Preps

Rampart’s Izzy Starck, this year’s Gazette Preps volleyball Peak Performer of the Year, is pictured Dec. 21 in Colorado Springs.

Izzy Starck had to ask herself if she was dreaming Friday.

Rampart volleyball's star outside hitter barely had time to properly wake up before her parents gave her the good news. Starck had been named the girls volleyball Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Colorado.

"It was just like a burst of excitement I was just really ready for it," Starck said of her reaction. "I was definitely still waking up because I was in a deep sleep, because it's Friday, long week and everything. It took a minute to process it and I realized, 'Oh wait they're actually telling me I won this. It's not a dream.'"

It was a dream, or more accurately, a vision as Starck put it. Shortly after the Rampart Rams won the 5A state title for the fall 2020 season in the spring of 2021 -- due to the COVID-19 pandemic -- Starck's older sister Anjelina received the same honor. Izzy Starck recalled being so happy when her sister won, but the experience also galvanized her determination to become a Gatorade Player of the Year as well. 

"I remember after state," Izzy Starck said. 'Anj' getting this award and it was just like, 'Okay this is really cool, she's a senior, she gets this award. This is something I want to do,' and I had that vision set for me for these years I'm going to be at Rampart. ... It just laid the groundwork for what I really want to do."

In a press release, Gatorade said its player of the year award is presented to athletes who showcase "not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court."

Now Izzy, a junior, will add her name next to her sister's in the rafters at Rampart, as the only two Rams to win the prestigious award. 

Izzy FaceTimed her sister shortly after getting the news from her parents. Anjelina had just finished a training session for the members of Penn State's volleyball team. All throughout the training Anjelina wondered with anxiety where her sister would get the award.

"Seeing her face and how excited she was for me kind of reminded me how excited I was for her when she got it," Izzy said. "It was just like a real full circle moment with us.

"Being able to get these awards, both of us at the same high school, it's just such a cool thing that we're the only ones up there and it happened to be sisters in the same sport and going to the same college. It's such a rare and cool thing."

Izzy had a season for the ages in 2022. She led Rampart in digs (332), assists (501), aces (51) and blocks (69). She was second on the team in kills with 424 to senior Avah Armour who had 489. She is also a member of Team USA’s Under-19 national squad and was recognized as the Colorado Springs Metro League Player of the Year. She will attend Penn State after she graduates in 2024.  

But beyond her athletic prowess, Rampart coach Brianne Perkett also recognized how much of a role model she is to girls her age and younger. 

"She was an advocate for when there was any kind of strife or trouble going on in our program," Perkett said. "Izzy was probably one of the first people to always stand up and advocate for people as well. Words don't quite describe what a blessing she is to whatever team she's on." 

Contact the writer: hugh.johnson@gazette.com

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