Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Doherty's Cerjan balances art, basketball talent; even catching the eye of a music star

BRENT WILSON NEW Published: February 2, 2012

You’ve never seen a little voice get such booming respect like this before.

Doherty’s Kim Cerjan has a pin-drop, dainty voice and yet she marvels celebrities, delights teachers and wows coaches – and that’s on her free time.

How?

Depends on who you ask about the basketball standout who is averaging 14.4 points for the Spartans (15-2).

Weeks back, Cerjan went to a Brad Paisley concert at the Pepsi Center with her cousins. She cradled the ebony pencil drawing close hoping that the country music superstar might look out into the jumble of 19,000 fans and notice just her – at least for a moment.

One of her cousins even perched up a sign that read, “She drew this for you,” but it was lost in the chaos of a country concert.

Cerjan’s art teacher always said her student was “very self-driven” though …

And after the concert Cerjan and her cousins waited around -- still no Paisley.

So, in a last-ditch effort Cerjan went up to the manager of The Band Perry and asked him if he could give the picture to Paisley. After seeing the stunning picture he agreed, and later that night he sent a picture of his own back to Cerjan.

It was a photo of Paisley holding up her art.

“I was in tears,” said Cerjan, who was screaming in joy when she saw the email late at night. “I mean for a celebrity to notice my work, it’s like the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

It doesn’t stop there.

For the girl with a 4.23 GPA, her artistic brush is complemented by yet another stroke – the one she uses on the hardwood.

The captain, who calls herself a “silent leader”, is the leading scorer, rebounder and has the most steals for a Dohety team still eyeing a 5A Metro title. The Spartans can climb back into a tie for first with a win Saturday over visiting Palmer.

“She is smart in everything she does,” coach Pat McKiernan said. “She has the best work ethic I’ve ever seen.”

On game days, Cerjan goes home after school, eats a plate of spaghetti and takes a quick nap. After she awakes it’s nothing but shooting until game time.

McKiernan really did mean, “the best work ethic I’ve ever seen.”

The senior, who hasn’t missed a day of school in nine years, is planning to attend St. Olaf College in Minnesota to study biology.

She will continue her passion for art and play for the school's NCAA Division III basketball team.

She holds both of them nearly as close as the work of art she clung to in Denver.

“I don’t have to worry about anything else when I’m doing those things,” she says.

Now it’s almost the end, followed by a new great beginning for the “Best in Show” winner at the Hispanic Art Show in December.

When she began high school, Paisley wrote a song called “I Wish You’d Stay.”

Four years later, Doherty can relate.

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