Coal Ridge’s Detlefsen is Female Athlete of the Year | PostIndependent.com

Coal Ridge’s Detlefsen is Female Athlete of the Year

Coal Ridge High School senior volleyball player Kaitlyn Detlefsen.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent |

SELECTION PROCESS

To select the 2015-16 Glenwood Springs Post Independent Male and Female Athlete’s of the Year, athletic directors at six high schools — Basalt, Roaring Fork, Glenwood Springs, Coal Ridge, Rifle and Grand Valley — reached out to their coaches to get a nomination for one male and one female to be submitted to the PI. Once the nominations were turned in, each athletic director voted, with sports editor Joshua Carney tabulating the results.

Other Female Athlete of the Year nominees

Although Coal Ridge’s Kaitlyn Detlefsen won the Post Independent’s Female Athlete of the Year award, her selection doesn’t take away from the great year that the other four nominees from Basalt, Glenwood Springs, Rifle and Grand Valley high schools turned in. Roaring Fork did not submit a female nomination.

Kaity Johnson, Basalt: Johnson, a standout basketball, softball and soccer player, capped off a great career at Basalt by hitting .489 with two home runs and 18 runs batted in for the Longhorns. She then followed her great softball season with a strong basketball campaign, averaging 5.4 points per game, 4.7 rebounds per game and 1.4 steals per game. Johnson wrapped up a successful senior season by playing a key part in leading the Longhorns to a 9-6 season on the pitch, scoring eight goals and dishing out four assists. She closes her career at Basalt as a four-year letterman in all three sports while winning multiple 3A Western Slope League All-Conference Awards. Johnson also has a 3.52 GPA at Basalt High School.

Kylyn Rigsby, Grand Valley: Arguably the best girls basketball player on the Western Slope, Rigsby turned in a terrific season on the hardwood for the Cardinals, earning First Team All-Conference honors in the 3A Western Slope League. The junior guard averaged 19.9 points per game, 7.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 2.8 steals, leading the Cardinals to a 17-6 record and an appearance in the 3A CHSAA state playoffs. Outside of basketball, Rigsby also played a key role in the Cardinals’ second-place finish in volleyball, while also running track, where she’s a standout hurdler and jumper for Grand Valley.

Morgan “Reese” Hoffmeister, Rifle: A senior member of Rifle’s volleyball and basketball program, Hoffmeister was the glue that held everything together for both squads, winning letters in both sports, including four straight years in basketball. Voted to the First Team All-Conference list this past season in basketball, Hoffmeister averaged 3.5 points per game, 3.0 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.0 assists per game, doing a little bit of everything for the Bears as a captain. As a leader of the volleyball team, Hoffmeister turned in a strong senior season, recording 140 digs, 38 kills, 18 aces and four blocked shots. In the classroom, Hoffmeister carried a 4.0 GPA throughout her entire high school career.

Megan Uren, Glenwood Springs: Uren was a three-sport athlete at Glenwood Springs High School this past season, lettering in volleyball, basketball and track and field for the Demons. On the court in volleyball, Uren led the Demons in digs with 275, while also recording 15 serving aces. In basketball, Uren moved from shooting guard to point guard for much of the year due to injury, but she didn’t see a drop in her game, averaging 5.5 points per game, 2.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists for Glenwood. Uren was named to the honorable mention list for the 3A Western Slope League. On the track, Uren is a distance runner for the Demons and will continue her competitive career at Trinity University in San Antonio, where she’ll major in neuroscience. In the classroom at Glenwood, Uren carried a 4.0 GPA, landed on the Principal’s Honor Roll and will be the class valedictorian at this month’s graduation.

A promising senior season was cut short by a devastating right knee injury, but her dominance on the court as a middle hitter for the 3A Western Slope League volleyball champion Coal Ridge Titans propelled Kaitlyn Detlefsen to be named the Glenwood Springs Post Independent’s 2015-16 Female Athlete of the Year.

Detlefsen and the Male Athlete of the Year, to be announced in the PI on Thursday, were selected by a vote of athletic directors in the area.

It’s been a trying few months for the Coal Ridge senior, having to rehab her right knee after tearing her anterior cruciate ligament and a portion of her meniscus, which resulted in surgery in December. The senior was in the middle of a potentially deep run with the Titans in the 3A Colorado High School Activities Association’s state volleyball playoffs at the Pepsi Center in Denver when she landed awkwardly after a play at the net.

