Steamboat Pilot & Today Female Routt County Athletes of the Year:
2008: Holli Salazar, Hayden High School
2009: Holli Salazar, Hayden High School
2010: Colleen King, Steamboat Springs High School
Steamboat Springs There were times during her senior campaign that Steamboat Springs High School’s Colleen King wasn’t in good shape.
She’d spent the spring of her junior year and the next summer traversing the club volleyball landscape. She played in tournaments every weekend across the region. It was tough on her and led to King coming down with mononucleosis. From there, it was an uphill battle. She never was at 100 percent through volleyball or basketball.
“There were times in volleyball I’d look at my teammates and know I couldn’t make it if it got to a fifth game,” King said. “Maybe it wasn’t the smartest thing, and maybe I should have sat out. But I pushed myself.
“I think more than anything it showed me how much I love the game. My teammates, I like to think they needed me. I didn’t want to let anyone down. I was going to play with them even if it was killing me.”
It also proved that King was a throwback of sorts. A little mono — despite leaving King out of breath and tired all the time — wasn’t going to get her down. She repeated as the Western Slope League Volleyball Player of the Year, was a first-team All-State selection and is going to the University of Denver on a volleyball scholarship.
She also was first-team all-league in basketball this year, earned an honorable mention All-State selection and garnered several votes for Player of the Year in the Western Slope League.
Because of this, King has been chosen as the Steamboat Pilot & Today 2010 Female Routt County Athlete of the Year.
King is the first athlete from Steamboat Springs High School to win the award, which is in its third year.
“It’s not that just one single thing sticks out,” Steamboat volleyball coach Wendy Hall said. “I just think it’s the daily stuff. It’s not just when she’s in a good mood, and it’s not a couple times a week. Each and every day she doesn’t let that high standard fall. She’s a first-class person.”
That might be King’s greatest gift. Although you can’t teach size — King is 6-foot-1 — or to be left-handed, as King is, it’s her off-court presence that make her the player she is.
It also helps that she has a pretty darn good family. King’s older sister Tara was the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Setter of the Year last season at Mesa State College. Colleen said it originally was Tara’s influence that swayed her from soccer to volleyball.
But Colleen King always has been a good athlete. She made the varsity volleyball, basketball and soccer teams her freshman year.
By the time she was a junior, King’s recruiting started to take off. Denver offered her a scholarship early on, but King wasn’t ready to commit.
After looking around, King realized Denver was the place for her.
“Physically, there is no reason — I mean, she is a 6-foot-tall, left-handed setter who jumps well — that she can’t be one of the best setters in the conference,” DU volleyball coach Beth Kuwata said. “There is no reason she can’t be one of the better setters in the nation. There is work to be done, but physically, she has all the tools to do that.”
Kuwata said the team would work King in as a hitter her freshman year because it takes longer to develop setters.
King, who is now at 100 percent, plans to continue to work out in Steamboat until she departs for volleyball camp at DU in July.
“I’m going to miss her to death,” Hall said. “She was part of a really special class of kids. I’m excited she is close, for selfish reasons. I’m really excited about that. But I think DU really got their hands on someone special. She’s a great player, but a better person.”