Orediggers Aim High

by | Oct 10, 2016 | Fall 2016, Inside Mines

David Hansburg stands next to Chris Graham, holding the 2016 RMAC All-Sports Cup.

Mines Athletic Director David Hansburg accepts the RMAC All-
Sports Cup from Commissioner Chris Graham on July 9, 2016.
(Photo credit: Tim Flynn)

There’s no question that 2015–16 was the most successful year ever for Colorado School of Mines athletics. And the even better news? The best is yet to come.

In July 2016, Mines accepted the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference All-Sports Competition Cup for only the second time in its history, recognizing the top overall athletic program in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Impressively, Mines scored more points in the cup standings (937 out of a possible 1,000) than any other team in the 24-year history of the competition. The win was the Orediggers’ first RMAC All-Sports Cup since the 2011-12 season, and Mines has not finished lower than third place since, including a runner-up last year.

The RMAC All-Sports Cup was the capstone on an incredible year that included Mines’ first team national championship (men’s cross country), five RMAC regular-season championships, three RMAC tournament titles and bucketloads of individual honors.

The Mines women's soccer team poses on the field with a flag announcing their RMAC tournament championship win.

The Mines women’s soccer team won the RMAC tournament
championship, the fifth consecutive tournament cup since 2011.
(Photo credit: Tim Flynn)

“Mines had a monumental year, the best in school history,” said Director of Athletics David Hansburg. “It was just an outstanding effort by our coaches and student-athletes. It was really fun, and even the teams that didn’t get the accolades have been rapidly improving.”

Most importantly, all that success came without losing sight of the ultimate goal for Oredigger student-athletes: their academics. Mines student-athletes notched a 3.139 cumulative grade point average in the 2015–16 school year, higher than the general student body’s 3.092 average, and their graduation rate was 82 percent compared to 77 percent for non-athletes. Eleven Orediggers earned Academic All-America honors (an all-time high), while men’s swimming, baseball, basketball, football, and women’s outdoor track & field each won RMAC Brechler Awards for having the highest team GPA among their peers. Mines’ five Brechler Awards were a league best.

“I’m so impressed by what our student-athletes do academically,” Hansburg said. “They face academic challenges unlike any other school in NCAA Division II, and their dedication shows every day.”

The 2016–17 season has the potential to be even better. Several Mines programs are in the midst of dynasties: women’s soccer
has won five straight RMAC crowns, and volleyball has won four, while others like women’s basketball and men’s indoor track & field are coming off their first-ever titles with young but experienced teams. And there are other success stories ready to be written, like a baseball program that had its best record ever in the spring of 2016 and a resurgent wrestling program that notched its best record since the 1960s. The best is indeed yet to come.

For more on Mines athletics, visit minesathletics.com