SACE February Champions of the Month

WACO, TX – MJ Ruhman (soccer), Dale Bonner (men’s basketball), Cate Urbani (women’s cross country) and Lauren Briseño (volleyball) have been selected as the Student-Athlete Center for Excellence (SACE) February Champions.

This award recognizes student-athletes who achieve their personal best in the areas of academic achievement, athletic achievement, character building, and spiritual growth.

Each of these student-athletes was named by a member of the SACE team based on their embodiment of each of the four pillars.

Named to the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll for the fall 2021 semester, Ruhman has a 3.71 GPA this semester as a pre-engineering major. “He always shows a positive attitude and helps those around him,” assistant coach Brandon Stanley said. “It’s a pleasure to be with MJ and it’s the very definition of academic success.”

A freshman from The Woodlands, MJ is the son of former Texas A&M and NFL offensive lineman Chris Ruhman. “The academics at Baylor are a great tool that will help me achieve my goal of becoming an electrical engineer,” said MJ, “and will help me pursue many great careers through this through connections at Baylor.”

After transferring from Division II Fairmont State, Bonner played a significant role in helping the third-ranked men’s basketball team win their second consecutive Big 12 regular season championship and also scored their 1,000and career point this season. Dale, a junior communications graduate from Shaker Heights, Ohio, said, “Being recognized for my success on and off the court means a lot.”

Bonner, a SAAC representative who completed the Leadership Institute last fall, “really exemplified what it means to be an elite student-athlete,” said Lauren Kirby, Director of Learning Support. “He regularly shows up to college appointments with a productive and positive attitude. Dale is always prepared and proactive in his communication with faculty and support staff.”

Urbani, who traveled to FCA on Advance Weekend February 11-13, didn’t let an injury stop him “from growing in his faith and encouraging others to do the same,” said John Maurer, Director of the Ministry of Sports. She was a standout runner at the Aggie Opener cross-country meet in the fall, placing 25and with a 4.1K time of 15:19.6.

“Through the FCA and the Baylor Sports Ministry, God is providing a group of brothers and sisters in Christ,” said Cate, a freshman from Bellaire, Texas, majoring in exercise physiology and religion. “FCA is especially meaningful as we all connect through sport as well as through shared faith. We are moving to Christ in the struggles we have all been through…staying engaged in our sport while keeping our identity in God.”

Briseño, a rookie libero/defensive specialist from San Antonio, was one of five Baylor players who competed in the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team Open Program Feb. 25-27 in Colorado Springs. Playing in every game and in all but one set for the Bears in the fall, she averaged 1.84 digs per set and finished with seven service aces.

Majoring in health, kinesiology, and recreation studies, Briseño is poised to earn her personal best and a spot on the Big 12 honor roll this semester. “She worked hard coming to the study hall regularly, even beyond the required number of hours, being really engaged in her tutoring sessions and one-on-one academic meetings,” said assistant academic coach Caitlyn. Shumate. Lauren said, “The Baylor varsity community prepares its athletes for success. I am beyond grateful for the opportunities they have given me to chart my career path.”

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