Column: Daring to be great

UTA’s athletics programs will dare to be great. That’s the vision statement. UTA’s athletics programs will win. That’s the mission statement. While there are several steps between those statements and their realizations, each of the university’s sports teams has shown commitment to the vision and ability to complete the mission.

The volleyball team had a 25-win season and lost just nine times. The women’s basketball team made the largest turnaround in NCAA Division I, as the Mavericks increased their win total by 13 games from the previous season. The men’s basketball team had the second-best scoring offense in the conference. The men’s tennis team was nationally ranked for the first time in three years and defeated perennial powerhouses, University of Pennsylvania and Southern Methodist University. The women’s tennis team went 16-6 and lost just one regular-season conference game.

Each of the aforementioned teams played in the postseason. The golf team finished second in the Sun Belt Championship on Tuesday. The softball team has clinched a berth in its Sun Belt tournament. If the Sun Belt tournament started today, the baseball team would be in. The volleyball team advanced to the conference championship semifinals. Men’s track and field finished second place Sun Belt Conference indoor championships. The women’s tennis team lost by one point in the Sun Belt Championship. The women’s cross-country team won the Sun Belt Championship.

For now, the women’s cross-country team is the only UTA team that can call itself Sun Belt champion, but each of the 12 UTA teams dared to be great during the 2014-15 year and small steps in the next couple seasons could promise the chance to be champions and complete the mission.

Note: UTA’s student athletes performed better than ever in the classroom during the fall semester, as the Mavericks posted a school record with a 3.073 GPA overall for the fall semester.

-Kevin Cushingberry Jr.

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