Steamboat Springs High School graduate Kacey Bull spikes the ball against Palisade High School in October 2008, her last season with Sailors volleyball. Bull and rising Steamboat senior Colleen King leave Tuesday to attend a Junior Olympic volleyball tournament in Miami. The two play on NORCO 18s Black, an elite club volleyball team based in Fort Collins.
Colleen King and Kacey Bull have played volleyball together for the past five years.
But save for future alumni get-togethers and open-gym sessions, the two are preparing to play competitively for the last time together.
King, a rising Steamboat Springs High School senior, and Bull, who will play club volleyball for Colorado State University in the fall, will be part of the NORCO 18s Black club volleyball team that will travel to Miami for the Junior Olympics, from Wednesday to July 4.
The two were first-team Western Slope League selections in the fall. They've been playing with the Fort Collins-based club team for the past couple of months. King also played for the local club volleyball team NORCO West.
It's been a strenuous schedule for the two, as each made the trip twice a week to Fort Collins for practice and spent most weekends at tournaments across the region.
The team qualified for Junior Olympics by placing second at a regional event in early May in Denver.
"We played at a national qualifying event in Denver where we faced a lot of really good teams," said Bull, who has been playing as a defensive specialist in the back row. "But this will be the most concentrated group of teams. Everyone will be good."
The team will leave for Miami on Tuesday.
The four-day tournament is broken down into pool play each day, then bracketed formats. A champion will be decided on the final day of play.
"I don't really know what the competition looks like, but everyone's goal going into this tournament is to do well," said King, who has been playing as an outside hitter. "We've put in a lot of time and a lot of our summer."
When King was in her basketball season, Bull and the rest of the team went to a highly competitive national tournament in Omaha, Neb. There, the team won, proving it's one of the best club teams in the nation.
In Miami, the top 5 percent of club teams are expected to be represented. Since neither King nor Bull knew what the competition would be like, the two said they are going into the tournament more to have fun.
"The competition is going to be really hard," King said. "But if we bring it, we'll be able to do well."