Archive for Sports

Bluffton University Introduces New Head Football Coach

Dorrel, pictured above. 
(photo cred: Marietta College)

Denny Dorrel was introduced as Bluffton University’s new head football coach on Thursday afternoon at a press conference in front of local media outlets, university employees, and current players.

Dorrel comes to Bluffton from Hanover College in Indiana, a rival within the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC). At Hanover, Dorrel served as defensive coordinator. He is also a 2001 graduate of Hanover. Last season, Hanover finished one game in front of Bluffton in both HCAC play (5-3 vs. 4-4) and in overall record (5-5 vs. 4-6).

Dorrel said that as a head coach, “the main goal is to graduate players, period.” Bluffton University Athletics Director, Phill Talavinia, said that this was one of the factors that stood out about Dorrel to the search committee for a new head coach. Talavinia said that the search committee was impressed with Dorrel’s organization and passion, along with his “focus on the student-athletes as being students first; completing their education, and winning both in life and on the field.”

“From this point forward…you are going to see a passionate program,” Dorrel said. Dorrel said that his players will be individuals who are energetic, who fly around, and who do things the right way. Dorrel also expressed that he wants the football program to be “heavily involved in the community and the campus itself.”

Dorrel expressed that he is excited to get started on getting the program “where we all expect it to be, which is winning championships.” He went on to say that “we are so excited to take Bluffton University football to unprecedented heights.”

Dorrel said that his coaching style and philosophy originates from the personalities of his parents. “My father was very tough…and demanding,” said Dorrel. Dorrel said that his father demanded discipline and understood how those traits could be positive when raising a young man. On the other hand, Dorrel explained that his mother was a very nurturing person “who would let you know how important you are.” “I combine those two (personalities) very well, I’m a perfect mixture of my parents,” Dorrel said.

“Bluffton football, from now on, is all going to be about family,” Dorrel said.

Dorrel has also served in previous coaching roles at Marietta College in Ohio and Thomas More College in Kentucky, but Bluffton is his first head coaching role at the college level. Dorrel is filling the open head football coaching vacancy at Bluffton due to the departure of Tyson Veidt, who held the position since 2008. Veidt accepted the position of linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Toledo earlier this year. Veidt posted an overall record regular season record of 20-40 as head coach at Bluffton, but was 17-15 in HCAC play since 2010. Despite a winning record in conference play since 2010, four of Veidt’s losses in that span came against Hanover.

Originally from Brookville, Ind., Dorrel said that he felt like Bluffton was home on the day he drove into town for his interview. Dorrel is married to his wife, Sarah, they have three children.


The DAM Roundup

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Beavers Football Downs Rival Yellow Jackets, 17-10

The Beavers Football team capped their 2013 campaign with a big win at rival Defiance College on Saturday, Nov. 16, after Bluffton outscored the Yellow Jackets 14-3 in the second half and led to a 17-10 victory. The win moved the Beavers to 4-6 this season with a 4-4 mark in the HCAC thanks to a third straight win. It was also the first time since 1985-90 that Bluffton has beaten Defiance four consecutive years. Donovan Brown finished the day with four catches for 71 yards, moving him to 7th all-time in the Bluffton University record book for receiving yards in a season with 676 yards. With his 65-yard performance, Frost moves in behind Brown in the ninth place with 661 yards this season. Brown and Frost also sit one and two in the record book for touchdowns in a season with 10 and eight, respectively. Paul Shroyer led the Beavers with 13 tackles, including nine of the solo variety.

