Category Archives: Sports

Facing Adversity and Breaking Records.

The Mountaineers at the NCAA DII National Championship Festival

Nicholas A Fischer/Staff Writer

Over the weekend of Mar. 7-11, eleven Mountaineers from Western’s Wrestling, Swimming and Diving, and Track and Field teams qualified and travelled to the NCAA DII National Championship Festival in Birmingham, Alabama.

Junior Alicia Konieczek continued her run through the Western record books as she became the first Mountaineer to win National Championships in two events. Konieczek edged out Admas State’s Jenna Thurman by just over half a second in the Women’s 3000m with a time of 9:23.19. Konieczek’s won the championship in the Women’s mile by 3.54 seconds with a time of 4:37.42, a school record. In addition, Konieczek has the school record in the 3000m with a time of 9.17.90, which she posted earlier this year.

While Konieczek had the most success, her fellow teammates’, Senior Georgia Porter and Junior Sophie Seward, performances helped Western’s women team to an eighth place finish at the National Championships. In the the 3000m, Porter finished eighth while Seward was fourteenth. Seward and Porter finished in seventh and eighth place in the Women’s 5000m. Seward and Porter’s times in the 5000m and 3000m were also good enough to earn positions in Western’s record books.

Konieczek, Porter, and Seward became All-American with their top ten finishes at the National Championships. This goes along with the All-American honors the trio earned at the Cross Country National Championships this past fall. They will have a chance to earn All-American honors in the coming outdoor track and field season.

Western’s Men’s Track and Field also experienced some success at the National Championship, with Seniors Noah Zorsky and Keifer Johnson having strong showings. Zorsky became an All-American with a second-place finish in the final round of the Poll Volt after clearing a height of 5.25m. Johnson finished sixteenth in the 5000m finals and nineteenth in 3000m finals.

Representing Western in Swimming and Diving at the National Championships, were Sophomore RMAC Swimmer of the Year, Randi Yarnell and Junior Diver, Jessica Anderson. Anderson was unable to qualify during the preliminaries and Yarnell was swimming through an illness and did not break the top 20 in her four events.

Western’s Wrestling team was represented at the National Championships by Senior, Ronald Wardleigh at 125 lbs., Junior, Ian Steen at 149 lbs., Sophomore, Brandon Supernaw at 174 lbs., and Freshmen, Konnor Schmidt at 184 lbs. All four drew strong competition for their first matches of Championship rounds and lost. Wardleigh, Supernaw, and Schmidt won their first matches in the Consolation Round, before being eliminated in their next matches. Steen was eliminated in first match of the Consolation Round.

Even though Western’s Swimming and Diving and Wrestling did not see the same success and the Track and Field teams at the NCAA DII National Championship Festival, just qualifying for them was an admirable feat. To reach that level of competition it takes year of dedication, hard work, and support of teammates, coaches, friends, and families. Each athlete represented Western well on what is one of NCAA DII grandest stages.

Crested Butte Mountain Resort Instructor First to Win National Award

Photo courtesy of CBMR

Rachel Hartman Honored with Top of the Course Award

Crested Butte Mountain Resort is proud to announce instructor Rachel Hartman was recently honored with a national award from The Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI). Hartman is the first-ever winner of the Top of the Course Award. This new award is given out to PSIA members who score in the highest percentile of skiing/snowboarding, teaching, technical knowledge, and who demonstrate exemplary willingness and ability to empower others to achieve success.
“PSIA has inspired me to push my limits to new heights and make the butterflies in my stomach fly in formation,” Hartman said. “I love sharing the passion [for skiing and instructing] with other members and passing it along to my guests. I am honored to receive this award, and can’t wait to see where else skiing can take me.”
Rachel grew up as an aspiring alpine ski racer in Alaska, collecting a gold medal at the Arctic Winter Games. All along, it was her goal to move to Colorado to become a ski instructor, and she is now in her fifth season as an instructor at Crested Butte Mountain Resort.
“Year after year, the talent and passion of our Ski & Ride School Instructors continue to impress me,” exclaims Erica Mueller, Vice President of Crested Butte Mountain Resort. “With Dusty Dyar qualifying for the PSIA National Demo Team last spring and now Rachel Hartman receiving this award from her PSIA level III examiners, the resort couldn’t be more proud of their accomplishments and what they bring as role models to the rest of the team.”
For guests interested in improving their skiing or riding, or for first-timers who want to pick up a new sport, Crested Butte Mountain Resort offers a wide range of lessons tailored to all ages and ability levels. By featuring some of the nation’s top ski instructors and emphasizing small class sizes, CBMR’s Ski and Ride School sets itself apart from other programs ensuring that participants get the most out of their day on the slopes.
To inquire about lessons, instructor availability and rates, guests may contact our Skier Services Department at 970-349-2211. With fresh snow and sunny days in the forecast, there is no better time to Inspire Your Passion.

