Pipher, Romo, Adams, Nelson top athletes, coaches of century
Mavs among RMAC’s best
Chuck Pipher wasn’t sure he was good enough to succeed in college wrestling.
Pipher was not only good enough, he was the best, as chosen by the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. The Mesa State College wrestling coach and former University of Southern Colorado three-time national champion is the RMAC All-Century wrestling MVP.
“With me coming from Hotchkiss, we didn’t make it to the Front Range a ton,” Pipher said.
“For me, I was a deer in the headlights. I felt like it was far enough away from home, I didn’t want to go D-I. I wasn’t sure I was good enough. I wanted to be successful and get an education.”
Pipher is one of four former coaches and athletes with ties to Mesa State to be chosen as the players or coaches of the century by the RMAC, which is celebrating its centennial by forming All-Century teams.
Former Mesa State baseball pitcher Sergio Romo and softball outfielder Kelly Adams were selected the MVPs of their sports. Former Mesa State tennis coach Wayne Nelson is the RMAC men’s tennis All-Time coach. Nelson coached the Mavericks from 1955-89. The Mesa State Hall of Honor inductee has also served as the school’s men’s basketball coach for 18 years and the athletic director for 26 years.
The All-Century team will be honored at the RMAC Centennial Celebration on July 11 at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs. More than 200 former student-athletes and coaches will be honored.
Pipher was a three-time national champion and four-time RMAC champion for Southern Colorado from 1986-89 and was inducted into the RMAC Hall of Fame in 2004.
“It is a real honor to be on the team,” Pipher said. “When you look at all the guys that wrestled in RMAC and the quality programs like Western, Adams State and CSU-Pueblo, it was definitely an honor. There were some great guys. When you think of all the numbers, to be selected to that team when you’re talking thousands (of wrestlers), it is quite an honor. ”
Adams was a two-time RMAC player of the year and two-time All-American outfielder for the Mavericks. The Grand Rapids (Mich.) Community College transfer hit .495 with 21 home runs and stole 47 bases in 2001. She is now a wilderness ranger for the U.S. Forest Service in Kalmath Falls, Ore.
“I was back home visiting when I got the call,” Adams said. “It was kind of cool. I was blown away. It caught me by surprise. I was totally sideswiped.”
She has good memories of her time in Grand Junction, including reaching the Elite 8 in 2000.
“My two years there were special, especially my junior year,” Adams said. “We had team-oriented goals. My teammates were the ones that drove me. I always expected the best of myself every game.”
Romo played only one year at Mesa State, but put up record numbers, earning RMAC pitcher of the year and All-American honors with a 14-1 record, 2.46 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 124 innings. He is currently pitching for the San Francisco Giants.
“To be honest, I’m a little surprised,” Romo told the RMAC. “I’ve heard of other players who represented the RMAC, they represented their teams and their hometowns well and they came out and played the game well. I feel privileged to be acknowledged with the guys who played before me.”