May 11, 2015
50 Year Issue
Talented athletes in the RMAC can come along and change the way people look at Division II athletics. Four athletes come to mind for UCCS.
Crystal Fish, formerly Crystal Krebs, is one of the best softball players in UCCS history. The catcher broke records, was the first two-time softball All-American and was elected to the UCCS Athletic Hall of Fame in the inaugural class. She is the first softball player to have her jersey number, 22, retired.
In two seasons for the Mountain Lions (2004-05), Fish hit 44 homeruns, including 25 in 48 games in 2005. She finished with a .490 batting average and 129 RBIs.
“Homeruns just came,” she said. “If I tried to hit a homerun, I would usually pop-up or strike out, but when I just tried to make contact, hit the ball hard and get a hit for my team, the homeruns would come.”
“I feel truly blessed to be so recognized by my coach, school and conference for a game I just loved to play.”
Fish is a teacher at Lewis-Palmer High School in Colorado Springs.
Another star came into play a few years after Fish graduated.
Nikki Kinzer, the first volleyball All-American at UCCS, was a middle blocker who transferred from CU-Boulder and played from 2010-12. She was voted a Daktronics All-South Central Region member and to the All-RMAC First Team.
“I feel like I was at UCCS when the school and the athletics program was really at its turning point,” said Kinzer. “So to be so successful when I was really allowed me to feel like I contributed to the school.”
Kinzer said the choice of UCCS was simple.
“My old high school coach Keith Barnett was there, and he was hands down the best coach I’ve ever played for,” she said. “I was also transferring from CU and found myself missing the Springs. It ended up being a perfect fit.”
Kinzer graduated in 2014 and is a teacher at Rampart High School in Colorado Springs.
Abby Kirchoff soon rose to the spotlight.
Kirchoff travelled from Barrington, Ill. to attend UCCS. The sharpshooter is the all-time leading scorer for women’s basketball and was the fi rst All- American and RMAC Player of the year for the program. Kirchoff and her teammates reached the NCAA Sweet 16 this year, the furthest the team had evwer advanced.
Looking back on her time at UCCS (2011-15), Kirchoff thinks the accolades she received were both humbling and honoring.
“It’s a pretty incredible feeling,” said Kirchoff. “The RMAC Player of the Year and All-American [accolades] would never have been possible without my teammates.”
“My freshman and sophomore years I never thought I would have ever broke the record for scoring,” she said. “I’m so lucky to have had this experience at UCCS and so blessed to have spent all four years at this school.”
Kirchoff will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in communication this spring.
Derrick White emerged as the go-to guy for the UCCS men’s basketball team. White (2012-15) was the first Daktronics Second Team All-American for the men and is the all-time leading scorer for UCCS.
This year, White and his teammates won the RMAC Tournament for the fi rst time in program history and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the furthest the team had ever been.
White said accolades followed him due in part to the team accomplishments.
“It means a lot to me being an All-American because it means that all my hard work has paid off,” he said. “It means that the team is having success, too. You don’t make an All-American team if you are on a bad team so it means a lot to me in that aspect.”
“It has been an amazing ride here at UCCS and playing here was always a great experience,” he said. “When I signed to play at UCCS I couldn’t imagine being one of the best basketball players to play here. It’s humbling and I will always be thankful for the opportunity.”
White will transfer to CUBoulder for his final year and be eligible for the 2016-17 season.