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Concordia's Ronin McCraw
Concordia Lutheran, the perennial State Title contender, is back for another successful Spring season on the diamond with talent oozing out of the TAPPS power.
Per the usual, expectations will be high from this consistently exceptional Crusaders roster that includes TCU-commit Nolan Traeger (C), Auburn-signee Alex Petrovic (RHP) and Baylor-commit Michael Herndon (Utility Player).
But there is a future star who is getting a lot of buzz -- freshman shortstop Ronin McCraw.
Before joining the Concordia baseball program, McCraw has already received acclaim for his performance. Following his time spent in the elite select baseball leagues, McCraw committed to play for Texas A&M as one of the nation's top young prospects.
“I chose to play for A&M since it’s close to home,” said McCraw. “They’re in the SEC, so I might as well play in the best conference in college, and just get better as a player. I’m really pleased to get that opportunity since my dad has always taught me to push for it. You know, your work is going to show what you’re capable of. You don’t have to talk the talk, if your work does it for you.”
McGraw is going to draw from the stars already wearing the blue and white.
“Something I expect of the upperclassmen is for them to keep me accountable,” McCraw said. “I want them to be on me as much as they can because they know what it takes to be a part of a championship-caliber team. That will be really beneficial for me.”
The young infielder will be an important asset to the Crusaders’ defense, but his hitting ability will be a vital addition to the team in their seemingly-inevitable playoff run. Despite the fact that the team hasn’t won a Championship since 2015, it’s becoming more evident that Concordia Lutheran is due for a ring.
“Last year, the team lost in the State Semis,” said McCraw. “So, this year our goal is to take it further and win State. We want our revenge this year and we’ll be working to get it.”
Concordia Lutheran's Jace Jeffries
Concordia Lutheran basketball is enjoying an impressive start to their regular season, going 16-5 before beginning their district matchups, which will have a significant impact on postseason seeding.
One player, in particular, has shown he has a penchant for executing the little things and making his presence known on the court. Jace Jeffries - the 5-foot-11 point guard has proven he can be relied upon for leadership and big play-making ability. He's a big piece to the puzzle in the Crusaders' imminent playoff campaign.
“It has taken a lot of hours of just being in the gym and working on my craft to get where I’m at today,” said Jeffries. “Keeping my head down and staying consistent, day in and day out over the years has me ready for these types of moments.”
Concordia has become prolific in taking advantage of turnovers in fast-break scenarios, as well as the overall speed among its talented roster.
“Our greatest strength is how fast we play and being able to score in transition,” Jeffries said. “I don’t think a lot of teams can keep up with us and it leads to plenty of easy baskets, which can really help us in close games.”
2022-23 Concordia Lutheran BasketballBradley Collier (Vype)
Following his transfer from St. Thomas this past year, Jeffries has been waiting for the opportunity to establish himself as a leader at Concordia Lutheran. Patience is a virtue, one that he learned from his mother.
“My role model has to be my mom,” said Jeffries. “She taught me how to work hard and always stay the course. She instilled a mentality in me to never get impatient because your turn is always coming.”
Jeffries has ambitions of leading the district in assists and earning first-team, all-district honors this season. He acknowledged that the time he has spent as a Crusader has made him gracious for the opportunity to improve himself and help him to achieve his goals.
“My time at Concordia has meant a lot to me,” Jeffries said. “They welcomed me with open arms and have treated me like family since day one. Coach Honeck, Coach Jake, Coach Carter, Coach Blue, and my whole team always push me to be the best version of myself. I am beyond thankful for them.”