The winner, and still the champ.

Readers' Choice: Mile High Stadium

The winner, and still the champ.

Readers' Choice: Mile High Stadium

Best college athlete you've never heard of

Kara Wheeler

An All-American at the University of Colorado, Kara Wheeler won both the 3,000- and 5,000-meter events in early June at the NCAA Track and Field championships at Duke University. Only former CU star Adam Goucher has earned more national track titles (three) for the school, and Wheeler was the first CU runner to win multiple events at the same meet. CU's female athlete of the year ran the second-fastest 3,000 in the world this year and qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials in July.

Best college athlete you've never heard of

Kara Wheeler

An All-American at the University of Colorado, Kara Wheeler won both the 3,000- and 5,000-meter events in early June at the NCAA Track and Field championships at Duke University. Only former CU star Adam Goucher has earned more national track titles (three) for the school, and Wheeler was the first CU runner to win multiple events at the same meet. CU's female athlete of the year ran the second-fastest 3,000 in the world this year and qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials in July.

It can be easy to forget that outstanding college athletes are also capable of being outstanding college students. Many top university football and basketball players, in particular, never bother to graduate; others attend classes just so they can showcase their talents on the field as a warmup for a lucrative professional career. But it is possible to both study and sweat. This past year, seniors Tyler Church (DU-basketball), Corte McGuffey (UNC-football), Cale Bonds (Air Force-football), Ryan Hollingshead (Adams State-football), Adam Batliner (CU-track and field), Kristina Andersson (DU-skiing), Shelly Borrman (CSU-track and field), Heather O'Brien (Colorado College-track and field) and Heather Burroughs (CU-track and field) were athletic standouts. (McGuffey, a quarterback, earned a tryout with the world-champion St. Louis Rams.) Yet each also was diligent enough in the classroom to earn a prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship for great grades. And there's not a "recreation studies" major among them: Church studied biology, McGuffey and Bonds majored in biochemistry, and Andersson mastered mathematics.

It can be easy to forget that outstanding college athletes are also capable of being outstanding college students. Many top university football and basketball players, in particular, never bother to graduate; others attend classes just so they can showcase their talents on the field as a warmup for a lucrative professional career. But it is possible to both study and sweat. This past year, seniors Tyler Church (DU-basketball), Corte McGuffey (UNC-football), Cale Bonds (Air Force-football), Ryan Hollingshead (Adams State-football), Adam Batliner (CU-track and field), Kristina Andersson (DU-skiing), Shelly Borrman (CSU-track and field), Heather O'Brien (Colorado College-track and field) and Heather Burroughs (CU-track and field) were athletic standouts. (McGuffey, a quarterback, earned a tryout with the world-champion St. Louis Rams.) Yet each also was diligent enough in the classroom to earn a prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship for great grades. And there's not a "recreation studies" major among them: Church studied biology, McGuffey and Bonds majored in biochemistry, and Andersson mastered mathematics.

After Colorado State's 41-14 upset win over arch-rival Colorado in the football-season opener at Mile High Stadium, CU players were pelted in the end zone with bottles and taunts from the CSU faithful. This, in turn, prompted a worked-up army of helmeted and shielded Denver police to Mace and teargas every animal, vegetable and mineral in sight -- including old people and children. "We didn't want them on the field," one police lieutenant explained. But by whose order? "The cops were out of control," one older fan said. "They showed no regard for anyone." Look for the CU/CSU series to resume on campus.

After Colorado State's 41-14 upset win over arch-rival Colorado in the football-season opener at Mile High Stadium, CU players were pelted in the end zone with bottles and taunts from the CSU faithful. This, in turn, prompted a worked-up army of helmeted and shielded Denver police to Mace and teargas every animal, vegetable and mineral in sight -- including old people and children. "We didn't want them on the field," one police lieutenant explained. But by whose order? "The cops were out of control," one older fan said. "They showed no regard for anyone." Look for the CU/CSU series to resume on campus.

As Cherry Creek High School's number-one singles player, eighteen-year-old Alicia Salas this spring won her fourth Colorado state tennis championship in as many years, equaling a record set by Cheyenne Mountain's Becky Varnum. The four-time winner, praised by her coach as a respectful opponent and an admirable role model for younger players, will head for Notre Dame University this fall and set her sights on the NCAA women's tennis title.

As Cherry Creek High School's number-one singles player, eighteen-year-old Alicia Salas this spring won her fourth Colorado state tennis championship in as many years, equaling a record set by Cheyenne Mountain's Becky Varnum. The four-time winner, praised by her coach as a respectful opponent and an admirable role model for younger players, will head for Notre Dame University this fall and set her sights on the NCAA women's tennis title.

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