Steamboat graduate plays on top-level volleyball team at Colorado College |

Steamboat graduate plays on top-level volleyball team at Colorado College

Devin Wilkinson

— At no point a year ago did Devin Wilkinson envision herself here.

Just a year removed from playing for the Steamboat Sp­­rings High School volleyball team, Wilkinson was sitting in an airport Thursday in Texas, preparing to head to the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Wilkinson, a freshman at Colo­­rado College, helped the Tigers to a 30-6 record, a South­ern Collegiate Athletic Confer­ence championship and the top seed in its regional tournament in Newport News, Va., this weekend.

“Like I said, I never had any intention of playing in college,” Wilk­­inson said.

But she ran into the perfect situation.

As her class salutatorian, Wilk­­inson was looking to get a top-end education, and when the option of playing volleyball presented itself at Colorado College, she found the right fit.

Wilkinson has been a key cog in the Tigers’ lineup this year. She has paired her athleticism and ability to play middle into a starting role on one of Division III’s best volleyball teams. She’s sixth on the team in kills and first in blocks.

“The pace of a college-level game, she’d fit right in,” Steam­boat coach Wendy Hall said. “The work ethic is second to none with Devin. If something is important to her, she’s going to go all out.”

Urged to play

Wilkinson had no intention of pursuing volleyball after high school. Originally, she wanted to play her senior season and then focus on school. But at the urging of teammate Colleen King, who now is starting for the University of Denver, Wilkinson decided to play club volleyball.

The more she played, the more she realized she might want to play in college. She sent film to most of the colleges she applied to. Tigers coach Rick Swan saw the tape and watched Wilkinson play at the Colorado Crossroads Junior National Qualifier. Swan was looking for a girl who could play the middle and make the Tigers more dangerous.

“When I went and looked at CC and learned more about the program, I thought this could be an incredible opportunity,” she said.

Now, Wilkinson is on a team that has a legitimate shot at winning a regional and possible national championship. Her inclusion on the team allowed Swan to move a couple of girls from the middle to the outside.

“When we put it all together,” he said, “we can compete with anybody in the country on any given day.”

Beyond volleyball

Wilkinson wouldn’t be playing, however, if it weren’t for the education. The block schedule at Colorado College fit her needs, and she’s thinking about majoring in English or humanities. She’s also getting her prerequisites for medical school out of the way.

“I chose all my schools first,” she said. “Then I was like, let’s see if I can play volleyball at any of these schools. Once I started to get into these schools is when it started to fall together.”

Wilkinson could find herself on a team contending for a national championship.

She said the extra time looking for the right fit was good for her. She has loved the camaraderie of team sports and found a school where her education still matters.

“I guess it was sort of destiny,” she said. “The opportunity to play volleyball and school was something I was looking for.”

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