NCAA Swimming Loophole Poses Funding Challenges for Relay Team

Western finishes season strong with several National cuts at RMAC Championships

Morgan Aragon / Special to Top

Western teammates Ariel Fitch and Morgan Aragon hug after the 100 freestyle. Photo Courtesy of Kendall Aragon.

Western’s Swimming and Diving team placed 5th at RMAC (Rocky Mountain Athletic Association) Championships earlier this month in Grand Junction, CO. The Mountaineers were led by sophomore Randi Yarnell, RMAC Swimmer of the Year, RMAC Swimmer of the Meet, and 3-time 2017 RMAC Champion. Yarnell continues her training, as she has qualified for the 2017 NCAA Division II National Championships next month in Birmingham, Alabama

The sophomore swam 50.04, in the 100 freestyle, a new school and pool record. With the win, Yarnell defended her title in the 50, 100, and 200 freestyle events, winning both the 100 and 200. This year she swam the 100 fly, placing second in the event.

Frances Ivers swam her final race as a collegiate swimmer with a sixth place finish in the mile (1650). Akemi King finished in tenth place, with Taylor Bogdahn with a sixteenth place finish.

The Mountaineers dominated the second heat of finals in the 200 breastroke. Ma’alaea Lawrence led, followed by Alexandra Marsolek and Flynn Guerrieri. Freshman Hope Morris finished thirteenth overall. Samantha Martin, senior, finished her collegiate swimming career with a thirteenth place finish in the 200 back.

Yarnell wasn’t the only one to qualify for the NCAA National Championships. Diver, Jessica Anderson, punched her ticket to Alabama earlier this season. Also qualifying were Morgan Aragon, Ariel Fitch, Kate Hewson, and Yarnell in the 400 freestyle relay. Although the relay did not attain an “A-Cut,” a new NCAA rule gave the relay an opportunity to swim at Nationals next month.

The rule allows a relay team the opportunity to swim at Nationals if a member of the relay team (Yarnell) has automatically qualified in an individual event. Although the relay has qualified to travel, the NCAA will not cover travel costs for the other members of the relay team because they did not automatically qualify.

The team is excited that they had a shot to go to Nationals. The team, however, wishes that the athletic department had extra funding to send everyone to Alabama. With the NCAA loophole, the team can swim at Nationals, but it also requires individuals that have a “B Cut” to fund themselves. None of them can afford travel costs so last minute. They feel it’s a disappointment that money is what is holding some students back from this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Western Swimming Alumni, Melissa Kemp, explains similar struggles that the Western swim team faced in the 80’s. “They never funded us either. We had relays and individual events qualify for Nationals, but no one was ever able to go,” Kemp said.

The Mountaineer ladies hope that they can start funding at the beginning of the 2017-2018 season, so that they can have a travel budget for “B-cut” swimmers and relays for next season. The NCAA’s will cover Yarnell and Anderson, but will not cover Aragon, Fitch, and Hewson.

Follow Yarnell and Anderson on as they head to Nationals next month. Division 2 National Championships are held on Mar. 7-11 in Birmingham, Alabama.


On The Home Stretch

Regular Season ends at home before Mountaineers leave for year-end competitions

Nicholas A. Fischer/Staff Writer

The Mountaineers Basketball, Track and Field, Wrestling, and Swimming and Diving teams have entered the final stretch of their seasons with a plethora of home events before conference tournaments and Regional and National Championships.

On Feb. 12, Western’s Swimming and Diving team finished their RMAC season in third place finish and are competing in RMAC championships in Grand Junction between Feb. 9-12. For a second year in a row, Randy Yarnell will represent Western at the NCAA championships in Birmingham, AL from March 8 – 11. Not only did Yarnell secure a second visit to the National Championship she broke two school records, one in the 100 fly and the other in the 400 relay with fellow swimmers, Ma’alaea Lawrence, Akemi King, and Kate Hewson.

