WOODLAND PARK - If Elin Saxon and Paloma Juarros had their druthers, they would have been at the Denver Coliseum last weekend playing for a state volleyball title.
The Woodland Park High School duo did their part in helping the Panthers to a solid season on the court. That’s why they have been selected as the Courier View’s co-Volleyball players of the year.
“It was a big realization when it was all over,” Saxon said about her high school career coming to an end. “It really hit me when we were at our banquet.”
Saxon, a 5-foot-11 senior, played middle blocker and helped the Panthers to a 10-13 overall record. She led the team in blocks (43) and digs (205), and was third in kills (119).
“I liked getting the blocks and kills, but I also liked getting the digs and the floor burns,” Saxon said.
Saxon was a three-year starter and an important cog in the Panthers- up-tempo style this season.
“Elin was just a good team leader on and off the court,” said Woodland Park coach Stacy Roshek. “She stayed positive and you knew you could trust her.”
Saxon hopes to continue her volleyball career in college. This winter, however, she will be a starting wing for the school’s basketball team.
“I’m looking forward to the basketball season,” she said. “I think we’re going to be improved.”
Juarros may have been the most important player on the volleyball court at any one time for the Panthers. A junior setter, Juarros was like the quarterback on offense.
“I learned to take charge more,” Juarros said. “I think we gained a lot more confidence as a team. Our offense grew a lot.”
Juarros, a two-year starter, had 387 assists and just 35 errors. She was fourth on the team in digs (125) and third in blocks (13).
She missed three games late in the season due to a concussion. Junior Josi Westberg took over in her absence.
“It was really hard to just sit there and watch,” said Juarros, who plays club ball for Colorado Classix in Monument. “Josi did a great job. She took charge. But I still wanted to be in there.”
Juarros (5-9) is part of a strong junior class that includes outside hitters Carli Vahsholtz, Linnea Sauer and Alexa Garrick.
“We have some good outsides and our defense will be really good next year,” said Juarros, who maintains a 3.5 GPA.
Juarros is hoping to play volleyball in college.
“My dream school is (University of Arizona),” she said with a smile.