The past weekend was bookended by a premier lacrosse showdown between #8 DU and #11 Duke at a sold-out Peter Barton Stadium and #5 Denver Gymnastics performing in front of 5,500 fans in Magness Arena. If athletics are ‘the front porch’ of a university, Denver was just a few heads short of a visit from the fire marshall.
While these two events were going on at the DU campus, a number of Denver teams were competing around the country on the ice, on courts, on fields, and on the slopes.
No single event captured the ups and downs more than DU gymnastics, enjoying their best meet of this season against George Washington University. In the final event of the Sunday meet, star gymnast Lynnzee Brown took to the floor. As the final contestant on the day, Brown made her final pass on a flawless floor routine and crashed awkwardly to the mat. She had to be carried off the floor. As a critical team member of Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart’s squad, the injury to one of DU’s premier student-athletes silenced what was a rocking arena up to that point.
New bars record: ✅
New beam record: ✅
Tied all-around record: ✅
Perfect 10.0 on beam: ✅
— Denver Gymnastics (@DU_Gymnastics) February 17, 2020
Earlier, on the road in Grand Forks Friday night, another one of DU’s premier players, freshman forward Bobby Brink, was injured on a hit from behind from diving North Dakota forward Cole Smith. No penalty – not even a minor for tripping – was called on the play, which you can watch in slow-motion below. Brink’s injury, along with an undisclosed injury to Jaakko Heikkinen left the Pioneers thin up-front. Denver was never able to get their offense untracked the rest of the way as they were swept by North Dakota 4-1 & 3-1, all but eliminating the Pioneers from Penrose Cup contention.
Yeah idk how you defend this if you're a UND fan but I'm sure y'all will find a way https://t.co/6b7ot5S6XR
— LetsGoDU (@LetsGoDU) February 15, 2020
Initial reports on Brink’s condition appear favorable but he is scheduled for an MRI in Denver this week. The extent of Heikkinen’s and Brown’s injuries are unknown at the moment.
Both hockey and gymnastics teams rely heavily on Brink and Heikkinen and Brown, respectively, as key contributors to their championship aspirations. And these injuries are reminders, too, of the risk many of DU’s student-athletes take in a number of sports wearing the Crimson and Gold.
But not all of the news was gloomy as there were a number of outstanding individual and team performances recorded over the weekend.
- Women’s hoops – Madison Nelson’s 20-20 led DU to an OT Omaha road win Saturday
- Men’s hoops – Senior Ade Murkey scored 70 points in two road losses – 42 against South Dakota State & 28 against Omaha
- DU women’s tennis defeated #25 South Carolina Sunday
- On Saturday, DU skiers opened up the Utah Invite with Eveliina Piipo winning women’s freestyle and Bernard Flaschberger nailing down the second position in men’s freestyle. Then, in classical competition on Sunday, two DU women’s skiers finished in the top five and two men’s skiers finished in the top 10
- DU men’s lacrosse’ Jack Hannah scored six goals (a sock trick) and added an assist in Saturday’s loss to Duke on Saturday
- #10 DU Women’s Lacrosse crushed Louisville 16-6 on the road Saturday
- Men’s tennis is currently undefeated, 8-0
Despite the obvious ups and downs, this was, in totality, a spectacular weekend for Denver Athletics which showcased the University of Denver in a number of venues – at home and around the country.