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Rampart freshman Izzy Starck (10) looks to serve the ball during varsity volleyball match against the Liberty Lancers at Liberty High School in Colorado Springs on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. The Rams defeated the Liberty Lancers, winning all three sets. (Chancey Bush/ The Gazette)

Izzy Starck wasn't sure she was ready to lead Rampart volleyball as a sophomore this year.

Everyone else was, though. 

Her teammates voted for her as a captain. And her coaches had confidence that she was the right person for the job. It took some adjusting, but by the end of the year Starck proved she could handle the responsibility. 

"It definitely was a little tough at the beginning of the season," she said. "It was a really cool experience and a lot of fun, especially with it being only my second year in the program." 

Starck's skills on the court earned her the title of volleyball Peak Performer. But it was her leadership as a second-year player that impressed those around her the most. 

"This year she had to not only lead her team on the court, but also off the court," Rampart volleyball coach Nikki Bloemen said. "I think she learned a lot about leadership this year."

As a freshman, Starck played a big part on Rampart's state championship team. She ran the offense and was awarded team MVP at the end of the season. 

Coming into this year, Starck knew she'd have to do more. They graduated many impactful players, including Starck's older sister Anjelina, the 2021 Colorado Gatorade volleyball Player of the Year who now plays for Penn State. 

The Rams made it back to state this year, but weren't able to defend their title. They finished the year 21-6, with Starck leading the team in nearly every category. She played in every set and had 393 kills, more than double what anyone else on the team had. 

"She’s an athlete that every coach wants to have," Bloemen said. "She’s intense. She’s a gamer. She’s very competitive, she always wants to win."

For Starck — who is ranked as one of the top players nationally in her class — there is no slowing down after the high school season. She has local tournaments in Denver often with her club team. She heads to California at the end of the month, for a USA winter training series with their development program, then back out to the west coast twice in January. After that she has an invitational in Kansas City, two qualifiers and junior nationals in June. 

Last year she had to balance this schedule with high school volleyball, as the sport was played in the spring. This year, even though she'll still have to miss some school, she said it'll be easier not having to balance it with the Rampart volleyballs schedule. 

For Starck, this is only the beginning. She still has two more years to leave her mark at the high school level. Then she has plans of following in her families footsteps and playing volleyball at the Division I level. 

"She's one of the best volleyball players that I've ever coached," Bloemen said. "She just loves the sport. She has this desire to get better."

All-Area performers: 

Cheyenne Mountain junior, Jessie Duytschaever

Cheyenne Mountain senior, Karlee Pinell

Discovery Canyon junior, Raina Rekar

Fountain-Fort Carson junior, Aiyana Mitchell

Fountain Valley senior, Annaliese Fricke

Liberty senior, Tierney Barlow

Palmer Ridge senior, Madison Wilson