Men’s Basketball Starts 1-1

The Bluffton University men’s basketball team took a 47-27 into the half that led to a season-opening victory over Knox College on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. The Beavers kicked off the Illinois College Tip-Off Tournament with a convincing 86-65 win thanks to a dominating 54-22 edge on points in the paint. Will Pope picked right up where he left off last season, leading all scorers with a career-high 29 points on 13-of-21 shooting from the field. He added five rebounds and three assists for the victors. Recker hit for 16 points on 5-of-7 from the field and he pulled down six boards while draining all six of his free throw attempts. Kinn and Chambers added 13 points apiece.  Kinn also grabbed a game-high seven boards for the Beavers. The Bluffton University men’s basketball team was the victim of a late-game run and fell to the Illinois College Blueboys, 87-82, on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013. The home team was able to close the game on a 6-0 spurt to earn the victory over the Beavers, who fell to 1-1 on the season. Bluffton was led by sophomore big man Thayne Recker who tallied a career-best 25 points, on 10-of-14 shooting, and five boards off the bench. Will Pope chipped in 19 points and eight rebounds. The Beavers will return to action for their home opener as they battle the OSU-Mansfield Mavericks on Copeland Court in the Sommer Center. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 21.

Women’s Basketball Opens Season 1-1

The Bluffton University women’s basketball team showed it is not afraid to play the best when it tipped off the 2013-14 campaign with a matchup against #9 Hope College, a team that advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division III Tournament just eight short months ago. The Flying Dutch built a 49-24 lead at the break and held off the Beavers despite being outscored by Bluffton in the second period. Hope improved to 1-0 and will play in the North Central championship game tomorrow, while the Beavers will hit the court at 1 PM (EST) for the consolation contest. Freshman Rachel Beining led the Beavers with 15 points on 5-of-10 from the field in her first collegiate action. She pulled down five boards, blocked a shot and picked up two steals. Senior Kylee Burkholder and sophomore Kaitlyn Pennekamp just missed double figures with nine points apiece.

Story by: Josh Runda

The DAM Roundup

Last Minute Touchdown Shocks #9 Grizzlies, 24-17

The Beavers shocked the HCAC and voters around the country by taking down the #9 ranked Franklin College Grizzlies on Saturday, Nov. 9, after a late 44-yard touchdown grab by Donovan Brown broke a 17-17 tie and helped the Beavers cap their first win over a top 10 opponent in school history, 24-17. 17 points are the fewest the Grizzlies offense, which averaged 51.3 points per game heading into Saturday.  Sheehan finished the day completing 23-of-38 passes for 260 yards and two touchdowns. Frost and Brown hauled in five of those passes apiece. Frost finished with 126 yards and a touchdown while Brown chipped in with 86 yards and the game-winning touchdown. Sheehan’s two TD passes helped him add to Bluffton’s single-season record as the Beavers have 22 now with one game to play. Eric Fox led the Beaver rushing attack with 26 yards on 15 carries. The junior also added 21 receiving yards on eight receptions. Mike Shroyer had a huge day for the Beavers defense with 16 stops and junior Wyatt Herman and sophomore Ryan Aelkerhad big defensive days while constantly pressuring West, racking up 10 and nine tackles, respectively. Travaun Reeves finished with six tackles and a big interception that he returned 25 yards, while Leopold, Ben Schamp and Josh Hadley also recovered fumbles for the victors.

Women’s Volleyball Captures HCAC Tournament Title, Heads to NCAA Tournament

For the first time since 2009, the lady Beavers have made their way to the NCAA tournament. The Beavers overcame two matches in the tournament down 0-2 too Mt. St. Joseph and Transylvania, before domination Hanover College in the finals, 3-1. The HCAC tournament title gave the Beavers a birth into the NCAA tournament, starting Thursday. The Beavers will travel to Calvin College in Michigan, to face the #10 team in the country, Wittenberg. The match starts are 12:30, all coverage for the tournament can be followed at Live video is available at:

Three Volleyball players Selected First Team

Three Bluffton sophomores were named First Team All-Heartland Conference for their workin the 2013 volleyball season. Jenny Brown collected her second straight First Team All-HCAC award thanks to a dominating effort for the HCAC tournament champions. Setter Brooke Ruffer also picked up her second piece of All-HCAC hardware after earning second team recognition with the women’s basketball team in 2012-13. A superb second half of the season propelled Kendra Parmenter to her first All-HCAC honor. The sophomore outside hitter leads Bluffton with 373 kills

Woman’s Soccer Players Recognized for Their Play this Season

Senior Aimee Whitmer capped her superb career at Bluffton by being named first team All-Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference for the 2013 women’s soccer season. Freshman Abby Karikas was selected honorable mention All-HCAC after anchoring the Beaver defense in her first season at Bluffton.

