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Grand Valley grad soaks in rare coaching opportunity

Jon Mitchell
Citizen Telegram Sports Editor
Grand Valley High School graduate Sarah Ryan, far left, poses for a picture with the Blue Team she coached at the Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports All-State Games this past Sunday in Denver. From left, Ryan, LaRose Currie of Battle Mountain, Elena Michalski of Longmont, Julie Ward of Coronado, Becca Mau of Longmont, Sydney Schaap of Green Mountain, Rikki Huston of Windsor, Sabra Ross of Elizabeth, Miranda Geis of Windsor, Delaney Gaddis of Glenwood Springs and assistant coach Jason Fitzgerald of Battle Mountain.
Contributed Photo |

Sarah Ryan found herself in a familiar spot this past weekend. Needless to say, it was a nice spot to be in.

Ryan, who just finished her sixth season as the head volleyball coach at Glenwood Springs High School, was an all state volleyball player at Grand Valley High School in Parachute in 1999. And this past weekend, Ryan coached in the same game she played in more than a decade ago: the Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports All-State Games in Denver.

Ryan, the former Sarah McKinley, coached the Blue Team to a victory on Sunday over the Red Team. She was nominated to coach the 4A All-State team by other coaches in the classification to serve as the head coach in the games, she said.

“I was surprised and humbled by the nomination,” Ryan said. “It is an amazing achievement to me to be able to play in the games and, now, have a chance to coach in them.”

Coaching alongside her as an assistant was Jason Fitzgerald, the Battle Mountain head coach who helped lead the Huskies to the Class 4A Western Slope League title this past fall.

Ryan played under former Grand Valley coach Lorilee Loesch, and the team Ryan played for won at the All-State Games. Loesch also coached Ryan in the All-State Games in 1999, when Grand Valley played at the Class 2A level. Ryan later went on to have an outstanding volleyball career at Western State College in Gunnison, and was elected to the school’s Hall of Fame in October, along with the 2001 team that reached the NCAA Division II Elite Eight.

Things ended up coming full circle for Ryan, who coached one of her own players. Glenwood Springs’ Delaney Gaddis, who shared most valuable player honors in the 4A Western Slope League with Battle Mountain’s LaRose Currie, was also named to the team.

“The favorite memories from the weekend are pretty easy,” Ryan said. “One was getting to meet an amazing group of young women and watch them perform at a high level. Another was getting to watch one of my own, Delaney. I’m very proud of what she has accomplished. Plus, I got to sit back and enjoy the game. It’s all something I will never forget.”


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