Hard to believe, but 2023 is already wrapping up.
For the Colorado School of Mines winter sports teams, though, the end of the year is really the beginning as the Orediggers have kicked off their 2023-24 seasons.
The Mines swimming team was actually wrapping up its 2023 slate Nov. 15-18 in Grand Junction, and won’t be diving in again until the new year.
Meanwhile, the Orediggers on the basketball court and wrestling mat still have plenty of home action in late November and early December. The indoor track & field teams, meanwhile, don’t have their first meets until early December.
As they ramp up for their 2023-24 seasons, the Transcript offers a look at each of the seven winter sports teams:
The Mines men’s basketball team tipped off in warmer climes.
The Orediggers played their first 2023 games in Lakeland, Florida, where they played No. 16 Bentley and No. 25 Mercyhurst at the Nov. 4-5 Small College Basketball Hall of Fame Classic.
On Nov. 4, Mines fell to Bentley 69-51, but rallied against Mercyhurst the next day, winning 65-62.
Afterward, the Orediggers headed for San Antonio for the Nov. 10-11 South Central Regional Crossover. The team won another close one to Lubbock Christian 61-59, but lost to St. Mary’s 87-77 the next day.
The Orediggers were scheduled for one more game on the road — Nov. 18 at UCCS — before a three-game home slate. This includes a Dec. 1 match-up with No. 14 Colorado Mesa.
Guard Sam Beskind, forward Riley Schroeder and their fellow seniors are hoping to lead the Orediggers back to the RMAC tournament championships and NCAA Division II tournament in 2023-24. Majok Deng, a guard and graduate transfer from Pepperdine, is already putting up serious numbers for Mines, along with freshman guard Markus Pastorcic-Straun.
The Orediggers’ first home game of the season is Nov. 20 against Williams Baptist.
Meanwhile, the Mines women’s basketball team tipped off 2023 action at home, beating both St. Mary’s and St. Edward’s.
The Nov. 11 victory against St. Edward’s marked Coach Brittany Simpson’s 200th career wins.
The Orediggers were scheduled for back-to-back games in Texas, first Nov. 16 at No. 6 Texas Woman’s and then Nov. 18 at West Texas A&M.
Like their male counterparts, the Orediggers are also hoping to return to the conference tournament championship game and the NCAA Division II tournament.
Redshirt senior guard Ashley Steffeck and her teammates have demonstrated the firepower to do it, winning their first two games 81-68 and 76-68.
Steffeck had monster stats against St. Edward’s. She had a double-double with 13 rebounds and 31 points, including five treys; three assists; three steals; and one block.
Redshirt senior Loralee Stock put in legwork for Mines, notching seven points, three assists and four steals in 23 minutes. Meanwhile, freshman Emma Sixta had a strong outing with four points, six rebounds, two assists and three steals.
The team will be at home for some Thanksgiving weekend action Nov. 24-25, as they host Cameron, No. 15 Regis and No. 21 MSU Billings.
They’ll also be at home for their Dec. 1 and Dec. 2 games before going on the road for the rest of 2023.
The Orediggers on the mat are off to a strong start in 2023.
The Mines wrestling team won its first dual of the season Nov. 9, destroying Otero College 56-0. It was scheduled to compete at the Nov. 18 Younes Hospitality Open in Kearney, Nebraska.
Afterward, the Orediggers will be back at Volk Gym Nov. 30 for a dual against New Mexico Highlands.
The Orediggers have some very promising rookies, three of whom placed at the Nov. 5 Mines Rookie Open, as well as solid returning wrestlers. Mines took fifth place at last year’s NCAA Super Region VI Championship and sent four wrestlers to nationals, and will try to maintain that level of competition in 2023-24.
The nationally ranked men’s and women’s swimming teams were 2-2 going into their final meet of 2023. The Orediggers were competing Nov. 15-18 at the TYR/CMU Invitational in Grand Junction, and hoped to finish out their 2023 slate strong.
The Mines teams won’t have another meet until Jan. 5 at Denver.
Men’s swimmers Ronan Lauinger, Luca Burns and Braden Hunt have put in major laps for the Orediggers thus far. Lauinger set a Mines pool record in the 400-yard individual medley Nov. 3 against Colorado College.
For the women’s team, Jordan Tierney has been a strong contender in the 50-yard and 200-yard freestyle races, as well as the 100-yard breaststroke. Plus, the 200-yard and 400-yard medley relay teams also have been making waves for Mines.
In 2022-23, the Orediggers sent several swimmers to nationals, where the women’s team finished 22nd and the men’s team, 30th. Individual Orediggers placed in the Top 20 in their races and received All-American honors.
This year’s teams will try to reach the same levels, if not higher.
The Orediggers have one last home meet for the season Jan. 27 versus Adams State, which will also be their Senior Day celebration.
Indoor track & field
The Mines track & field teams will be looking to build on last year’s strong indoor and outdoor seasons, which boasted three individual national champions, several All-Americans and other postseason honors.
The Orediggers will host their Alumni Classic Dec. 1-2, before heading to their first big meet of the season — the Dec. 8-9 UCCS Pre-Holiday Invite.
The Mines indoor track & field teams will host a Winter Classic Jan. 26-27 and a Pre-Conference meet Feb. 16-17.
For more information on any of the winter sports teams, including full schedules, visit MinesAthletics.com.