Colorado School of Mines teams find postseason glory in 2022

Orediggers look to maintain momentum into the new year

Corinne Westeman
cwesteman@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 12/29/22

In 2022, the Colorado School of Mines Orediggers struck gold, silver and bronze. All six fall sports teams had excellent postseason showings, giving Mines the lead in the Learfield Directors’ Cup standings.

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Colorado School of Mines teams find postseason glory in 2022

Orediggers look to maintain momentum into the new year

Posted

In 2022, the Colorado School of Mines Orediggers struck gold, silver and bronze.

All six fall sports teams had excellent postseason showings, giving Mines the lead in the Learfield Directors’ Cup standings.

This measures the top athletic program in NCAA Division II. Mines has led the fall standings for the fifth consecutive year but has never finished better than sixth place in the final standings.

This year, Mines’ six fall teams qualified for the cup standings, giving the Orediggers 448 points. The next closest school is Wingate with 373, which was the only other school to qualify all six fall teams.

Additional standings will be announced after the winter season wraps, according to Mines Athletics, and final results will be announced in June after the spring sports’ postseasons.

As 2022 ends, the Golden Transcript offers a look back at all the fall teams’ achievements and a look ahead at how 2023 is shaping for the winter sports.

Men’s and women’s cross country

Both cross-country teams started the season with first-place finishes Sept. 17 at Denver’s Washington Park, and never looked back.

Throughout the season, neither team finished worse than third place in its six races leading up to the Dec. 2 NCAA Division II national championship. The men’s team, in particular, had four first-place finishes before heading to Seattle for the championship race.

On Dec. 2, redshirt junior Dillon Powell placed first in the men’s race in 29:28.0, becoming the first Oredigger to win an individual national championship.

His six teammates finished third, 10th, 13th, 23rd, 24th and 30th — giving the men’s team its third national title in eight years.

The Mines women’s team also ended its season with a podium appearance, finishing third place at the NCAA Division II championship. Molly Maksin led the Orediggers with a 12th place finish.

Volleyball

While there were ups and downs to the season, the Orediggers’ opponents could never afford to underestimate them.

After sweeping South Dakota Mines on Senior Night, the Orediggers finished the regular season 20-6 overall and 15-3 in conference play.

With MSU-Denver winning the regular season title, Mines received a No. 4 in the RMAC tournament. The Orediggers fell to the No. 1 Roadrunners 1-3 on Nov. 11, and now hoped to finish the season strong in the NCAA tournament.

On Nov. 17, Mines faced off against No. 3-seeded Regis in the NCAA South Central Region Tournament in Denver. Mines won the first set and the third set in extra points. The Orediggers fell in the fourth, but rallied to win the fifth set 15-12.

The next night, Mines forced a fifth set against No. 2 seed West Texas A&M, but lost in the fifth 15-13.

Individual Orediggers received national honors and university awards, including senior setter Drew Stokes.

Men’s soccer

The men’s soccer team had a dramatic year, full of jaw-dropping moments and incredible victories.

While the Orediggers started the year 1-1-2, they blitzed through their RMAC schedule. The only stumbling block was No. 3 CSU-Pueblo, who beat Mines 2-0 in Golden.

Going into the Oct. 23 Senior Day game against Westminster, the Orediggers were 11-4-2 overall and 8-1 in conference play. A win would clinch the team’s sixth-consecutive regular season title, and the Orediggers delivered a definitive 4-0 shutout.

With the six-peat under their belts, the Orediggers hoped to take home the conference tournament title. In the Nov. 4 championship game in Golden, Mines faced off against familiar foe CSU-Pueblo.

Still tied 3-3 after extra time, the game came down to penalty kicks. In a dramatic finish, the Orediggers outscored the Huskies 9-8 to win the RMAC tournament title.

Unfortunately, Mines couldn’t maintain the momentum into the NCAA tournament, falling 3-1 Nov. 12 at Cal State Dominguez Hills.

