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Volleyball: Broomfield’s Kennedy Nelson is the Daily Camera player of the year

Broomfield's Kennedy Nelson poses for a photo upon being named the Daily Camera's prep girls volleyball player of the year. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
Broomfield’s Kennedy Nelson poses for a photo upon being named the Daily Camera’s prep girls volleyball player of the year. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
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Broomfield’s Kennedy Nelson hit her growth spurt in middle school, fueling her to dream of becoming a star volleyball hitter.

At just 5-foot-6 today, she soon embraced the fact that life doesn’t always go to plan.

“Eventually I started falling behind and everyone else kept growing,” Nelson said. “It’s like I wasn’t the tallest person on the team anymore. I ended up being the shortest.”

Luckily, reaching some heights aren’t in feet.

Instead of blossoming into a kills leader in the high school game, Nelson became the backbone of the Eagles’ volleyball program as their four-year starting libero.

Rather than rise high above the net to crush home points, she worked going low to save them. Quickly — alongside standout hitters like Lillia Neill and graduates Sophie Buschmann, Emma Winter, Vicki Fankell and Hope Hanak-Harper — she became one of the state’s best defensive specialists.

She is the Daily Camera volleyball player of the year.

BROOMFIELD,CO:December 8:Libero, Kennedy Nelson, of Broomfield High School, is the Bocopreps volleyball player of the year.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
BROOMFIELD,CO:December 8:Libero, Kennedy Nelson, of Broomfield High School, is the Daily Camera volleyball player of the year.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

“I would describe her as our rock,” Broomfield coach Carisa Kessler said. “She was very consistent for us. She ran the back row and all the girls looked up to her as far as leadership goes on and off the court.”

After recording 290 of her 925 career digs and 39 of her 114 aces at Broomfield this fall, Nelson was named to the first team in the 5A Front Range League and was an honorable mention on the Colorado High School Activities Association’s all-state list.

With the graduations of Buschmann and Winter, as well as the departure of longtime coach Bob Knox, she was a fixture for a team in turnover, helping the Eagles win 17 matches.

In her career, while she may not have been the team’s “Jordan”, she prided herself on doing all the small things that often go unnoticed. In four years, she helped Broomfield to two state tournaments and four consecutive winning records.

“I just love getting on the ground, just getting gritty and dirty,” Nelson said. “My favorite moment is making an amazing save. And even if I don’t get the credit just knowing I was able to give the hitters another chance to score feels really good.”

Nelson also recorded nine of her 10 career kills this season. She had a career-best 96% serve accuracy and tallied 226 service receptions, giving her 1,009 in high school.

She is currently playing volleyball for the nationally-renowned Front Range Volleyball Club. She said she is also talking to coaches about playing in college.