Ask most high-school seniors what their future college plans might encompass, and you can get some pretty vague answers.
Ask the same question to area seniors, Chelsea Hurley (Rampart High School), Laurel Miller (Air Academy High), Melody Clark (Colorado Springs Christian School), Christina Van Der Most (Rampart High), and Haley Hann (Littleton's Chatfield High School), and the collective, emphatic answer is "Volleyball!"
Last month, all five signed National Letters of Intent to attend college on volleyball scholarships, from 85 percent tuition coverage to full rides.
The ecstatic five play for the local Colorado Juniors Volleyball Club -- one of the top two clubs in the state -- and say they could not imagine school without volleyball. They've all been playing since the fourth grade.
Founded in 2000 by Bill and Judy Peers, the club is open to girls ages 14 to 18 and is geared toward producing college-bound athletes.
Obtaining an athletic scholarship is an arduous task, and not unlike pursuing an important audition. Last season, each of the young women put together a 15- to 20-minute videotape, consisting of personal interviews, clips highlighting individual skills, and their best game footage. The tapes were sent out to college athletic coaches and national scouts, many of whom have made contact with the girls over the past several years.
While choosing a school with a good program is a priority, the girls say that just as important are factors like matching coach and athlete personalities, location and academics.
Next fall, Hurley will attend Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, Van Der Most will attend University of North Dakota, Hann will attend Southern Illinois University, Clark will attend Louisiana State University, and Miller is deciding between Bryant College in Smithfield, R.I. and Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y.