Colorado Sports Hall of Fame names annual award winners, including Von Miller

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Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller from the Denver Broncos, Olympic track bronze medalists Jenny Simpson and Emma Coburn, and University of Colorado football coach Mike MacIntyre will be among those honored at the 53rd annual Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Induction & Awards Banquet on Thursday, April 27, at the Denver Marriott City Center.

At a meeting on Tuesday, the Selection Committee of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame named Miller the Male Athlete of the Year for 2016 and Simpson and Coburn the co-Female Athletes of the Year. MacIntyre, the near-unanimous national college football coach of the year who led CU to its first winning record in more than a decade, was selected King of the Hill. The Selection Committee also picked Colorado collegiate standouts Justin Dvorak (Colorado School of Mines football) and Ellen Nystrom (Colorado State basketball), along with high school honorees Dylan McCaffrey (Valor Christian football) and Brie Oakley (Grandview runner) as athletes of the year. Joy Rondeau (Nordic skier from Granby) is the recipient of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame’s 2016 Athlete with Disabilities Award.

MacIntyre, Rondeau and the 2016 Athletes of the Year will be honored at the banquet along with the newest Colorado Sports Hall of Fame inductees: Champ Bailey, Dante Bichette, Jeremy Bloom, Hashim Khan, Maurice “Stringy” Ervin and John Wooten. The Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2017 was selected this past October.

Tickets are $200 each and sponsor tables start at $2,500. For additional ticket and table information, please contact the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame (www.coloradosports.org / 720-258-3535). The Colorado Sports Hall of Fame & Museum is located at Gate 1 on the west side of Sports Authority Field at Mile High, 1701 Bryant Street in Denver.

Last February, Miller was a one-man wrecking crew for the Broncos’ defense in their 24-10 Super Bowl 50 victory over Carolina. In helping Denver to its first Super Bowl title in 17 years, the linebacker racked up 2.5 sacks and forced two fumbles that led to touchdowns, becoming just the 10th defensive player to be named Super Bowl MVP. All told, the Broncos “D” chalked up four Panther turnovers. Miller followed that up with a 2016 season in which he was picked for the AP All-Pro first team for the third time after posting 13.5 sacks.

Simpson and Coburn, both former CU cross country and track standouts, were among the major highlights for Colorado athletes at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Simpson, the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame’s College Female Athlete of the Year in both 2008 and ’09, became the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in the 1,500 meters when she claimed bronze. Shortly thereafter, she won the Fifth Avenue Mile in New York City.

Coburn likewise broke new ground at the Games by becoming the first woman from the U.S. to medal in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Olympics, also taking third place. Earlier in the year, she broke the American record — set by Simpson — in the steeplechase by placing third at the Prefontaine Classic.

MacIntyre received one national college football coach of the year honor after another following a big-time turnaround for the Buffs in 2016. After five years of finishing last in the Pac-12 South (1-8 in 2015), CU won the division this past season (8-1). Under MacIntyre, the Buffs posted their first winning season since 2005. Their 10-4 record marked CU’s first 10-plus-win season since 2001.

Also on the college football front, Dvorak made plenty of local headlines also, most notably by winning the Harlon Hill Trophy as the nation’s best college football player in NCAA Division II. Dvorak led the DII ranks with 4,584 yards and 53 touchdowns through the air, plus eight rushing TDs. The senior averaged 380.2 yards of total offense per game as Mines shared the RMAC title and advanced to the second round of the national DII playoffs. Dvorak became the second Harlon Hill Trophy winner from Mines as Chad Friehauf claimed it in 2004.

Nystrom was named the 2015-16 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year as she led CSU to an 18-0 record in MWC action and to an NCAA Tournament appearance for the first time since 2002. The Swede broke CSU’s single-season assist record, set by Colorado Sports Hall of Famer Becky Hammon in 1998-99. This season, Nystrom is averaging a team-leading 16.2 points per game for CSU (11-5).

McCaffrey, whose older brother Christian was named the CSHOF’s Amateur Athlete of the Year for 2015, guided Valor Christian to its second consecutive 5A state title as the team’s senior quarterback. A three-year starter at QB, he finished the year with 2,796 yards and 31 touchdowns passing, and 579 yards and 10 TDs rushing. He plans to play his college football at Michigan.

Oakley not only won the 5A state cross country title, but she followed that up with a victory in the Nike Cross Country national championships in Portland last month. There, the future University of California runner prevailed by nearly 30 seconds over the runner-up. Cal. As a junior in track, Oakley earned 5A state titles in both the 1,600 and 3,200, and in the latter race she broke Melody Fairchild’s 26-year-old 5A state-meet record.

Rondeau — who was born with a congenital disease called Familial Spastic Paraparesis (FSP), a neurological disorder that shares symptoms with cerebral palsy — competed in a number of adaptive sports into her early 20s, but had to undergo surgery in 2009 for an old alpine skiing injury. Rondeau returned to sports in 2014 — thanks to exercise and an active lifestyle change — when she took up cross-country skiing. In 2016, she became the first person diagnosed with FSP to make the U.S. Paralympic team in Nordic skiing. She competed in Nationals last January and qualified for the World Cup in Germany. She hopes to earn a spot for the 2018 Paralympic Games.

Since its inception in 1964, the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame has inducted 246 individuals — prior to last October’s Hall of Fame selection meeting for the Class of 2017. The first class of inductees in 1965 featured Earl “Dutch” Clark, Jack Dempsey and former Supreme Court justice Byron “Whizzer” White. Vinny Castilla, Rhonda Blanford-Green, Jim Danley, Milan Hejduk, Ralph Simpson and Jim Toupal were inducted into the 2016 Class of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame last April.

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