Steamboat Springs Darcey Johnston is the first to point out that she wasn’t the most athletically gifted.
She admits her prep teams at Boulder High School and collegiately at Robert Morris College, weren’t either.
But if there has been one linear thing that has followed Johnston’s volleyball career, it’s that old adage of hard work beats talent almost every day.
“Hard work pays off,” Johnston said. “It didn’t come easy, and it wasn’t given to me. I take pride in that.”
For that, Johnston was inducted into the Robert Morris athletic Hall of Fame in October.
Johnston, a setter, played at Robert Morris from 2001 to 2004 and was a three-time All-Northeast Conference Selection.
She helped her team to four regular season championships, three tournament championships and into the NCAA Tournament three times. In her years there, the Colonials were in the top third of all Division I volleyball team.
“It was our commitment to working hard and understanding what it took to win,” said Johnston, who became the fourth volleyball player from those teams to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. “It was giving more than you thought you could give.”
Johnston, who grew up in Boulder, helped lead Boulder High School to the 2000 state championship.
There, she said, Boulder was considered the underdog going in but was able to persevere through hard work.
“It took a full collective group,” she said. “We weren’t the favorite team.”
She had several scholarship offers out of high school but said once she visited the Pennsylvania college, she was sold.
Three games into her freshman year, she found herself thrust into the starting lineup. That first year, the Colonials won a conference title for the second time in school history. During Johnston’s time there, Robert Morris had its most successful run in school history.
“The rivals we faced consistently, and when we beat them, it was a good accomplishment,” she said. “It became standard after that.”
Johnston would go on to become the single season and career record holder for assists. She also is second in aces and ninth in digs.
She graduated with honors in logistics engineering and returned to Colorado in 2004. She moved to Steamboat in November of that year. She helped with the start of club volleyball in the area, Whiteout Volleyball and serves as the organization’s director of coaches.
“Absolutely, I’ll always be involved in volleyball,” she said. “It’s created too many good memories to walk away from it.”
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com