Avon’s Drumm, Fort Lewis head to DII dance
DURANGO – Senior year? Got to win a title, right?
Connor Drumm did so at Battle Mountain in 2005-06. Twice in fact. As a senior, the soccer team won the Slope and then Drumm helped the basketball team to its only league crown and the best season in school history.
Now a senior at Fort Lewis College, Drumm is a part of the newly-minted Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference champion Skyhawks, who are bound this weekend for the NCAA Division II Tournament in Mankato, Minn. Fort Lewis knocked off Colorado School of Mines, 72-67, Saturday for the RMAC tournament title.
And that’s about where the comparisons between the Huskies and the Skyhawks end.
Now 22, Drumm is not the “Big Man on Campus.” And when we define BMOC, Drumm was an all-league defender on what was probably the best soccer team Battle Mountain has had and the Western Slope’s Player of the Year come basketball season. That spring, he went out for his first season of track and was part of the regional champion 3,200-meter team and managed to set what was the open-800 school record at the time.
By the time one gets to college, everyone was Connor Drumm back in their hometown, and Drumm has adjusted. The go-to power forward at Battle Mountain – he averaged 20 points per game as well as seven rebounds in 2006 – Drumm rolls off the bench as a small forward/third guard for the Skyhawks.
“It’s tough,” Drumm said. “But it’s what keeps you competing and from never being satisfied. I’ve kept working at it, understanding how I fit into the team in order for us to be successful. We have more offensive players scoring-wise, and I don’t have to get there and do what I used to do.”
While it can be humbling to some, Drumm has called his career “rewarding,” knowing that a lot of good high school players never get to play college ball. (Drumm and Trent Beckley are the only two members of the 2006 Battle Mountain squad to play significantly at college with the latter walking on at the University of Colorado.)
Drumm started his college career at the University of Tampa, playing his freshman year there before transferring to Fort Lewis. After a red-shirting a year in 2008 – ironically the last time the Skyhawks won the RMAC – he’s played three years at Fort Lewis.
“Definitely the school’s location was a little closer than Tampa,” Drumm said. “The environment of the school fits me better and Fort Lewis has a rich basketball tradition under coach (Bob Hofman).”
Lest anyone think that all he has done at Fort Lewis is hang around the gym, Drumm used his red-shirt year off the court to double up in business majors (marketing and tourism and hospitality management) when he graduates in the spring. He’s also been spotted at few lacrosse games when Battle Mountain comes to town for good measure.
His biggest statistic is his GPA – 3.8, and Drumm’s profile on the Fort Lewis website lists more academic honors than athletic ones, which is a good sign at this point of his life.
But before graduating, Drumm wouldn’t mind a little more court time with the Skyhawks. They face Mesa State in Round 1 Saturday in Mankato. (In Division II, the tournament is seeded by a strict formula which naturally has five RMAC teams, including Fort Lewis, heading to Mankato. In fact, the winner of Saturday’s game plays the winner of Adams State-Colorado School of Mines in Minnesota. Don’t ask.)
“I think the tournament is laid out in our favor as far us advancing,” Drumm said. “Four of the other seven teams we know really well. Hopefully, we can move ahead. Last year, our women’s team made the national championship game. As far as we go, it’ll be game by game.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.