On Saturday, June 11, two women will represent Montezuma-Cortez High School volleyball one last time.
Former Lady Panthers coach Trena Walker will coach Andi Pickens and the Black team with Byers coach Jolene Dodge in the 55th Colorado High School Coaches Association All-State senior volleyball games at Plachy Hall on the campus of Adams State College in Alamosa.
There will be four teams, and the two winning teams advance to play in the All-State championship. The losing teams will play in the third-place game.
This will be Walkers second All-State coaching appearance after coaching in the 2000 CHSCA All-State games. She was nominated by a panel of CHSCA members to coach in this years All-State volleyball games. Walker said the reason to come back and coach one last time is because of the opportunity to coach her former four-year starter, one last time.
I wasnt going to do it, but when I heard she (Pickens) was playing, I thought, Oh yeah! We get to do it one more time. I thought that would be cool, Walker said.
Pickens led the Lady Panthers in total attacks, kills, digs and solo blocks the last two seasons at M-CHS, and set the school record for digs with 69 on Oct. 2, in a 3-2 home win over Montrose. The four-year All-Southwestern League outside hitter/middle blocker was pleasantly surprised of her CHSCA All-State selection.
I was really excited, Pickens said. I didnt know what to think because I didnt know what it was exactly.
With Walker coaching, it made things that much sweeter for Pickens.
I was super excited when I knew she (Walker) was going to do it. It made me want to do it even more, Pickens said. I havent played for anybody else besides Trena. Im excited because I know how she coaches and shes a good coach. I knew it would be fun.
M-CHS recorded a 14-12 record in 2010 and advanced to the Colorado 4A Region D tournament at Durango High School where the Lady Panthers ended the season with a straight-set win over Canon City.
Now Walker and Pickens will see the best senior volleyballs players Colorado has to offer, which is an experience both are looking forward to.
Whats fun is because theyre all good, Walker said about the All-State players. Youre not really coaching them, youre just kind of organizing them, because they already know. I think its fun for the girls to play with other girls the same caliber.
I think its going to be fun because theyre all good. Now we can all put it together as one. It will be fun, Pickens said.
Coaching All-State athletes was one of Walkers many joys of the profession.
Thats what makes coaching fun, is when you get to coach girls like her, Walker said about Pickens. Ones that are hard workers, and that are good and enjoy it. It makes it very enjoyable.
With the chance to be together on the court one last time, Pickens and Walker are determined to go out with a bang.
Were going there to win, Walker said. You always go to win, but its a little different because its just going to be fun. But Im competitive. You always want to win.
Before Pickens heads to Saint George, Utah, to study dental hygiene at Dixie State College, shell remember all the kills, blocks, digs and attacks she accumulated on the court for the Lady Panthers.
We had so much fun together. Even though we got stuff done, we all had fun, she said. Some girls end up hating volleyball because they work so hard at it. But we worked hard at it and still had fun. It helped that you have good coaches. You cant go anywhere if you dont. Im glad Trena was my coach.
Reach Bobby Abplanalp at [email protected]