Sutherland signs up for a future with Buffaloes volleyball |

Sutherland signs up for a future with Buffaloes volleyball

G. Sean KellyGSPI Sports Editor

Its official. After graduating this spring, Glenwood Springs High Schools Amber Sutherland will trade in her Demon uniform for a jersey boasting a buffalo.Sutherland, the Demon volleyball teams standout outside hitter, signed a national letter-of-intent to play for the University of Colorado Buffaloes womens volleyball team starting next season in Boulder. In return, Colorado has awarded Sutherland a full scholarship.Its a load off my shoulders, Sutherland said at a signing ceremony at GSHS Friday afternoon. When I was signing, I was like, yeah, this feels good.Sutherland is the first female athlete to earn a full scholarship to a Division I school directly out of GSHS since 1994 when Amy Feinsinger was awarded a full ride in track to Boise State.Weve had other Division I athletes, but its pretty unusual to get a full ride right out of high school, Glenwood principal Mike Wells said. It certainly tells us were competitive and schools are looking at us and are aware we have some athletes here, added athletic director Steve Cable.Sutherland, who was also named last weeks Glenwood Springs High School Athlete of the Week, helped Glenwood to a 29-1 record this season before the Demons were eliminated in the semifinal round of the Class 4A state tournament. She was ranked No. 1 in Class 4A with 385 kills and racked up 48 aces and 40 solo blocks. Its awesome, Demon head coach Denise Greene said. Coming in, we knew she had that potential and she worked really hard all four years. She deserves a lot of credit herself.She just has a lot of natural ability and a lot of natural court sense, Greene added. She makes plays that nobody else can make. If she can make those plays on a consistent basis she will be an awesome college player too.Sutherland may have gotten some of that natural ability from her parents. Her mother, Debby, competed in volleyball and track, while her father, Mike, was a football and basketball player. Both were present at the signing ceremony.She got the best from both of us, Debby said.The Buffs, coached by Pii Aiu, are currently 18-8 overall and recently defeated No. 18-ranked Texas A&M to move into fourth place in the Big 12 with a 10-6 mark.Colorado recruited the Demon standout as an outside hitter, according to Sutherland, but shes happy to contribute from anywhere on the court.Im willing to do anything, Sutherland said. Being at a DI school, Ill do anything to help the team out.Colorado only has two seniors on its current roster, and the coaches have the option of redshirting Sutherland for a season. Colorado had not yet received the letter-of-intent on Friday afternoon and, due to NCAA rules, coaches cannot comment on incoming players until the letter is received. Sutherland plans to play for the Demon basketball team this winter and will likely compete in track and field to defend her Class 4A discus state championship. She also finished second in the shot put at last years state meet.Im looking forward to the variety (of sports), but its getting to the point where Im really going to have to start concentrating on playing volleyball at a higher level, said Sutherland, who will also play on the local Defiance Volleyball Club this winter.Like most athletes, Sutherland admits she couldnt have reached her current level without help.I definitely owe a lot to my team for playing so hard and making it to state and doing well, to my family and friends for supporting me and (boyfriend) Ryan Erickson for helping me with a lot of stuff, she said.Also thanks to coach Green for stepping up and making the season fun and coach (Scott) Nykerk for hitting hard at us and coach Jocelyn Anderson and the community for all the support.Following the school year, Sutherland said she will likely be in Boulder helping the Buffs run their summer camps prior to her freshman season.

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