Mountaineer Wrestling was able to wrap up their home season with a pair of victories over Adam’s State and New Mexico Highlands on Feb. 10 and 11. In their senior seasons, Brandon Supernaw, Mick Dougharity, and RMAC champion Ronald Wardleigh have helped the Mountaineers to a 9-6 record before leading to the NCAA DII Super 4 Regional Championships in Golden, CO over Feb. 24-25.

With a record of 26-4 and 15 falls, Wardleigh is the second ranked wrestler in the nation and is the RMAC Champion for the 125 weight class. Supernaw is ninth in the nation at with a record of 23-7 and has 3 falls. In the 197 weight class, Dougharity is 18-8 and the team points from his 7 falls have helped keep Western competitive in duals ad tournaments this season.

Dougharity and Supernaw both said they are happy to see the team come together and finished strong and excited to head into the Regional Championships with this team.

Western’s Track and Field team will finish their indoor season with a meet on Feb. 18 with the Western Open in the Mountaineer Field House. This will be the chance for Mountaineers to qualify at home for the National Championships before heading to Spearfish, SD on Feb. 24 and 25 for the RMAC Championships. The NCAA Indoor National Championships will also be in Birmingham, AL on Mar. 10 and 11.

Noah Zorsky, Avery Roberts, and Cameron Gill have been jumping to new heights and lengths for Western. Meanwhile, Alicja Konieczek and Georgia Porter have been running through the school record books, while Elijah Gilbert has been sprinting through them.

Konieczek and Porter hold first and second place record times in the 3000-meters for Western. However, on Feb. 11 at the Husky invite in Washington, Konieczek beat her previous 3000-meter school record by 14 seconds. In addition, Konieczek holds third best time in the 800 meters and Porter has the second best in the 5000 meters. Meanwhile, Gilbert has Western’s top speed in the 60 meters dash and the second best time in the 200 meters.

Roberts posted a 6’9.75” mark in the high jump, grabbing sixth place on Western’s record book. Gill was able to go further in the triple jump with a distance of 49’1.75”, which put him in third for school history in that event. However, Zorsky toped them as he vaulted himself to the school record in the pole vault after clearing an impressive 17’9”.

When asked about what advice they will take with them to Nationals, Roberts said, “Work hard, never give up, and eat your veggies.” Cameron said, “Take care of business and everything else will take care of itself.”

All three Jumpers have posted qualifying marks for the National Championships and are looking to ensure their spots during the Western Open.

Both of Western’s basketball teams started the season with hopes of improvement from the year before and to be more competitive in games. While their seasons started slow, both teams were able to find some success throughout it, developing a will to fight through their struggles.

Sadie Stroup, Harley Williams, and Brianna Wiber have been sharing the load to lead the women’s team. Will Duggin, Brady Subart, Collin Smith, and Ben Beauchamp have been leading the men’s team with their barrage of three pointers this season. However, the two hardest workers on either team have to be Kaylynn Bush and Brandon Cosby-Lee, as they led their teams in two stats not officially tracked, taking charges and setting screens.

The Mountaineers have a chance to end the regular season strong as they play their final three games at home in the Paul Wright Gymnasium. The home games on Feb. 18, 24, and 25 will determine Western’s position in the RMAC tournament, and should be beneficial to them as both teams feed off the cheers of the Mountaineer crowd.

Keeping up with Western’s big mountain team in Canada

Students compete at Revelstroke

Jeremy Wallace/Staff Writer

Western State Colorado University snowboarder Zach Bare flies over coach Edward Dujardin on a road gap at Whitewater Ski Resort during a trip to compete in a freeride world qualifier event January 9th.

Ski bags and backpacks are tossed frantically in the back of a black rental SUV at Western’s Mountaineer Fieldhouse as night approached on Thursday, Jan. 5, as the departure to Revelstroke, British Columbia was fast approaching. However, the snow in Crested Butte delayed the team, and they ended up leaving two days later.

