Mines’ Teams Continue to Shine
Coming off what was arguably the best year in its history, Colorado School of Mines Athletics had big shoes to fill entering the 2016 fall season. So how did the Orediggers respond? With four RMAC championships, an RMAC Tournament title and five NCAA Championships appearances. Here is a closer look at another historic fall season for Mines Athletics:
The rise of Mines cross country continued as the men’s team— the 2015 national champions—again made history with the program’s first-ever RMAC and NCAA South Central regional championships. Mines had one of the most dominant RMAC Championships runs ever with five of the top six finishers. The women’s team continued its development to qualify for NCAA Championships for the third straight season, finishing fourth at regionals in Denver. Both teams were nationally ranked, with the men spending much of the season at number one in the nation.
Mines football won the 21st conference championship in program history, earning a trip to the NCAA Championship. Led by record-shattering quarterback Justin Dvorak, the RMAC Offensive Player of the Year, and national receiving touchdowns leader Brody Oliver, the Orediggers recovered from two early losses to rattle off seven straight wins to end the regular season. Their reward was the program’s fourth NCAA Championship tournament selection. Mines compiled 20 all-RMAC players as it led the nation in total offense and passing offense.
Mines golf captured the RMAC regular-season championship, winning the RMAC #1 tournament and placing second at the RMAC #2 to win the program’s fifth RMAC title overall. A young Oredigger squad led by freshmen Tim Amundson and Nic Beno and sophomore George Markham, with only one senior, Taylor MacKay, in the line-up shows that the spring season will be one to look forward to.
Mines women’s soccer has been a veritable dynasty in the RMAC over the past decade, and that didn’t change in 2016. The Orediggers finished the regular season as the RMAC champions and went on to host and win their sixth consecutive conference tournament, earning them the region’s top seed and the right to host the first four rounds of NCAA Championships play. Defender Emily Garnier became only the second player in conference history to be named both the RMAC Player of the Year and the Defender of the Year, while Sam Zumbro earned the Goalkeeper of the Year honor.
After their historic 2015 season, men’s soccer was bitten by the injury bug as they went 10-6-3 in 2016. There were plenty of positives, however, as Mines qualified for the RMAC Tournament behind all-region selections Niki Grotz, Trevor Amann and John Haist. Amann was selected as the RMAC Freshman of the Year with his 13 goals. And the best news? Men’s soccer returns every player on its roster for 2017.
Despite graduating a celebrated core of seniors from the 2015 team, Mines volleyball reloaded and spent the entire season ranked in the AVCA Top 25. The Orediggers earned the RMAC’s #2 seed in the tournament and qualified for their eighth consecutive NCAA Championships. Individually, Mines was led by RMAC Academic Player of the Year and Co-Defensive Player of the Year Taryn Huber and all-time kills record-setter Alanna Winfield.