When Dathan Ritzenhein came to CU two years ago from Michigan, he was one of the most highly touted prospects to arrive at the Boulder campus in any sport. But the first-ever winner of two consecutive Foot Locker cross-country championships was kept out of the running last year with an early stress fracture of his leg. This time around, though, the red-shirt sophomore made up for lost time. In November he ran away with the NCAA Division I cross-country championships, blistering through the 6.2-mile course at a pace of 4:43 per mile. Bonus points: Ritzenhein was the second Buff in a row to win the race. Last year, senior harrier Jorge Torres finished on top.
When Dathan Ritzenhein came to CU two years ago from Michigan, he was one of the most highly touted prospects to arrive at the Boulder campus in any sport. But the first-ever winner of two consecutive Foot Locker cross-country championships was kept out of the running last year with an early stress fracture of his leg. This time around, though, the red-shirt sophomore made up for lost time. In November he ran away with the NCAA Division I cross-country championships, blistering through the 6.2-mile course at a pace of 4:43 per mile. Bonus points: Ritzenhein was the second Buff in a row to win the race. Last year, senior harrier Jorge Torres finished on top.


The Falcons may not get the big ink, but this year there was no better Colorado-based team sports story -- that didn't appear in the crime blotter, at least -- than Air Force basketball. Credit coach Joe Scott. First as a player, then as an assistant coach under the masterful Pete Carril, Scott was schooled in the disciplined Princeton University version of controlled, team-centric roundball. In 2000, the first year he arrived in Colorado Springs, the Falcons went 8-21. The next year, they went 9-19, and by 2002-03, the team had improved to 12-16. Even so, this year the Falcons, who'd never finished better than sixth-best in the Mountain West Conference, were the pre-season favorite to finish dead last. Instead, Scott's men -- none of whom is taller than an average NBA guard -- went 22-5, walking away with the MWC title and a top seeding in the conference tournament. They also earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Make no mistake: The Falcons soared.
The Falcons may not get the big ink, but this year there was no better Colorado-based team sports story -- that didn't appear in the crime blotter, at least -- than Air Force basketball. Credit coach Joe Scott. First as a player, then as an assistant coach under the masterful Pete Carril, Scott was schooled in the disciplined Princeton University version of controlled, team-centric roundball. In 2000, the first year he arrived in Colorado Springs, the Falcons went 8-21. The next year, they went 9-19, and by 2002-03, the team had improved to 12-16. Even so, this year the Falcons, who'd never finished better than sixth-best in the Mountain West Conference, were the pre-season favorite to finish dead last. Instead, Scott's men -- none of whom is taller than an average NBA guard -- went 22-5, walking away with the MWC title and a top seeding in the conference tournament. They also earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Make no mistake: The Falcons soared.
All right, so the Avalanche has been in a swoon of late. Even the Zamboni drivers have heard the rumors about coach Tony Granato's departure, and some Avs veterans have questioned their teammates' work ethic as the NHL playoffs draw near. Still, the two-time Stanley Cup champions remain a scary power to all of the top teams in the league -- especially if the great center Peter Forsberg can avoid more injury and star free agents Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya get their acts together in time to knock heads with the Red Wings, Canucks and Sharks at Cup Crazy time. Don't worry about Alex Tanguay and Joe Sakic: These two scoring machines never shut down for repairs. Meanwhile, the smartest executive in hockey, GM Pierre Lacroix, may have a few more late-season tricks up his sleeve. Even amid a shocking slump, the Avs loom as a grave threat to grab up Lord Stanley's funny-looking trophy for the third time in nine years.
All right, so the Avalanche has been in a swoon of late. Even the Zamboni drivers have heard the rumors about coach Tony Granato's departure, and some Avs veterans have questioned their teammates' work ethic as the NHL playoffs draw near. Still, the two-time Stanley Cup champions remain a scary power to all of the top teams in the league -- especially if the great center Peter Forsberg can avoid more injury and star free agents Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya get their acts together in time to knock heads with the Red Wings, Canucks and Sharks at Cup Crazy time. Don't worry about Alex Tanguay and Joe Sakic: These two scoring machines never shut down for repairs. Meanwhile, the smartest executive in hockey, GM Pierre Lacroix, may have a few more late-season tricks up his sleeve. Even amid a shocking slump, the Avs loom as a grave threat to grab up Lord Stanley's funny-looking trophy for the third time in nine years.


The three-eighths-mile ovals of the world -- paved and dirt -- will never get the ink or the airtime accorded the big super-speedways, and the drivers who spend their Saturday nights careening around these circuits don't get any Jeff Gordon-style endorsement contracts. But they are the lifeblood of U.S. stock-car racing, and Arvada's Jerry Robertson is one of the best of the bunch. Last summer at Colorado National Speedway, just south of Dacono, Robertson took home his second late-model season title in four years when he piloted his number 75 Chevrolet to an amazing eleven victories in eighteen races (and sixteen top-five finishes). That was also good enough to win the Northwest Regional title in NASCAR's Dodge Weekly Series, contested by drivers in six western states. Way to go, Leadfoot.
The three-eighths-mile ovals of the world -- paved and dirt -- will never get the ink or the airtime accorded the big super-speedways, and the drivers who spend their Saturday nights careening around these circuits don't get any Jeff Gordon-style endorsement contracts. But they are the lifeblood of U.S. stock-car racing, and Arvada's Jerry Robertson is one of the best of the bunch. Last summer at Colorado National Speedway, just south of Dacono, Robertson took home his second late-model season title in four years when he piloted his number 75 Chevrolet to an amazing eleven victories in eighteen races (and sixteen top-five finishes). That was also good enough to win the Northwest Regional title in NASCAR's Dodge Weekly Series, contested by drivers in six western states. Way to go, Leadfoot.


The track at Denver Indoor Kart Racing isn't one of those wussy kids' tracks with accelerator regulators and lanes that are too narrow to pass in. This is the real deal -- and worth the hunt to find the obscure warehouse just north of I-70. Helmets are required -- yes, the carts can spin out -- but the front desk sells head socks so you don't have to swap sweat with strangers. For first-timers, a good trip around the quarter-mile track is 27 seconds, but pros can whittle it down to a mere 21 seconds. Anyone taller than 4' 8" can drive the adult cars, but the year-and-a-half-old facility also has a corral of junior carts on hand so that the whole family can compete against each other. Gentlemen, start your engines.
The track at Denver Indoor Kart Racing isn't one of those wussy kids' tracks with accelerator regulators and lanes that are too narrow to pass in. This is the real deal -- and worth the hunt to find the obscure warehouse just north of I-70. Helmets are required -- yes, the carts can spin out -- but the front desk sells head socks so you don't have to swap sweat with strangers. For first-timers, a good trip around the quarter-mile track is 27 seconds, but pros can whittle it down to a mere 21 seconds. Anyone taller than 4' 8" can drive the adult cars, but the year-and-a-half-old facility also has a corral of junior carts on hand so that the whole family can compete against each other. Gentlemen, start your engines.

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