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Elder headlines local all-state lineup

Four area volleyball standouts merit postseason accolades

It’s been a memorable autumn for Dolores senior Jordan Elder. Capping off a tremendous campaign that will rank among the best in program history, Elder wrapped up her final year with the black-and-red with a 2A Second Team All-State selection.

Her nomination led a parade of four local volleyball selections to All-State teams, including Dolores teammate Erin Brown, Montezuma-Cortez sophomore Avery Wright, and Dove Creek senior Cassie Gatlin.

The honor was befitting of a career that saw Elder lead Dolores back to the 2A State Tournament for the second time in three years, capping her final season with San Juan Basin League and regional titles. Bound for Northern Arizona University next year to continue her volleyball career, Elder established herself as one of the most dominant forces in the classification. She paced the Bears in both kills and blocks each of the past three seasons, accruing a record of 70-27 during her four years as a starter for head coach Gina Hollen.

Elder also guided the development of sophomore teammate Erin Brown, who earned 2A Honorable Mention All-State. Together with Elder, the duo created one of the most formidable front lines in the region, with Brown collecting over 200 kills on the season and a team-best number of aces. Brown helped pace a high-flying Bear squad that captured its second 20+ win season in the past three years, posting a 21-6 record.

Another local sophomore made waves with a fantastic 2019 season as M-CHS sophomore Avery Wright landed a spot on the 3A Honorable Mention All-State team. Wright helped guide the Panthers to a 13-9 record, earning the squad another 3A regional berth and a second consecutive winning season. Individually, Wright paced M-CHS in aces and blocks, and finished among the team-best in kills. Dove Creek posted another year at the top of the district, and had their senior Cassie Gatlin at the center of the action. The Bulldogs finished 21-2, just one match shy of a return trip to the 1A State Tournament. Gatlin, meanwhile, rounded out an impressive career with a 1A Honorable Mention All-State selection. The senior middle hitter was the focal point of the Bulldog attack, leading the squad in kills, while also pacing the team in digs.

All-State selections were compiled by the Colorado High School Activities Association, with coaches voting on a list of nominees from each classification.