Colleen King inks with Pioneers |

Colleen King inks with Pioneers

Steamboat Springs volleyball star plans to play for University of Denver

Luke Graham

Buddy King gives the thumbs up as his daughter Colleen signs a letter of intent to play volleyball at the University of Denver on Wednesday at Steamboat Springs High School. Colleen also was joined by her mother Joanie, left, principal Kevin Taulman and coach Wendy Hall.

— Steamboat Springs High School senior Colleen King signed her letter of intent Wednesday to continue her volleyball career at the University of Denver.

King, who orally committed to the Division I Pioneers after visiting in January, leaves as one of the Sailors' most decorated volleyball players.

In addition to leading her team with 157 kills and 262 assists this season, King was named the Western Slope League's Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.

The last player to do that was Steamboat's Katie Carter in the 2001 and 2002 seasons.

"I think DU is getting an absolute diamond," Steamboat coach Wendy Hall said. "I think they understand what kind of player and athlete she is. But until you have her in your program on a daily basis, you don't get the type of teammate she's going to be, the type of leader she's going to be for them. Those are gifts they don't realize they have yet."

King also had offers from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Colorado State Uni­­­versity, but she said Denver provided the family atmosphere she was looking for.

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"It feels really good," King said. "Last year was really stressful trying to figure out what I was going to do for the next four years of my life. Traveling back and forth for club volleyball and everything. This is like it all pays off."

In addition to playing for Steamboat, King traveled to Fort Collins during the summer to play for the NORCO 18s Black club, one of the elite club teams in the state.

King was primed for a huge senior season before coming down with mononucleosis prior to the season. It slowed her down in the beginning of the season before she recovered to help the Sailors to a second-place finish in the league.

Considering that King wasn't completely healthy, Hall said her best playing days could and should be ahead of her.

"Once she gets strength back, she'll make a huge jump," Hall said. "Then you surround her with really good hitters, and that's going to be a wonderful thing. I think she'll be an amazing player."

King was recruited to Denver as a setter but said there is a chance that she'll also play as a hitter. She will play basketball this winter before training until July, when she leaves for Denver.

The Pioneers are nearing their conference tournament and are 16-14 overall and 11-5 in the Sun Belt Conference, currently leading the Western Division.

"I think they can be top 30 in the next couple of years," King said. "I think that's exciting. It's one thing going into a program that's already built up, but building a program up — I like that."

King hasn't decided on a major but said she'd like to go to graduate school and study architecture.

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