By: Josh Runda

Bluffton University student sets the bar high

By: Rileigh Zickafoose

Mackenzie Lauber is a freshman at Bluffton University who came to school in hopes to win the HCAC conference in volleyball and to become an Intervention Specialist. She originally committed to Juniata College her Junior year of high school, but felt compelled to go to Bluffton University two weeks before class began.

“I was worried about being accepted by the rest of the volleyball team because I committed so late,” she said. “But, I was welcomed by all of the girls and Coach Yarnell and felt right at home.”

Zickafoose_PIC_02The setter on the volleyball team, Lauber led the team in serving aces and assists and received an honorable mention in the league.

“I love volleyball because it is a team sport and as a setter I get to touch the ball all the time,” Lauber said, adding that Bluffton’s team makes her love for the game stronger.

Lauber, who received a 4.0 GPA last semester, is an Intervention Specialist major who chose her major because her brother has Cerebral Palsy.

“He inspired me to work with handicapped children,” said Lauber. “I volunteered as an aid for his baseball team for handicapped kids. After that, I began to aid for my high school’s special education classroom.”

Lauber was the first student to do so at Madison. She invited two of the kids from the class to be managers for her high school volleyball team.

Her education professor, Tim Byers, said, “Kenzie will be a good intervention specialist. She’s creative, cares about kids and people, and is a good-hearted person.”

Lauber plans on finishing her college and volleyball careers at Bluffton University. She looks forward to continuing her classes, gaining new relationships and developing the ones she has now.

Behind the Guy with the Tattoo, 15 Minutes with Jordan Burdue

By: Josh Runda

When you bring up his name, people often refer to him as the guy around campus with the beaver head burdue photo 2- Josh rundatattoo. Jordan Burdue is a familiar face around the campus at Bluffton University and grew up in Liberty Center, Ohio; from the start he has always showed a love and passion for the game of football. “I finished up my fourteenth season this past spring, and this upcoming spring will be my fifteenth” said Burdue. Jordan will start his second year of semi-professional football this upcoming spring, after playing for the Evansville Rage last year, an indoor semi-professional team; Burdue will play for a team out of Dayton this season.

Aside from his own career focus, Burdue also helps out with the Bluffton University Football team. After four seasons at linebacker, Burdue couldn’t get enough and volunteered as an assistant on head coach Tyson Veidt’s defense. “It was great to work with Coach Burdue in my senior season, he was helpful to our success as a defense this year” said senior outside linebacker Ben Kaufman. This off-season Burdue is helping with the teams conditioning program, along with a full slate of classes and his own workouts to get in. “I would like to stay here in Bluffton and coach full time if that was possible or somewhere in the area close to here” said Burdue about his future plans.

On top of football, coaching, and school, Burdue is a partner in a business that he hopes to get started, called “LTG.” So far the company has produced shirts and wristbands expressing not only the company’s motto, but the motto that Burdue lives by: The dream is forever, the time is now, Love the Grind.


Players Discuss Bluffton University’s Football Programs Improvement

By: Zach Rader

The Bluffton football program has improved in the past four years, going from no wins at all to a six and four record this past season while getting new equipment, coaching staff, facilities, and overall a new personality to the program.

Sophomore Travaun Reaves, a Free Safety on the football team at Bluffton commented on the program and areas related to the program.  Reaves said about the past football season “It has been the best in Bluffton’s history and the best since Head coach Tyson Veidt has been here.”  Reaves said that his favorite part about the program is the “brotherhood” and “the constant competition between the offense and defense” that the players form during their careers at Bluffton.  If money was not an issue, Reaves answered with “I would buy a turf football field and brand new uniforms for the team.”

