GOLDEN - Chris Siemers has been promoted from interim head coach to head coach of the Colorado School of Mines cross country programs effective immediately.
Interim Director of Athletics Marv Kay announced the hire that was only a matter of time after Mines cross country’s exceptional season.
“Chris did a very fine job during his year as interim head coach,” Kay said. “His team’s national accomplishments speak volumes for his ability as a head coach. It is expected that the cross country teams will continue to excel under his coaching and leadership.”
Siemers guided Mines to its best season in program history in 2012, steering both cross country teams back to the NCAA national championships for the first time since 2005 as the men claimed runner-up out of 32 teams and the women took eighth, their third top-10 finish of the last 10 seasons.
With a program-record five runners in the top-36 and earning All-American stature, the Oredigger men continued their noteworthy run of high showings at the national meet, finishing in the top-five for the fourth straight year and in the top-10 for an eighth consecutive season.
The men spent the entirety of the regular season ranked inside the nation’s top-four, including a four-week stint at No. 2., and finished no lower than third at any meet in the fall under Siemers, capturing top honors at the Woody Greeno/Nebraska Invitational as well as second-place results at the Oklahoma State Cowboy Jamboree and RMAC Championships.
The 2012 Captain U Division II Men’s Cross Country College Coach of the Year, Siemers saw the Mines women rank inside the top-25 in all seven regular season ballots, highlighted by a season-best ranking of No. 13 in the final poll.
The Orediggers captured three fourth-place team finishes and took sixth at the Cowboy Jamboree behind a trio of Division I squads.
Former Mines track national champions Mark Husted (2011) and Mack McLain (2012) have not missed a stride since their times in Golden and the pair competed at the U.S Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.
Husted, a six-time All-American and two-time national champion at Mines, placed fourth in his preliminary heat and 11th overall out of 28 in the 800 with a time of 1:47.87, just 0.57 of a second behind a semifinal qualification.
The ESPN the Magazine Track/Cross Country Academic All-America of the Year and RMAC Outdoor Track & Field Academic Athlete of the Year in 2010, Husted, a member of the Denver Track Club, qualified for the national championships with a personal-record of 1:47.56 on April 28 at the 2013 Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational in Palo Alto, California.
McLain, a 12-time All-American and three-time national champion — both all-time program-bests, ranked 11th in prelims and 22nd overall among 46 runners in the 1500 in 3:46.67. Representing Boulder Running Company/adidas, McLain earned the automatic qualifying A standard and a four-second personal-best of 3:39.81 on June 15 at the American Milers Club High Performance meet in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Announced earlier this week by Colorado School of Mines fourth-year head coach Kevin Fickes, former University of Illinois letter winner and Republic of Ireland National Team member Shannon McDonnell has been named assistant coach of the women’s soccer program.
McDonnell played four seasons as a midfielder with Illinois (2004-07), teaming with her sister, Mary Therese, to lead the Illini to a 56-28-7 overall record and four NCAA Tournament appearances, including a berth in the 2004 Elite Eight and 2006 Sweet Sixteen. She also competed for the Windy City Bluez of the W-League and the Chicago Gaels before joining the Chicago Red Stars in 2011.
A three-time Jeremy Daly Award recipient (2005-07) and Fighting Illini Spirit Award winner in 2008 while at Illinois, McDonnell accumulated 12 caps during a five-year tenure on the Irish National Team (2009-13).