Holidays a treat for Zeigel |

Holidays a treat for Zeigel

Phil SandovalGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Special to the Post Independent/Jim RyanMegan Zeigel maneuvers her way up the court during last weekend's tournament game at Mesa State.

CARBONDALE, Colo. – This holiday season has been special for Megan Zeigel.Not only did she get a chance to come home from her studies at Bethany College, she also had the opportunity to bring her basketball teammates with her.But the 2005 Roaring Fork High graduate had to endure some screwball travel plans to accomplish the feat. Zeigel managed to squeeze in a team practice with her college teammates at her old high school’s gym and play a couple of games in front of the homefolks at Mesa State College this weekend.”It’s really exciting. I’m kind of nervous because I know there’s going to be a lot of people there,” Zeigel said of the opportunity to play in Grand Junction. “It’s just nice to be home for Christmas and see people and have people interested that we’re playing at Mesa and to come down. It’s nice to hear to have that support.”

And a big crowd of rooters were on hand to cheer Zeigel and the Lindsborg, Kan.-based Swedes on against the host Mavericks Saturday afternoon.So far as travel plans go, Zeigel might want to consider alternate plans if Bethany makes a repeat trip.Getting home for Christmas was easy. When it came time to play basketball, Megan’s itinerary was grueling.”I flew out of Aspen to Wichita on Dec. 26, got to campus about 5:30 p.m. that night,” she said. “We had practice that night, then Wednesday morning. Then we got on a charter bus and drove out here. It seemed kind of unnecessary to go back. But it was good to get back with the girls and have a few practices.”When she returned to Carbondale late Wednesday evening, Zeigel had no time to socialize. After a night’s sleep in her own bed, she had to race over to RFHS for a team practice.After a leisurely lunch with her team at home, the entire Bethany party whisked off to Grand Junction to scout Colorado Christian University – Bethany’s Friday opponent.Along with another hotel room stay following the game in Grand Junction.

Despite the long hours of travel and two losses, Zeigel remained upbeat, and positive about her teammates, too.”All five of our starters from last year either transferred or graduated,” she explained.”We’re a new team and we’re young and have a lot of freshmen. All of us are getting a lot of playing time this year. That’s an adjustment for a lot of us. We have a new coach this year, and we’re getting used to him. Everything’s going really well.”Zeigel had a key role in both tournament games as the first person off the bench to relieve a starter.”I swing between guard and forward. If our point guard gets tangled up then I usually take the ball down the floor,” said Zeigel. “I’m pretty comfortable with my ballhandling, but it’s not one of my favorite things to do. I would not like to be a point guard. But if it’s one of the things my team needs me to do, I’ll step up and do it.”It’s the same attitude Zeigel showed in high school. No matter what role or position she was called on to play – in basketball or with the Rams’ girls soccer team – Megan accepted the challenge.

One challenge she had to get accustomed to after selecting Bethany was adjusting to college basketball.”In college, the game is so much faster. I think a part of that has to do with the shot clock. That’s one more element of the game you have to be focused on,” Zeigel said. And, the girls you are playing against are that much stronger.”What hasn’t changed about basketball at the college level, said Zeigel, is the camaraderie and the love she and her teammates have for the game.”All my years at Roaring Fork I had a passion for the game,” she said. “That, and having help from your teammates and making those connections because all of those girls on the Roaring Fork teams were so close. Then I went to Bethany and its like that there, too. I think that’s what makes basketball so special.”

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