Soroco High School senior Sarajane Rossi, shown here looking for a pass in December 2008 against Hayden High School, intends to walk on to the basketball program at Mesa State in Grand Junction in the fall.

Photo by John F. Russell

Soroco High School senior Sarajane Rossi, shown here looking for a pass in December 2008 against Hayden High School, intends to walk on to the basketball program at Mesa State in Grand Junction in the fall.

Rossi to walk on to basketball program at Mesa State

Soroco High School star to take shot at college basketball

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— When it came down to it, Soroco High School departing senior Sarajane Rossi simply chose the sport she liked the most.

Rossi, who has been a fixture in Rams athletics for the past four years, spurned offers from smaller colleges and opportunities in track and field to walk on to the girls basketball program at Mesa State College in Grand Junction in the fall.

"It's definitely my favorite sport," Rossi said Thursday. "I don't get bored with that sport. I have fun. You can always get better in basketball."

Rossi averaged more than 16 points, nine rebounds and four assists a game this year. She also was selected to play in the Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports all-star basketball game.

It was there that Rossi found she could not just play, but compete, with some of the best basketball players from the state.

"I think I definitely could," she said. "Before I stepped in, I didn't know if I could. Once I started playing with them, I realized I could stop any one of them defensively."

Rossi said she hopes to get down to Grand Junction this summer to work out with the team and get summer conditioning guidelines.

New Mesa State girls coach Roger Walters has been in touch with Rossi and was the one who encouraged her to walk on.

Walters might be a familiar name to some in Steamboat Springs. The veteran coach played and coached at Rifle before turning the Roaring Fork High School boys team into a perennial contender. Walters went 115-16 at Roaring Fork.

"I've heard he's a good coach," Rossi said. "I've only heard good things."

Although Rossi won't receive an athletic scholarship for next year, she'll be on an academic scholarship. She said she has batted around the notion of walking on for the outdoor track season, but as of right now, she just plans on playing basketball.

Rossi is considering a business major and said at this juncture, she hasn't set any long-term goals as far as basketball. She said she is just taking it one step at a time.

"For this year, I'm not sure. Right now, I want to make the team," she said. "If I make the team, I'll set a new goal."

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