Kotz wins PI’s Female Athlete of the Month
By leading through actions on the court and in the classroom, Coal Ridge senior setter Dana Kotz was an easy choice for the Post Independent’s Female Athlete of the Month for October.
A senior captain on the Titans volleyball team that finished 17-10 (8-1 3A Western Slope League) and made a fourth straight appearance in the 3A state tournament in the Denver Coliseum, Kotz was more of a quiet leader on a team breaking in a handful of young talent under Head Coach Aimee Gerber. Not one to have much to say regarding anything, the senior was quick to let her play do the talking for her throughout the season, providing the Titans with a steady, calming influence to look up to.
“People don’t understand how aggressive and consistent Dana is,” Gerber said. “She’s able to do anything I need her to do on the court, and that’s key for us. If I tell her to hit a spot on the floor, she’ll find a way to hit that spot. She very rarely makes mistakes for us. She’s a fun girl on this team; she’s still quiet, but she gets along with everyone. She works extremely hard, and I think the rest of the team sees that and wants to work hard just like her.”
Plenty of people around the Coal Ridge program have tons of stories about Kotz as a leader on and off the floor for the Titans, whether it deals with her showing up to school early in the morning to get a workout in before school, or by going the extra mile in practice to make sure her conditioning in top form. She’s a girl of very few words, but her actions speak volumes. Kotz is an example of what leaders should look like on and off the court.
“Honestly, I was pretty surprised,” Kotz said. “I know that we have our athlete of the month award here at school, but I had no idea that I was up for the award at the paper. It’s a pretty cool award to get.”
During the 2016 season, Kotz led the way offensively for the Titans with a team-high 630 assists, 100 kills and 36 aces while chipping in with 231 digs defensively, providing Gerber and the Titans with a dominant all-around player who played a key role in the success of Coal Ridge over the last two years on varsity.
Having played volleyball since seventh grade, Kotz developed an impressively high IQ on the court for the Titans, often thinking one or two moves ahead of the opponent, allowing the Titans to take advantage early and often.
“I don’t know where the IQ came from on the floor,” Kotz said. “I think it just comes from being smart on the floor and placing the ball in the right spot where we can take advantage of the opponent at the net. It just has sort of come naturally to me since my freshman year.”
Known more for her ability to set up teammates in great positions, Kotz is no stranger to lending a helping hand off the court as well, getting involved in many groups within the school system while also volunteering at Valley View Hospital during the summer.
Before school starts each day, Kotz heads into meetings for National Honor Society and Captain’s Council, which is something that she takes great pride in. Captain’s Council helped put together the homecoming festivities for the Titans during October.
“I just like to be able to help and really get involved,” Kotz said. “I don’t want to be one of those kids that’s just in the school system; I want to leave a mark in this school system and make things better.”
In the classroom, Kotz really enjoys math and science, which have pushed her toward wanting to pursue a career in nursing. Having volunteered at Valley View in the summer really piqued her interest as well. Knowing what she wants to do for a career has narrowed her college options for academics, but she’s also hoping to pursue an opportunity of playing volleyball at the next level as well.
“I’m trying to contact some coaches to try and play at the next level, so it’s all up in the air right now,” Kotz said. “I’ve looked at Regis and the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs to play volleyball, but if I don’t play volleyball I’m looking at Colorado University for their academics.”
Based off of the success she’s had on the court the last two years, there’s very little doubt that she could excel in college, but based on her academic success as well, Kotz has what it takes to be a successful student-athlete in college while pursuing a degree in nursing, which is quite a difficult major with a heavy workload in college.
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