Grand Valley’s Rigsby named PI’s Female Athlete of the Year

Grand Valley senior guard Kylyn Rigsby, center, signs her official letter of intent to play basketball at Colorado Mesa during a ceremony at Grand Valley High School Wednesday, as her father Brennan (right, sitting), mother Melissa (left) and Head Coach Jake Higuera (standing) look on. (JOSH CARNEY / POST INDEPENDENT)

During her senior year at Grand Valley High School along the Colorado River in Parachute, standout three-sport athlete Kylyn Rigsby very rarely had time to reflect on what was happening in her athletic life.

She had nonstop competitive seasons, from berths in the state playoffs in volleyball and basketball, to a terrific track season that included multiple qualifications in the 3A state meet, as well as the 3A Western Slope League’s Outstanding Female Track Athlete Award.

Adding into a hectic senior year, Rigsby — the 3A Western Slope League girls basketball Player of the Year — signed her national letter of intent to play basketball for the Colorado Mesa Mavericks for the next four years, locking up the chance to play high-level basketball while also receiving an education supported by her athletic prowess.

All of that played a major factor in the Cardinal standout earning the Post Independent’s Female Athlete of the Year, adding to her Female Athlete of the Month award from the PI for December.

“I’m really excited to receive this award,” Rigsby said. “The first time I have even heard of this award was when Kyra Chenoweth won the award [in 2015], so that was something that I knew if I could get that I did something right. She was such a great role model for me and a great athlete, so that’s what I was thinking when I first heard I won.”

As a three-sport athlete, Rigsby was often the beating heart of her teams. Leading through passion and positivity, Rigsby helped keep the Cardinals above water in volleyball until senior transfers Tara Ruggles and Bryce Ettles were eligible to play after the first 11 games of the year. On the volleyball court, Rigsby had a hand in almost everything, averaging 6.6 assists per set, 2.6 digs per set, 1.4 kills per set and 1.1 blocks per set for the 14-11 Cardinals, who were knocked out in the regional bracket of the 3A state playoffs.

In track, Rigsby dominated throughout the season in the high jump, 100 meter and 300 meter hurdles for the Cardinals. At the 3A WSL league meet at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction in May, Rigsby swept the league titles in all three events, qualifying for the state meet in each. At state, Rigsby placed fourth in the 300 meter hurdles, while also grabbing third place in the 4×200 meter relay and fifth-place in the 100 meter hurdles.

But it was on the basketball court where the Grand Valley student really left her mark, leading the Cardinals to a 16-8, 9-0 record on the year while averaging 18.9 points per game, 9.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.9 steals per game, finishing her high school career with 1,075 points, 472 rebounds, 300 assists and 195 steals over four seasons.

Now that graduation has come and gone for the future Colorado Mesa student, she has spend quite a bit of time reflecting on just what transpired at Grand Valley, not just as an athlete, but as a student over the last four years.

“I’m just very thankful to have been able to spend my time in high school where I got to spend it at,” Rigsby said. “I’m also thankful with who I got to spend it with, whether that was my coaches, teammates or fans who supported me and helped shape me into the athlete that I was there. I feel just blessed to be able to say that I came from Grand Valley.”

With her time at Colorado Mesa University looming, Rigsby has had to switch gears quickly, transitioning to the college mindset as she is volunteering at Mesa summer camps, getting a chance to be around the program and some of the players she’ll be around for the next four years.

For her, basketball never stops. That mentality and daily grind as a student-athlete has led her to this point, getting set to be a college athlete at a Division II school just 45 minutes away from home. Being able to push hard these last few years in basketball now has her set up to get a great education while having most of it paid for through athletics.

“That brings me so much pride and a sense of accomplishment,” Rigsby said. “I now know that sports wasn’t just something I was doing for fun; it makes me really proud to know that my hard work paid off in such a big way because being a student-athlete is a ton of hard work. Sometimes your grades slip because of practice or games, but it was really cool to see Mesa give me a scholarship, as well as a scholarship from Grand Valley. That scholarship from Grand Valley is the Female Scholarship for Scholar, Sportsmanship and Athletics. That was a really big honor for me to receive that from the school.”

Now that her time at Grand Valley is over and the Mavericks girls basketball program — as well as the mass communications program — awaits, Rigsby just hopes that she left behind a good example for how to compete and carry oneself individually throughout high school. Her main focus though is her younger brother, Brennan Jr., who will start varsity basketball at De Beque High School this fall, as well as her younger sister, Avery, who is a few years away from competitive sports.

“I want them to see the work ethic that I had,” Rigsby said. “I want them to know that in athletics, or in any walk of life, doing the little things right is very important. Working hard and having a big heart in athletics is big. I hope that they’ve watched me over the years and picked up on this.”

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