The team is traveling to the first four-star competition of the season for the Freeride World Qualifiers. A crew of high caliber athletes including Grifen Moller, Zachary Bare, Kat Seibert, and coach Edward Dujardin, go to represent Western in Canada. Their first stop is Nelson, B.C., a quick 20-hour car ride away. Fueled by caffeine and corny pop music, the team pushes on through the night, headed North to the land of maple syrup and hockey.

The sun greets the team on the outskirts of Missoula, Montana the next day, and a few hours later they are crossing the Canadian border. As afternoon rolls around, they pull into the mountain town of Nelson, B.C., and begin a crazed search for wi-fi, Canadian currency, poutine, and housing for the night.  The next three days are spent exploring the impressive terrain of local Whitewater Ski Resort where the crew practices airs, cliff drops, and prepares for the approaching competition.  

Western State Colorado University big mountain skier Grifen Moller airs off a boulder at Whitewater Ski Resort during a trip to compete in a freeride world qualifier event January 8th.

After day three at Whitewater, it’s finally time to travel to Revelstoke. The team once again packs the rental car full of skis and bags and sets out on the road. After a few hours and a ferry ride across Upper Arrow Lake, they arrive in Nelson, B.C., and make an important stop at Tim Hortons. A few T-Ho’s donuts and a healthy amount of stereotypical Canadian jokes later, they check in at their Airbnb with friendly frozen-yogurt-enthusiast hosts. From here on, competition lines are the sole focus.

The next morning brings overcast skies and a skin-numbing -22°C (-8°F) on the mountain. The day is set aside for course inspection- athletes are granted access to the venue in order to size-up features and plan out their qualifying run. Coach Ed talks through runs with each athlete, giving his input and recommendations for line choice. The day ends with registration and an athlete dinner, as well as anticipation for qualifying runs the next day.

As the sun kissed the peaks of the Selkirk Mountains the next day, athletes were already loading the gondola at the base of the resort. The qualifiers kick off with snowboarding, where Western athlete Zach Bare makes a strong run and secures his spot in finals the following day. Next up is Women’s skiing- Kat Seibert skis strongly, but does not make the cut for finals.

“I could’ve done a little better in my qualifying run, but better luck next time at the Crested Butte Comp,” said Seibert after her run.

Freshman Grifen Moller is the last Western athlete to compete, and scores highly for his control and confidence throughout the run.

Western State Colorado University big mountain athletes Grifen Moller and Zach Bare pose with coach Edward Dujardin after receiving second place in men’s skiing and snowboarding at a 4 star freeride world qualifier event in Revelstoke, British Columbia January 21st.

The last day of competition. It’s finals day. High performing skiers from all over stack the start list on the morning of Jan. 12. A different venue in the North Bowl of the resort is selected for today’s competitors, speckled with cliff bands, big drops, and tight trees. Spectators gather to watch big lines put down by strong skiers. Zach Bare competes first, dropping in with confidence and strength, and nails down a solid finals run. Grifen Moller completes his final run later in the day, stomping a big air and technical line. That evening energy fills the air as athletes fill the resort plaza for awards. Cheers, high-fives, and smiles abound as both Bare and Moller are welcomed up to the podium, claiming second place in men’s snowboarding a skiing respectively.

“It was pretty exciting, everyone did really well in that finals run and I was happy to come out with second,” said Bare, holding his wood trophy and prize money.

Reveling in the excitement from awards and seeing old friends in the freeride circuit, the team celebrates with the other athletes and returns back home to their basement Air B&B for the final night in Revelstoke. The next morning, bags are yet again stuffed carefully in the rental, and the long drive back to Gunnison begins as the Canadian anthem plays loudly over the stereo speakers.

A View from the Sidelines

The Fall 2016 Mountaineer Athletics Season Recap and Highlights and Winter Starts.

Nicholas A. Fischer / Staff Writer

With temperatures dropping and snow falling, the fall athletic season came to an end, ushing in the winter athletic season. The first half of the 2016-2017 NCAA sports season has not disappointed as it has been full of records, awards, and heartbreak.

During the fall season, Mountaineer’s had success on the football and soccer fields, volleyball court, and running trails.

Western’s football team had their first winning season in over 15 years. They went 7-4 and finished fourth in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference standings. In the Hall of Fame Game Western beat rival Adams State then beat the 23rd ranked Colorado School of Mines for the Homecoming game to start the season 2-2.

