Category Archives: Gymnastics

DU Sophomore Conquers Self Doubt, Pioneers Win First Test of the Season

Denver Sophomore all-American Alexis Vasquez recorded the first perfect 10.0 of the 2020 NCAA season with a perfect beam routine to help the #7 Pioneers (196.700) defeat No. 21 Arizona State (194.675), No. 13 Auburn (194.375) and No. 25 Penn State (193.500) in Session #1 of the Collegiate Challenge in Anaheim, California. Continue reading DU Sophomore Conquers Self Doubt, Pioneers Win First Test of the Season

University of Denver Athletics’ Decade in Review: Top 10 Moments of the Decade

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Top Moment of the Decade: DU’s 2015 NCAA Lacrosse Championship transcended DU – it was a watershed moment in the history of lacrosse in America as this victory moved it from an eastern game to a national game.

In 2010, when the decade began, the University of Denver was known primarily as a hockey school, supplemented by many NCAA ski titles. Continue reading University of Denver Athletics’ Decade in Review: Top 10 Moments of the Decade

Former DU coach Todd Rinehart rises to top of college admissions field

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Former DU assistant basketball coach Todd Rinehart, now DU’s Vice-Chancellor for Enrollment, was recently elected President of the National Association for College Admissions Counseling. Photo: NACAC

Todd Rinehart, a former DU basketball assistant coach and currently DU’s Vice Chancellor for Enrollment, has just been elected by his national peers to become the new President of the 15,000+ member National Association of College Admissions Counselors (NACAC). Continue reading Former DU coach Todd Rinehart rises to top of college admissions field

Pioneer Athletics officially off the air

Looking forward to watching DU soccer, volleyball, hockey on TV this fall? Well, unfortunately, DU athletics are now off the air along with the rest of Altitude TV’s programming in its 10 state region if you have Comcast/Xfinity, DISHTV or Direct TV. And, Altitude TV claims that streaming content is not a feasible, economic option to do an ‘end run’ around the Big Three.

Altitude is also the home network for the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, NBA’s Denver Nuggets, MLS’ Colorado Rapids and NLL’s Colorado Mammoth. Should it last that long, the dispute ratchets up on October 3rd when the Colorado Avalanche are scheduled to return to Altitude’s lineup with their regular season opener and October 5th when DU hockey hits the ice.

Altitude’s coverage-area includes Colorado, Utah, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, and Wyoming. DirectTV and Dish Network also provide nationwide coverage for Pioneer Nation so this will impact all Pioneer fans. Continue reading Pioneer Athletics officially off the air

Twenty One Year Journey Ends at Mountain Top

DU did not win a national gymnastics title Saturday night. The University of Oklahoma (198.3375), DU’s Big 12 Conference mate,  brought home the title with Denver settling into 4th place in their first NCAA Gymnastics Finals.

Still, Denver’s journey ended with the elite company of #1 UCLA, #2 Oklahoma and #3 LSU. Far from an ‘overnight sensation’,  Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart and her upstart program fought headwinds to build a regional powerhouse- 18 straight NCAA appearances. But, Saturday’s NCAA Gymnastics Final Four vaulted (pardon the pun) DU onto the national stage and into the NCAA gymnastics psyche. And these Pioneers just might be planting a flag next time. Continue reading Twenty One Year Journey Ends at Mountain Top

DU Gymnastics Makes History, Advances to NCAA Final Four

Photo: Courtesy of Denver Gymnastics Twitter

The Denver Pioneer Gymnastics made program history as (#5)-seeded Pioneers rocked the NCAA Gymnastic Championships Friday in Fort Worth, Texas and when the smoke cleared, the Pioneers posted a 197.0375 score to beat nine-time NCAA Champion Georgia and Oregon State to join No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 2 UCLA and No. 3 LSU in Saturday night’s NCAA Gymnastics Finals (5 p.m. MT/ESPNU). DU had never made to the final 4 teams in program history.

“We are thrilled for this opportunity to advance,” head coach Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart said in a press release. “I’m incredibly proud of our team and our student-athletes. They have continued to show tremendous character, competitiveness and consistency, and we are incredibly proud.”

Look, while we are not gymnastic experts at LetsGoDU with the knowledge to thoroughly analyze today’s performances, we do know a great thing when we see it.

With top-ranked Oklahoma cruising to a win and the top seed in the Pioneers’ evening semi final, DU was fighting off the Georgia Bulldogs and Oregon State for the final qualification spot in the Final Four, as UCLA and LSU had already qualified in the afternoon session. In the end, it came down the final rotation in the semi-final.  Heading into the fourth and final rotation, Denver was tied with Oregon State for second with a 147.650. Senior and co-team DU captain Claire Kern lead off the bars rotation with a 9.8375 to set the tone for the Pioneers. Ruiz scored a 9.875 in the second spot while Mia Sundstrom and Emily Glynn followed with 9.850s. Lynzee Brown continued DU’s momentum with a 9.900, and Maddie Karr clinched the team finals berth with her 9.9125. The Pioneers were jubilant, and history was made.

