Nov. 2, 2015
If you pay close attention to Kim Catlett’s hair, you can tell whether the last game for the Mountain Lion volleyball team ended in victory or defeat.
That’s because the senior health science major changes how she does her hair after a loss, but keeps the same style when they win.
Catlett, a four-year starter for the Mountain Lions emphasizing in strength and conditioning, also follows a left to right routine when gearing up for games. After putting on her left shoe, then right shoe (always in that order) she has been a consistent force in a program that has seen change in the last few years.
Catlett, who leads the team in aces and kills per set this season, is one of only three current players who were on the roster in 2013, the year current head coach Chrissy Elder began her tenure.
The trust in the new coach and her program didn’t come easy, Catlett said. With the departure and graduation of players (including some she had planned on rooming with) the pressure to leave was evident.
But, she stayed, due in part to the difficulty of transferring and the fact that she was getting playing time.
“I’ve never really been a person that quits things,” Catlett said. “I wasn’t ready to be done with volleyball.”
But that’s not all there is to the outside hitter who is also working toward a minor in psychology.
Catlett spends her free time – when she isn’t in class or on the court – hiking, going to country music concerts and line dancing.
That hiking includes Pulpit Rock, three 14ers she climbed this summer and what she hopes will include the Incline, a challenge Catlett wants to try more often.
Catlett mentioned sarcasm as a personality trait (along with working hard and positivity), something she said developed from being in a big family, which includes four older brothers.
“They’re all sorts of sarcastic,” Catlett said. “You learn pretty quick to dish it out, you have to protect yourself somehow.”
Family was also what got her involved in volleyball, as she looked up to her older sister who played. She attended camps hosted by her sister’s high school team starting in elementary school.
“All the girls knew me because I was my sister’s sister,” Catlett said.
Catlett and the rest of the Mountain Lions are 15-7 (10-3 RMAC) entering play on Oct. 30, tied for first in the Rocky Division of the RMAC.
Though much of the team is the same, this season stands in contrast to 2014, when UCCS won 12 games all season with a freshman-laden squad.
Catlett highlighted higher expectations from coaches and the returning experience as key to their success.
“We don’t have that excuse of, ‘oh, we’re ‘nine freshman’ young,’” she said. “We’ve built a lot more cohesion, being with each other for more than a semester.”
The team has moved away from the underdog mindset of last year, along with the team motto: “I choose to.”
“We’re just choosing to fight more,” Catlett said. “And that’s very refreshing from last year.”
While her plan for after graduation in May isn’t set (“Figure out a plan. That’s the plan,” she said), Catlett will have an internship for strength and conditioning this spring to hopefully gain insight into a potential career path.
While Catlett will be able to play outdoor doubles volleyball, she will miss the indoor, broader team-oriented volleyball she has played at UCCS.
“When you’re part of a team, a lot more rides on your competitiveness and there’s more aspects and strategy to it,” she said.
She said Colorado Springs has become a second home for the Fort Collins native.
“As a whole, this group of girls has been pretty much a family,” Catlett said. “We’re a tight knit group, the girls make it easy to enjoy.”
The last regular season home game for UCCS is Nov. 14 at 5 p.m. against Metro State in Gallogly Events Center.
Catlett can whistle in a very unconventional way – with her mouth open. Her mom can do it too, and Catlett can also make a cricket noise. She would make the cricket noise in class in high school. “You could just see the teacher – who is making that noise?” Catlett said.