Two straight shutouts by the defense had the team hunting for postseason play with three games left. The loss of two of the last three games knocked them out of postseason contention, ending a run that had the fans cheering until the last play of a heartbreaking loss to Colorado State-Pueblo on Oct 29.

The defense was led by juniors Chad Wasser and Carter Wasser, and seniors Kristopher Bass, Austin Yurko, and Rodrick Waters. Leading one of the most impressive offenses in Western history were seniors Austin Eckler, Brett Arrivey, and Kyle Adkins.

Running Back Austin Eckler made Mountaineer football history by breaking the school career records for rushing yards, attempts, touchdowns, and scoring. Eckler is also a finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy, the top player in Division II, which will be announced on Dec 16.

While Western’s women soccer team did not have a winning record 6-9-3, they were still able to qualify for their first RMAC tournament. Under new head coach Amy Bell, the Mountaineers began to look like a force to be reckoned with after beating the number three ranked Colorado School of Mines in double overtime on Oct 16.

Even though the experience and play of seniors Izzy Engman, Rachel Sullivan, Courtney Urrea, and Katelynn Mardeusz is sure to be missed, the Mountaineers have many talented players returning for the 2017 season.

Western’s cross country team saw the most success of any of the teams so far this year. At the NCAA Division II Cross Country National Championships, the Mountaineers women’s team finished in 3rd place and men’s team was in 11th.  

At the National Championships, Senior Georgia Porter capped off her two-time All-American career with an eighth place finish. Juniors Alicja Konieczek and Sophie Seward placed 11th and 22nd respectively also took home All-American honors.

Senior Keifer Johnson finished his college career with a seventh place finish at the National Championships. Redshirt freshman Preston Cates started his career with a 28th place All-American performance.

Western’s women’s volleyball team had to have the most heartbreaking season. The team had their first winning season in a decade with a record of 14-12. However, they would miss the conference tournament on the last match of the season.

Seniors, Allison Walker, Tori Gaherty, Amanda Maestes, Avery Buckholder, and Molly Hothan along with junior Jordan Eatwell left everything on the court as this year as they made every volley a competition. Maestes holds the school record for digs with 1490, and Gaherty averaged 300 kills a season over her career.

The team lost an emotional last home game for the seniors at Paul Wright Gymnasium to Adams State that knocked them out of RMAC tournament contention. While the seniors did not get to finish their careers with a trip to the conference tournament, the crowd was loud and proud of their career accomplishments and sent them off with an appreciation that they players had for them and Western alike.

One of the greatest achievements for Western Athletics this fall did not come on the court, field, or trail, but from what a campus legend had accomplished through his career. The NCAA Division II Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year Award was named in the honor of Dr. Duane Vandenbusche.

Over Dr. Vandenbusche’s 37 year coaching career, he won 7 coach of the year awards, which he gives all the credit to his athletes. When asked about his thoughts on the coach of year award being named for his career accomplishments Vandenbusche said, “It is a great honor and I really appreciate it, but the honor should go the great athletes I had.”

During Vandenbusche’s coaching career he led 12 teams to national titles and 51 individual titles and had over 300 All-Americans on his teams. Vandenbusche’s dedication to coaching those athletes to success “came from the lessons he learned growing up in St. Nicholas, Michigan, and the Upper Peninsula”

While Dr. Vandenbusche is now retired from his 37 year coaching career of Western’s Cross Country and Track and Field teams he has yet to retire from educating. That goes along with what he says is the key to being a good athlete, “Number one, be a good person; number two, be a good student; and number three, be a good athlete. And in that order.”

Dr. Vandenbusche may not be coaching anymore, but he still can be found in his office writing on his typewriter, or in class teaching students or the public about Gunnison Country and Colorado history. I have also been told he still known to find the time to scramble up the mountains around Crested Butte.

Some of the success seen in the fall is starting to show in the early winter basketball, swimming & diving, wrestling seasons.  

Randi Yarnell is starting her season out fast and has already broken more Western school records. On Dec 1 at the A3 Performance CMU Invite, Yarnell broke her previous record time in the 50 free with a time of 23.47. Western’s 400 medley relay team of Yarnell, Ma’alaea Lawrence, Ariel Fitch, and Kate Hewson, set another school record in that meet with a time of 3:55.28.

