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San Juan Basin League players named All-State

IHS’ Brunson part of Fort Collins-bound bunch
Ignacio’s Laci Brunson leads the Volleycats onto the IHS Gymnasium court for Homecoming Week 2022 action. Brunson was recently named First Team All-SJBL, and also earned CCGS All-State selection. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)

Forty years ago, the Colorado Women’s Coaches Association (est. 1970) was renamed Colorado Coaches of Girls’ Sports. And Sunday (Nov. 20), Ignacio setter Laci Brunson will help commemorate the anniversary when she caps off her senior year volleyball season participating in the CCGS All-State Games.

Recently named First Team All-San Juan Basin League, Brunson is one of 18 players picked for the Games’ Class 2A feature, to be played at Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Collins, after registration, pictures and practices Saturday at nearby Fort Collins High School.

“She’s aggressive all the time, and she’s smart about things. She tries to keep the team motivated; whoever’s on, she tries to keep getting them the ball, and if we’re not she tries to think of different ways to move it around,” IHS head coach Shasta Pontine had said of Brunson during the season. “Or she takes things into her own hands, sends some tips over and gets some kills herself. She’s really learned the position and being smart about it.”

Ignacio's Laci Brunson bump-sets an attack against Leadville-based Lake County during 2A-Region VI action in Edwards. Brunson was recently named First Team All-SJBL and also earned CCGS All-State selection. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)

Also earning both First Team All-League as well as CCGS selection from the SJBL’s 2A side was Telluride senior Emma Righetti – both she and Brunson will suit up for the 2A-Blue crew. Mancos senior Shelby Jabour, another First Team pick, was reportedly a CCGS alternate.

“We’d actually switched Shelby; she was our setter … so that was a big transition for us,” said head coach Brianna Yeomans-Allison. “She’s now our libero, and we were super, super happy with her.”

Dove Creek seniors Trista Barnett and Lexi Gray, both First Team All-League picks (with Gray earning Player of the Year) will compete in the Games’ Class 1A showcase for 1A-Red. Junior teammate Kalie Gatlin was also voted First Team All-SJBL, as were MHS junior Teya Yeomans, Dolores senior Chandler Smith and 1A Nucla senior Lisa Sutherland.

DCHS’ Lacey Murphy was named SJBL Coach of the Year, after the Bulldogs went 23-0 during regular-season action, then defeated both Westminster Flatirons Academy and La Veta in 1A-Region VIII play to advance to state. Inside the Denver Coliseum, Dove Creek did not win the ultimate prize but still posted a 2-2 mark with wins over LVHS and Otis and losses to eventual state champion Merino and, ultimately, Wiley, to finish 27-2 overall.

“It’s awesome to get to state; it doesn’t matter when you do it,” the coach said after DCHS drubbed Otis. “But I think this group is just so driven and focused, almost to a fault – to where we have to turn off their brains sometimes. But they put in a lot of work, all season, and the postseason is their reward ... This is a testament to what they’ve done.”

“This year everyone had so much more desire to be here and win,” Gray said. “It was a lot better for all of us.”

Second Team All-SJBL distinction went to NHS senior Morgan Weimer, MHS senior Jessie Wallace and DCHS junior Kylie Gatlin, as well as Ignacio senior Harmony Reynolds and junior Solymar Cosio.

“Soly really stepped up the last, I don’t know, four or five games; she just gets better and better,” Pontine said. “And Harmony, she’s just a powerhouse when she starts hitting; it was fun to watch her improve.”

“I have a good setter and when she gives us a good set we need to follow through for her,” Cosio said. “I found my way of swinging, and now it’s just about … hitting with purpose, with momentum.”

“Getting to be recognized for the hard work I’ve put in, all the late hours and stuff, it’s nice,” Reynolds said. “To finally be at the end, it’s a good feeling … but sad.”

Mentored this fall by new head coach Lorrie Mahoney – chosen to be a coach at the Games – Telluride senior Avery Compton, as well as 1A Norwood senior Grace Fourney, were named Honorable Mention All-League.