Ava Welty has played a pivotal role in the rise of Fairview girls lacrosse over the past three seasons, but her success on the field won’t stop there.
In fact, she won’t have to travel far to realize her goal of playing collegiately.
Starting in the spring, Welty will shed her Fairview red for the University of Denver crimson, a moment that has long been in the making for the young defender. It began when she first started playing club lacrosse in early middle school for Megan Zeman, the current assistant coach and director of operations for the Pioneers.
“She was really instrumental in my recruiting process at DU, but also just in my interest in lacrosse in general,” Welty said. “She was one of the first coaches that I had that really focused on defense and having her when I was really young kind of made me choose the position I’ve always done and got me really interested in the game.”
From the start, Welty proved a formidable force for any opposing offense. Zeman nurtured the ferocity as she grew up in the game.
“Ava’s always been super aggressive,” Zeman said. “She’s always been a spectacular leader, even from a young age. That’s something that some kids are just born into and raised that way. She’s always been instrumental, even when they were younger, on our defensive side.”
Fairview’s head coach Kelsey Sheridan, who helped debut the new Boulder Valley School District program in 2019, only helped her grow more. The Knights enjoyed great success from the start, earning a bid to the playoffs every year.
This season, their run ended with a semifinal, overtime loss to Valor Christian.
“For me, the success of the team has been pretty linear,” Welty said. “Every year, we’ve been getting better. And so it was really cool for my last year, with pretty much a completely new team from last year, to make it so far and to have such a good chance at our big goal. It seemed like a pipe dream at the beginning of the season to think about winning state but it was just awesome, by the end of the season, how it was really feasible.”
Welty believes Sheridan and the Knights were the most influential in her development as a defender and hopes to carry the momentum she’s spent the last three seasons building into her college career.
While she doesn’t yet know where it will take her — or where she’ll fit into DU’s system right away — she’s looking forward to the ride with faces both new and familiar.
“Ava has always had the same personality, just a ruthless go-getter,” Zeman said. “Obviously, I’ve been at Denver so to come back and see her all grown up, it’s that same mentality, same go get them attitude, but she’s just grown up now. It’s been fun to watch her grow in her high school career. It’s just been amazing. And to get her at Denver, it’s spectacular. It’s like a full circle.”