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Signing Day: Felix completes long courtship with UCLA
Claire Felix has known for some time that she would be headed to UCLA.
A star volleyball player and aspiring marine biologist, she verbally committed to attend the school after her sophomore season. And at 6-foot-6 and a former Gazette 3A-A Player of the Year, she had the athletic credentials to make the Bruins want her as much as she wanted them.
So when Felix says she transferred to Lewis-Palmer prior to her senior season for academics, there’s no room for doubt.
“It was a really hard decision,” she said. “I had to weigh leaving kids I had gone to school with since first grade. I had been there at TCA for 11 years.
“But I really needed a second-level (calculus) class and an AP environmental science class that TCA didn’t offer. Even though it was a hard decision to make, it was the best decision to challenge myself but enjoy myself at the same time.”
The decision did come with difficulties. Not only was she heading from The Classical Academy to a completely new environment, she also had to sit out the first 11 games of the season per Colorado High School Athletic Association rules.
“It was really hard to come to my senior year and not be able to play for 11 (games),” Felix said. “I came to Lewis-Palmer with the intention that if I couldn’t play volleyball, I was OK with it because I was here for academics.
“But going to that first game and seeing everyone warm up and the Rowdy Ranger section — which is ridiculous and so much fun — sitting on the bench that game was really hard.”
When Felix finally did get to play, she did so dominantly. She led Lewis-Palmer in hitting (.418) and blocks per set (0.90). With Felix in the lineup, the Rangers won 16 of their final 18 matches, with the only losses coming at the hands of 5A state champion Doherty and to Cheyenne Mountain in the 4A championship game Saturday.
“Volleyball’s her passion and I think it’s been her dream all her life to go to UCLA,” Lewis-Palmer coach Susan Odenbaugh said. “I think it speaks volumes of her that she chose to change schools for the right reasons. She wanted to challenge herself academically.”