This season's Rams volleyball team: (back row) Fernanda Ruiz, Carley Crownhart, Bella Brown, Ruby Denning, Morgan Kaegebein, Erica Crownhart and (front row) seniors Grace Ferguson, Sienna Pargiter-Walker and Celeste Fullerton. Photo by Sue Rollyson.

The Sopris Sun recently spoke to senior athletes on the Rams girls volleyball team, relishing their last season as Roaring Fork High School (RFHS) student-athletes.

Grace Ferguson (who plays middle and outside), Celeste Fullerton (right-side) and Sienna Pargiter-Walker (middle blocker) reflected on this season — compared to last, with its COVID-19 restrictions — graduating from RFHS and plans for college.

This season began a bit slowly, Pargiter-Walker said, with team members getting to know one another, “because we have a young team, it was a little like we started over, but I think we’ve grown to be a pretty close team.”

In her fourth year of playing under the leadership of Rams head coach Karen Crownhart, Ferguson said, “I think we have a pretty good culture, better than other years.” Ferguson plays court and beach volleyball year-round with United Volleyball Club of the Rockies, which offers club volleyball for girls ten to 18 years old.

Traditionally a fall season sport, girls volleyball was played this spring, in a season shortened and jostled by COVID-19 protocols set by the Colorado High School Activities Association, the state’s governing body for high school athletics.

Last spring was an abbreviated volleyball season, with fewer games. Some student-athletes had only one weekend to transition between sports.

Pargiter-Walker, in her second year with the Rams, plays basketball, soccer and runs track. “I like this fall season better than last [spring’s] season, which felt rushed. It was really compacted. I joined a week into the season and I had three days before I played my first game, and I’d never played volleyball before,” said Pargiter-Walker. “I think that was stressful — going sport to sport to sport, without much time to adjust. This season seems a lot easier. We’ve had time to bond better and to get closer to our teammates and learn more about volleyball and to get a good rotation going.”

The three seniors are zeroing in on choosing colleges. Fullerton, who also runs track, is visiting one of her top prospects later this month — Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu. Ferguson wants to go to college in California, playing either court or beach volleyball.

During our interview, Pargiter-Walker announced she has committed to Kansas State University as a Division I athlete in their women’s rowing program. Her announcement greeted by cheers from her teammates, she added, “I’ve never rowed before, but I want to try something new, and I loved the school when I visited there. I love the team, and they have a very good engineering program, which is what I want to do — environmental engineering focusing on renewable energy.”

Both Ferguson and Fullerton want to major in biology on the pre-medical track.

Reflecting on being a senior at RFHS, Pargiter-Walker said, so far, it has been extremely busy. “It’s stressful, but it’s exciting at the same time — college admissions and scholarships — the deadlines are very stressful, but I think it’s also exciting,” she said.

Fullerton, “Honestly, being a senior is fun, and it’s cool to be role models, but it’s also a little bit sad because high school goes by so fast and all these memories come back, and you think, ‘Oh, my gosh, that didn’t even feel like that long ago.’”

The Rams next home game is on Oct. 7 at 6:30 p.m. against the Aspen Skiers.