The strength of Orediggers

by | Oct 8, 2018 | Fall 2018, Inside Mines | 0 comments

Alumni in action

Mines’ athletic rosters will have an unusual look this school year: 13 alumni will be competing for the Orediggers.

That’s right, alumni.

This year will see a group of student-athletes put on the blue and silver having already earned a bachelor’s degree from Mines, continuing to lead their teams while working toward master’s degrees. While not unheard of—a typical year might see three or four students pull off the feat—the sheer number of graduates on Mines rosters this year is by far the most in school history.  

How can a student-athlete double up on their degrees while still competing? In NCAA Division II, student-athletes get five consecutive years to use four seasons of eligibility. They can “redshirt” for a year at any point in that span, which means they can practice with the team but not compete, and there is the possibility of gaining a sixth season of eligibility if an injury forces them to miss all or most of a season. 

Student-athletes who end up with remaining eligibility after finishing their undergraduate degrees have three choices: give up that eligibility and go into the workforce, transfer to another institution for graduate school and play there or stay at Mines and continue to play while earning a master’s degree. Cross country and track & field runner Chloe Cook ’18 chose the latter.

“It feels like I’m still part of the team, and I’m so integrated with the program it still feels the same at practice,” Cook said. An all-American in the indoor mile in 2018, Cook earned her bachelor’s degree in metallurgical and materials engineering this past May and is now pursuing a master’s degree in materials science. She had a medical hardship waiver earlier in her athletic career that allowed her to extend her time at Mines. “It’s more the schedule with school and research that will change. There might be days we can’t make it to practice because we have a late class or we’re finishing up something in the lab, whereas in undergrad, our schedule was more defined.”

Cook isn’t sure what her future holds, with options of going into industry or possibly law school to study patent law.

“It’s pretty exciting to have the degree and know that even though what I’m doing now isn’t necessary, I really like what I’m doing,” she said. “I could go out in the workforce now, and a Mines degree is such a valuable one to have.”

It’s a similar story for Grant Colligan ’18, a six-time all-American for the cross country and track & field programs. The 2017 RMAC cross country champion, Colligan redshirted earlier in his career and earned his bachelor’s degree in metallurgical and materials engineering last May. Now, he’s looking forward to finding a new balance as his academic career moves more from the classroom to the lab.

“My program, which is extractive metallurgy, is almost entirely research. It’s a lot better for running because I can decide when I want to go and do work, and I can kind of make my own schedule,” Colligan explained. “And since I have an extra year in school next year, I can still be around and help out with the team.”

Coaches love the opportunity to have graduate students on their teams. This year, the Mines football program will have four graduate students—Logan Bock ’17, Matthew King ’17, Miguel Rosendo ’18 and Chantz Tanner ’17—and head coach Gregg Brandon points to the leadership qualities they bring to the team.

“They’re coaches on the field—they help in meetings and overall leadership,” Brandon said. His program historically has had the majority of Mines student-athletes pursuing graduate degrees, largely because nearly every football student-athlete redshirts as a freshman. “If I could have 12 of them every year, I’d take them.”

Mines graduates competing in 2018-19

Logan Bock ’17 football

Ben Clare ’18 basketball

Grant Colligan ’18 cross country/track & field

Chloe Cook ’18 cross country/track & field

Josh Hoskinson ’18 cross country/track & field

Matthew King ’17 football

Michaela Reynolds ’18 cross country/track & field

Miguel Rosendo ’18 football

Brandon Saunders ’18 wrestling

Declan Schade ’18 track & field

Ben Schneiderman ’17 cross country/track & field

Dom Smith ’18 swimming

Chantz Tanner ’17 football

Mines Wins Third Straight RMAC All-Sports Cup

Mines Athletics took home the RMAC All-Sports Cup in July 2018, marking the third consecutive year that Mines has stood at the top of the rankings as the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference’s top overall athletic department. 

Mines’ All-Sports Cup win came after a fantastic 2017-18 season that saw the Orediggers win RMAC championships in men’s soccer, volleyball, men’s cross country, men’s indoor and outdoor track & field and men’s golf, compiling 927.5 points in the cup standings to notch the second-highest point total ever. 

In addition to the RMAC honor, Mines finished sixth in the national Learfield Directors’ Cup standings, the program’s best-ever showing. Mines is only the third institution to win the Cup three times in a row.

“It’s an honor, and it’s an amazing testament to our student-athletes, our coaches and our staff,” said director of athletics David Hansburg about the Cup. “The RMAC as a whole has gotten stronger and stronger over the years, so the competition is always really good and continues to get better. Winning it three years in a row is an amazing feeling.”

Hansburg accepted the cup at the RMAC Awards Banquet on July 13, 2018, in Colorado Springs. That event also saw track & field alumna Hannah Davey Briggs ’06 inducted into the RMAC Hall of Fame. Briggs enjoyed an outstanding running career that she capped with the 2006 NCAA Division II steeplechase title. The only national champion in Mines women’s track & field history, Briggs was also a national silver medalist in the distance medley relay and a three-time all-American overall. She was inducted into the Mines Hall of Fame in 2010.

In addition, Mines’ RMAC Coaches of the Year from 2017-18 were recognized, including Chris Siemers (men’s cross country), Greg Mulholland (men’s soccer), Tyler Kimble (golf) and Matt Sparks (men’s indoor and outdoor track & field). Three Orediggers teams earned Brechler Awards for their classroom performance, with baseball, men’s swimming and wrestling all earning the top team GPAs in their respective sports.  

Mines’ new skipper

Mines baseball has a new skipper as assistant coach Robby Bales was promoted to head coach on August 7, 2018. Bales had been an assistant coach through the most successful stretch in Mines baseball history, including the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance this past spring. He replaces Jerod Goodale, who accepted the head coaching position at his alma mater, Fort Hays State University.

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