‘Never say quit’
FEMALE: KYRA CHENOWETH
School: Grand Valley High School
Sports: Volleyball, basketball, soccer, track and field
Class: Graduated senior.
Accolades: 3A Western Slope League Player of the Year, volleyball; second-team all-state selection, Colorado High School Coaches Association; 3A WSL Player of the Year, basketball; 3A third-team all-state selection, basketball, CHSAA; Academic all-state award, CHSAA.
Hobbies: Rafting, snowboarding, sports, watching movies, hanging out with friends.
Quotable: “She has a ‘never-say-quit’ attitude that not many people have.” Jake Higuera, Grand Valley girls basketball coach.
PARACHUTE — Kyra Chenoweth still has a pretty visible knot on her right middle finger from when she dislocated it back in January.
“I can bend it just fine now,” said Chenoweth, a recent Grand Valley High School graduate. “I barely notice that something ever happened to it.”
At the time when it happened, no one on the basketball court would have noticed Chenoweth was hurt, either. After dislocating the finger on her shooting hand in the first half of the Cardinals’ game at Coal Ridge on Jan. 10, Chenoweth went on to score what was then a career-high 28 points during Grand Valley’s 61-44 victory.
Then again, her overall toughness wasn’t the only thing that made her valuable to Grand Valley’s sports programs. She earned all-state accolades in both volleyball and basketball, adding with it Player of the Year accolades for both sports in the Class 3A Western Slope League. She also finished her high school career with a 3.5 grade point average, earning academic all-state recognition in volleyball, basketball and girls soccer.
That criteria was good enough for a panel of athletic administrators from area high schools to name Chenoweth The Citizen Telegram’s Garfield County Female Student Athlete of the Year.
“It’s pretty obvious just how valuable she was,” Coal Ridge Athletic Director Mike Aragon said. “My thought was that if she ever had an off game, that’s how we could beat them.”
That never seemed to happen when Chenoweth was in the lineup, though.
On this year’s Grand Valley volleyball team, her 3.5 kills-per-set average led the 3A WSL and was ranked No. 11 in Class 3A. That came despite her 5-foot-8 stature, shorter than high-production hitters.
It carried over into basketball season, where she played on a team that had just six full-time varsity players on the roster. Thanks to that, she almost never left the floor during the season and remained immensely productive. Her 18.4 points per game average ranked fourth in 3A and was tied for 23rd among all classifications in Colorado, helping the Cardinals make a return trip to the Class 3A state playoffs.
And it continued into soccer season, where the 16 goals she scored came in just eight games because of a second-degree left ankle sprain she suffered during the Cardinals’ 2-0 loss at Rifle on April 11, which sidelined her until the Cardinals’ season finale on April 30. She finished second in the league in scoring behind Moffat County’s Delaney Baker, who had 23 goals in 15 games.
“If you know her and how durable she is, you’d realize what kind of an injury it would take to take her out,” said second-year head girls soccer coach Scott Gregory, who served as an assistant coach for three years prior to his current gig. “She is the best athlete I’ve seen during my time at GVHS. Without her injury, I feel we’d been in contention for the [state] playoffs and definitely wouldn’t have finished 3-12.”
She eventually did make a full recovery, which showed when she competed in the long jump final Class 3A State Championships in Lakewood on May 15. Coming into the meet with a personal-best mark of 15 feet, 9 inches, and jumping off the foot she severely sprained just a month earlier, Chenoweth popped off a personal-best jump of 16-1 1/2 for a sixth-place finish.
This year is the only year Chenoweth had participated in track and field, giving her 13 varsity letters for her high school career.
“Kyra is one of the most talented athletes I have had the privilege to coach, in addition to being one of the best all-around students I have ever worked with,” Grand Valley Athletic Director and volleyball coach David Walck said. “She represents all of the values I want my student athletes to have.”
Chenoweth is still uncertain where she’ll attend college in the fall and is considering either Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction or Colorado Mountain College in Rifle. She readily admitted that if she wants to play sports in college — preferably volleyball or soccer — she’ll have to do it as a walk-on athlete.
Until then, Chenoweth has already made plenty of memories thanks to her durability, her athleticism and teammates.
“I’m always going to remember the girls I played with and everything that happened along the way,” Chenoweth said. “I can’t even begin to explain how awesome it’s been.”
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Local teams just missed out on qualifying for state as teams but will be sending individual representatives following Friday’s regional meets.