Ariel Cottonoir wanted to return home and play college volleyball.
So she made it happen.
Today, the senior will sign a letter of intent to play women's volleyball at Everett Community College in Everett, Wash.
Born in Washington, Cottonoir moved to the Magic Valley in fourth grade. But Washington always felt like home.
"I always knew I wanted to return back home," Cottonoir said. "So my mom told me I should contact their coach and see what could happen."
After numerous phone calls and emails, everything worked out perfectly for Cottonoir. Last fall, she traveled to Everett the night of Hansen's homecoming football game, tried out the next day with the volleyball team and even got to sit on the bench for one of the Trojans' games.
"I just loved that the coach was honest with the girls. She had great workouts for the team and she's dedicated and I loved the atmosphere," Cottonoir said.
The senior started her high school career at Richfield and played volleyball the last two seasons for Hansen as a libero and setter. At 5-foot-3, she will primarily be a defensive specialist and libero for the Trojans, who compete in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges.
Volleyball wasn't her first love, however.
"I actually wasn't thinking about volleyball until my sophomore year. Growing up, I always wanted to play soccer. But once I started playing in high school at Richfield, we had a coach who ran practice like a military boot camp," Cottonoir said. "And I just loved it and realized this is what I'm supposed to do."
Catrina Duck coached Cottonoir for one season at Hansen.
"She's a talented player and very driven and she goes for what she wants," Duck said. "She is a good example of an athlete where as long as you follow your dreams you can make something happen and go on to do what you love."
Cottonoir is the third Hansen athlete in recent years to sign with a college program. Nick Urie, a 2008 graduate, played basketball at NAIA school University of Great Falls (Mont.) and Shawnie Higgins plays at NJCAA Division II Hesston (Kan.) College after graduating last year.
"It's always neat when a kid signs to go to any college, especially from a small school," Cottonoir said.