WOODLAND PARK — Just last week, Woodland Park's Sarah Garner accomplished a rare feat for a high school volleyball player. Some would argue that it's difficult to do almost at any level.

She had a perfect offensive performance.

Garner recorded 12 kills with no errors to lead the Panthers to a 25-13, 25-16, 25-20 win over Mesa Ridge on Thursday. Her play helped Woodland Park land its first league title in 27 years as the Panthers finished 8-0 in the Class 4A Colorado Springs Metro League.

It wasn't the only performance that helped her win this week's Gazette Preps Peak Performer honor.

Heavy snowfall last week forced Woodland Park — as well as other schools across the state — to postpone sporting events. In the end, the Panthers played seven matches over a three-day period.

Woodland Park (21-2) plowed through. It finished the final stretch of the regular season with a league title, a thrilling 18-25, 25-16, 25-17, 16-25, 15-10 road win at Frederick and a lone loss to Greeley's University to finish with a 3-1 mark at the Manitou Springs Tournament over the weekend.

In all, the 5-foot-11 middle blocker finished with 70 kills and 21 blocks.

"When she steps on the court, you can kind of see a shift on our side of the court as well as the other side," Panthers coach Stacy Roshek said. "She's definitely a team leader on the court."

Woodland Park is having a historic season despite its self-proclaimed small stature. Garner is one of two players — the other being sophomore Grace McClintock — listed on the Panthers roster as the tallest, at 5-11. The others are no more than 5-7.

But that doesn't put Woodland Park at a disadvantage.

Look at the numbers: The Panthers' other loss this season was to a strong Discovery Canyon team. It lost just four sets en route to their victories.

Not surprisingly, Garner has played an important role.

"She's a very powerful hitter," Roshek said. "When she gets up to hit, it's going to do some damage."

Again, look at the numbers: Garner leads the Panthers with 229 kills, followed by Delaney Battin's 161 and Trinity McAbee's 113, to go along with a team-leading 60 blocks.

Garner has been part of the Woodland Park varsity program since her freshman season. At age 10, she decided to focus solely on volleyball. In fact, her mom, Tami, was part of the Woodland Park team that won the school's previous league title in 1992.

Garner credits all of this season's success to her coaches and teammates.

"I've been so surprised with the capabilities of this team," she said of the Panthers, who qualified for this week's Region 11 tournament. "They're just astounding teammates and astounding people. I couldn't have asked for a better team."

Just the Facts

Sarah Garner, Woodland Park

Sport: Volleyball

Year: Senior

Position: Middle hitter

Highlights: Garner went on a tear this past week, helping the Panthers to a 6-1 record, their first league championship in 27 years and a 3-1 showing at the Manitou Springs Tournament. In all, she had 70 kills and 21 blocks, including a combined 21 kills against Widefield and Mesa Ridge to help lead Woodland Park to the Class 4A Colorado Springs Metro League title.

Favorite athlete: Simone Lee of Team USA volleyball

Favorite musician: Arctic Monkeys

Favorite pump-up song: "Getting Started" by Aloe Blacc featuring J.I.D.

Favorite movie: Moana

Favorite school subject: Science

Biggest inspiration: Her parents, Tami and Paul Garner

Post-high school plan: To play with the UCCS women's volleyball team

Other Top Performers


Brayden Dorman, Vista Ridge

The freshman quarterback was nearly perfect, completing 19 of 23 passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns in a 60-18 win over Palmer on Saturday. It was Dorman's first 300-yard game of the season.

Jaseim Mitchell, Harrison

The junior threw two touchdown passes and ran in another in the Panthers' 41-0 win over Sand Creek on Friday. His performance helped Harrison to a share of the Class 3A Southern League title and an 8-1 overall record heading into Thursday's season finale against Mitchell (1-8).

Harrison Pilafas and Raymond Cammel, Canon City

Junior quarterback Pilafas completed 13 of 16 passes for 115 yards and teammate Cammel rushed 18 times for 111 yards and three touchdowns in the Tigers' 50-0 win over Mitchell on Friday.

Boys' soccer

Seth Lawrence, Discovery Canyon

The senior goalkeeper played all 80 minutes and came up with three saves in the Thunder's 2-0 win Friday over Rifle in the first round of the Class 4A state tournament. It was Discovery Canyon's first playoff triumph in program history.


Jillian Kellick, St. Mary's

The junior produced 32 kills to help lead the Pirates to a 3-1 win last week over James Irwin and a 3-1 record at the Heart of the Rockies Tournament over the weekend. Kellick is second on the Pirates roster with 157 kills behind Seneca Hackley's 207.

Anjelina Starck, Rampart

The junior appeared unstoppable last week, evident by the fact that she produced at least 12 kills in five matches last week. That Rams' run also included a 3-1 campaign at the Cheyenne Mountain Tournament. One of Starck's best performances came in a loss to Grandview as she finished with 22 kills and 17 digs.


Chhun Sun is a sports reporter with an emphasis in preps. He joined The Gazette in April 2015 and covered public safety for three years before joining @gazettepreps staff. The Thailand-born Cambodian-American has been in journalism for nearly two decades.