“Citius, Altius, Fortius”

The motto, “Faster, Higher, Stronger” has been a part of the Olympics since they were resurrected in 1896 in Athens. The motto seems an appropriate introduction to the newest segment at CU at the Game, “Olympic Sports”.

Last winter, CU at the Game expanded to include coverage of men’s and women’s basketball, without, I hope, too much of a drop off in the coverage of CU football.

This winter, as football winds down and basketball starts up, it seems a good time to introduce expanded coverage of CU’s “Olympic Sports“, a much more user friendly moniker than how we used to refer to them … as “non-revenue” sports. With the football team on a bye week, this week’s essay will take a look at the past, present, and future of some of CU Olympic Sports … Buff teams which are having a great fall.


Past … The University of Colorado has 26 national championships to its credit, with 19 of those belonging to the ski team and one to the football team. The other six come courtesy of the CU cross country teams, with the women’s team winning two – 2000 and 2004 – with the men bringing home four – 2001, 2004, 2006, and last season. The team has also produced six individual national champions, including a name familiar to even the casual racing fan, Mary Decker, in 1978. Four men and two women have been the first across the finish line in CU history, with the most recent being Dathan Ritzenhein in 2003.

At the regional level, the Buffs have been a dominant force. In the 25 years the Mountain Regional meet has been conducted, the men’s team has won the championships a ridiculous 20 times, including this year. The women have won 12 times, including the past two seasons.

Present … As noted, both the men’s and women’s cross country teams won the Mountain Regional Championships, conducted this past weekend in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Buffs were dominant, with CU’s top five men and the top six women earned USTFCCCA All-Region honors, which are awarded to the top 25 finishers in each race.

The teams will now be heading off to Terre Haute, Ind. for the NCAA Championships on Nov. 22. Indiana State will host the meet at the La Vern Gibson Championships Cross Country Course. This will be the CU women’s 22nd appearance at the NCAA meet in the last 23 seasons and it’s the 23rd straight appearance for the men. The men’s team, which has been a unanimous pick for the No. 1 team in the nation in every poll this season, are a strong favorite to bring home CU’s 27th national championship. The women’s team, ranked 12th nationally, are not to be discounted.

Future … For the men’s team, five Buffs finished in the top 13 at the Mountain Regional, with only one of the five, Jake Hurysz, who finished ninth, a senior. Three juniors and a sophomore round out the team, including junior Connor Winter, who finished fourth at Albuquerque. On the women’s side, the top finisher for the Buffs, Erin Clark, finished second, and she is just a sophomore. The other top finishers for the Buffs, all who finished in the top 13, are made up of one senior, one junior, one sophomore and one freshman (another junior, Jenny DeSouchet, finished 16th overall, but her score wasn’t needed as the teams only take the top five finishers). That’s a total of 11 Buff runners who head off to Terre Haute with All-Region honors, and nine of them will be back next year.

Safe to say the future looks bright for the CU cross country teams.


Past … The CU women’s volleyball team has been playing since 1986. In those 28 years, the Buffs have made it to the NCAA tournament 17 times, including a streak of 11 straight seasons from 1991-2001. Colorado has hosted the NCAA tournament for matches five times, and in three seasons – 1993, 1994, and 1997 – made it to the Sweet Sixteen. After winning the Big Eight tournament title in 1992, the Buffs went 11-1 in 1993 to claim the Big Eight regular season championship.

After earning a bid to the NCAA tournament in 2006, though, the Buffs hit a drought. Liz Kritza was hired in 2009 to restore order to the program, and return it to its rightful place as a regular NCAA tournament participant. The Buffs struggled initially, and limped into the volleyball powerhouse Pac-12 in 2011 with a 6-24, 1-21 record. After a season of improvement in 2012 (14-18, 4-16), the CU women’s team broke through last season, with an 18-14 record, 9-12 in the Pac-12. Despite the lack of a winning conference record, the Buffs were invited to participate in the NCAA tournament, taking down Iowa State in the first round before losing, 3-2, to host Minnesota in the second round. The highlight of the season was a win over undefeated and No. 1 ranked Washington, the second time in school history in which the Buffs had taken down a No. 1 team.

