Steamboat Springs The odds at the time were slim.
But Maggie Stanford was hell bent on making the Steamboat Springs High School varsity volleyball team as a sophomore.
When Stanford finally made the team, joining 10 seniors, she figured being there wasn’t enough. So she went to work and eventually found herself entrenched in the starting lineup.
Stanford figures she could find herself in the same situation in the fall. The three year Steamboat starter committed to play collegiate volleyball at Sewanee: The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn.
“It’s the same situation when I made varsity,” Stanford said. “I’m going to work as hard as I can to get playing time. I hope to play next year and play a significant amount. That is the goal right off the bat.”
It really has been a four-year process for Stanford. She said that when she was a freshman, she realized she had the athletic ability to possibly play in college.
She played club volleyball with NORCO West and Whiteout volleyball clubs. After a year of junior varsity seasoning, Stanford became a three-year starter for the Sailors.
“She had three good years for us,” Steamboat coach Wendy Hall said. “She played for us as a sophomore, which is a rare thing. She was a kid that really worked her tail off between her freshman and sophomore year. She just had a great experience as a sophomore.”
Stanford started in the middle as a sophomore, moved to the outside as a junior and back to the middle as a senior.
It’s that versatility that makes Hall think Stanford could play early.
Because Stanford played various positions, she was comfortable going to the back row, digging, passing and serving — a confidence most middle blockers don’t have.
“She has a lot of game sense,” Hall said. “She’s had three years of varsity ball. She played club. She has that experience going in. She has that game sense that is hard to teach without that competitive time on the floor.”
Stanford was named to the Western Slope all-league team her junior year and was named honorable mention her senior year.
She said early in the recruiting process that she realized she wanted to play volleyball at a good Division III academic school.
She also looked at Hamilton College in New York and Centre College in Kentucky.
In the end, she said Sewanee had the most of what she is looking for.
Sewanee’s previous volleyball coach, who recruited and signed Stanford, left the school, but new coach Shawna Laurendine called Stanford and reassured her the school still wanted her.
Stanford plans to study business and economics with a secondary focus in psychology. She also will study Spanish.
But for her, the chance to continue playing at a highly ranked academic school is the culmination of four years of hard work.
“Just like I wanted to make the varsity my sophomore year, I want to play there this year,” she said. “Being pushed by that opportunity is just going to make me a better player.”
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com