By Jenna Fischer

As summer draws to a close, Colorado State University welcomes students and staff back to campus for the new academic year. Among those returning is rugby Olympian, Ben Pinkelman. Campus Rec had the opportunity to speak with Pinkelman about the experience before he left for Rio.

At age 22, Colorado State University student and Sport Club athlete, Pinkelman earned himself the title of the youngest rugby Olympian on Team USA for the 2016 Olympic games. He was selected to compete as a Forward for the Men’s National 7s Team in Rio de Janeiro.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Pinkelman said. “It probably won’t sink in until we get to Rio.”

Pinkelman first discovered his passion for the game as a freshman at Cherry Creek High School.

“I played football as well, but I didn’t have a spring sport,” Pinkelman said. “So I went out to the first [rugby] practice and just kind of fell in love with it.”

Four years later, Pinkelman knew his rugby career was just beginning.

“I decided to keep playing in college because I just couldn’t stop,” Pinkelman said. “That never crossed my mind.”

Although he first considered other universities, Pinkelman ultimately decided to attend CSU for it’s noteworthy Sport Club rugby program.

“I knew CSU had a good program from their recruiting trips to the high school invitational and state tournaments I played in,” Pinkelman said. “So I knew they had a good program with a good history and that’s one of the main factors that pushed me to go to CSU.”

During his time at CSU, Pinkelman has continued to hone his athletic abilities and fuel his passion for the sport.

“I was a good player my freshman year, but I think I definitely developed a lot and learned a lot at the program at CSU,” Pinkelman said. “The leaders really helped push me in the right direction and get me where I am now.”

The CSU Men’s Rugby Team also served as the key that opened doors for Pinkelman to be able to compete at the national level.

“[The coaches at CSU] reached out to the national team coaches and told them to give me a chance,” Pinkelman said. “CSU really got me my first shot.”

Throughout his rugby career, Pinkelman has had the opportunity to travel all over the world while competing in international tournaments. His travels have taken him to Hong Kong, Africa, Sydney, and Paris to name a few.

Although Pinkelman has played on a number of rugby teams both at the state and national levels, the Sport Club program at CSU holds a special place in his heart.

“It’s a brotherhood for sure,” Pinkelman said. “It’s definitely great to play with all the guys on the team who have become my closest friends at CSU, my roommates, guys I’ll talk to and hang out with for the rest of my life.”

That brotherly connection translates off the field as well. While the CSU Men’s Rugby Team has certainly stood out on the field, they have made a positive impression off the field as well. The player-run organization requires its team members to participate in community service and fundraising.

“We have run CSU football games, RamRides, and done a lot of things around Fort Collins to help the community,” Pinkelman said. “You have to go work for all your own stuff, you have to do the community service, you have to raise money in order to travel. It also makes you closer to the team because you have to do all of those things together.”

Pinkelman has overcome many challenges throughout the years in order to be where he is today. As the youngest player on the national team, he is the only one still in school.

“It’s been hard going to CSU and trying to stay on track with school while doing all this traveling,” Pinkelman said. “I usually miss at least a month every semester—sometimes a little more. On the road it’s hard to get homework [finished] and stay focused, especially when you don’t know if you’ll have wi-fi in a lot of the places.”

In addition to academic challenges, Pinkelman has also overcome some medical complications. In 2014, the athlete was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease—a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the lining of the digestive tract.

“When I first tried out for the U20s the symptoms were really bad,” Pinkelman said. “I was anemic from losing so much blood and couldn’t run very far without getting exhausted. I got cut at the last tryout because I just couldn’t focus. I was really sick.”

After his diagnosis, medication has allowed Pinkelman to manage his condition and continue participating in the sport he loves.

“Rugby has pretty much defined who I am,” Pinkelman said. “It’s the most important aspect of my life and the most time-consuming aspect of my life. It’s definitely shaped who I am today.”

As he looks toward the future, Pinkelman has several options to consider. After completing his final semester at CSU this fall, he will graduate with a degree in criminal justice.

“I want to do something in law enforcement, but I will also probably have an offer on the table to move to Chula Vista to train full time at the Olympic training center,” Pinkelman said. “I want to play rugby for as long as I can.” He even mentioned the possibility of trying for the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo.

For now, Pinkelman is focusing all his energy on the challenge ahead and preparing for the games in Rio. He will compete along with Team USA on Aug. 9 against fifth-ranked Argentina in the first match.

“We’re just focused on the medal right now,” Pinkelman said. “Getting to the Olympics is obviously a huge accomplishment and a goal and a dream for a lot of people, but you don’t just want to go and be a participant. You want to go and win. You want to be a contender in the fight for the medal.”

While it’s true that the Sport Club program at Campus Rec boasts a myriad of talented athletes, you don’t have to be an Olympian to become involved. Pinkelman offers some advice for incoming students at CSU and students who are considering joining a sport club.

