A strong finish

by | Apr 12, 2019 | Inside Mines, Spring 2019

A win 96 years in the making

The 96-year history of the Mines wrestling program has seen plenty of success. The Orediggers have had seven national champions, five national top-10 team finishes, 50 all-Americans and numerous Mines and RMAC Hall of Famers go through the program. But one historic win always eluded the team: a conference championship.

That all changed on February 6, 2019, when the Orediggers defeated rival Colorado Mesa 23-11 to clinch a share of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championship. The accomplishment came as Mines finished 11-3 in dual meets (their most wins in the modern era) and 6-1 in the RMAC. The Orediggers shared the title with a team it had previously beat—Western Colorado University—as both ended up with the same record.

The success didn’t stop there. Mines went on to earn a #13 national ranking from the National Wrestling Coaches Association and finished fifth at the NCAA
Super Region VI Championships to mark an incredible eight-place improvement over their 2018 finish. In the process, Mines qualified four wrestlers to the
NCAA Division II Championships—Noah Ottum (149 pounds), Skyler Lykins (157 pounds), Robert Gambrell (174 pounds) and Weston Hunt (285 pounds)—which represented the first time in more than a decade that Mines had sent multiple grapplers to nationals.

The postseason awards reflected the team’s in-season success. Five Orediggers were named All-RMAC, with head coach Austin DeVoe earning both RMAC and NWCA regional coach of the year honors. Hunt won the NCAA Super Region VI championship at heavyweight, while a conference-best 16 team members were named to the RMAC All-Academic teams, including four First-Team Academic All-RMAC honorees.

Men’s basketball

Chalk up another Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championship for the Mines men’s basketball team. The Orediggers tore through the regular season with a dominating 21-1 conference record to win their fifth RMAC regular-season title this decade under head coach Pryor Orser. Led by RMAC Player of the Year Ben Sonnefeld and Co-Defensive Player of the Year Ben Clare, the Orediggers set a program record with a 22-game win streak during the season and reached as high as #11 in the national polls. Mines earned its sixth consecutive bid to the NCAA Tournament, thanks to a 25-5 overall record in the regular season.

Men’s and women’s swimming

The men’s swimming team finished third and the women fourth at the 2019 RMAC Championships meet in Lewisville, Texas, and both teams found plenty of individual success in the process. For the men, Peyton Scherschel capped off a terrific season by being named the RMAC Swimmer of the Year, and Jonathan Donehower won the RMAC championship in the 400 IM event. The women’s team was led by Mia Wood (pictured), who swept all three distance gold medals at RMAC Championships (in the 500, 1000 and 1650 freestyle) and went on to become an all-American at NCAA Championships for the third consecutive year. Daphne Williams also repeated as an All-American at NCAAs in the 100 butterfly.

Indoor track & field

The Mines indoor track & field teams had another successful winter, capped by 13 all-American performances at the 2019 NCAA Division II Championships in Pittsburg, Kansas. That meet saw the men finishing 12th nationally and the women 27th, highlighted by national bronze medals for the men’s distance medley relay of Vincent Workman, Triston Sisneros, Miller Kettle, Luke Julian and Josh Hoskinson (pictured) in the men’s 5,000-meter run. Chloe Cook led the women’s individual performances with a fourth-place mile finish.

Women’s basketball

With an exciting young core in place, the Mines women’s basketball team finished fourth in the RMAC regular-season standings, going 18-11 overall and 14-8 in RMAC play. Guided by RMAC Freshman of the Year Denali Pinto (pictured), Mines advanced to the semifinals of the RMAC Tournament for the first time in a decade. Nicole Archambeau and Raven Herrera were also named all-RMAC after the season, and Pinto, who led the team in scoring with 14.2 points per game as a rookie, also earned a First-Team All-RMAC nod.

For more on Mines athletics, visit minesathletics.com.