Swimming and Diving’s next home meet is on Jan 14 12:00pm, versus Colorado School of Mines at Paul Wright Natatorium.

Western’s Men Basketball team has its ups and down to start the season. The Mountaineers have struggled away from Gunnison, but have had some success at home to start the season at 2-4 as of Dec 2. However, the Mountaineers had an historic come from behind win over Colorado Mesa University on Nov 29.

During the game against Colorado Mesa, Western was down for most of the game. After scrapping their way back from 15-point deficit over the last 13 minutes of the game, Brady Supart hit a three-pointer to tie the game with 21 seconds to go. Then Will Duggan hit a just past half-court shot as time expired for the win over rival Colorado Mesa. As the shot went in student section rushed the court to revel in a win that didn’t seem likely 20 minutes prior, making it a game that will go down in the lore of Western basketball history.

Being Will Duggen’s second last second shot to beat a rival team, he hit a baseline three against Adams State last year, he said, “I did my best to contain my excitement and act professional knowing my teammates and I had been in the situation before.”

Western’s Women Basketball team has also struggled to a 1-5 reconrd so far this season as they rebuild under first year coach Lora Westling. However, after receiving the team’s first “lights out” introduction in over a year, in the home opener an excitement could be seen over take the team.

Both basketball teams next play their back-to-back double header games at home in Paul Wright Gym on Dec 9 against Adams State and Dec 10 verses Fort Lewis College. Women’s games start at 5:30pm on Friday and 5:00pm on Saturday. Men’s games are at 7:30pm and 7:00pm respectively.

For Western Wrestling, Brandon Supernaw and Konnor Schmidt each started the season off strong with wins at the University of Nebraska-Kearny Open.

The next home wrestling match is the Tracy Borah duels on Jan 7 with the first events starting at 9:00 am

An Ethical Movement

Western receives support to incorporate ethics into the classroom.

Kennedy Sievers/Senior Staff Writer

Western’s business school, and eventually Western in general, is getting a major ethical upgrade. Western and the business school have recently been included as part of an initiative to incorporate ethical thinking, learning, and behavior into daily curriculum.

The Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative (DFEI) is intended to promote ethical behavior in educational institutions. The fund was started by Bill Daniels, the pioneer of cable television in the West, who made his fortune in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

Daniels chose to use some money to endorse and encourage ethical behavior in colleges across these states. Initially, eight colleges received a part of the $2.5 million fund: Colorado State University, New Mexico State University, University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS), University of Colorado Denver, University of Denver, University of New Mexico, University of Utah, and University of Wyoming.

The initiative proved to have positive results across the business schools in all of these universities. Since it proved to be successful, the fund was renewed in 2009 with three new additions: Colorado Mesa University, Northern Colorado University, and University of Colorado Law School.

There are several stipulations in gaining and maintaining these funds for universities, one of which is outreach to other educational institutions and the business world. As a part of this requirement, UCCS created the Southern Colorado Higher Education Consortium (SCHEC) this year.

They included eight schools into the consortium, one of which was Western. The consortium functions as a support system for Western to incorporate ethics into its curriculum. The fund was intended to begin in the business schools at these universities in order to teach students how to present themselves in the business world once they leave college. However, it is the hope that once Western establishes a good curriculum within the business school, the school and students will be able to transfer their ethical lessons into the other departments across campus.

Since it was only started this year, the consortium is still in the beginning stages right now. Western has appointed faculty member Michael Vieregge, professor in the business school, to spearhead the ethical movement.

Vieregge is excited to incorporate this into the business department, but also across the whole campus. “Ethics is not just an issue with business. We have business issues with ethics but the same is true with physics or somebody in biology. You are always confronted with dilemmas where you have ethical issues,” he said.

The hope is that people will learn ethical behavior and thinking before entering the professional world and making an ethical mistake because of a lack of education. One mistake can cost people their jobs, and the goal of this consortium effort is to give people the tools they need in order to effectively handle issues in the workplace after graduation.

Students can benefit across campus from this new program. Despite it being so new to Western, Vieregge has high hopes for the education that students will receive about ethics. “Students are getting involved in national ethics competitions, ethical conferences, so that they saw that kind of a progression. It’s the same on most campuses; there are also other departments buying into it and looking at it from their perspective as well,” he said.