This Denver team, the only private school in the finals,  is making history against the elite blue-blood programs of gymnastics. Tomorrow,  Denver will compete in their first gymnastics NCAA  finals ever and has a chance, yet again, to create even more history. Should they win Saturday night, they would be the first women’s team at DU to win a national team title at the D-I level. And, despite the odds, nothing seems out of reach for this group. And even if they don’t win it, DU has served notice that it is an elite-level program. Continue reading DU Gymnastics Makes History, Advances to NCAA Final Four

DU Gymnastics Advances to the Elite 8

Photo: Denver Twitter

#5 Denver Gymnastics swept the NCAA Corvallis Regional to advance to the Elite 8 in Ft. Worth, Texas. The Pioneers stunned #4 Oregon along with #12 Boise State and #15 Oregon State to win the regional championship, a first for the DU program. This season also marks the 16th straight NCAA gymnastics tournament appearance for the Pioneers.

Continue reading DU Gymnastics Advances to the Elite 8

Pioneering Excellence this Winter

Denver’s upset of top-five Stony Brook was a milestone in the Pioneers’ program development. Photo: Marc Piscotty

While men’s hockey and lacrosse take up the lion’s share of fan interest for most Pioneer fans, it’s important to recognize some other DU athletic teams who continue to climb higher into national prominence and greater conference impact:

  • The 13th-ranked DU women’s lacrosse team beat its very first top five opponent since coach Liza Kelly took the helm in 2006, upsetting (#6/#4) Stony Brook (N.Y.) University, 11-7, behind Bea Behrins’ three-goal hat trick. This was a statement win for the program.  The Pios have been a top-20 program for a while now, but have had trouble beating the very top echelon teams. Sunday’s win over SBU kept DU undefeated at 4-0 and may see the Pioneers knocking on the door of a top-10 ranking. The Michigan Wolverines come to town this Tuesday to face the surging Pioneers for a 12 noon start.
  • The sixth-ranked DU women’s gymnastics team scored its second highest all-time score (and the highest score of this season) with a 197.725 on Sunday afternoon before over 4,000 fans at Magness Arena, to win the meet over Iowa State and Boise State. This kind of scoring should keep DU in the hunt for a top-five national ranking as the season moves into the stretch run.
  • The DU men’s (#24th nationally) and (#47) women’s swim teams once again won the Summit League title for the sixth year in a row. DU was so dominant at the Summit League Championships that the DU women set an all-time league record for points, and DU mens and women swimmers won 37 of 38 of the swimming events overall.  That’s an incredible achievement – perhaps the swimming equivalent of winning the Summit League basketball title game by 30 points, and repeating the winning margin for six straight years.
  • DU women’s basketball (15-12, 8-6 Summit league) continued its rise into a winning program with a dramatic road win at North Dakota.  Often-injured senior Pioneer Haley Simental hit the long-range three point shot-of-her-college-career to send the game into overtime at the buzzer, in a game that the Pios would later win, 92-91. With the OT win, the Pios’ have earned at least a top-five seed at the Summit League tournament next month.
  • The DU women’s tennis team, ranked #40 nationally, are 7-2 this year in a sport where 317 teams compete nationally.  DU has already defeated brand name schools such as Oregon, Wisconsin, BYU and Colorado this season.

All of these teams deserve our support, and we look forward to seeing how they compete in the coming months.

 

 

Denver Scores a Perfect 10 and Near Miss Versus #1 Oklahoma

Photos: Courtesy of Hope Stafford

#7 Denver battled #1 Oklahoma in front of a record Denver gymnastics crowd of 6,100 spectators but fell 197.7 to 197.4 against the Sooners Sunday afternoon. The score was Denver’s fourth highest score in program history.

The highlight of the afternoon was provided by DU sophomore Lynnzee Brown in the floor exercise. As DU’s sixth competitor in the final rotation, Brown put on an explosive routine and received a standing ovation and perfect tens from the trio of judges. Continue reading Denver Scores a Perfect 10 and Near Miss Versus #1 Oklahoma

Big 12 rivals set to collide at Magness Arena

Photo: Courtesy of DenverPioneers.com

Get ready for what may be an epic gymnastics battle Sunday between #7 Denver vs. #1 Oklahoma at Magness Arena.

Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart’s squad has always made noise in gymnastic NCAA Regionals (19 consecutive invitations) and has had their share of individual stars (Maddie Karr, Lynnzee Brown, and Jessica Lopez) to name just a few. They advanced to nationals as recently as 2008 and 2017 –  four times total in their history. However, this year’s squad may be ready to take the next step and advance to the NCAA National Team Finals April 19th and 20th in Ft. Worth, Texas. Competing against perennial national title contender #1 Oklahoma this weekend gives Denver a chance to prove that they should receive consideration as the top program in the nation – a first for DU.

To add to the drama, OU is the only team to defeat Denver this season. In late January at the Metroplex Challenge in Fort Worth, OU defeated Denver 197.975 to 196.350. Denver has a chance to return the favor to the Sooners on home soil. Continue reading Big 12 rivals set to collide at Magness Arena