As student-athletes and coaches in the AU athletic program, it is each individual’s goal to be better than what he or she was the year before. While each year brings something different for each sport, the year 2020 seems to promise something special.
According to assistant athletic director and women’s soccer coach Jennifer Mhyre, the year “2020 is another opportunity to continue to strengthen each program and see students excel not only on the field but grow in all areas of life.”
Although the year is just beginning, AU has already made strides in making 2020 a successful year. Over winter break, the men’s basketball team climbed to tie for second place in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) making their overall record 8-7 and their record in the HCAC 5-3.
While the Raven men’s basketball team has been successful in sinking their shots, the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams have been more focused on staying afloat. Both the men’s and women’s teams have significantly improved over last season, breaking school records and achieving personal goals.
Men’s and women’s track also represented AU well over the break. The women’s track and field team won two second-place finishes during the UIndy season opener, and the men’s team is home to two recipients of the HCAC athlete of the week award. The athletes are striding toward another successful season and long-jumping toward their personal bests.
The athletes playing each sport have worked to increase their team chemistry, but the coaches have also played their role in bettering the players, according to Athletic Director Marcie Taylor.
“Our coaches are committed to each student-athlete’s success in the classroom and their overall personal development,” said Taylor. “Self-discipline, accountability, receiving feedback and correction well, work ethic and developing a ‘team-first’ mentality versus a ‘me first’ mentality are a few of the areas in which coaches will challenge student-athletes on a daily basis.”
Taylor commended the coaching staff for being committed and fierce competitors. In order to be successful in the spring, the coaches intend to follow suit.
The men’s baseball, women’s softball and men’s and women’s lacrosse teams are gearing up to begin their seasons in the next two weeks. With the lacrosse program being fairly new, students, staff and faculty are anxious to see what the Ravens can bring to the university after having a year under their belt.
However, with two veteran programs like baseball and softball, high expectations are set in place. Both teams qualified for the HCAC postseason conference tournaments last year, and each team aims to build on last year to have another winning season.
Each sport brings something unique to the university, and the assistant outdoor facilities director and softball coach Tony Holloway has grown familiar with the way each sport is connected internally. What’s his advice to make AU an even stronger community?
“I like to see one of our teams intermingle with another team, or even support each other on game day functions,” said Holloway. “I think as athletes begin to buy into what is best for the team, then they start to understand what is best for the athletic program.”
If there is one thing that the AU athletic program understands it is that perseverance is key. Holloway explained that in division three, athletes are bound to have ups and downs, but pushing through the mistakes will teach them lifelong lessons and help develop them into very strong young adults.
“Playing a sport prepares athletes for the ‘game of life,’” agreed Mhyre. “We play to honor God, giving Him our all and competing in a way that brings glory to Him.”
As the sports in progress finish their seasons and the season openers for spring sports draw near, Holloway would like to give athletes and nonathletes alike, the same advice as we dive deeper into 2020.
“Love what you do, and remember that anything you do in life will always have a stop period. Whether it is going to work every day or going to practice every day, it always ends. While you are there you should do the best you can do and enjoy what you’re doing or find something that you enjoy.”