Men’s Cross Country
Led by Jackson Brainerd ’12 and Robby Caseria ’12, who blazed to individual finishes of first and fifth, respectively, the Colorado College men’s cross country team reached a new pinnacle in mid-November. The Tigers, ranked No. 5 in the West, claimed a share of the men’s team title for the first time ever at the NCAA West Region championship meet in Claremont, Calif., after tying with No. 1-ranked Occidental College. Both teams advanced to nationals at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, CC as the higher seed by virtue of a tiebreaker. “It was just an incredible performance by all our guys,” said head coach Ted Castaneda. “They had a great day. We’re very excited.” It is the third consecutive regional crown for Brainerd, who entered the race as a three-time individual champion in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference. By finishing among the top 35 in the 8K competition, he and Caseria were among five Tigers to earn All-Region accolades. Brainerd completed the damp course in 24 minutes and 53.4 seconds, more than six seconds ahead of his closest pursuer.
Women’s Cross Country
Devin Nadar ’12 and Maggie Harkins ’12 earned All-Region honors while pacing a young, rebuilding women’s cross-country squad to an eighth-place showing at regionals after it claimed fourth at the SCAC meet.
Swimming and Diving
Jeff Nadel ’12, co-captain of the men’s swimming and diving team, was one of 12 district finalists for a 2012 Rhodes Scholarship. The neuroscience major from Centennial, Colo., interviewed for the prestigious award on Nov. 19. Austin Howlett ’15 broke the school record and posted an NCAA qualifying score in the 1-meter diving as CC won all 13 events during a 189-36 victory over Southwestern University in its 2011-12 home opener. Howlett’s score of 309.67 in the 1-meter event was 10.27 better than Rod Townley’s six-dive total of 299.40 set in 1971. He also surpassed the NCAA qualifying score while winning the 3-meter competition with 316.65 points.
Rookie midfielder Jessie Ayers ’15 received two of Conference USA’s top individual awards and was among five Tigers who earned all-league accolades. Ayers emerged as Midfielder of the Year as well as Freshman of the Year, earned a spot on the All-Freshman Team, and was one of five CC players to garner all-conference recognition. Midfielder Kaeli Vandersluis ’15 joined Ayers on the All-Freshman Team. Forward Lauren DiGregorio ’14 also earned a spot on the All-Conference USA first team, while forward Brittney Lyman ’13 and defender Beth Wright ’12 were second-team selections. Midfielder Kelsey Wise ’12 was voted to the C-USA All-Academic Team. Geoff Bennett, who guided the women’s soccer team to a second-place finish in Conference USA, signed a six-year contract extension to remain head coach of the Tigers at least through the 2017 season.
Midfielder/captain Chris Lutz ’12, defender Kyle Buchwalder ’13 and forward Daniel Wright ’13 of the men’s soccer team, were named to the CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-District team and became eligible for Academic All-America consideration. Matt Fechter ’13 emerged as SCAC Offensive Player of the Year after earning first-team all-conference recognition for the third consecutive season. Lutz, Buchwalter, and defender Nick Lammers ’13 were honored for the first time in their careers with a spot on the all-SCAC second team. The Tigers finished with an overall record of 11-5-3 record in Horst Richardson’s 46th season as head coach.
Amy Schornack ’12 was named a Division III honorable-mention All-American by the American Volleyball Coaches Association for the third consecutive season. Colorado College, which finished with a record of 33-7, exited the 2011 NCAA Division III Tournament after falling to host California Lutheran University, 3-1, in their regional championship match in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Schornack, who led the team with a school record 1,401 assists, also was a first-team all-SCAC selection for the second year in a row and was named MVP of the conference playoffs after leading the Tigers to their second straight SCAC tournament title. Laura Goldsmith ’13 (second team) and Hannah Varnell ’12 (third team) joined her in earning all-conference accolades.
After a roaring 4-0 start and climbing as high as No. 2 in the national polls, the CC hockey team took a 5-2 record into a two-game series at home against the University of Wisconsin the weekend before Thanksgiving. Two veteran forwards – Rylan Schwartz ’13 and team captain Nick Dineen ’12 – already had been honored as Offensive Player of the Week in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association this season.