Photo by Tamie Meck Ce’rra Carsten was the 2012 WSL Player of the Year and her mom, head Paonia volleyball coach, the Coach of the Year.Paonia senior Ce'rra Carsten was named all-conference first team and all-state first team in volleyball for the 2012 season. The senior setter and middle hitter was also named the 2A Western Slope League MVP.
Carsten played in the Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports' all-state volleyball games in November, and is a runner-up to compete in the Colorado High School Coaches Association's all-state volleyball games this June.
In the last two volleyball seasons she played 184 sets, scoring 682 kills. She completed almost 90 percent of her 826 serves, with 122 aces. As a setter, she recorded 1,941 attacks.
Carsten, along with freshman sister Taylor Carsten, Abby Campbell, Carson Pipher, Morgan Hartigan, Easton Hartigan, Taylor Plymale and Claire Tracy, were the first Paonia team in 18 years to qualify for state volleyball. "That had been my goal since I was little," said Carsten, whose mother, Krista Carsten, is head coach and the athletic director at PHS. Krista Carsten was named the 2012 WSL 2A Coach of the Year.
This year, Paonia posted a 23-5 record — the best record in the school's history, and placed fifth at state. Carsten transferred from Hotchkiss in eighth grade because she saw more opportunities in sports at PHS. She has thrived at PHS, was an all-conference player in basketball and was named all-state honorable mention her junior year. Carsten is also a three-time state qualifier in track and field.
Carsten credits her teammates and family for her success. Her dad, rancher Bill Carsten, "...always said to give 110 percent no matter what you're doing. We were raised that way." Working 12 hours a day on the ranch, preparing to show 4H animals and keeping up with school work, sports, and a job assisting in surgeries at the North Fork Veterinary Clinic are all part of the routine. She's been around horses her entire life, and recently began competing in rodeos.
But volleyball is her passion. Carsten traded her senior year of basketball for club volleyball in Grand Junction. Her goal is to play at setter in college. Because she's only 5-feet, 7-inches, many schools don't see her as being tall enough. "Colleges don't want girls who are short," said Carsten. Even setters and liberos are often 6 feet tall. "But they see a vertical of 26 inches and it's kind of a different story."
Carsten plans to study elementary education and is eyeing several schools, including Hawaii Pacific University. "Their spring program is completely beach volleyball," said Carsten. She'd love to escape the cold for a while, but admits she'd get homesick. "It would be good to get away and say I left Delta County and Colorado," said Carsten, "but I came back for good reasons."