Angie Charchalis - a 2008 Moffat County High School graduate - has taken her athletic skills to the next level. The Bulldogs girls basketball all-time leader in points, steals and assists is making her presence felt in the NCAA, playing for the Colorado School of Mines Orediggers.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Angie Charchalis - a 2008 Moffat County High School graduate - has taken her athletic skills to the next level. The Bulldogs girls basketball all-time leader in points, steals and assists is making her presence felt in the NCAA, playing for the Colorado School of Mines Orediggers.

2008 MCHS graduate turns Mines into personal playground

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So much for the little fish in a big pond theory.

When transitioning from high school sports to college, many athletes ride the pine hoping to one day get into the action.

Some never do.

Others get a few minutes here and there in mop-up duty - replacing starters in blowout wins or losses.

Not Angie Charchalis.

The 2008 Moffat County High School graduate - and all-time Bulldogs girls basketball leader in steals, assists, points and minutes - has proven to be the exception.

A scholarship athlete at Colorado School of Mines - a state engineering university located in Golden - she picked up right where her high school career left off.

A shooting guard for the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference-leading Orediggers, Charchalis is a big reason for the team's success.

Through CSM's first 10 games, the freshman is fourth on the team in scoring (6.9 ppg), has drained eight 3-pointers and is shooting 43 percent from the field.

Not bad for a supposed-to-be-green rookie, right?

And that's not even the half of it.

Charchalis leads the team in steals (11), free throw percentage (87 percent) and has the fewest turnovers (10) amongst players averaging at least 13 minutes per game - including four her first time playing on the college hardwood.

"The first game I played in, I was so nervous," Charchalis said. "Like, really, really nervous. But ever since then, it's been fine. I had to just kind of get the jitters out."

Coach Paula Krueger didn't notice any anxiety. Neither did anyone in attendance that night.

Charchalis drained a 3-pointer, recorded a steal, a rebound and an assist and knocked down two free throws.

She had announced her presence - loud and clear - to the NCAA in just her first four minutes of college hoops.

By the team's third game, she had scored in double digits (12) and had solidified her role as the sixth man on a senior-laden team.

And as her minutes increased, so did the Orediggers' record.

A 1-4 start turned into a five-game win-streak, and CSM (6-4 overall, 3-0 RMAC) is perfect in league play.

"I think we, the whole team, are coming into our own," Charchalis said. "At the beginning, we were doing new stuff, transition stuff, fast break stuff, that Mines never used to do."

As far as breaking out, when Mines visited Mesa State, Charchalis was in full stride.

She was perfect from the floor, scoring 10 points, including six from downtown. She hauled in two boards; recorded two steals and dished out two dimes.

"They weren't really recruiting me, and it was kind of a slap in the face because you always play there being from (Craig). But that's not really why," Charchalis said, giggling. "It was a conference game, and everybody gets up for a conference game. Plus, I've played in that gym a lot of times, and there were a lot of people there I knew."

Charchalis has made the transition to the college hardwood appear easy, but the story doesn't end there.

She's not at Mines solely for hoops.

Her lifelong dream has always been about becoming an engineer - civil, mechanical, she isn't quite sure which yet.

But whatever her decision, she's well on her way.

Not only does Charchalis pull 3-pointers out of her pocket on the court, she pulls them out in the classroom, as well. Her grade point average is 3.5.

"That's just the first semester," Charchalis laughed and said. "We'll see where it's at after the second."

If she goes after it like basketball, she'll hit nothing but net.

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