LONE TREE — Over the course of two days at CHSAA's annual All-School Summit, the state's athletic directors hear about the impact high school activities have on student-athletes.
On Tuesday morning, they saw it first-hand.
Poudre senior Ky Ecton addressed the ADs to talk about how important high school activities have been in her life. She participates in tennis, cross country, swimming and unified sports at Poudre after growing up also playing volleyball, basketball, track, and skiing.
"When I play high school sports, I am never on my own,' she said. "High school sports are about more than a score. It is about the fight and the support of a team."
Ecton comes from a family of athletes. Her older sisters, Kwynn, Kayl and Koy, all played sports growing up. Her mother and father both played sports in college.
The reigning champion at Class 5A No. 1 singles, Ecton said she is "more than by 5k person record, 50-freestyle pace, and first-serve percentages."
"I am proud to be a passionate nerd who loves school and values her education," said Ecton, who is in the IB program at Poudre and carries a 4.14 GPA. She also participates in FBLA and DECA, and volunteers at Poudre Valley Hospital and her school.
"I believe that with all my activities and extracurriculars, high school sports keep me balanced," Ecton said. "I play a sport each season: cross country in the fall, swimming and unified basketball in the winter, and tennis in the spring.
"Tennis is my main sport but I strongly believe that these other sports do help me from getting burnt out and help keep me mentally tough, as a well-rounded individual," Ecton continued. "Sports keep me motivated in school because I don't have the time to go home and watch be a couch potato watching Netflix."
Ecton said that high school activities have taught her to "never taken anything for granted."
"I have many opportunities to travel for tournaments, but I have realized that I enjoy high school tennis more than traveling to tournaments," she said. "I have my smurf crew sporting blue and silver cheering me on, always there for me after I get off the court — win or lose.
"My tennis team is my second family — literally and figuratively," Ecton continued. "My mother is my head coach and every year I have been on the team, not only has my cousin or sister has played with me, but one of my older sister has been an assistant coach.
"Along with that, I meet new girls every year who may well be my sisters. We care about eachother more than any win-loss record or state title and everyone's battle on and off the court is experienced by every player. The teamwork is incredible. From rain delays to dance parties, I always know I have my girls with me."
Ecton said high school activities have allowed her to meet people she never would have otherwise, given her the chance to represent her town and community, and taught her the value of teamwork.
"Most importantly," she said, "I play to have fun. I love going out there and competing on the court, course, and field, wearing my Poudre Blue and representing the Impalas."
Ecton concluded by saying that, "High school sports have taught me lessons I never would have learned anywhere else."
"I have learned to respect all the coaches, parents, athletes, and spectators that make it fun and appealing to play," Ecton said. "I have learned more from my losses than my wins and experienced how vital teamwork is so nobody gets left behind. Above all sportsmanship is critical, and it's not worth it if it isn't fun.
"And that is why I play high school athletics."