clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ultimate Buffalo Tournament: Other Region

Vote on the greatest Buffaloes in Colorado’s other sports.

Track and Field: 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

It feels disparaging that we have to call this group the “Other” because these representatives are among the greatest athletes in the history of college sports, not just Colorado sports. We had to define these splendid athletes as “Other” because football and men’s basketball are, perhaps unfairly, far and away the most popular sports at CU and those players are more visible as a result.

While these “Other” athletes may not have had the same fame as their counterparts, oh my goodness is Colorado is lucky to have these incredible competitors wearing the black and gold.

#1 Cliff Branch vs. #16 Taylor Simpson

You probably know the name of Cliff Branch because of what he did on the football field with both the Buffs and the Oakland Raiders. Branch was also a track star at CU and possibly the fastest human being to ever set foot on campus. Taylor Simpson is no slouch herself, as she’s probably the second best volleyball in school history and holds countless records.

#8 Bill Toomey vs. #9 Emma Coburn

Here, we have two of CU’s best ever Track & Field runners in Bill Toomey and Kara Goucher. Toomey, a decathlete, pentathlete and hurdler, was the first (and only) Buffalo to ever win Olympic gold as an individual athlete and at CU, was named a two-time All American and was the recipient of the 1966 Amateur Athlete of the Year. Emma Coburn, a middle distance runner, sets the US record for Steeplechase every time she takes the field and at Colorado was a six-time All-American and three-time NCAA Champion.

#5 Claude Walton vs. #12 Kara Goucher

Claude Walton, a discus thrower, was as much of a pioneer as he was an incredible athlete. In 1933, Walton became the first ever African American to play a varsity sport at CU and in 1936, he became the first All-American in CU history. Kara Goucher was a cross country and track megastar for the Buffs at the turn of the millennium and was a seven-time All-American and a three-time NCAA Champion.

#4 Hale Irwin vs. #13 Buddy Werner

Like Cliff Branch, Hale Irwin was a two-sport superhero for the Buffaloes in the 1960s. Irwin was named to the All-Century Buffaloes football team, but somehow he was even better at golf. He won the 1967 NCAA Championship in golf and became a PGA star for a long time. Buddy Werner, meanwhile, wasn’t a two-sport star, but he was an American hero in the skiing world. Werner helped put Colorado skiing in the record books and was arguably the best American skier in his prime.

#3 Jenny Simpson vs. #14 Ozell Williams

I think that this may be the toughest matchup in the region. Jenny Simpson (née Barringer) was a five-time All-American, four-time NCAA Champion and in the 2016 Rio Olympics became the first ever American woman to medal in the 1500 meter. Ozell Williams didn’t set any records at CU or win any Olympic medals, but he flips and flips and flips and flips. If you’ve ever seen a CU game and wondered, Who’s that freak athlete doing back handsprings and triple backflips?, it’s Ozell.

#6 Shelley Sheetz vs. #11 Brittany Spears

Here we have the second and third great women’s basketball players in CU history. Shelley Sheetz was a force of nature in the ‘90s as she was a First Team All-American, three-time All-Big 8 and led Colorado to a 30-3 record. Brittany Spears — probably the second best name in this tournament, after Frosty Cox, of course — was incredible in her own right. Of the many school records Spears own, the most impressive are her 2,185 points, which is the most any basketball player has scored for the Buffs.

#7 Kelly Campbell vs. #10 Gil Cruter

Earlier, we saw Taylor Simpson, the second best volleyball player in school. Now we see Kelly Campbell, the unquestioned GOAT for Colorado volleyball. Of her many, many, many records and accomplishments, the most notable are her being a four-time First Team All-Big-12 selection, two-time All-American, and is second all-time in the NCAA with an average of 14+ assists per game. Gil Cruter, the second ever African American to play for the Buffaloes (Claude Walton was the first), was the best high jumper in the world in his time at CU. He was a two-time NCAA Champion and routinely broke his own world records.

#2 Lisa Van Goor vs. #15 Kate Russell

Lisa Van Goor is probably the greatest basketball player in Buffaloes history — men or women. After four incredible seasons in Boulder, she graduated as Colorado’s all-time leader in points (until Spears broke it) and rebounds (she’s still the leader). She was also a four-time All-Big 8 selection, All-American and a three-time finalist for the NCAA Player of the Year (!). Kate Russell is another GOAT as she wrecked havoc on the soccer pitch from 2008 to 2011. Russell’s name appears throughout the soccer record books and was known throughout the country for her scoring ability.

Happy voting, everyone!