Aspen’s Catie Vagneur in CSU Hall of Fame | AspenTimes.com

Aspen’s Catie Vagneur in CSU Hall of Fame

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times

Catie Vagneur Mintz, a standout athlete at Aspen High School, is inducted into the Colorado State University Sports Hall of Fame.

One of the top athletes ever at Aspen High School is now among the elite at Colorado State University.

Catie Vagneur Mintz, an Aspen native and AHS graduate, was inducted into the CSU Sports Hall of Fame last weekend during a special ceremony in Fort Collins.

The former volleyball All-American for the Rams was honored Friday night in the annual induction ceremony at CSU.

Vagneur was a three-sport athlete at Aspen High School, earning all-state honors in volleyball as well as track and field, where she was a two-time Colorado state champion.

She also was an all-conference prep basketball player.

Vagneur won the state title in the high jump as a junior.

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One year later, she won the state championship in the 200-meter dash.

As a volleyball all-stater, she was a prep player of the year nominee in 1995 in Colorado.

The daughter of Curtis and Jean Vagneur of Aspen, Catie Vagneur opted to accept a volleyball scholarship to Colorado State University, where her father had competed in the decathlon for the Rams.

She also had been recruited for the CSU track program.

After a red-shirt season, Vagneur became a four-year volleyball starter at CSU.

She was voted the WAC freshman of the year in 1996.

She helped lead the CSU Rams to the 1998 WAC division championship.

In 1999, she and the Rams won the WAC Tournament championship for the first time in program history.

The former Aspen High School all-stater was selected the MVP of the conference tournament.

Vagneur was voted an All-American in 1999 by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.

"Catie deserves the recognition," said former Aspen High School athletic director and basketball coach Dave Conarroe. "It's a testament to her and her hard work."

He said that for a player from a small school like Aspen to excel at a nationally ranked program like Colorado State is amazing — especially for a 5-8 hitter at the college level.

"That's a remarkable thing, really," Conarroe said. "To become an All-American at 5-8."

He said Vagneur had exceptionally quick jumping ability.

But her success was much more than ability, he said.

"She had a work ethic far and above anyone at the high school level. And it paid off," Conarroe said, recalling weight-training sessions under the Skierdome where Vagneur's strength and power would leave the rest of the weight room in awe — including the football players and boys basketball players.

"I remember Catie over and over and over … endless repetitions," Conarroe said "It was unbelievable."

During her decorated college career, Colorado State went 104-28 in volleyball matches.

She left CSU as the career-leader in attacks; she was fourth overall in kills.

She played professional volleyball after graduation from CSU.

Vagneur and her husband Dan Mintz live in Los Angeles with their three children.

Conarroe said she was exceptional as a college volleyball player because of her ability to jump so high and to do so quickly.

"She could turn a lot of tips and bad sets into kills because she could get so high," Conarroe said.

He said Vagneur was singular in her drive.

"She took her athletic talent and pushed it to the edge," said Conarroe, himself a proud alum of Colorado State University.

Other inductees in the CSU Sports Hall of Fame this year included football defensive end Clark Haggans (1996-99), football offensive lineman Mike Newell (1995-98), track athlete Loree Thornton (hammer throw 2002-05), softball standout Jessica Strickland Cole (2004-07) and swimmer Richard Cooley (1967-70).

dstrode@aspentimes.com