There are already some notable changes happening in the business school because of this program. On Thursday, November 3rd, a group of six students traveled to Colorado Springs to compete in an annual statewide ethics competition. The students able to participate this year were Canyon Mueller, Jack Millard, Michael Feng, Warren Knutsen, Erik Hillman, and Jake Veronda. This was Western’s first time competing in this competition; six schools presented their pitches.

The students compete in teams of two and are given three weeks to analyze a case with multiple ethical dilemmas, and then have ten minutes to present their solutions to a panel of eight to ten judges from different professional realms. The teams are scored on the content and format of their presentation.

Western’s teams were commended for their strong use of formatting; fitting so much information into ten minutes is not an easy task, and they did extremely well, especially considering that this was their first competition. Vieregge hoped to learn about the structure of the competition and give both himself and the students experience with it in order to compete in future competitions as effectively as possible.

Vieregge says that he is proud of the students for getting together during a busy time of the semester and traveling to compete in this competition. “I’m not really worried about where we end up. I’m just proud that the students decided to take the challenge. It’s a busy time right now in the semester, and on top of that trying to prepare for this is quite a commitment, so I think that’s more important,” noted Vieregge.

He is also excited to get Western’s name in the ethical debate community, win or lose. He believes it is important “for Western to be out there. People see us and see who our students are and how they perform,” he said.

This competition was a great learning opportunity for the students who were able to participate. Vieregge really wants them to “do well for what they try to do. It’s a learning process and I think it’s invaluable to have to do this. You have a limited amount of preparation time, and you have to be very concise and very convincing. Whatever you put in your presentation has to count.”

Being part of SCHEC has already had some great benefits for students, and Vieregge hopes to further those benefits across the campus. He would like to have a speaker series discussing ethical dillemmas and solutions, and he wants feedback from other departments about how to include ethics in daily lessons.

Vieregge hopes for the program to expand throughout Western as a whole, although that process may take some time. He hopes to potentially start student clubs, compete in more competitions, and make ethical behavior a common occurrence on the Western campus.

New Faces, Old Traditions

An introduction to the three new head coaches at Western.

Nicholas A. Fischer/ Staff Writer

On the hills of Western’s one hundredth anniversary, in Aug. 2012, 89 years of Western State College of Colorado became Western State Colorado University. The name was not the only thing to change as school administrators implemented a plan to modernize Western in a variety of ways so Western traditions can continue on for another 100 years.

The campus was transformed with the construction of the Mountaineer Field House, Pinnacle Apartments, and the Borick Business Building. Taylor, Kelly, Quigley, Hurst and Crawford Halls all underwent renovations that modernized their classrooms. The campus wasn’t the only thing to change, as the logos and MadJack undertook new looks. Western even added Women’s Soccer, and Swimming and Diving programs to the list of NCAA Division II programs offered.

Western athletics were challenged when the school underwent these changes in 2012 to carry on the 100-year tradition of commitment to academics, community,  and team, while striving to improve every year. This year Western brought in three new head coaches that are committed to these values to fill the vacant spots on the Women’s Basketball, Soccer, and Swimming and Diving team.

Western State Colorado University Women's Soccer team after win on Oct. 16 over #3 ranked Colorado School of Mines. Photo by Nicholas A. Fischer.
Western State Colorado University Women’s Soccer team after win on Oct. 16 over #3 ranked Colorado School of Mines. Photo by Nicholas A. Fischer.

Coach Amy Bell: Soccer

Formed in 2012, Western’s Women’s Soccer program was making slow strides forward each year. Coach Bell took over a team that was ready to be pushed to another level of play and has embraced the challenge this season. The team has embraced her understanding of the game to make improvements in their passing game, while leaning on her encouragement to push through tough overtime games.

The Mountaineers have had their struggles this season, but on Oct. 16, they were able to score a historic victory over the #3 ranked Colorado School of Mines with a goal in double overtime. It was a victory that goalkeeper Katie Simpson-Johnson says was because “coach Bell taught us to handle tough situations by having a fighting mentality to not give up and come out with the win.”

