As a men’s soccer team captain at Colorado School of Mines, Huntley graduate Jason Zobott has a unique opportunity.
Thanks to coach Greg Mulholland, Zobott and other upperclassmen are part of the program’s biggest decisions.
“He has a very player-driven team,” Zobott, a junior defender from Lake in the Hills, said of Mulholland. “He comes to the leaders of the team when he has to make a big decision to get our input. That’s been huge in making people better leaders and getting a better team atmosphere.
“When you get to make decisions, you take more ownership. You work even harder because you want to show that those were the right decisions.”
Zobott and his teammates have proved to be strong leaders as the team has gone 35-6-2 in Mulholland’s two seasons as head coach with back-to-back regular-season and tournament titles in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, along with consecutive NCAA postseason appearances.
After this season, which ended in the second round of the NCAA Division II tournament, Zobott earned All-America second-team honors from the D-II Conference Commissioners Association.
Zobott was part of a defense that produced the longest scoreless streak in school history, which stretched for 590 minutes over eight games. He also earned RMAC Defensive Player of the Year honors by leading the defense to a 0.70 goals-against average, the second-lowest in program history.
The Orediggers finished 18-2-1 by posting 11 shutouts and going undefeated in RMAC play at 13-0-1.
Zobott said the team offers input on Mulholland’s questions about which formations to use, which players work best in various formations and the advancement of younger players. In addition, players help decide where the team eats on road trips and whether they stay in the hotel on nights with a heavy academic workload. Mines is a top engineering school.
“[Coach] does a really good job of letting up during our harder weeks,” said Zobott, a petroleum engineering major who earned United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-America second-team honors this fall. “He’ll give us a little time off or make practices shorter.”
This summer, Zobott has an internship lined up in the corporate office of an oil and gas company in Houston. In his previous two years, he worked on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and for an oil and gas company in Mobile, Alabama.
“I’ll be doing reservoir engineering this summer,” he said. “I’m excited to see the difference of working in the field and working in an office.”
Hahn achieves first for Badgers: Wisconsin senior men’s golfer Jordan Hahn (Richmond-Burton) became the first player from his school to compete in the Patriot All-America Invitational last month in Arizona, finishing tied for 26th in a field of 84 top amateurs.
Hahn shot a 7-over-par 217 (69-69-79) at Wigwam Golf Club. He qualified for the event based on his world amateur ranking.
All players in the event carry a bag honoring a fallen or wounded U.S. soldier. Hahn carried a bag honoring Army Staff Sgt. Kevin M. Pape of Fort Wayne, Indiana, who was killed in 2010 while serving his third deployment in Afghanistan.
After the tournament ends, the bags return to each player’s school, where they are auctioned to benefit Folds of Honor, a charity that provides educational scholarships to spouses and children of fallen or disabled service members.
Reiser shines for Illini: In the season-opening indoor meet for the University of Illinois, senior distance runner Jesse Reiser helped the team win the five-team Illini Open.
Reiser (McHenry West) finished second in the 800-meter run in 1:55.25. The Illini scored 148 points to outdistance second-place Saint Louis, which posted 115.
On target at MSOE: Junior guard Kayla Barreto (Huntley) is the second-leading scorer this season for the D-III Milwaukee School of Engineering women’s basketball team.
Barreto, who has started every game for the Raiders (7-8), is averaging 9.5 points a game to go with 2.6 rebounds.
While playing a team-best 28.9 minutes a game, Barreto has the second-most steals on the team with 19.
TSU contributor: Johnsburg grad Jazza Johns is averaging 2.6 points and 1.8 rebounds a game this season as a reserve junior forward for D-I Texas State’s women’s basketball team.
Johns has played in 11 games for the Bobcats (8-8), who have won four of their past five games.
• Barry Bottino writes a weekly column about local college athletes for the Northwest Herald. Write to him at email@example.com and follow @BarryOnCampus on Twitter.