Post-season volleyball awards honor 3A teams

By Wayne Crick

Delta High School's volleyball team recently completed a trip to the Class 3A State Volleyball Championships in Denver. A successful season earned the Panthers plenty of post-season traveling opportunities the past few weeks.

Delta finished its WSL campaign as the league's champion with a 9-0 record, outdistancing runnerup Coal Ridge (8-1) and the next two placers Grand Valley and Gunnison, both finishing with 6-3 records. Overall, the Panthers were 20-7 on the season with playoff appearances in Colorado Springs and Denver's Coliseum for the Class 3A State Volleyball Tournament.

The Panthers drew a No. 10 seed after defeating Kent Denver and St. Mary's in regional play in Colorado Springs.

In Denver, Delta found itself in Pool 3 hoping to qualify for semifinal action and reach the title game for a shot at the 3A State Title.

Delta's first match in pool play was against Colorado Springs Christian and resulted in a 3-0 loss. The Panthers' second match was played the next day against Resurrection Christian and also resulted in a 3-0 loss and a 20-7 season mark.

Along the way, Delta had some impressive victories and coaches noticed the quality of players coach Beth Nelson had nurtured, some for four years, this past season.

Delta placed six players on the 3A WSL All-Conference team. Three players were selected to the first team, including seniors Emily Baier (OH), Emily Nortnik (S) and Makayla Mills (MH).

Dani Sakala (MH) and Shelbi Ledesma (RH) were joined by junior Harlee Roberts on the Honorable Mention team for 2016.

Baier was honored by her selection as the WSL 3A Player of the Year.

Nelson was also honored as the 2016 WSL 3A Coach of the Year.

Cedaredge's Hannah Gilmore was a First Team selection from Cedaredge while teammate Makayla McKinney was placed on the Honorable Mention team. Both athletes are seniors at Cedaredge High School.

There were more accolades for the Panthers as Baier and Nortnik were chosen to play in the annual Colorado Coaches Girls Sports All-State games.

Baier and Nortnik were members of the 2016 All State Volleyball Blue Team which included Cassie Davis (Colorado Springs Christian School), Dana Kotz (Coal Ridge), Ashlyn Martinez (Valley), Nicole Mooney (Coal Ridge), Katherine Potter (University), Jasmine Robinson (DSST-GVR) and Bailey Scott (Colorado Springs Christian School).

The Blue Team was coached by Delta's Nelson and Teresa Baier.

Members of the Red Team included Kylie Chavez (Sterling), Shannon Cody (Alamosa), Megan Farrah (Pagosa Springs), Caroline Jeffords (St. Mary's Academy), Courtney Leafgren (Eaton), Kylyn Rigsby (Grand Valley), Brooke Schilling (Valley), Saylor Webb (Resurrection Christian) and Kailee Yano (Peak to Peak).

Connie Sue O'Donnell and Caitlin Forrest, of Pagosa Springs, coached the Red Team.