2006 Steamboat Springs High School graduate Tara King is the starting setter for Mesa State College in Grand Junction. King leads the Mavs in assists at 8.3 a game.

Buddy Bair/Courtesy

2006 Steamboat Springs High School graduate Tara King is the starting setter for Mesa State College in Grand Junction. King leads the Mavs in assists at 8.3 a game.

Mesa State's King sets up for success

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— When it comes to volleyball, Tara King found out her mom was right.

"In seventh grade, we started school sports," King recalled. "I went to a football game, because my dad was a quarterback in college. I came running home with the papers and gave them to my mom, and she looked at me like I was crazy and was confused. She just ripped them up, put them in the trash, and said, 'You know what's a cool sport, is volleyball.'"

King balked at first.

"I thought it was girlie and not a real sport," she said. "I grew up on basketball, football and hockey. Volleyball seemed almost like cheerleading. I wanted to play football, but my mom basically told me I was going to play volleyball."

Good idea, mom.

Once King got involved with volleyball, her talent in the sport translated to an outstanding three-year varsity career at Steamboat Springs High School from 2003 to 2005. She continued as Mesa State's starting setter this season. King chose Mesa after attending a volleyball camp there while in high school.

"I realized it was high-level volleyball. Then I went to a Division I camp back east, and it wasn't even the same level," she said. "That's when I decided I thought I'd go to a good Division II school with a chance to win a national championship with a good coach."

At Mesa, King quickly established herself. As a freshman in 2005, King played in 40 games and was second on the team in assists, averaging 5.4 per game.

Last year, she was forced to the sidelines as a medical redshirt because of a car accident.

Now King's game is as strong as ever. Her team-high 8.3 assists per game is among the best in the position in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. More importantly, King has helped the Mavericks maintain at least a share of first place in the RMAC's West Division. Mesa State is tied with Fort Lewis at 5-1 (7-6 overall).

King said the main difference this year is that the team comes first.

"Honestly, everyone got sick of the drama. No one wanted to be on a losing team that hated each other. We just figured out how to come together as a team. Everyone put their differences aside and did it for the team, because no one was having fun."

And the game's still fun for King and the Mavs, despite a grueling schedule that has had them playing on the road for most of the year.

"You get used to it because you have to. Sitting in the van for a long road trip definitely makes you stiff," King said. "It's hard to keep up with everything else - school and life. You feel like you don't have time to do anything. But it's nice to beat people in their house, though."

Comments

paul h draper 5 years, 6 months ago

I have had the honor of coaching three King young ladies in basketball. Finer young ladies I have not known. Each unique and each exceptionally talented, with a competitive fire that burns red hot....

Go get 'em Tara.....

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