Colorado Mesa took over Birmingham this weekend. The Mavericks had one of one of their best weeks in program history and every single performance is a testimony to that.

As a team, it was the most points scored and the highest team placing in school history, and earned a record high six All-American honors this past week.  

On the last day, Sam Bryant led the men’s team as he earned another All-American honor when he placed fifth in the mile as he finished with a time of 15:20.63. Bryant also placed eighth on the first day of competition in the 1,000 free.  

Senior Mary Saiz also shined on Saturday when she placed fifth in the 200 back with a time of 1:58.54.  The fifth-place finish earned her All-American honors.

Saiz also competed, alongside her teammates, in the women’s 400 free relay where the team placed 21st overall with a time of 3:28.54.  The rest of the team consisted of Marissa Bradley, Sam White, and Eryn Leonard.  

Marissa Bradley commented on the weekend and what it felt to be in Birmingham.

“It’s such a unique experience, and it feels like being an Olympian,” Bradley said.

It was a festival year in Alabama which meant other sports like Wrestling and Track and Field would be competing at Nationals in the same city. Colorado Mesa had athletes in all three sports competing this past week it was a unique opportunity for all the athletes competing.

“The track guys and wrestlers supported us on day one of competition, and we want to cheer them on in return,” Bradley said.

Other accomplishments on the last day consisted of Senior Ryan Gifford breaking the only school record of the week in the 200 breast in which he finished 20th overall with a time of 2:01.01.  

Josh Bedford swam fast in the same event as he finished with a time of 2:05.44 and he finished 28th.  Eric Berg finished 27th in the 200 back in the final day of swimming with a time of 1:51.82.

The Diving team ended their season in style as well.  Kelsey Vreeman placed sixth on the three-meter board with a score of 445.85 and teammate, Cassi Blakeman, was right behind her in eighth place with a score of 404.85.  

Fellow Mavericks Brittany Dixon and Abby Smith also placed.  Dixon scored 386.95 points and came in 17th while Smith placed 21st with a score of 354.65.

A school record six divers qualified this past week, the team earned six All-American honors, and took the program to new heights.   

Head coach Geoff Hansen finished off his first full year of head coach of the Mavericks on a very high note.

All in all, this was a great meet for the program and a foundation that we can continue to build on as we move toward being one of the best swimming and diving programs in the nation.”

Hansen came from Western State, where he coached for two full seasons and won RMAC Coach of the year, before coming to Colorado Mesa and turning the program to a national contender.

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Matt Kennedy
Matt Kennedy is a sophomore mass communication major from Colorado Springs. He is in his second year with The Criterion, has served as the assistant sports editor and is now sports editor. Kennedy went to Doherty High School where he wrote for his school paper for three years and he aspires to continue in the sports journalism field after graduation to pursue a career as a sportscaster.


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