are donated to the project, a national program to support soldiers and veterans who suffered physical and psychological injuries in the line of duty.
The two day tournament featured local high school and college level lacrosse teams. Throughout the weekend, players and parents interacted with wounded veterans.
“This Wednesday, March 6 is actually going to be ten years, we call it an alive day, it's like a second birthday. Any soldier's going to tell you it's the day they narrowly escaped death,” said Ian Lennon, an Outreach Coordinator for the Wounded Warrior.
Lennon is a retired Marine and a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan where he drove a Motor T convoy, the military jargon for supply transport. He was severely wounded in Kuwait when the fuel truck he was driving was hit by an IED. He spent several years recovering, and now he works with the Wounded Warrior Project bringing that experience to recent combat veterans still struggling to cope with their injuries. He was invited to by the Patriot Cup both to perform ceremonial duties, such as the coin toss, as well as to speak with and motivate the players.
“Getting them pumped up for the game, give them a little pep talk before the game,” Lennon said, grinning.
He also emphasized the importance of connecting the community with wounded veterans, a duty he seemed happy to perform.
“It helps big time, because the warriors get to come out and speak to the kids, not only about their experiences in the military and stuff like that, but it gives a warrior a sense that the community cares,” he continued. “Just having a warrior's presence on the sideline, it really gets them pumped up to get into the game. Any way that I can get the word out to help my fellow Marines or Soldiers, it's great.”
“We help give soldiers benefits not necessarily provided by veterans’ affairs or the government,” said Tim Perkins, co-chair of the Patriot Cup.
Perkins has been working with the Patriot Cup for five years.
“Jamie Klementz, who had a son playing for Navy, brought Navy down to play another school two years in a row, and he had the idea of bringing big time lacrosse to Dallas,” Perkins continued.
To date, the event has raised over 50,000 dollars for the Wounded Warrior Project and is a major draw for the local lacrosse teams who are struggling to build a reputation. In a region of the country traditionally dominated by football, lacrosse is almost as foreign as cricket.
“Yesterday we had a crowd of 300 or 400, I think, for the SMU game—that's a much bigger crowd than they usually get,” Perkins said.
At the end of the day though, it's all about the soldiers.
“We help their families, we help them get back on their feet...serious burns, post-traumatic stress system, serious brain injuries because of the IED's,” Perkins shifted the conversation to a more serious note. “The Wounded Warrior Project has been a great help.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 12:33