Prep notebook: Lewis-Palmer grad Mariah Evans transitions into volleyball coaching role at North Carolina

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Photo - Air Academy's Lauren Petty hits the ball over the net as Lewis-Palmer's Lydia Bartalo and Mariah Evans (right to left) go up to block in the quarterfinal round of the 4A Colorado Volleyball State Championships at the Denver Coliseum on Friday, November 7, 2014. (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett)
Air Academy's Lauren Petty hits the ball over the net as Lewis-Palmer's Lydia Bartalo and Mariah Evans (right to left) go up to block in the quarterfinal round of the 4A Colorado Volleyball State Championships at the Denver Coliseum on Friday, November 7, 2014. (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett)

Although concussions took Mariah Evans off the volleyball court, the student-athlete at the University of North Carolina – a 2016 graduate of Lewis-Palmer High School – still will find a way to contribute, this time as a student-assistant coach.

“With the support of my team doctors and athletic trainers, the only conclusion to these injuries was a medical retirement,” Evans said in a release posted late last month on the university’s athletics website. “My love for this program, my teammates and coaches has only grown through this process. As I am sad my playing days have come to an end, I am excited to step into my new position as an undergraduate assistant coach.”

 

Evans, who helped the Rangers to two state titles in three seasons after transferring from Colorado Springs Christian School, ranked seventh all-time among UNC freshmen in total assists and sixth in sets played. The 2016 ACC academic honor roll member led the Tar Heels offense to its second-highest hitting percentage in program history, an ACC-leading .273 clip.

Evans, whose younger brother Ty led Palmer Ridge to a 3A state football title last season, suffered a concussion during the preseason that sidelined her for the entire 2017 season and requested a medical hardship waiver to redshirt the season.

District 20 schools start seeing fruits of bond passage

Construction is underway at both Rampart and Pine Creek high schools to reconfigure each gym, the product of the historic $230 million bond measure 3A that was overwhelmingly passed in November 2016.

“I tried to do this five years ago, but once we got the price tag, it was something we couldn’t do,” Rampart athletic director Andy Parks said. “We’re thrilled that the District 20 taxpayers passed the bond as that’s where the money is coming from.”

Last week, crews started the $600,000 months-long project by dismantling the bleachers. By the end of July, the Rams venue will have all-new bleachers, backboards, baskets and supports, updated sound system and refinished hardwood floor.

A similar project also is underway at Pine Creek, one that’s scheduled to be completed in early August.

Parks decided to start the endeavor before the school year ended.

“My dad has been in construction for 40 years, and what I’ve learned is nothing ever runs on time,” Parks said. “They wanted to start in June. I said we can make it work by moving PE classes outside, and we moved basketball and volleyball open gyms to Mountain Ridge Middle School. The gym was at the top of the list when we looked at what has the most impact across our school with the big public events and how many students go through our physical education programs.”

Boyer takes over Palmer Ridge girls’ hoops post

Jason Boyer recently was tabbed as the new coach of the Palmer Ridge girls’ basketball program, replacing Dennis Coates, who recently stepped down after posting a 129-65 mark over eight seasons, highlighted by a run to the 4A state quarterfinals in 2014.

Boyer is entering his 10th season in Lewis-Palmer School District 38, but first as a head coach after serving as the Bears’ junior varsity and C-squad girls’ basketball mentor.

“This was something I was willing to wait for, and when the opportunity arose, I was willing to take it,” said Boyer, who holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Colorado-Colorado Springs. “This is a pretty big deal, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to try to push the program. Dennis did a great job of making Palmer Ridge successful, and I’m hoping to build on that.”

Boyer also serves as a fifth-grade teacher at Bear Creek Elementary in Monument.