The 14-2 CSU Rams beat Utah and BYU in the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Lacrosse League Finals April 26-27 to be named 2003 RMILL champions.
CSU faced Utah in the first round and was able to get some revenge from Utah’s previous victory over CSU in early April by beating the Utes 13-2. The Rams had the game won from the beginning and took an 8-0 lead into halftime. It was 11-0 before Utah got its first score, and even with the addition of one more goal, CSU dominated the game.
“We played hard all game with a lot of energy,” head coach Flip Naumburg said. “That’s how I like it.”
Jimmy Hasson and Kelten Johnson shined for the Rams by each collecting four points in the win. Goalie Alex Smith made nine saves, giving up only one goal before coming out of the net in the last 15 minutes and assisting a goal.
BYU beat Colorado in the other semifinal game to land a Cougar-Ram championship. CSU entered the game as the No. 2 team in the United States Lacrosse Intercollegiate Association, while BYU was No. 5.
CSU started the game with a bang as Thomas Robinson scored twice and Jimmy Hasson added another to give the Rams a 3-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. One more goal from CSU and two from BYU made the score 4-2 at halftime. Then BYU started to make a comeback.
The Cougars shut out the Rams in the third and added three goals of their own to take their first lead at 5-4.
BYU then took a two-goal lead in the fourth quarter before Robinson added his third and fourth goals – with a John Naab goal in the middle – to recapture the Ram lead at 7-6. Matt Disney then capitalized on a BYU penalty and scored what ended up being the game-winning goal.
BYU added another score, but it was not enough and CSU went on to win 8-7.
“This was one of the best games we’ve played,” Naumburg said. “We just don’t quit. We had our opportunities today and it could have gone either way.”
The team will now compete in the national tournament in St. Louis Wednesday through Saturday.
“It was a big win, but we’ve got something big coming up with St. Louis. So we’ve got to practice hard and be ready,” Robinson said.
RMILL announced its all-star team and the list features seven Rams, including Kelten Johnson, Mark Plonkey, and Jeff Schmid on the first team and Derek Knoll, Jared Katz, Ryan Price and Alex Smith on the second team.
Baseball one of eight heading to nationals
After putting together an impressive 13-1 league record and going 16-10 overall, the CSU baseball team will be one of eight teams competing for the national championship in Bradenton, Fla., May 21-26.
“We are playing great,” president Barry Cleveland said. “We have a full pitching staff and everyone on the team is someone who you can depend on.”
The team has had a difficult season with weather and field problems, but has done the best it could, Cleveland said.
“We have done a decent job of trying to get all of our games in,” Cleveland said. “It has just been a very hard season with the weather.”
The Rams will play in their final regular season game on Saturday in a makeup game against Colorado. The game will take place on the CSU campus at noon.
Triathlon members finish in top 100 at nationals
The CSU triathlon team took 30 people to Peoria, Ariz., to compete in the national tournament and had four finish in the top 100 out of 498 participants.
“We took a solid team to nationals this year,” president Shannon Hoesing said. “We had a lot of depth and the team is getting stronger every season.”
Carmen Small finished as the highest Ram, at No. 8 overall, followed by Hoesing in 50th place and Cara Fredricks at 60th in the women’s bracket.
Branden Rakita led the men in 60th place, while Matt Byers took 102nd and Tom Taylor took 123rd.
Colorado won the team race.
“This was a very challenging course. The swim was a very cold 62 degrees,” Hoesing said. “The bike consisted of steady inclines and the run was the hilliest course I have ever seen. CSU stepped up and finished strong. I am very proud of everyone that competed.”
The team will be staying active over the summer by taking part in the Lake-to-Lake Triathlon in Loveland in June and the Boulder Peak Triathlon in August. CSU will then kickoff next season by hosting the Rocky Mountain Regional Collegiate Championship in September. More information can be found at www.csutriathln.com.