Securing a major milestone

by | Apr 7, 2023 | Inside Mines, Spring 2023 | 0 comments

Mines women's track and field team

Mines’ women’s track & field has had plenty of national champions and all-Americans in its decorated history, but one major program milestone had eluded the Orediggers: A Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championship.

That changed on February 25, 2023, when the Mines women captured the 2023 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Indoor Track & Field title in Alamosa, Colorado, marking a historic first for the program. The Orediggers’ team depth contributed to dethroning three-time defending champion University of Colorado Colorado Springs as Mines outdueled the Mountain Lions to a 10.5-point victory. It was the fifth RMAC championship under head coach Matt Sparks, who had previously led the men’s program  to four conference crowns. 

Among the individual highlights were a podium sweep of the pole vault led by champion Hannah Miller, silver medalist Avery Herbold and bronze medalist Dale Thompson. Lexye Wood won the long jump competition as well. The final event that sealed the championship was a dominant five-second victory by the 4×400 relay that included Amena Nelson, Grace Galvin, Randi Higashi and Aryelle Wright. 

It was a true team effort as Mines needed top-eight individual performances to score team points in addition to its medalists. Among the point scorers for Mines were five runners in the top seven of the 5,000m, including silver medalist Zoe Baker along with Jenna Ramsey, Brin Strouse, Holly Moser and Molly Maksin; the distance medley relay of Alex Raichart, Allison Comer, Mackenzie Duck and Clare Peters finishing fifth; Avery Wright coming in fourth in the pentathlon and fifth in the 60m hurdles; Nelson winning bronze in the 400m along with finalists Galvin and Higashi; Peters and Raichart individually scoring in the mile; and Aryelle Wright placing fourth in the 800m. 

Two late events, the 3,000m run and the shot put, proved critical to Mines’ winning margin as Baker added another silver medal and Maksin and Ramsey finished fourth and fifth on the track, while Kitt Rupar placed sixth in the shot put in the final field event.

Three athletes stand on a tiered podium.

Mines alum becomes track & field world champion

It was quite a 2022 for three-time Mines grad Mark Husted ’09, MS ’10, PhD ’19. The former Oredigger track & field star and Mines Athletics Hall of Famer was a six-time all-American and two-time NCAA champion as a student-athlete and a two-time national champion as a coach with the Mines cross-country program. In the summer of 2022, he added an even more impressive title: world champion.

Husted competed in the World Masters Athletics Outdoor Championships in Tampere, Finland in early July, which is a competition for athletes 35 years and older across a range of age brackets. Husted won the 5000m world championship in a time of 14:43.27, was the silver medalist in the 1500m in 3:52.55 and placed fourth in the 800m in 1:54.86. 

As a result of his success on the global stage, Husted was named the 2022 Colorado Masters Track Athlete of the Year by USA Track & Field, a prestigious honor in a state known for its competitive distance racing. 

As an assistant coach with the Mines distance running program, Husted also had a hand in three national championships in 2022. In late May, Mines distance star Dillon Powell captured the NCAA Division II 10,000-meter championship in Michigan, and in December he helped the Mines
men’s cross-country team win the team title and Powell the individual championship in Seattle.