Originally diagnosed with a sprained medial collateral ligament, Detlefsen hoped to miss just the start of basketball season before returning at full health to help lead the Titans as one of the top post players in the Western Slope. Then, according to plan, she would have moved on to track and field hoping to help the Titans’ girls team win its third straight 3A WSL title.

Unfortunately, as the healing process dragged on, Detlefsen sought another doctor’s opinion, which delivered the devastating news: a torn ACL and a partially torn meniscus.

CHALLENGES OF REHAB

The rehab is a grueling task that requires mental toughness and the will to get back to being the player she once was, especially on the volleyball court when she heads to the University of Northern Colorado as a non-scholarship recruited walk-on for the Bears this summer.

“This process has definitely taught me a lot,” Detlefsen said during a recent interview after being notified of her honor. “I’m finally ending it, which is nice. It’s taught me a lot about overcoming adversity. I had never really experienced anything like this before, so fighting through it has been painful. Not being able to do everything I used to be able to do and kind of learning how to walk again has been hard. Going from a high level of activity to basically nothing has been difficult to deal with and has given me a new appreciation for everything.”

He new appreciation for everything and a positive outlook on life over the past six months helped get her through the tough times, but the lasting impact she left on the court — not only as an athletic standout, but as a true sportsman — played a significant role in her selection as the Female Athlete of the Year.

In the classroom, Detlefsen was named the Coal Ridge Senior Student of the Month for May while carrying a cumulative GPA of 4.292, which puts her second in her class at the New Castle high school with just a few weeks left until graduation.

On the court this past season, Detlefsen was a key driving force in a Coal Ridge team stocked with talent.

As the middle hitter for the Titans, the senior led the league in almost every significant stats category for her position. Detlefsen racked up 293 kills on the season (4.0 kills per set) to go along with 144 total blocks (88 solo) and 39 serving aces. Detlefsen led the state in blocks, and she also finished second in the state in hitting percentage and led the league in kills.

Her dominance and leadership on the court earned her a spot on the First Team All-Conference, as well as the 3A WSL Player of the Year. On top of those, Detlefsen was named to the Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports All-State First Team, as well as a CHSAA Second Team All-State award.

Those accolades stayed in the back of the minds of the local athletic directors when it came to voting this past week, even if she missed the majority of the prep year due to the injury.

HARD TO WATCH

“It really was a big surprise to me, but at the same time it’s such a big honor,” she said. “Before the school year started it was one of the goals that I had set for myself, so when I got hurt I thought that was over with. But I’m just really excited to see the year turn out exactly how I thought it would turn out even with the injury, but I achieved one of my goals.

“This just makes me feel really proud of what I accomplished during the volleyball season. Everything felt like such a letdown and a disappointment for my senior year with the injury, but I’m just really happy with myself because I was able to demonstrate good sportsmanship and make a big impact in at least one part of my senior year; it just feels really good that they [the ADs] recognized that.”

Detlefsen still reflects back on that time spent on the sidelines, often feeling helpless as her teammates battled for wins.

“It’s been so hard,” Detlefsen said. “I still wanted to be there and show support for my teammates, letting them know I was still there for them, but it’s just been so hard to watch. I’ve come home crying afterwards, saying, ‘Mom, I just could have done so many things; I can do that, I used to be able to do that.’ I was going to do that this year, but I couldn’t, so I still wanted to be there as a role model for the younger girls and be the support for them.”

Detlefsen will redshirt her first year at Northern Colorado, forcing her to sit and watch but also giving her another full calendar to work back to full strength while being able to adjust to the rigors of the next level. Plus, she’ll still be able to provide support for her new teammates without the helpless feeling coursing through her like this past season.

“I’m thrilled to move on to the University of Northern Colorado and start playing again,” Detlefsen, who makes the move to the Greeley campus at the end of May. “I’ll get to enroll in classes early and start working out with the athletic trainer and the coaching staff to get up to speed, so that’s going to be great.”

Her passion for the game, combined with the work ethic and leadership she displayed throughout her senior season gave her the chance to cap it all off with the Female Athlete of the Year award, which just adds to the long list of achievements — both personally and team-oriented — that Detlefsen has racked up during her time at Coal Ridge High School.

“This award is at the top of the list for me, right in front of the state award and our league title this past season,” Detlefsen said. “It just means so much to me; I couldn’t be more honored to win this award, especially after everything I’ve gone through this year.”


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