The Journal’s top sports moments
Sunday, 06 January 2013 by Tony Adams
Editor's note: This is the first part in a two-part series highlighting the year in sports in Belton.
2012 has been loaded with triumphs and accomplishments, both team-oriented and individually. From the remarkable Mary Hardin-Baylor football run through the NCAA Division III Playoffs to Belton High School Softball returning to glory and from Wolf Mahler's second AAU Junior Decathlon Title to Taylor O'Rear's stellar golfing at UMHB, there are plenty of feel good stories all around Belton this year.
And I would be remiss to not mention the new scoreboard at Tiger Field and the building of Crusader Stadium. 2013 is looking up already!
I have only been at The Belton Journal for two months now. Being a former drummer in the Marching 100, I left Belton in 1986 to serve our country in the United States Navy from 1987 to 1998. After the Navy, I pursued a career in sports broadcasting. Being a former play-by-play announcer for hockey and arena football, I still pick up the microphone on occasion co-hosting a baseball talk show on the internet on Mondays during baseball season.
I wanted to come back to Belton to cover sports here and the journey back has been very enjoyable so far. To see how our area sports have grown by leaps and bounds since I moved away in 1986 is not only inspirational, but mind-blowing as well. Former classmates are now educators and coaches. Their children are now student athletes. It is great to come back to Belton and write about their accomplishments on a weekly basis.
To all of the coaches, educators, parents and student-athletes, thank you for all that you do for the community. You make our profession not a job, but a part of your life.
I have selected many of the top area sports stories of 2012 that will be published over the next two weeks.
Thank you for all of your support in 2012. From all of us at The Belton Journal, we hope you have a wonderful and prosperous year in 2013.
UMHB advances to NCAA DIII Semifinals
A major story that captivated the community in November and December was the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor Crusader football team.
The Crusaders finished the 2012 season with a 13-1 record, which ended in a 48-35 loss to eventual the NCAA Division III National Champions Mount Union. The Cru finished with a No. 2 ranking in the AFCA Division III poll and a No. 3 ranking in the D3football.com poll.
Senior quarterback LiDarral Bailey, linebacker Javicz Jones and defensive back Brodrick Crain guided the Cru to one of its most successful seasons in school history.
Post season awards were plentiful for the Cru in 2012. Coach Pete Fredenburg received ASC Co-Coach of the Year and AFCA Southern Region of NCAA Division III Coach of the Year. Jones was ASC Defensive Player of the Year, D3Football.com South Region Defensive Player of the year, NCAA AFCA Division III All-American and AP Little All-American. Bailey was named D3Football.com Offensive Player of the Year.
Bailey's amazing athleticism in the DIII Playoffs was etched in time on the touchdown pass he tossed to Caleb Moore against Wesley College. It is a picture that defines the fighting spirit of "Cru-Ball".
UMHB placed 18 players on the ASC All-Conference Teams.
2013 should be a great year for Cru Football. With the new stadium opening on campus, UMHB Football continues to grow by leaps and bounds.
BHS volleyball qualifies for playoffs after 0-13 season
One of the biggest and brightest stories from out of Belton High School was the turnaround of the BHS Volleyball Team. Under first-year coach Stacy Meyers, the Tigers underwent a total transformation from the 2011 0-13 slide to qualify for Bi-District in 2012.
With a 7-5 12-5A district record and 27-14 overall, the Lady Tigers qualified for the 5A-I UIL Volleyball tournament. Although the season ended with a hard fought loss to Cedar Hill in three sets, the Lady Tigers bring back a core for the 2013 that will keep Belton in the midst of the District 8-5A playoff mix.
BHS swim teams primed for another district appearance
The swimming teams at Belton High School had an absolute banner 2012. Rounding out the year with a successful showing at the Belton Prelims in mid-December, the teams did amazingly well.
In the first part of 2012, Belton set 83 records. They finished second in district in 2011-2012 and are primed for another district appearance in 2012-2013. The waters at the Potts Swimming Center have never been hotter.
Mahler wins 2nd straight AAU Junior Decathlon
Wolf Mahler not only won for the second consecutive year, he dominated the field. Finishing more than 1,000 points higher than his second place competition, Mahler won five of the 10 events and his total of 7,274 points. Mahler won the 440 (49.76), discus (147 feet) javelin (171-6), 1,500 4:32 and 100 (11.13). He tied for first in the pole vault.
Tiger Field gets new scoreboard
With the continued improvements to Tiger Field, a welcomed addition is coming in 2013: a state-of-the-art scoreboard.
Similar to the scoreboards at Copperas Cove, Killeen, and Waco Midway, the new scoreboard has video replay capabilities and stands higher than the original.
The control center for the new jumbo-tron will be operated out of the Belton High School Audio-Visual Department. It promises to be a huge operation and success for not only Belton High School's Athletic Department, but the Belton High School's Tiger Productions Group as well.
UMHB breaks ground on on-campus stadium
Poised for a 2013 September season opener, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football is moving on campus. After spending its entirety at Belton High School's Tiger Field, the Cru leaves behind the friendly confines of the Big Red Nation to their new digs next to the Mayborn Campus Center
Crusader Stadium is on schedule for completion in time for the 2013 season opener.
UMHB women's golf team continues winning
Mary Hardin-Baylor Women's Golf continued its winning tradition by adding a second consecutive American Southwest Conference Championship.
Taylor O'Rear was instrumental in the success of the 2012 team, not only in the conference run, but the fall season as well. O'Rear would set a school record by shooting a two round score of 143, shattering the record score of 149 she tied just one week earlier.
Coach Darla Kirby stepped aside and gave way to longtime pro golfer Nancy Taylor-Capps. Capps would navigate the Cru through a hugely success fall season, ending 2012 with a No. 4 Div. III national ranking.
Taylor O'Rear named to All-West Region Team (5/17). Hires Nancy Taylor-Capps as new golf coach (7/26).
BHS baseball team makes another run in playoffs
Belton Baseball had plenty of highlight moments during the 2012 campaign, which included a deep playoff run and Bi-District Championship.
Senior pitchers Hunter Houston and Blayten Magana hurled masterfully throughout the season. Houston tossed a five-inning no-hitter to open up the playoffs against North Mesquite.
Though they fell to district nemesis Bryan, the Tigers had plenty to cheer about in 2012.