Roller Coaster Weekend for DU Athletics and Fans

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.

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.

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.

4 thoughts on “Roller Coaster Weekend for DU Athletics and Fans”

  1. This weekend was really painful one for Pio fans in the major sports. Hockey getting swept in Grand Forks while losing Brink and Heikkinen to injury, the home lax loss to Duke and men’s basketball getting beaten twice on the road, plus what appears to be a serious injury to Lynzee Brown, DU’s best gymnast.

    Anyone else as depressed as I am?

    Probably not…

  2. I would say Kerr is the best and Vasquez is closing in. Brown is top 2-3 on this squad . Slow starts killed hockey and lax. Getting in early holes on the road is a formula for failure. Lacrosse was asleep the first quarter but the team is young, especially on defense. Hoops are who they thought they were – but I am numb at this point. Hoops off-season will be the biggest in my lifetime. The players who remain should either stay in Denver and practice – or leave.

  3. Really awful weekend for our three top revenue sports. Lynzee injury probably most concerning since one needs to be 100% in gymnastics. Hockey players hopefully back soon, but if not, others have ability to step up.

  4. Hmmm…not sure that I would call it a spectacular weekend. Pretty awful, if you ask me. The skill and effort of the hockey team is great, but they can’t score goals against top competition. Seems like the lacrosse program is slipping. Perhaps the title window is closing or closed, but hopefully it will open again soon. Gymnastics–motoring along, and doing awesome, but I hope the injury isn’t too bad. Men’s basketball, what more can be said, except that they have crossed the line to an ignominious season.

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