Steamboat Springs' Colleen King has verbally committed to play volleyball for the University of Denver after she graduates.

Photo by John F. Russell

Steamboat Springs' Colleen King has verbally committed to play volleyball for the University of Denver after she graduates.

Sailors volleyball star verbally commits to University of Denver


— Colleen and Tara King's record for passing a volleyball back and forth in the family's living room sits somewhere around 500.

Of course, that was more than seven years ago.

Tara, a 2006 Steamboat Springs High School graduate, channeled those sibling games into a volleyball scholarship at Mesa State College in Grand Junction.

Now Colleen, a rising senior at Steamboat Springs High School, has turned those games into a scholarship of her own.

Colleen verbally committed to play volleyball at the University of Denver after her junior year, spurning offers from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Colorado State University, Western State College in Gunnison, University of Idaho and Utah's Weber State, among others.

"DU," Colleen said, "just felt right."

It also felt like the closest thing to a family, something Colleen said remains the closest thing to her in her life.

From playing living room volleyball with Tara and fellow sister Shannon, to trying to keep up with younger brothers Brody, 12, and McKenyon, 10 - who Colleen admits will be the best athletes in the family - she said when it came time to decide, DU was a place she could see herself the next four or five years.

It started last summer, when Colleen showed up late to a camp at DU.

"I got there and they were really welcoming," she said. "That's what got my mom. They were really nurturing and caring. They got me right in the program and didn't make me feel awkward."

As the camp began, the DU players were getting ready to scrimmage for the campers. Down a setter, Colleen was asked to play. She admitted she was scared inside but didn't show it at all.

From there, she kept in contact with DU coach Beth Kuwata. She took her time in deciding on DU, visiting several other colleges and even turning away an early Pioneers scholarship offer.

But earlier this month, and with another scholarship offer on the table, Colleen knew DU was the place she wanted to be.

Colleen is being recruited as a hitter and a setter. She said, depending on how the rest of the recruiting class finishes up, she could be used as both.

She said she'd like to play in a 6-2, where she'd hit in the front and set in the back.

"I like hitting," she said. "But I love setting because you have control and play mind games with other side. It's the best of both worlds if I could hit and set."

DU finished last season 25-7 overall and entered the Sun Belt Conference as the No. 3 seed.

Colleen said with the Pioneers being an up-and-coming program just on the outside of the top 25, she likes the opportunities they present.

And DU obviously likes what it's getting in Colleen.

As a junior, Colleen was the Player of the Year in the Western Slope League. Then, throughout the end of winter and beginning of spring, Colleen competed on a highly competitive club team in Fort Collins that boasts several Division I signees.

"She's the whole package," Steamboat coach Wendy Hall said. "She's got the size, she's gifted with athleticism and happens to be left-handed. ... But there are a lot of talented kids. The other variable, and the thing that's most important, is her character and work ethic are off the charts. They're second to none. That's what makes her a special player."

Colleen now will focus on her senior season and said she'd like to contend for a league title and a coveted spot in the state tournament. And with her college decision out of the way, Colleen said to expect a more happy and fun-loving person on the court.

"It's more just for fun and the love of game," she said. "I mean, I'll still be in the weight room every day and working hard, but now I can just go out and enjoy it and have fun."


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