Women’s soccer

After opening their season with two definitive home wins, the Orediggers went on the road for their next five games. They returned to Golden 5-1-1.

Going into their Senior Night game against Regis, the Orediggers were 12-1-3 overall and hoped to maintain their undefeated conference record. A 2-0 victory propelled the team to its first regular-season conference title since 2018.

With a No. 1 seed and hosting rights for the RMAC tournament, Mines struggled against MSU-Denver in the Nov. 2 semifinal game. The Orediggers outscored the Roadrunners 2-1 in extra time and advanced to the Nov. 5 championship game against Regis.

Mines won 2-0 to take home the tournament trophy.

In the NCAA tournament, Mines advanced to a third-round game against No. 1 Dallas Baptist, which beat Mines 3-2 earlier in the season. The Orediggers managed to score a goal in the 29th minute and maintained its 1-0 lead to advance to the quarterfinals.

Mines’ NCAA run ended Nov. 19, as the team lost 3-1 to Western Washington.

Football

The Orediggers went into the season ranked in the Top 10 nationally, but their first two games were against fellow Top 10 teams. Mines lost both games by three points — the second one in overtime.

The team rallied, though, and started rolling through its conference schedule.

For its Nov. 12 Senior Day game, Mines destroyed Fort Lewis 80-0. The Orediggers won their fourth-straight conference title, and the 2022-23 senior class became the winningest in program history.

In the NCAA tournament, Mines survived a close home game against No. 3 seed Minnesota State to take on No. 1 seed Angelo State. During the Dec. 3 away game, the Orediggers capitalized on three Rams turnovers and won 42-24.

On Dec. 10, Mines hosted Super Region I champion Shepherd. Mines found its rhythm in the second half and destroyed Shepherd 44-13, punching its ticket to the National Championship for the first time in the program’s 130-year history.

With thousands of Oredigger supporters packing the McKinney, Texas stadium and thousands more watching on TV, Mines kicked off Dec. 17 against Ferris State.

Unfortunately for the Orediggers, the Bulldogs were well-prepared to handle Division II's most explosive offense. Ferris State won 41-14, securing its second-straight national title.

Dozens of Mines players received regional and national honors throughout the season, including senior quarterback John Matocha’s 2022 Harlon Hill Award — the Division II equivalent of the Heisman Trophy.

New year, new goals

With the fall sports’ postseason now over, Mines’ winter teams are looking to build on their counterparts’ momentum and their own in 2023.

Both the Mines basketball teams are off to very strong starts, going into their Jan. 1 games at Colorado Christian with one loss each.

The men’s team was fifth in the conference standings going into 2023, while the women’s team was first. The women’s team is looking to three-peat as RMAC regular season champions.

The Orediggers’ next home games are Jan. 6-7.

On the swimming front, the men’s team has won four head-to-head meets and lost one. It also placed second throughout the Nov. 16-19 TYR/CMU Invitational.

The women’s team, meanwhile, has only won one of its six head-to-head meets. It also placed second and third on various days of the TYR/CMU Invitational

The teams’ first meet of 2023 will be at the Air Force Invitation in Colorado Springs. Their only home meet of the season is Jan. 21 against Wyoming.

On the wrestling mat, the Orediggers are 3-0 in duals. To close out 2022 competition, Mines placed 11th overall at the Dec. 17-18 Midwest Classic. Senior Anderson Salisbury placed fourth among 197-pound wrestlers, and three other Orediggers placed in their respective divisions.

Mines opens 2023 with several away events before returning to Golden for three consecutive home events on Jan. 29, Feb. 3 and Feb. 9.

The Orediggers will also host the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Open Feb. 12 at Steinhauer Fieldhouse.

colorado, school, mines, orediggers, fall, sports, cross, country, men's, women's, soccer, volleyball, football, winter, winter sports, basketball, wrestling, swimming

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