It's not difficult to see why Anjelina Starck has ruled volleyball courts across the Pikes Peak region. Her 6-foot-2 frame is a hard-to-ignore fact for the Rampart junior.
But she's not just tall.
She's athletic and skillful at her position. At 14, she touched a 10-foot rim — a feat captured on video and posted online by her club team. And now 16, she's committed to play at Penn State, a national powerhouse in women's volleyball.
This past week, Starck showed once again she's a force.
She had a career-best 22 kills, 13 digs and four aces in the Rams' 22-25, 25-21, 25-13, 25-17 win Thursday over Air Academy. It was the third time she finished in double-digit kills this season.
Her efforts landed her this week's Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week honor.
And just to think, Starck wasn't even living in Colorado a year ago. She was making a name for herself as a setter at Bishop Gorman in Nevada, leading her team to a Class 4A state title.
She finished the season with a .477 hitting percentage, 259 kills, 108 aces, 75 blocks, 225 digs and 745 assists.
She was listed as the No. 4 high school recruit by Volleyball Monthly.
Then, Starck and her family moved to Colorado Springs. Her dad, Doug, got a job here in aerospace engineering. It was a tough move for the oldest of two daughters, considering that she grew up with and playing alongside her Bishop Gorman teammates since childhood.
"I was nervous at first," she said, "because I went to school with the same kids since I was 3 years old. But I was excited because I knew that since I'm going to Penn State, I'd have to learn to meet new people and it was different."
What was her first impression of the Rampart program?
"Everybody was so nice and welcoming, so that helped a lot," she said.
Rampart is enjoying all the advantages that come along with a player of Starck's caliber. She transitioned from setter to outside hitter, a move that has opened the game for everyone else. That includes the likes of fellow junior outside hitter Riley Simpson, who's having a standout season with 69 kills entering this week.
"We're lucky to have her," Rams coach Nikki Bloemen said.
Rampart is 5-0 entering this week. That feat last happened in 2014, when the Rams advanced to the Class 5A semifinals.
Just the Facts
Anjelina Starck, Rampart
Position: Outside hitter
Highlights: Starck put up 22 kills, 13 digs and four aces in a 22-25, 25-21, 25-13, 25-17 win over Air Academy on Thursday. It was the third time this season that she finished in double-digit kills.
Favorite movie: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Favorite school subject: Science
Favorite athlete: Kendall White of Penn State women's volleyball
Biggest inspiration: Her parents, Errica and Doug Starck
Other Top Performers
Peyton Brones, Colorado Springs Christian School
The senior rushed 19 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns in the Lions' 32-14 win over Peyton on Friday. Brones' performance helped CSCS (1-1) bounce back from a 21-6 loss to Holyoke in the season opener.
Deuce Robinson, Palmer Ridge
The senior threw two touchdowns and added a rushing TD to help lift the Bears to a dominant 41-0 win over Pueblo East on Friday. It was a rematch of last season's Class 3A state title game, which Palmer Ridge won. Robinson also had 216 total yards.
Noah Drummond, Doherty
The senior recorded five goals and one assist in wins over Widefield and Vista Ridge last week. In the latter game, Drummond finished with a hat trick. Teammates Cameron Wheeler and Tyler Lockhart also had three goals apiece against Widefield.
Nathan Van Keulen, Discovery Canyon
The junior had one goal to go with three assists in a 4-3 overtime thriller over Ponderosa on Saturday to help the Thunder stay unbeaten at 4-0. Van Keulen has collected nine assists this season, putting him atop the state in the category.
Torie Bass, Fountain-Fort Carson
The junior had four home runs and nine RBIs to lead the Trojans to a 3-1 record last week. Bass has a team-best six homers.
Kylee Bunnell, Mesa Ridge
The senior went 4-0 to help lead the Grizzlies, who boast a seven-game winning streak entering this week. Bunnell collected 22 strikeouts and allowed just six runs during the stretch; she also had seven RBIs.
Delaney Battin and Sarah Garner, Woodland Park
The senior duo were productive at the net and carried the Panthers (4-0) to two straight wins last week. They combined for 22 kills against Falcon, followed by 31 kills against Pueblo East.