Colorado Mesa men’s lacrosse team the co-favorite to capture WILA crown

There isn’t a clear-cut favorite to win the Western Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association title this year.

The past two WILA men’s champions are co-favorites, according to the coaches poll released Thursday.

Colorado Mesa, the 2012 champion, and 2013 champion Dominican (Calif.) each received two first-place votes and are picked to finish first in the league’s third year. Adams State is picked third and Notre Dame de Namur (Calif.) is picked fourth.

The Mavericks had a player selected at nearly every position to the All-WILA preseason team.

Senior goalie Brad Brandenburg made the team. He was the Co-Defensive Player of the Year last season and made the Inside Lacrosse preseason All-American team.

Defenders Johnny Nitti and Eric McCosker, midfielder Kade Robinson, long-stick midfielder Zach Bullett and attacker Michael Beimford made the preseason All-WILA team.

Beimford, a junior, led the Mavericks with 21 goals and 34 points.

Mesa opens its season with a pair of scrimmages against CSU and CU club teams before its first scheduled match: Feb. 28 against Rockhurst (Mo.) University in Kansas City.

Coaching Again

Former Colorado Mesa men’s and women’s swimming and diving coach Brian Pearson will coach the new CSU-Pueblo women’s swimming and diving program, the school announced.

The program will begin competition in 2014-15 with men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s indoor and outdoor track and field and men’s cross-country at CSU-Pueblo.

“I am excited for the opportunity, not only because I’m from Pueblo, but also because new sports have had such success at CSU-Pueblo, and swimming has a real chance to take off in this community and this region,” Pearson said in a news release.

Pearson coached the CMU women’s team for six years and the men’s program for three seasons, each since their inception as an intercollegiate varsity sport.

The Mavericks qualified 20 student-athletes in 35 events at the NCAA Division II national championships and had three All-Americans in Pearson’s tenure.

Athlete of the Year

The Colorado Sports Hall of Fame selected Western State Colorado University track and field athlete Barbara Szabo as the 2013 college female athlete of the year.

Szabo, a senior from Budapest, Hungary, is a four-time national champ, five-time All-American and seven-time RMAC champ.

She earned her third consecutive NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field national title in the women’s high jump last year and is the eighth women’s athlete to win an indoor national title three straight years in any event.

Szabo will be honored along with six other athletes at the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame banquet April 17 at the Denver Marriott City Center Hotel.


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