Senior to play at Mines |

Senior to play at Mines

Cavanagh lands spot at Golden school

Melinda Mawdsley

Stacy Cavanagh was less than 48 hours from her scheduled knee surgery. She had a decision to make: repair the knee for her future or forgo the surgery, wear a knee brace and try to play her senior season of volleyball.

She went out to her back yard to think things through.

“I had to make up my mind,” she said. “I was cutting and slicing, and my knee was giving out each time.”

She opted for surgery. Nearly four months after she had surgery on her right knee, Cavanagh underwent anterior cruciate ligament surgery on her left knee, as scheduled, sidelining her for volleyball, skiing and any other spring sport she may have aspired to play.

Cavanagh spent the fall watching her volleyball teammates play. At first, she had to walk to the bench with crutches and a knee brace. Then, she walked to the bench with just a knee brace. As the season began to wind down, Cavanagh was able to walk to the bench on her two repaired knees.

Then, she and her parents, Steve and Janice Cavanagh, went to visit the Colorado School of Mines and volleyball coach Shelly Johnson.

“I looked coach in the eye and said, ‘I think I could start as a freshman.’ They need a middle blocker,” Stacy Cavanagh said.

Johnson found a way to get Cavanagh, who is interested in biomedical engineering, some scholarship money for the fall.

Steamboat coach Wendy Hall said she’s never heard of a player missing a senior season and obtaining a scholarship.

“I knew what she was up to,” Hall said. “It’s a credit to her. She had a great junior year.”

That junior year was all Cavanagh had to recommend her to the Orediggers program.

The family paid to make a highlight tape of her junior year. Whatever was on the tape and whatever Cavanagh said to Johnson worked. Cavanagh will join the Orediggers team in August.

“It should be fun,” Cavanagh said. “I’m way excited. Tara (King) and I have decided we’re playing doubles all summer.”

The Colorado School of Mines in Golden is a member of the competitive Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Cavanagh should be able to resume playing volleyball in early April. In the meantime, she will continue to go to physical therapy three times a week.

“Now, I have motivation,” she said.

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