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Skyhawks featured in 5280 magazine

Article Written by Chris Aaland
Published: August 8, 2012
<p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">DURANGO, Colo. &mdash; Four weeks before it begins the defense of its latest NCAA Division II national championship, the Fort Lewis College men&rsquo;s soccer team has drawn some statewide attention.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">5280: The Denver Magazine featured the Skyhawks in its August issue, which hit the newsstands yesterday. Writer Jacob Harkins, a former Durango Herald sports reporter, wrote an article titled &ldquo;Futbol U: Durango&rsquo;s Fort Lewis College looks across the pond to become a soccer powerhouse.&rdquo; A photo of the team hoisting Berekk Blackwell moments after the senior defender headed home a corner kick in the second minute of overtime to lift FLC to a 3-2 win over Lynn in last December&rsquo;s NCAA title game appeared with the story.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">&ldquo;We&rsquo;re extremely pleased that we were featured in a major Colorado magazine,&rdquo; said FLC Director of Athletics Gary Hunter. &ldquo;The exposure in the Denver metropolitan area and across the entire state of Colorado is important for Fort Lewis College. We have many wonderful stories to tell about our academic and athletic successes and are delighted that 5280 shared one of them.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">&ldquo;We are very honored to feature in such a popular magazine and getting exposure like this in places such as Denver is extremely important to our program,&rdquo; said fourth-year FLC head coach Oige Kennedy. &ldquo;Our team is assembled from all over the globe but our roots will always be based here in the U.S. and particularly in the state of Colorado. Our cosmopolitan group is very special and each of us have become like family to each other regardless of where we have come from. We just feel lucky to be able to represent the college and the unique town of Durango on a national level.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">Harkins interviewed former FLC head coach Jeremy Gunn, now the skipper at Stanford after a successful, five-year stint at North Carolina-Charlotte. Gunn said that recruiting overseas enabled the Skyhawks to become one of the premier programs in Division II.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">&ldquo;The top U.S. talent (goes) to all the top schools,&rdquo; Gunn told 5280. &ldquo;The foreign boys don&rsquo;t really know anything about American college, and they are really excited to go to a good school, whether it&rsquo;s a small college or a big one.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">Gunn, who led a squad made up entirely of American &mdash; and mostly Colorado-born &mdash; players to the 1999 NCAA-II finals, where they lost to Southern Connecticut State 2-1 in double overtime. Six years later, with a handful of foreign student-athletes on his roster, the Skyhawks captured their first of three NCAA titles by beating Franklin Pierce 3-1 in the 2005 title game.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">Kennedy continued Gunn&rsquo;s tradition of augmenting a strong roster of American-born players with foreign student-athletes. That formula yielded two more national titles in 2009 and 2011.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">In the 5280 feature, Harkins also mentioned that Skyhawk alumni John Cunliffe, Kieran Hall, and Fabian Kling were drafted by Major League Soccer teams: Cunliffe by Chivas USA in 2007, Hall by the Houston Dynamo in 2008, and Kling by Chivas USA this winter.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">Fort Lewis posted a 24-1-0 overall record, 13-1-0 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference games in 2011. In addition to their third golden NCAA trophy, the Skyhawks also won NCAA-II Central Region, RMAC regular season, and RMAC tournament titles.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">The defending national champions report to fall training on Sunday, August 12. The Skyhawks hold a pair of exhibition games at Dirks Field: against Otero Junior College on Sunday, August 19 (kickoff is likely to be at noon) and the annual Alumni Game at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 25.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">Fort Lewis opens its 2012 campaign in a critical regional showdown against Incarnate Word at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, August 31 in Golden, Colo. The Skyhawks beat the Cardinals 1-0 in the NCAA quarterfinals last November.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">FLC&rsquo;s regular season home opener is against arch-rival Colorado Mines at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 16 at Dirks Field.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">Founded in 1993 and named after the Denver&rsquo;s elevation, 5280 has more readers than any local magazine in Colorado, with a total distribution of more than 85,000 copies each month. In Denver, 5280 outsells most national publications, with a readership that exceeds such well-known national magazines as Time, People, Oprah, and Martha Stewart Living. It was recently named one of the five best city magazines in America by the City and Regional Magazine Association.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">The Fort Lewis feature can be found online at <a href="http://www.5280.com/magazine/2012/08/futbol-u">www.5280.com/magazine/2012/08/futbol-u</a>.</span></p>
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