Freshmen Lance Sheard, an outfielder for the baseball team, spoke about the football program a little differently.  Sheard said “I thought they did pretty good…”  Sheard said his favorite part about the team is the players themselves. Sheard said “I’m really cool with a lot of them and they are really cool, nice guys.”  Sheard closed by saying “if money wasn’t an issue I would buy a new stadium for the team and upgrade the concession stand, get more food in there because it’s a little bland.”

The answers between Reaves and Sheard do differ in some areas about the program but in the end they both speak highly about the program.

BHS Basketball

By: Alyssa Flick

The season of winter can only mean the Basketball season at BHS has kicked off. Hear in the middle of February, Bluffton High has already spoken as to who is good enough for a spot on the team.  Two of the team players being a sophomore named Austin Bricker as well as a junior called Braden Skilliter. According to Bricker, “Basketball is a very good way to having a bunch of fun.

Making the team also means making a lot of friends. “Yea! I have a whole bunch of friends like ten of them, and we all got together and decided to play a bunch of basketball and go for the team.” says Bricker.

In this team of BHS basketball, trying out apparently also has implications of family traditions and expectations, as Braden let on. “When I was younger I wanted to be like my older brother, who played basketball for BHS. So, like him, I joined the Basketball team.” says Skilliter.

Many of the players take great pride in the team, sport and school they play for. In fact the afternoon before every game night, the team players like to let everyone know who they are and who they play for by strutting about the school in dressy, formal clothing. Gaiting through the halls of the school lined with peers saluting and wishing them luck before the game as well as lockers decorated with encouraging posters designed with creative word play illustrating who the soon to be doomed opposition is.

Student Athletes Keep the Faith

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By: Caitlin Nearhood

Kristie Reid and Lindsay Krohn can say that their faith made them stronger through the good and the bad that come with competition. Reid, a sophomore dietetics major, and Krohn, a junior middle childhood education major, utilize their faith in everyday life and in their respective sports.

Trials were endured. “It was toughest to be Christ-like definitely during the games. I know that when I messed up, it was easy to think of something negative,” said Reid, a member of the women’s soccer team. “When coaches or teammates are yelling about something you did wrong, it’s easy to yell back.”

Teammates served as role models, too. “Jenna [Eshleman] was an upperclassman when I first came to Bluffton. Jenna had a contagious spirit, the way she carried herself; the way she invited others to be a part of the program and have faith involved. Jenna was encouraging; she was positive,” said Krohn, a defensive specialist on the volleyball team. “She’s a really great person to look up to and honor God through.”

Nearhood_pic_2 (2)Both agree that it has been an important part in life and in their collegiate sport careers. “It has helped me be a better witness to others, and also to be more positive and have a Christ-like attitude,” said Reid. “It’s really important to incorporate my faith in my sport, especially for the non-Christians on my team. It helps me be that example, to be that bold witness for the Christians on my team, too.”

Krohn echoed the same message. “My faith means everything to me; having God in my life- it’s the most important thing.”

Both give credit to Fellowship of Christian Athletes for strengthening their faith and for encouragement during the season and off-season, as well.


Bluffton University’s New Sports Center


By: Lauren Volosin

            Bluffton University has been waiting for this very moment to come for years now. It is what every athlete has been dying for to come since the second they got to Bluffton. The Sommer Center has finally arrived. This new workout facility and gym has so much to offer for Bluffton athletics, especially for the biggest team on campus, football. Before the Sommer Center, there was only one small workout room that students were able to use. The football team, alone has almost one-hundred students on it, imagine trying to fit them into one small workout facility plus the thirteen other sports that need to use the equipment as well, not to mention all the non-student athletes that just want to workout for their own good. Now that the Sommer Center has arrived, everyone gets a chance to do so.

Now that the Sommer Center is up, there is plenty room for improvement and time to grow as a team. “Its new state of the art weight lifting facility has really brought our team to become more powerful and conditioned,” said Drake Harrington, a junior football player at Bluffton. The Sommer Center was a great investment and it will bring more positive things to the football team and every other student at Bluffton. “Yea I defiantly think it’s beneficial, anytime that you can add a facility like that to a place like this, it’s going to be beneficial. Especially seeing from where we’ve came from to what we have right now, I think it will help us out a lot,” said Paul Shroyer, a sophomore football player from Bluffton University.

