The small-town feel of Boulder City — population 14,687 — is something senior volleyball player Maggie Roe adores.
And something she doesn’t want to relinquish.
So when she signs her national letter of intent Wednesday to play college volleyball at Western New Mexico University, she’ll ensure she won’t have to.
Roe bypassed the opportunity to play Division-I volleyball in favor of the Division-II Mustangs, who play in Silver City New Mexico, where the population is 10,172.
“It gave me the small-town vibe, and they made me so feel so welcome,” Roe said. “It’s so community based, and I really like that.”
Like the dozens of other local athletes signing financial aid agreements Wednesday, Roe grew up around sports. She spent a considerable amount of time on the Boulder City football field — her father coached the team — and the high school gym — her mother coached volleyball.
She liked to stay out of the heat, though, and gravitated more toward volleyball and the air-conditioned gym alongside her mother, Cherise Hinman, who coached for more than 20 years.
“It was never forced on her,” Hinman said. “She preferred to be in the gym, picked up a ball and it came naturally to her.”
Roe began practicing with Hinman and the Eagles’ junior high program, and wrote in an English assignment that she wanted to play college volleyball.
That particular English teacher, dubbed “the dream killer” by Roe and her peers, told her to be more realistic with her goals and all but said she couldn’t do it.
“Volleyball had been part of my life, and I didn’t want it to not be a part of my life anymore,” Roe said. “I kind of wanted to prove her wrong.”
So Roe cracked the Eagles’ varsity roster as a ninth-grader and quickly emerged as one of the team’s best players. She continued to cultivate her game in the ensuing years and developed into a six-rotation player capable of defending at the net, setting teammates up for kills or finishing plays herself.
Roe played club volleyball in Las Vegas with the Vegas Aces and drew the attention of college coaches along the West Coast before settling on Western New Mexico in March.
“She doesn’t need the stigma of saying ‘I’m a D-1 athlete,’” Hinman said. “She just wants to play the game and enjoy the college experience, so that’s why she went the D-II route … The whole college experience.”
With the recruiting process behind her, Hinman prepped for the 2017 season and helped the Eagles reach the Class 3A state tournament, which begins Friday.
She was named an All-America honorable mention last week by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, and Boulder City athletic director Alex Moore said she has earned all of the recognition.
“It means a lot to the community and to our school because she’s grown up here all her life,” he said. “People have watched her grow into a young lady and a super competitive athlete who’s now going to be at the college level.”
Contact reporter Sam Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.