Take in a University of Denver athletic event and you are likely to see some of the finest collegiate athletes in the country.
Exaggeration, you say? Hardly.
Denver fans love to boast about having the best teams in the land – but only one program can “win it all” in any given sport in any given year. An equally tough accomplishment is coaching and playing at a consistently high level.
DU athletics is chalk full of incredible coaches and athletes who will eventually be added to DU’s Hall of Fame. At LetsGoDU, we want to recognize just a few recent achievements by DU coaches and players who are achieving extraordinary success at the highest level of their sports that make us Pioneer Proud.
- In gymnastics, Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart was just named the Big 12 Co-Coach of the Year and has built a top 10 gymnastics program from scratch. Her team drew an average of 4,000 people to home meets and recently recruited one of the top gymnasts in the country, freshman Maddie Karr, along with senior Julia Ross who were both recently named All-Big 12. The Big 12 has Oklahoma – the #1 team in the land and DU pushed them during the Big 12 Championships.
- Is there any more grueling sport than swimming? Head Coach Brian Schrader has the Pioneers swimming so well that they swept the Summit League Championships and made national noise again this year. DU sophomore Bailey Andison earned All-America honors in the 200 individual medley on the opening day of the 2017 NCAA Women’s Swimming Championships. Then, senior swimmer Amanda Sanders finished her final collegiate meet in style by earning All-America honors in the 200 breast on Saturday at the Championships at IU Natatorium in Indianapolis.
- Sure, the DU ski team came up short of the team title – but not when it comes to All-Americans. Head Alpine coach Andy LeRoy and Nordic coach Dave Stewart developed six All-Americans this season – astounding by almost any measure. Nordic skiers senior Moritz Madlener received two All-American Honors. Dag Frode Trolleboe matched Madlener with two titles as well and teammate Lars Hannah earned his first All-American title. In Alpine, Erik Read was named All-American along with Andrea Komsic who got her second All-American title along with Tuva Norbye.
- In hockey, senior defenseman Will Butcher won the NCHC Conference Player of the Year Award and Offensive Defenseman of the Year. He was also just named a Top 10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, which is given to the best hockey player in the country (Vote Here daily). Superstar freshman Henrik Borgström received the NCHC Rookie of the Year Award and Tanner Jaillet earned Goaltender of the Year Award.
- Head Coach Liza Kelly recently won her 200th game for DU women’s lacrosse (7-1) while building a consistent winner. As the women enter the Big East this year, Kelly continues to recruit excellent athletes to DU and the future for women’s lacrosse looks bright – she won her first Big East tilt against Temple this past weekend.
- Men’s lacrosse hit a bump in the road against Ohio State this past weekend but they have four players on the Tewaaraton Award watch list for the finest player in college lacrosse. Connor Cannizzaro, Christian Burgdorf, Trevor Baptiste, and Tyler Pace all made the list. And, of course, legendary head coach Bill Tierney – need we say more? Don’t bet against ’em.
This list only includes recent athletic achievements and ignores assistant coaches, athletics administrators, sports performance and sports medicine to name a few. All these folks play a critical role, too.
Pretty great, right?