Bluffton University Football

Faith, compete, perform, finish, fearless, and PWACOYS (play with a chip on your shoulder) are words that were consistently used by each Bluffton University football player.  The Bluffton football is enjoying it’s first winning season since the year 2000.  Over the past three seasons, the Bluffton football team has continually improve in all areas of football, but particularly in the mental aspect of the game.  This year’s seniors on the football team went through a winless season their freshman year here at Bluffton and that experienced seemed to motivate them to train and work harder than they ever have before and bring some victories to Bluffton University.

We interviewed junior, wide receiver Shawn Frost and when asked why the team had so much success this year he told us that “we worked together, but most importantly we worked hard, and that is what made us into the team we were this season.”  Frost is a leader of Bluffton’s football program and his teammates treat him as such.

Sophomore, back-up quarterback Nick Sheehan is expected to be the starting quarterback next year for the beavers and he stated that “Bluffton’s football program has grown tremendously over the past few years.  The coaches have done a great job recruiting and the players have done a great job consistently working hard in the off-season.  When you mix a hard-working coaching staff with hard-working players, the results are always going to turn out pretty well for the program.”

Freshman running back, Calib Alexander made a huge impact for the Beavers.  He has tremendous speed and strength that allowed him to be able to compete as true freshman in this tough HCAC football conference.  “The reason I decided to come here is because I believed in Coach Veidt’s (Bluffton’s Head football coach) system and qualities.  I also enjoyed how close of a bond I was able to form with the members of my team.  That made my transition here so much easier” Alexander stated.  When we asked Alexander what was the final factor that made him decide to come from Florida, all the way up to Bluffton University and he simply said, “PWACOYS. Plain and simple it was our motto PWACOYS.”

The only senior that we interviewed was linebacker Josh Runda.  Runda is the type of player that purely leads with his actions on and off the field.  He is a tremendous tackler and is known to give the Beavers defense that spark that seemed to be able to turn games around for them.  “We believed and relied on one another this season.  If we had a bad attitude, it was towards our opponents and we used that to motivate us on the field.  And not to mention the mindset and motto that we all went by PWACOYS.  If we did not have faith in that and God, then this season would not have gone as well as it had” said Runda. Hh

The Beavers record at the end of the season consisted of six wins and four loses.  The Beavers had notable wins against quality teams such as, Mount St. Joe (Cincinnati, OH), Rose-Hulman Institution (Terre Haute, IN), Anderson University (Anderson, IN), and several other quality teams.  The beavers four loses came from very good teams, but each team Bluffton had the ability to beat.  The Beavers most notable lost came from Franklin University (Franklin, IN), which this Franklin team was nationally ranked #19 in the country in division III.  The final score of the game was 23-9 with a Franklin victory, however, the Beavers played them very well and had made it the closest game that Franklin had against any opponent all year.

Every single victory for the Beavers was special but none were more exciting than the final game of the season when the (5-4) Beavers faced their big rival the (2-7) Defiance Yellow Jackets.  This rival game was a thriller from the moment it began.  Bluffton had struck first and led throughout most of the game, but there was no quit in Defiance and they fought back and tied the game so it would go into overtime.  However, the Beavers proved to be too much for the Yellow Jackets and pulled out a stunning 27-24 victory in double overtime.  This victory had taken the Beavers record to 6 wins and 4 loses which provided them not only with their first winning record in 10 years, but also the beavers head coach Tyson Veidt’s first winning season in his tenure at Bluffton University.

The Bluffton Beavers football team has accomplished a lot this season and made a great deal of progress as a program, but they are not satisfied with where they are.  The coaching staff, along with the players are more determined than ever to continue to commit to their principle of PWACOYS and continue to improve in every possible way so that in the future they can become a legitimate, powerhouse football program.  Every day there are Bluffton football players in the new Somer Center weight room working hard and trying to continue to better not only themselves, but the entire Bluffton football program.

Written By: Lawrence Ervin and Delano Whidbee