HELENA — In the gym at Helena Capital, Paige Bartsch became a force to be reckoned with and forged her trail up to this point at Boise State.
In her freshman year as a Boise State Bronco, Bartsch earned the Mountain West Conference Freshman of year as a member of the Boise State volleyball team and had a hand in a Mountain West tournament title and the program's second NCAA tournament berth.
Though the former Montana Gatorade Player of the Year is no stranger to awards, individual and team alike, Bartsch noted being able to net a tournament title was the best part of her first year.
"I'm most proud of my team in the Mountain West tournament, because we came in at the sixth seed, we hadn't done super great during the regular season. So, we were kind of underestimated coming in," said Bartsch via Zoom from Boise. "But we knew our abilities and we fought every single game."
In her time at Helena Capital, Bartsch was a key contributor to three-state titles and spent countless hours in the Helena Capital gym honing her craft, but she noted the jump from the high school game was a steep, but worthwhile one.
"I expected that it was going to be a lot tougher than high school, like the workouts and practices, which is very true, but what I didn't expect is the mental aspect of the game. It was very mentally draining to be gone that often from school and just traveling so much. As well as how much time I had to put into volleyball," said Bartsch. "I think it was a great growing moment for me, but I was not expecting how mentally draining it was gonna be, but it's all worth it."
In Bartsch's interview with MTN Sports, she noted Boise is a great place to be, but nothing will be quite like Big Sky country.
"I miss all of Montana. I love being here, but I miss the mountains, I miss the communities, and I just — I really miss home. But I'm excited to come back for Christmas break and see everyone," said Bartsch. "I miss the sense of community that I had in Helena. But um, I'm building one here. So it's been pretty good."
As for what's next? Bartsch said she's excited to get back out on the court and get ready for next season.
“I was talking with my coach and he kind of wants me to try multiple positions. So I'm excited for that growth. I'm not going to just be stuck to one spot. I'm also excited to get back into the weight room a little bit more and build some muscle a little bit more than I have this season. But yeah, I'm pretty excited just to keep working.”