“Just don’t be intimidated and just go for what you think sounds like fun,” Pinkelman said. “Not any of the clubs at CSU are going to reject you—they are going to accept you with open arms no matter the talent level. Just reach out to them. If you’re a student coming in, get information and come out to practice and you’ll enjoy it and you’ll have fun.”

The USA Men’s Rugby Team finished 9th overall in the Rio Olympic Games. In the key match of the tournament, the team lost against Fiji who went on to win the Gold medal. Although Pinkelman is returning from Rio without a medal, he is still gold to us—Green and Gold that is.

 

 

 

From CSU Hockey’s Blog

Yuval Rosenthal, #20 for your CSU Rams hockey team, took the ice with his native Team Israel at the IIHF II-B Championships in Mexico City this past April.  Yuval has been a supporting member of his Nation’s ice team before, but took the spotlight this year and earned Team Israel’s Most-Valuable-Player (MVP) for the tournament after netting 4 goals and 1 assist in 5 games south of the border.  Team Israel went 2-3 overall and placed 3rd of the 6 participating teams losing out to the national teams from Mexico and Australia.  Other teams were from Bulgaria, North Korea, and New Zealand.

The IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) is the governing body of international hockey.  Most people are familiar with the Olympics -this is typically the IIHF Championship level and includes noted favorites such as USA, Russia, Finland, Canada, Sweden, etc.  IIHF I-A includes teams such as Italy, Poland, Japan, Austria, and South Korea.  IIHF I-B has Ukraine, Romania, Great Britain and more and IIHF II-A has teams from China, Spain, Netherlands, and Serbia. 

The lay observer may be surprised that there are hockey teams from New Zealand, Mexico, or Israel.  The facts are that most of these teams’ ranks are filled with high-caliber transplants who have ended up in Canada, Europe, or the U.S. via a variety of routes to further their hockey careers.  For example, many players on Team Israel play in top leagues in Canada or Europe.  Yuval started with roller hockey in Israel, ending up a couple years ago playing junior hockey in Canada, and is currently in Ft. Collins playing for your Colorado State Rams. 

The team would like to congratulate Yuval on his success in representing his homeland and the Rams and we look forward to him getting back on the ice for the Knights of the Green and Gold this coming season in Fort Collins.  Go Rams!

 

CollegeRank.net reviewed hundreds of recreation centers and settled on 35 that stood out from the rest. Where was CSU Campus Rec? Sitting pretty at number four.

We might say getting named to top ten lists gets to be old news at some point… but that would be a lie. We are honored that our beloved CSU Student Recreation Center is once again being recognized as the best in the country. 

Check out CollegeRank.Net to read the full list.

Although we love the facilities here at CSU Campus Rec, it is truly the students, members, and participants that make this place the BEST place on campus. Thanks, Rams!

 

#BPOC

 

FORT COLLINS, Colorado — The Colorado State University Men’s Lacrosse team will be led by four captains for the 2016 season, according to the Rams’ newly appointed head coach, Ted Fifield. Peter Hull, Alex Creech, Jake Johnson, and Jared Wade were unanimously selected as captains by team vote following the 2015 campaign. These four will look to lead the Rams to a rebound season after missing the MCLA National Tournament for the first time in over 10 years.

Junior defender Peter Hull will represent the Rams as a captain and defensive stalwart this season. Hull, a 2015 1st Team All-Conference selection and Honorable Mention All-American, played his high school lacrosse at Chaminade Prep, in St. Louis, MO. Alex Creech is a product of Rocky Mountain High School (Fort Collins, CO), where he played for Fort Collins Unified before spending the first year of his collegiate career at McDaniel College (Westminster, MD). The senior midfielder has tallied 26 career points for CSU, with 22 Goals and 4 Assists in his three previous seasons. Jake Johnson, a senior attackman from El Toro, CA, played at Bridgton Academy (North Bridgton, ME) before coming to Colorado State. Johnson has tallied 48 career points at CSU to the tune of 35 Goals and 13 Assists on his way to becoming the leader of the Rams offensive unit. Jared Wade represents the team as both a captain and team president. Wade hails from Castle Rock, CO, where he attended Douglas County High School. The senior defensive midfielder will serve a critical role in shutting down opposing midfielders for the Rams this season.

2016 Season Overview

The 2016 season features another aggressive schedule for the Rams, who look to regain their position atop the high-powered RMLC. The team will make three regular season, out-of-state road trips and will play seven teams who were ranked in the Under Armor MCLA Coaches Poll Top 25. The schedule includes both the MCLA Division I champion,  Grand Canyon University, and runner-up, University of Colorado. CSU will also play host to Boise State for the first time in team history.