Present … Lightning struck the Huskies twice this season, as, for the second year in a row, Washington brought an undefeated team to Boulder, and, for the second year in a row, left with a defeat. This past Thursday night, the 22nd-ranked Buffs took down the No. 2 Huskies in five sets, giving Colorado a 16-11 overall record, and an 8-7 record in the Pac-12. The victory was the fifth of the season over a ranked opponent, tying the school mark set in 1993 and 1996.

The Buffs still have four matches left in the regular season, after taking out Washington State Sunday, 3-2 (15-12 in the fifth set) to post win No. 17. The first two rounds of the NCAA tournament – for which the Buffs are all but assured a bid – will be played on Friday and Saturday, December 5th-6th. With a few more victories to close out the regular season, the Buffs could be hosting the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2006.

Future … Taylor Simpson, one of the stars of the team, is a senior, as are Kelsey English, Neira Ortiz Ruiz and former basketball star Rachel Hargis (Hargis finished her four year basketball eligibility as the all-time leader in games played, 134, finishing 8th on the all-time list in blocked shots. Playing four years in four, Hargis still had a year of eligibility to play another sport). The team will miss the four, but coach Kritza has found a winning formula in Boulder, with expectations high for continued success.


Past … Soccer has only been around since 1996 at the University of Colorado, and, despite a limited history, there have been positive results. The Buffs have posted nine wining seasons in their history, and in 2003, won the Big 12 regular season championship. The Buffs have been invited to participate in the NCAA tournament seven times leading up to this season, including six straight years between 2003 and 2008.

This past season, the Buffs broke a five year drought, earning a bid to the NCAA tournament with a 13-6-2 campaign (4-5-2 in Pac-12 play). Again, owing to the strength of the Pac-12 conference, the Buffs earned a bid despite a losing conference record. Once there, the Buffs took down No. 15 Denver University, 1-0,  on the road, then No. 19 BYU, 2-1, in Tallahassee, before falling to No. 1 seed and host Florida State in the Sweet Sixteen.

Present … On Saturday, Colorado head coach Danny Sanchez won career game No. 200 as the Buffs took out BYU for the second straight season, with a 2-0 victory over the 15th-ranked Cougars at Prentup Field in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Before 624 frozen fans (16-degrees at the start), the Buffs ran their 2014 record to 14-6-1 in winning their fourth straight game. Colorado struck first when junior Olivia Pappalardo took a pass from sophomore Brie Hooks, dribbled for about seven yards and launched a shot from 20 yards out, high over the right side of BYU goalie Katherine Snyder for a 1-0 Buff lead just 6:17 into the game. The Buffs used a quick goal in the second half – 52:27 into the game – to extend their lead to 2-0.  Junior Madison Krauser booted a rocket into the left side of the net off a nice crossfield pass from sophomore Morgan Stanton.

Future … The 14 wins by Colorado are now tied for the third-most in program history, as the 2003 and 2004 teams each won 15. The 28 wins over the last two seasons are the second in back-to-back years to the 30 in the aforementioned 2003 and 2004 seasons.

Of the 27 players on the roster, only six are seniors. Goalkeeper Kate Scheele, who has been in net for all 21 games this season, is only a junior. Scheele has posted 11 shutouts this season, one short of the school record.

The Buffs have a tough task ahead, taking on No. 2 seed North Carolina at Chapel Hill next weekend. Still, the Buffs are 3-1 in NCAA tournament play now under Danny Sanchez, and will be prepared to take on the Tar Heels.

And the Pac-12 again next fall …

In addition to the above sports, all of which are very active at the moment, CU at the Game, under the “Olympic Sports” heading, will be posting news and notes about the championship caliber ski team this winter, and will be keeping tabs on the women’s lacrosse in Year Two of its existence, as well as track and field, golf and tennis.

Here’s wishing success to all those wearing the black-and-gold for CU this season!





2 Replies to ““Citius, Altius, Fortius””

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *