Steamboat Springs Hayden's Holli Salazar has made quite an impression in Pueblo.
The city was the site of her shot put championship at last year's state track meet. It then hosted this winter's Class 2A state basketball tournament, in which Salazar led the Tigers to a third-place finish.
Turns out the south-central Colorado city made an impression on Salazar, too.
Hayden's accomplished senior will attend Colorado State University-Pueblo next year on a track scholarship.
"I always liked it there," Salazar said. "I went to a camp there when I was a freshman, then we had state basketball there and track every year. I just like the atmosphere."
Salazar shined at Hayden as a three-sport athlete, earning all-league honors in volleyball and all-state honors in basketball. She then finished third at last week's state track meet in the shot put and the discus.
The decision to accept the scholarship from CSU-Pueblo - a pot sweetened by an additional scholarship she earned on the academic side - came down to her dedication to track and field.
"I'll be happy doing track," she said. "I can always get people together and play some basketball, but I'm sure I'll be busy with practice and studying."
Salazar also considered Mesa State in Grand Junction, where she would have played basketball, and Adams State College in Alamosa.
"We went to visit at Adams College, but it would be like living in a small town again," Salazar said. "I didn't want to do that. Then Mesa, that's where everyone from Hayden goes. I didn't want to go to the same place."
Salazar plans to compete for the ThunderWolves in many of the events she shined in at Hayden. She'll throw the shot and the discus, and CSU-Pueblo coach Chad Perry can't wait to get her swinging the hammer.
Perry said Salazar contacted him first but that he was quick to realize what he had stumbled upon.
"She's really athletic and will be able to pick up the hammer really easy," he said. "She's a great young lady, and she's got a lot of things to offer our program."
The CSU-Pueblo track program was disbanded in 1993, but the women's team was re-established in 2007 and began competing again in December when the indoor track season started.
Perry helped guide the program back and said Salazar is a key piece of his second recruiting class. She is the first thrower to commit in the team's second life.
He said he's had several chances to catch Salazar in action. He watched her play in the consolation game of the state tournament, a game in which she scored 12 points. He also saw her throw last weekend at the state track meet in Lakewood.
"I got really excited just seeing her potential," he said.
- To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 871-4253 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org