Hayden High School senior Erin Koehler, alongside girls basketball coach Michelle Wilkie and school athletics director Tony Rosso, signs a letter of intent to play basketball at Colorado School of Mines next season.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Hayden High School senior Erin Koehler, alongside girls basketball coach Michelle Wilkie and school athletics director Tony Rosso, signs a letter of intent to play basketball at Colorado School of Mines next season.

Hayden's Erin Koehler heading to Colorado School of Mines

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— A year of intense focus capping four years of hard work and countless memorable moments on the court paid off Wednesday for Hayden High School senior Erin Koehler.

The Tigers’ basketball and volleyball standout signed to continue her hoops career with Colorado School of Mines.

“I’ve worked my whole life for this, so I’m excited,” Koehler said after a Wednesday morning signing ceremony at the high school. “I’m excited to actually make something happen out of it and to make a statement for Hayden.”

The 6-foot forward was a fixture on the Hayden basketball and volleyball teams throughout her career. She came off the bench as a freshman when the basketball squad finished third at state, then was a major factor in the team’s return to that tournament during her junior season.

She set her eyes last summer on a college basketball scholarship, putting in extra time on the court and in the gym. That work first paid off with her best season, where she collected Western Slope MVP honors while averaging 21.3 points and 8.9 rebounds.

“Erin will be a great asset to our team next season. She has the ability to play at the low block, as well as on the perimeter,” Orediggers assistant coach Brittany Simpson said in a news release. “She is a hard working kid that wants the basketball. We are very excited about Erin and look forward to next fall and her arrival on campus.”

The school’s basketball team went 12-17 last season and 11-11 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. The program is working to replace nine-year head coach Paula Krueger, who resigned last month.

Koehler said she seriously considered Colorado College and talked with Colorado State University, but it was at School of Mines in Golden where everything came together.

“The school has a great balance between academics and athletics,” she said. “Academics has always been a huge priority for me, and this is an all-around school.”

She’s targeting a degree in bio engineering and life sciences, which she said eventually could lead to work or more schooling in the engineering or medical fields.

“It’s going to be tough, but I can do it,” Koehler said. “I have a lot of help going in with the scholarship and the support of my family.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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