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All ‘Two’ True: Ignacio duo signs with college volleyball teams

Solymar Cosio and Kacey Brown signed letters this week
Watched by immediate family at left, including parents Cody and Michelle Haga, plus current (Jennifer Seibel, second from right) and former (Shasta Pontine, far right) Ignacio Volleyball head coach, IHS senior Kacey Brown signs her National Letter-of-Intent committing her to become a student-athlete at Trinity Baptist College in Jacksonville, Florida. To Brown's immediate left is TBC head coach Carlin Poyner, who traveled all the way to witness the event Tuesday afternoon inside IHS Gymnasium. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)

Despite varying degrees of certainty in their options and choices, Ignacio’s Solymar Cosio and Kacey Brown recently realized their shared, yet respective dreams of taking their volleyball skills to a higher level.

Cosio made it official on Thursday by signing with Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.

“I love sports so much, and I’m so excited to go to a college that I love – I know I’ll love being there and love playing volleyball too,” said Cosio. “And being back in this gym for, like, one last ‘little’ thing …. I want to thank everyone that’s had a part in helping me become such an athlete. I’m just overfilled with joy. I just feel very blessed for all the experiences that I’ve had.”

Under third-year coach Victoria Hurtt, a former NCAA Divison I player at Iowa State University, Benedictine finished a solid 21-9 overall in 2023 after reaching the NAIA National Tournament for the first time in program history, but failing to advance into the 24-team pool-play phase or beyond. Hurtt is now 51-39 overall at BC.

Recruited as a likely middle blocker, Cosio realized she’ll have to show and prove herself to earn court time for such a squad.

“In the NAIA, they definitely stress … not sitting on the bench – that’s why (teams) have a JV and a varsity,” she said. “And there’s a lot of JV teams in (Benedictine’s) area. They want me to play as a middle on their JV team. Improve on your skills, you never know where you could end up.”

Cosio also likes the idea of going to Benedictine after going there last summer with a youth travel group. She then realized it was an awesome place to grow her faith.

With parents Gina and Oscar to her right, plus Ignacio Volleyball head coach Jennifer Seibel to her left, IHS senior Solymar Cosio reveals her intent Thursday afternoon inside IHS Gymnasium to continue her career in the sport as a student-athlete at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)

When the coaching staff at NJCAA Division II’s Southwestern Community College, who had recruited Brown, quit, Brown rethought her decision. Though appreciative of SCC’s attention and offer, Brown settled upon a school further east – putting her mere minutes away from the Atlantic Ocean.

Known for versatility which enabled her to play during her career as a libero, defensive specialist, setter, and as a middle blocker in 2023 alongside Cosio, Brown officially inked her national letter of intent to continue her volleyball career at Trinity Baptist College in Jacksonville, Florida. Trinity Baptist coach Carlin Poyner made the trip to La Plata County for the occasion.

“When she was just a sixth-grader coming into middle school, she had so much passion,” said Ignacio coach Jennifer Seibel, who also coached Brown at Ignacio Middle School. “She was the first one in the gym, last one to leave, and every single day she would come and ask me, ‘Coach, what do I need to work on? What do I need to do, to get better?’ Every day in practice, ‘Coach, can you watch me?’ She was so eager to learn and eager to grow … so driven to play, to excel. I think it’s that passion that pushed her to where she’s at now. And it’s going to keep growing.”

A Division II member of the National Christian College Athletic Association, Trinity Baptist soldiered through a 1-22 season in 2023, which ended with a straight-set loss (25-17, 25-21, 25-18) during the South Region Tournament in Greenville, South Carolina, to unrelated Trinity College of Florida at tournament-hosting Bob Jones University.

“There’s a lot in Gainesville, some between there and Jacksonville … they’re all over – so I already love the state,” Brown said. “The school’s great, the kids are great. I feel like I connected the moment I stepped in there. It was just different from other schools I was looking into.”

Anticipating she will start her tenure at Trinity Baptist as a back-row player, Brown said she wasn’t yet sure about an academic interest. Cosio is interested in studying exercise science so she become an athletic trainer or physical education teacher.

“I can’t wait to see how future girls do,” Brown said. “I feel like our senior class has always been good, energy-wise, and I think that’s why we were so good. But I really hope that the underclassmen could see our energy and take that with them; I really hope that they can continue this.”

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