Central’s Norton, Palisade’s Herod sign to play VB at Colorado Northwestern CC
After playing together in middle school, two “best friends” will be playing on the same college volleyball team in the fall.
Central High School’s Rayleigh Norton and Palisade’s Nicole Herod signed letters of intent Wednesday to play volleyball with Colorado Northwestern Community College in Rangely.
“We’ve been best friends since we played in sixth grade,” Herod said.
Colorado Northwestern head coach April Sanchez said Herod and Norton will help the team in different ways.
“I’m looking forward to them joining our team, and I think they will be a really good fit for us,” she said.
Norton is a setter and Herod is a defensive specialist who plays libero.
Herod said Sanchez first recruited her, then asked if Norton had picked a college.
Norton was still undecided, so Sanchez swooped in and convinced the Central player to sign with Colorado Northwestern.
Sanchez said Norton, who was a second-team All-Southwestern League selection for the Warriors this past season, will be a key to running the team’s offense next season.
Starting college with her best friend is going to be nice, Norton said.
“It will take off some of the pressure,” she said. “It’s going to be so much fun playing college volleyball together.”
Norton said starting at a two-year college was appealing.
“I like that it’s a two-year college and I can get some experience, then keep going if I want to,” she said.
Herod likes that Rangely is close to home.
“I’m really close to my family, so that was important to me,” she said.
After visiting the campus and some of the players, Herod felt comfortable with the Spartans.
“I met a lot of the players who are going to be sophomores, so I’m not feeling any pressure to go there at all,” she said.
Sanchez, who is in her second season with the school, said the Spartans play in a tough conference, and the two new Mesa County recruits will help them compete at a higher level.
Norton had 459 assists as Central’s setter this past season and also led the team with 21 service aces.
Herod was a defensive gem for the Bulldogs and one of their best servers. She had a season-high 28 digs in one game.
For Herod and Norton, they’re looking forward to playing college volleyball.
“I’m really excited and thankful, because a lot of girls don’t get the chance to play in college,” Herod said.
Norton is eager to play against a higher level of competition.
“(There’s a) different pace of the game. It’s going to be a lot faster,” she said. “It’s just going to be completely different than high school.”