Mountain Lions impress in monumental summer

28 August 2018

Robert Ryan

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While most students were enjoying vacation and time off from school, several UCCS students and an alumni were able to impress with fantastic displays of athleticism over the summer.

    The good results began on June 6 when alumni outfielder, Zach Hall, was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the round No. 19 of the MLB draft, becoming the first draftee of the young UCCS baseball program, which was formed less than two years ago.

    Leading the way for the program its first two seasons, Hall finished his UCCS career with a .331 batting average and accumulated 125 hits, 102 runs batted in (RBI’s) and 33 home runs over 100 games. He led the team with 20 home runs, 60 RBI’s and a slugging percentage of .711 during his senior year.

    “Zach has been one of our team leaders from day one in our new program. He has been a huge part of getting our team on the [Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference] map,” said head baseball coach, Dave Hajek, “This is a huge day for UCCS and our baseball program.”

    Hall has begun his professional baseball career playing for the Grand Junction Rockies in the Pioneer League, accumulating 26 hits, 17 RBI’s and 8 home runs during his first 42 games.

    Success continued later in the summer with the UCCS Figure Skating Clubs’ representations in the 2018 U.S. Collegiate Figure Skating Championships in Adrian, Michigan.

    Thomas Schwappach, a junior accounting major, and Makala Arn, a senior marketing major, represented UCCS in individual competitions against more than 50 figure skaters across the country. Schwappach finished second at the junior level and Arn placed fifth at the senior level.

    “[My favorite part] besides the competition itself was being able to meet and be around the other students,” said Schwappach, “This was my second time at the competition.”

    The UCCS Figure Skating Club was created last year by Arn, Schwappach and club president Gwendolynn De Graff, with the purpose of, “bringing more figure skaters together, growing as a team, having a good time and supporting each other,” according to De Graff.

    While skaters compete individually in the Collegiate Figure Skating Championships, the U.S. intercollegiate championships are held between entire teams of figure skaters, and the aim of the club is to qualify for the championships, which will be held in April at the University of Delaware.

    “The top four teams out of 14 from our section qualify for the Championships, we just missed it and finished [No. 5] last year,” said De Graaf.

     Despite his second-place finish at the individual competition this summer, Thomas Schwappach is already eyeing a good showing for the club this upcoming school year.

    “The next goal for the club now is to qualify for the Intercollegiate Tournament,” said Schwappach.

    The next competition for the club will take place at Colorado College in November.

    The summer ended on yet another high note with Jonathan “Jono” Schwan’s performance at the X Games in Minneapolis.

    The sophomore computer science major qualified for the Pacifico Skateboard Vert finals after finishing No. 2 out of 15 qualifiers with a score of 86 points.

    In what was his ninth X Games competition, Schwan finished No. 9 in the finals with a score of 76 points.

    Schwan’s success at this years X Games has not been a one-off. He debuted as a professional at the age of 14 in 2011, and has competed in skateboarding events such as Dew Tour, the World Extreme Games and the Skateboarding World Championships ever since.