Feb. 1, 2018
The calendar has turned to the second month of the year, and for Pioneer fans everywhere, it's an exciting time as our unique lineup features 14 of our 17 sport programs in the month of February.
Both men's and women's golf and tennis resume their seasons after the winter break; men's and women's basketball and hockey continue conference play; gymnastics and skiing enter the second month of their seasons; men's and women's swimming and diving are gearing up for the Summit League Championships mid-month and men's and women's lacrosse begins their 2018 schedules next week.
It goes without saying, there is a lot going on.
In January, the University of Denver announced two, one-million dollar gifts for the new Denver Tennis Park, a new $14-million public indoor/outdoor tennis facility that will be the home of our men's and women's tennis programs. This will have a significant impact on both of our tennis programs, allowing them to have one home for all their practices and matches, and to be able to compete just across the highway from the DU campus. On behalf of the Division, I'd like to once again thank Cappy and Robert Shopneck, Jane Hamilton and their families for the major role they've played in this public-private collaboration between DU, Denver Tennis Park, Inc., and Denver Public Schools.
Outside of competition, Denver's early December featured a few programs that I wanted to highlight once again. The Division continued its Rising Stars Program presented by Public Service Credit Union which assists in publicly recognizing students who have achieved academic success by inviting deserving students and their families to a basketball game at Magness Arena. Our Sports Performance team held a clinic in December on Reflexive Performance Reset, instruction meant to increase athletes' performance while also focusing on injury prevention. The Denver Cheer Team also held a clinic with the local Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver. Finally, during a hockey intermission at Magness Arena, the Division hosted Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation, an organization promoting community by creating opportunities in recreational and competitive hockey while supporting players and their families.
In competition, the Crimson and Gold will be well represented at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Troy Terry will skate for the United States after winning a World Junior and NCAA DI Men's Ice Hockey Championship last year. Current skier Andrea Komsic will represent Croatia in Alpine and be joined by skiing alums Leif Haugen (Norway), Trevor Philp (Canada) and Erik Read (Canada). We wish all of our Pioneers the best of luck across the Pacific Ocean.
Also at the national level, three-time men's lacrosse First Team All-America pick Trevor Baptiste was the only current college player to be selected to represent the United States at the FIL World Lacrosse Championships this summer in Netanya, Israel.
Finally, Denver hockey mourned the loss of three close friends of the program in the last few months in Tom Miller, Peter Naffah and Jim Wiste. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with their families.
Below are a few sport updates as we gear up for the winter championship season at the University of Denver.
- Since we last spoke at the end of October, both the women's soccer and volleyball programs earned our first Directors' Cup points of the season with trips to the NCAA Tournament. Women's soccer's appearance was its first since 2013, and volleyball booked its fourth-consecutive trip to the NCAA postseason with another Summit League title at Hamilton Gymnasium.
- Make plans to get out and cheer on our Denver Skiing program this February and March when the Pioneers make three straight appearances in Colorado. We will host the University of Denver Invite in Loveland and Maloit Park before head coaches David Stewart (Nordic) and Andy LeRoy (Alpine) take their teams to Andy's hometown of Steamboat Springs for both the RMISA Regionals and the NCAA Ski Championships.
- In addition to skiing's chase of its 24th National Championship, seven Denver programs are currently in the national rankings.
- Hockey is first in the NCHC and as high as fourth in the country in the national rankings with just over a month to go in the regular season.
- Men's lacrosse is in the top-five in all four preseason polls as the Pioneers begin their season on Feb. 10 at No. 17 Air Force.
- Gymnastics is currently 11th in the country after an exciting home meet last weekend in a sold-out Hamilton Gymnasium.
- Women's golf went toe-to-toe with the defending National Champions last weekend, falling a stroke short in a dual against No. 6 Arizona State. The Pioneers finished the fall ranked No. 20 in the country.
- Men's and women's swimming and diving are currently in the top-25 as they make their final preparations for the Summit League Championships Feb. 14-17.
- Women's lacrosse is receiving votes in the preseason coaches' poll as they too begin their season on Feb. 10th against No. 23 Stanford at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium.
Proud to be a Denver Pioneer since 1969 - Ron Grahame