Prior to receiving the head coaching position at Western, Bell spent a year coaching with Colorado Olympic Development Program. This is an experience Katie Simpson-Johnson says “helped coach Bell develop an ability to think deeper and see things differently about the game than other coaches.” Bell was also the head coach of Chowan State where her proudest accomplishment was seeing the team’s GPA go from a 2.0 to a 3.4.  

During her time Chowan, Bell took great pride in developing and working with the local youth soccer program. Bell as well as Western soccer player are looking forward to working with youth programs across the Gunnison Valley. While encouraging her players to achieve academic success and become strong members of the community, she hopes to “continue to develop the program to be more competitive each time out.”

Coach Bell is the second coach of Westerns Women soccer team since its founding in 2012.

Western’s Women’s Soccer team finishes off their season with home games on Oct. 28 and 30 at Gateway Field.

Sydnie Lengyel and Coach Lora Westling going over practice tape. Photo by Nicholas A. Fischer.
Sydnie Lengyel and Coach Lora Westling going over practice tape. Photo by Nicholas A. Fischer.

Coach Lora Westling: Basketball

Coach Westling has become the tenth head coach of Western’s women’s basketball team after being hired after the retirement of Coach Girard at the end of the 2015-16 season. Westling comes to Western after coaching three improving seasons at Illinois College. Westling was an important player on the 2005 Washburn NCAA DII championship team and also holds the school record for three pointers made and games played.

Coach Westling success made her and intriguing candidate to take over the program at Western, but her desire for toughness and accountability on and off the court and in the classroom is what made her a match for the Mountaineers. Westling would like her teams to also become a “force back in the community”. In addition to doing summer camps and kids camps, they will do a shoot around clinic before the first home game.

Even though the season has not started, coach Westling has already made an impact on her players. Senior Sydnie Lengyel says she has “grown more in the last months as player than ever before.” Lengyel also was excited to see the direction the team is going as they are more defensive driven and being challenged in practice to finish better than they start. Lengyel hopes that those efforts in practice will translate into greater success at the end of games this season.

Coach Westling would also like to extend an invitation to all male and female full time student recreational basketball players to come and join a practice team. They would like to put together to practice against the women’s team. If interested contact assistant coach Stephanie Gehlhausen at for more information.

Western’s Women’s Basketball opens their season on Nov. 18 in the CSU-Pueblo classic at Pueblo with their first home game on Nov. 29 in Paul Wright Gym.

Western State Colorado University Swimming and Diving team before practice in the highest collegiate pool in the world. Photo by Nicholas A. Fischer.
Western State Colorado University Swimming and Diving team before practice in the highest collegiate pool in the world. Photo by Nicholas A. Fischer.

Coach Randall Folker: Swimming and Diving

Coach Randall (Randy) Folker has taken the longest journey of the new coaches to reach Western. Not only was he in Hawaii for six of the last seven years, but has spent the last 25 years developing the skills needed to realize his goal of coaching a Division II swimming program. That goal was not to just coach any college program, but to coach the revitalized swimming program at the school that has the highest collegiate pool in the world, Western State Colorado University.

Since the return of the program in 2012, coach Folker had applied the three times the coaching job had opened up. Sophomore All-American swimmer Randi Yarnell says this is an important point because it shows “he really wanted to coach us for some reason, he plans on staying a while, and he was fighting for us. That’s the best kind of coach we can ask for.”

“Small town, small classes and quality athletics at altitude.” Is what coach Folker said put Western on the top of his list. That list consisted of 5 schools, but none were more important to coach Folker, and he said “This has been spot I wanted and when it opened again I jumped on it.”

Coach Folker’s goal is to develop a team of swimmers with high character and potential for academic success that will become excellent people through excellent swimming. One of the swimmers that already embodies this goal is 200m school record holder, RMAC All-Academic swimmer, SAAC president, and athletic ambassador to SAG, senior Kelsey Oettinger who said, “If he can stick around awhile and grow the program it could become a very strong and fast program since we have already started growing in that direction.”

Swimming and Diving will host Colorado Mesa University on Oct. 29 in the Mountaineer Field House Aquatic Center.  

The three new coaches bring with them the spirit of Western traditions, that hard work in the classroom and in sports can provide opportunities to improve the community that supports them. And this desire to have athletes achieve as much in the classroom and community as they do in competition can go a long way in helping Western State Colorado University achieve its goal of becoming a premier destination for learning in the heart of the Rockies.