Colorado State opens the season in the Southwest for a double-header against the University of Arizona and Grand Canyon University on February 26 and 28. The team will then travel to California for Spring Break to play WCLL powers Cal-Berkeley and Sonoma State on March 12 and 15 before returning to Fort Collins for a two game home-stand against UC Santa Barbara and Arizona State on March 24 and 26. A challenging run of four conference games in nine days will bring the Rams into April as they play Utah Valley and Utah State in Utah on April 1 and 2 and then home to host the University of Utah and BYU on April 7 and 9. The Rams will host BYU in Hughes Stadium, which will double as their annual CSU Lacrosse Hall of Fame game and Senior Night. Colorado State’s regular-season schedule will come to a close with the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Showdown against the Buffaloes at the University of Colorado. In last year’s contest, the Buffs beat CSU 10-9 in 2OT after a hard fought back-and-forth game for nearly 5,000 raucous fans. The two teams have combined to win three of the last four MCLA National Championships and come together in what’s sure to be a high-powered, high-emotion competition on April 16th.

The Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference playoffs are scheduled for April 29 and 30 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The MCLA National Tournament will be held in Southern California over the week of May 9 as UC-Irvine and Chapman University share hosting duties. CSU kicks off scrimmage play on February 13 against NCAA Division II Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, CO.

Follow CSU Lacrosse on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more information and be sure to visit www.csulacrosse.com.

 

CSU Men’s Lacrosse 2016 Schedule

Date                                                        Time                                  Opponent

Saturday, Feb. 13                              10:00am                                Colorado Mesa University

Friday, Feb. 26                                   7:00pm                                  University of Arizona

Sunday, Feb. 28                                 12:00pm                                Grand Canyon University

Friday, March 04                               6:00pm                                  Boise State University

Sunday, March 06                             11:00am                                University of Oregon

Saturday, March 12                          1:00pm                                  UC-Berkeley

Tuesday, March 15                           5:00pm                                  Sonoma State University

Thursday, March 24                         6:00pm                                  UC Santa Barbara

Saturday, March 26                          1:00pm                                  Arizona State University

Friday, April 01                                 7:00pm                                  Utah Valley University*

Saturday, April 02                             11:00am                                Utah State University*

Thursday, April 07                            7:00pm                                  University of Utah*

Saturday, April 09                             5:00pm                                  Brigham Young Univ.*$

Saturday, April 16                             2:00pm                                  University of Colorado*~

Fri-Sat, April 29-30                           TBD                                         RMLC League Tournament

Mon-Sat, May 9-14                           TBD                                         MCLA National Tournament

 

Scrimmages in italicsHome Games in bold

* Denotes RMLC League Game

$ Denotes CSU Lacrosse Hall of Fame Game and Senior Night

~ Denotes Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Showdown

 

Water Polo

Water Polo played in the Rocky Mountain Division Championship in Kearns, Utah on October 24th and 25th. 

  • Loss 8-12 vs Wyoming first bracket game
  • Win 12-2 vs School of Mines losers bracket game
  • Win 13-12 vs University of Denver for 5th place

Swimming

Swimming had their first meet on October 24th at CU. Combined (women and men) took 3rd place out of 15 teams. 

Individual swimmer results:

  • Sami O’Neill: 6th place in the 200yard Free with a 2:16.65, 5th place in the 500 yard free with a 6:14.62
  • Eric Work: 2nd place in the 200 yard free with a 1:53.29
  • Mackenzie Baldwin: 1st place in the 200 yard IM with a 2:24.82, 2nd place in 100 yard breast with 1:14.95
  • Alex Turner: 3rd place in the 200 yard IM with a 2:10.20, 4th place in the 100 yard free with a 51.61
  • Olivia Bobillier: 1st place in the 50 yard free with a 25.29, 2nd place in the 100 yard free with a 57.93
  • Logan Lagesse: 1st place in the 50 yard free with a 22.70, 2nd place in the 100 yard back with a 57.63
  • Paige West: 6th place in the 100 yard free with a 1:01.23, 4th place in the 100 yard breast with a 1:16.78
  • Owen Mathews: 3rd place in the 100 yard breast with a 1:04.47

Relay teams:

  • 400 Yard Medley- girls (5th place): Meghan Casey, Pagie West, Sami O’Neill, Molly Scarbro
  • 200 Yard Medley- girls (2rd place): Meghan Casey, Paige West, Natalia Suarez, Sami O’Neill
  • 200 Yard Medley- girls (3rd place): Olivia Bobillier, Mackenzie Baldwin, Emilie Rosa, Marissa Suleski
  • 200 Yard Medley- boys (4th place): Tom Rudloff, Kaiwei Chen, Eric Work, Robby Stokoe
  • 200 Yard Free – girls (1st place): Mackenzie Baldwin, Natalia Suarez, Stephanie Pascua, Olivia Bobillier
  • 200 Yard Free – boys (1st place): Eric Work, Alex Turner, Owen Mathews, Logan Lagesse
  • 400 yard free – boys (3rd place): Eric Work, Robby Stokoe, Nick Turner, Alex Turner

Men’s Soccer

October 24th games at Western:

  • Won versus Western University 12-0
  • Won versus Colorado Mesa 2-1. 

October 25th tournament at CU Denver:

  • Won versus UCCS 5-1
  • Lost versus CSU-Pueblo 4-3
  • Won veresus Northern Iowa 4-1 (3rd place game)