Scholarships for three SJ athletes
Three students at San Juan High School will have an opportunity to play their respective sports at the next level after receiving athletic scholarships from three universities.
Delaney Palmer signed a letter of intent to play volleyball at Western Colorado University in Gunnison, CO, Kian Conway will play running back at Black Hills State in Spearfish, SD, and following a two-year church mission, Randall Flavel will head to Dixie State in St. George, UT to play tight end.
Delaney Palmer has won multiple All-state awards all four years she competed in volleyball, track, softball, and basketball for San Juan High and her senior softball season has just begun.
She averaged eight kills and 16 blocks a game for the Lady Broncos and was a big part of successful San Juan volleyball programs for the last four years.
Palmer said though she is sad to leave the friends she made in Blanding, her time in the San Juan sports programs were highly beneficial. She is excited to move on to college volleyball.
“Growing up in a small town and learning the work ethic definitely put me ahead of some other girls,” she explained. “Knowing that I was going to have to work harder to make a name for myself made me a better athlete.”
She said from the moment she visited the Western Colorado campus, she “had a good feeling” and felt welcomed. Her goal in her first year is to work hard and make a name for herself.
Western Colorado Head Volleyball Coach Jessica Fey said, “Delaney is a versatile player and a great athlete. She’s extremely competitive and will work hard every day. Delaney is going to add a lot to our gym but the biggest is her competitive spirit.”
Western Colorado is an NCAA Division II university playing in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC), which includes schools located in Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Utah.
Palmer will open the 2020 season with the Lady Mountaineers at the Kathleen Brasfield Angelo State University Invitational in San Angelo, TX on September 2-5.
Though Kian Conway signed a letter of intent to play running back at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, SD, he won’t start his freshman season in that position. He does, however, expect to have an immediate impact in special teams as a kick returner.
According to the Black Hills football website, “Kian is a coach’s kid who was an absolute workhorse for San Juan. He is not your typical running back; this athlete has the size and strength [to] run through you and the speed to run by you. He [will] be a day-one contributor with our special teams and [looks] to add tremendous value for us on offense.”
Indeed, Conway finished his senior year with 1,500 yards rushing and 22 touchdowns at the running back position and earned first-team All-state honors from Deseret News and Vinco Athletics.
San Juan Head Football Coach Barkley Christensen said that Kian was the complete example of hard work in the offseason. He said the Broncos could count on him when they needed something big to happen. His size and speed combination is tough for any team to stop.
Conway said he is excited for the opportunity to make an immediate impact with the Yellow Jackets when he joins them this summer. “Football is what I love and want to do,” he explained.
He said he appreciated his time in San Juan football because the players were all very close and received plenty of individual attention from coaches.
“Working as a team has helped build character,” Conway continued, and one area he looks to excel in at Black Hills is in the weight room. He said he loves competition and has made it a goal to break some of the weight lifting records at the university.
Though Black Hills hasn’t enjoyed a ton of success on the football field in recent seasons, Conway hopes to be a part of changing that.
“I don’t like to lose,” he said, “so I’m hoping to help Black Hills improve their record.”
The Yellow Jackets are in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Their 2020 football schedule is unavailable at press time.
Randall Flavel’s first game as a Dixie State Trailblazer will have to wait a couple years while he serves a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During that time, there will be much change at his future university.
Dixie State begins a transition from NCAA Division II to Division I beginning in the 2020-21 season. Of 15 sports, 14 will participate in the Western Athletic Conference, with the football team competing as an independent at the Football Championship Subdivision level during the reclassification process.
Upon completion of the reclassification process, Dixie State will be eligible for NCAA Division I postseason play beginning in 2024-25. Flavel should join the football team for the 2022-23 school year.
Though he signed a letter of intent with the Trailblazers to play tight end, he was a versatile weapon during his time with San Juan High School and said he will play wherever coaches think he can help the team the most.
In his senior year, Flavel collected 73 receptions for 937 yards and nine touchdowns for the Broncos.
Coach Barkley Christensen, said, “Randall is the most athletic kid I have ever coached. His size and athleticism helped him be a huge target for us through the air. He can block, catch, run, tackle, and cover; he is the complete package.”
It’s very appropriate that Flavel is headed to Dixie State. It is where Coach Christensen played, and Flavel said Christensen helped prepare him for what to expect by implementing much of his college experience in practices with the Broncos.
Though it won’t begin for a couple seasons, Flavel said he is excited about his scholarship, the direction the Dixie State football program is headed, and his opportunity to help the program continue to move upward.