Grand Valley’s Chenoweth wins PI’s Female Athlete of the Month
Small and fast with a knack for scoring, Grand Valley’s Shaya Chenoweth has always found herself at the forefront of the attack, whether that is in basketball or soccer.
Using her slight frame and impressive short-area quickness to her advantage, the sophomore has become comfortable with pulling away from defenders to put her and her teammates in great positions to capitalize.
She’s just taken it a step further this spring, leading the Cardinals’ girls soccer team to a 6-6 (3-4 3A Western Slope League) record on the year in large part due to her 34 goals, which happens to be a top 3 mark in the state in all of 3A.
Chenoweth scores just under three goals a game for the Cardinals, but she’s not one for the spotlight, preferring to set her teammates up for goals instead of finding the back of the net herself.
“I would rather have my other teammates be more successful than me,” Chenoweth said. “I like seeing them do good things. It makes me happy seeing them succeeding; I don’t want them to just see me succeeding.”
While Grand Valley Head Coach Rick Van Vleet wants Chenoweth to attack, largely because it opens up the rest of the field for her teammates, he understands Chenoweth’s hesitation for the spotlight.
“It’s not that I want her to score at will,” Van Vleet said. “But there’s times that she needs to score for us to get us going. But what makes her so great is that she’ll come to a stop on the field and wait for teammates to catch up so she can pass. You don’t see that a lot with scorers like Shaya; she’d so much rather pass the ball than do it all by herself. That’s what makes her great.”
Her incredible production on the field, leadership for a young group of Cardinals and good standing within the school system as just a sophomore led to Chenoweth’s selection as the Post Independent’s Female Athlete of the Month for March.
“It feels good to win this award,” Chenoweth said. “I’ve really wanted this one since it started. I’ve worked my butt off trying to get it. I kept trying and trying to get this award, so it feels good to finally get this.”
When she says she’s worked her butt off to get the award, she’s not lying.
One of Chenoweth’s favorite subjects in school happens to be weight training, which could lead to a career in sports science down the line.
“I like lifting and getting better,” Chenoweth said. “I like to see the improvements in my athleticism and understand how things work. I really want to go to college for soccer because that’s my favorite sport. And I think weight training will definitely help that.”
She’s also already targeted two schools she’d like to attend for soccer: Colorado State University and Oregon State University.
Despite coming from a small school on the Western Slope, Chenoweth has put herself on the map in high school sports.
While her athleticism and speed is a big part of that, it’s her dedication, according to Van Vleet, who used to coach girl’s soccer at Aspen and Roaring Fork. Outside of soccer, Chenoweth balances AP-level courses at Grand Valley and holds down a part-time job year-round.
That’s some pretty heady stuff for a sophomore.
“She reminds me a lot of [former U.S. Olympic snowboarder] Gretchen Bleiler when it comes to dedication and athleticism,” Van Vleet said. “It’s very rare to find a girl like her because of the dedication, but she’s so locked in on the task at hand and improving, that it rubs off on the rest of the group. She’s not much of a vocal leader because she prefers to lead by example, but that part of her game is coming around. She’s just terrific. I’ve never really coached anyone like her.”
Chenoweth and the Cardinals have three games left in the regular season, starting Tuesday against Rangely before taking on Coal Ridge in a rivalry matchup on Saturday. With Chenoweth leading the charge, a playoff berth appears likely for the Cardinals.