With a few months until the 2023-24 school year starts, the Golden Transcript offers a look back at Mines’ athletic achievements during the 2023 spring semester.
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With the 2022-23 athletic schedule over, it’s time for the Orediggers and their fans to turn the page, refresh the roster and start scheduling for 2023-24.
Over the May 25-27 weekend, the Colorado School of Mines track & field teams wrapped up 2022-23 competition at the NCAA Division II championships in Pueblo. (Editor’s note: Due to early deadlines for the June 1 edition, coverage of the track & field championships will run June 8.)
Throughout the semester, the 12 winter and spring sports teams have proven their mettle from the basketball court to the baseball diamond, setting new program records and earning multiple postseason honors.
Indoor track & field
The Orediggers’ indoor track & field season started strong and ended even stronger.
The women’s team took first place at the RMAC indoor championships in February, while the men finished fifth.
At the NCAA Division II championships March 10-11, Hannah Miller and Dillon Powell took home individual national championships in women’s pole vaulting and men’s 5,000-meter race, respectively.
Additionally, Luke Julian scored a silver medal in the men’s mile, and Zoe Baker finished fourth in the women’s 5,000-meter race. Aryelle Wright also took fifth in the women’s 800-meter race, setting a new program record in the process.
Overall, 15 Orediggers ended their indoor seasons with All-American honors, and the women’s team finished eighth and the men’s team, 14th.
The Mines men’s and women’s swimming teams started their seasons in October, and made waves all the way through the postseason.
The women’s team finished second at the RMAC championships and the men finished third before the Orediggers headed to the NCAA Division II Swimming & Diving Championship March 7-11. There, the women’s team finished 22nd at the meet, and the men’s team, 30th.
Senior Meghan Slowey had Mines’ best performance of the meet, finishing fifth in the 1,650-yard freestyle race. The senior swam a career-best 16:46.93, and took a spot at the podium for the second consecutive year.
Slowey also nabbed 14th place and All-American honors in the women’s 1,000-yard freestyle. Garrett Waite and Charles Burroughs also broke their own program records in the men’s 200-yard individual medley and men’s 200-yard fly, respectively.
Overall, several Orediggers had top-20 finishes and All-American honors for the national meet and the 2022-23 season.
The Mines wrestling team took control of the mat in its very first dual and never gave it up, despite very tough competition from every corner.
The Orediggers went 11-2 in their head-to-head duals, only losing to No. 6 Adams State and No. 12 Colorado Mesa. The team also had strong tournament showings, placing 11th at the Dec. 17-18 Midwest Classic.
Mines ultimately placed fifth at the NCAA Super Region VI Championship Feb. 25, with four wrestlers — Weston DiBlasi, Grayston DiBlasi, Carter Noehre and Anderson Salisbury — qualifying for the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships.
While all the Orediggers were eliminated after four matches, sophomore Grayston DiBlasi became the second Mines wrestler to win the Elite 90 Award for his athletic and academic achievements. The award is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average at each sport’s national competition.
The women’s basketball team started off a bit sluggish, with a close win and a loss, but found some footing just before winter break. However, the Orediggers struggled somewhat in mid-January with two consecutive losses followed by a narrow win.
The team generated momentum through late January into the postseason, though, going all the way to the RMAC tournament championship. It lost the tourney title to No. 1 Regis in a close game, but was named a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Division II tournament.
On March 10, Mines had its season cut short by a rowdy UT-Tyler team, and ended the season 24-7 overall and 18-4 in conference play. Among other honors, Ashley Steffeck and Sammy Van Sickle received postseason accolades.
The Orediggers kicked off their season with a 9-0 hot streak. The only team that could douse the flames was fellow undefeated Black Hills State, which gave Mines its first loss in overtime Dec. 10.
The Orediggers got back on track, though, not dropping another game until Jan. 27 against ranked Fort Lewis. Mines faced tough foes in February, but was well-prepared for the RMAC tournament in March.
Mines advanced to the finals, losing to No. 2 Fort Lewis again in the championship game. The team received a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Division II tournament, and faced off against fellow RMAC team Black Hills State March 11.
The Yellow Jackets sent the Orediggers home with a 26-6 overall record and 18-4 in conference play. Mines was recognized in the offseason, though, participating in Small College Basketball’s 2023 Hall of Fame Classic in April.
Weather-wise, there’s probably no better way to start the softball season than in Florida, although the Orediggers struggled in their first six games on the season.
Once RMAC play started, though, Mines tried to find a rhythm through late February and into March. But with Mother Nature derailing games through March and April, the Orediggers failed to settle into a groove until the season was almost over.
After sending their seniors off in style April 28-29, the Orediggers made their way to the RMAC tournament. Mines was eliminated after two games, ending the season 25-26 overall and 24-16 in conference play.
Renata Boyd, Lauren Decker, Sadriena Rodriguez, Sara Larson and Sidney Wilson all received postseason honors.
The baseball team opened its season along the Pacific Coast, cruising down to California for eight games.
Mines had challenges through the first half the season, but seemed to find some momentum in the second half, blasting through New Mexico Highlands and Adams State in April. It even put up two wins against No. 13 MSU-Denver on Senior Day.
The Orediggers secured a spot in the RMAC tournament, and fell in the first two games, including a loss to the No. 1 team in Division II – Colorado Mesa. The team finished the season 22-25 overall and 17-15 in RMAC play.
Kevin Zapanta received multiple postseason accolades, including academic honors along with Adam Houghtaling, Garret Nielsen and Luke Folsom.
Hard to believe it, but the Mines golf team started its season all the way back in September with a seventh-place finish at Colorado Christian’s The Writz at Mile High event.
After playing through September and October, the Orediggers returned in March with strong showings, taking second at CSU-Pueblo’s Southern Colorado Masters.
In April, the Mines team took fifth place at the RMAC championships, and freshman Lukas Taggart placed second. He and fellow freshman Max Lange, a Golden native and Lakewood High School graduate, advanced to the NCAA West/South Central Regional Championship.
Taggart was later named RMAC Freshman of the Year and was the only Oredigger named to the 2022-23 RMAC Men’s Golf Team First Team All-Conference.
Outdoor track & field
Strangely enough, Mines' outdoor track & field season started and ended in Pueblo for the Orediggers.
Coming off their compelling indoor season, the Orediggers have soared through the outdoor season. The pole vaulters and distance runners on both teams, especially, turned in solid performances all year.
By the April 8-9 Kit Mayer Classic at Mines, the Orediggers had refined their techniques and maximized their athlete-to-event pairings. Lexye Wood set a new program record in women’s long jump; the men’s shot putters nearly swept the podium; and the Orediggers nabbed the gold in both men’s and women’s pole vault.
At the April 30 RMAC Outdoor Championships, the women’s team took third place and the men’s team, fourth. Over Memorial Day weekend, Mines sent 24 athletes to the NCAA Division II championships in Pueblo, with postseason accolades to be announced afterward.
For more on the winter and spring sports teams’ achievements, visit MinesAthletics.com.
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