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Colorado Buffaloes Athletes of the Decade

Celebrating the most decorated and impactful players of the 2010s.

2018 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championship Photo by Joe Koshollek/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Colorado Buffaloes athletics have been prolific this past decade, winning six national championships, 13 conference championships and producing numerous All-Americans. Ignore that CU football that its worst decade ever — the rest of the CU sports thrived during that period. We’re here to celebrate all of CU’s sports as we choose an athlete of the decade in each sport.

Football: Sefo Liufau (2013-16)

Sefo Liufau wasn’t the most productive (Phillip Lindsay), the most talented (Laviska Shenault) or the most decorated player (Nate Solder) of the decade. But he was the toughest player and the best leader. In that incredible 2016 run, Liufau was the heart and soul of the team; CU did not lose a game he started and finished. A four-year who led CU through all sorts of ups and downs, there was not a more impactful football player than him this past decade.

Basketball: Josh Scott (2012-16)

It was difficult to choose between Josh Scott, Spencer Dinwiddie, Alec Burks and Kennedy Leonard, but Scott has to be the pick because he was CU’s most consistent and impactful player for four seasons. Scott was so gifted in the post that teams would send double teams the second he got the ball. It usually didn’t matter as he could finish through contact with either hand or pass to an open shooter. He was an underrated defender whose quick hands and excellent positioning fortified the paint for some very good defenses. Scott won 82 games at CU, played in three NCAA Tournaments and was a three-time team MVP.

Cross Country: Dani Jones (2015-19)

Apologies to Ammar Moussa, but of all the standout runners who have won CU three championships this decade, only Dani Jones was an individual national champion. Her 2018 season was spectacular as she won her second consecutive Pac-12 title, was named Cross Country Athlete of the Year, finished first place at nationals, and led CU to the National Championship.

Volleyball: Taylor Simpson (2013-14)

Taylor Simpson only played two seasons at CU, but it was enough for her to become an all-timer. After transferring from volleyball-only school Nebraska, Simpson made the rare 20-20 (20 kills and 20 digs) look normal. She was named All-Pac-12 her junior year then made the leap to consensus All-American with her record-shattering senior season.

Soccer: Taylor Kornieck (2016-19)

Taylor Kornieck may be the best ever CU soccer player. At 6’1, she commanded the field as a physical center midfielder who was prolific with goals and assists. With 12 goals in her final season, she shattered the single-season record and became the all-time leader with 23 career goals. She already had the all-time record for career assists (10) then added 6 more this season. She was a four-time All-Pac-12 honoree as well as a two-time All-American.

Skiing: Mads Stroem (2014-17)

Colorado’s real championship sport won three national titles in the decade. Of all their world-class skiers, the most decorated was Mads Stroem. The Norwegian skier won two national titles in freestyle skiing, another in classical skiing, was a three-time All-American and the 2016 Nordic National Skiier of the Year.

Lacrosse: Sarah Brown (2015-18)

A local kid out of Centaurus, Sarah Brown was a three-year starter who was the center of the Buffs’ defense. Known for her ability to cause turnovers, Brown was thrice named all-conference and twice named first team All-American. In the first year the Pac-12 had it’s own lacrosse league (CU formerly played in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation), Brown was named Defensive Player of the Year.