Ella Stapp almost made history Tuesday. She missed doing so by a couple hours, beaten to the punch by one of her best friends.
None of that mattered much Wednesday when she couldn't wipe the smile off her face.
The 5-foot-10 midfielder on the Mullen High School girls lacrosse team became the second player to commit to the new women's lacrosse program at Colorado on Tuesday evening, not long after Cherry Creek junior Tori Link made history by becoming the first.
The two are close friends and play together on the Team 180 club program in Denver.
"I'm absolutely thrilled about it," Stapp said Wednesday.
Stapp said she received a four-year scholarship commitment from CU, making her just the second recruit in CU history to receive a multi-year scholarship offer in Boulder. The first was Link.
Just like Link, Stapp was mulling schools outside the state just six weeks ago before hearing that Colorado was adding the sport to its athletic department.
She could have gone to the University of Denver, following in her older sister, Tulley's footsteps, but she wasn't in love with the school.
She also was considering California, Vermont, Hofstra and Temple.
"I went and visited other schools and once I visited Boulder, there was nothing like it," Stapp said. "I couldn't picture myself anywhere else."
Stapp has more in common with her fellow commit and future teammate, Link.
Stapp's parents, Hoke and Judy, attended CU and met during their time at the school in the 1970s.
Her father went to medical school at CU and is a pediatrician in Denver. Her mother stayed at home and raised five children.
Ella Stapp is the baby of the bunch. Her brother, Hokey, graduated from CU in 2007.
"It's definitely a weight off my shoulders," Stapp said about making her college decision. "It makes the rest of high school seem like it's going to fly by and go a lot easier."
At this rate, CU could have an entire roster to hand over to its first head coach.
A search for that person is ongoing and athletic director Mike Bohn says he hopes to be able to introduce the coach during the spring football game April 14.
A CU search committee is expected to meet with several coaching candidates in the next two weeks.
Stapp said she was a bit apprehensive committing to be a Buff without knowing who will be coaching her, but the opportunity to play lacrosse in Boulder and attend CU was too great to pass up.
"It makes me nervous still that there is not a coach, but I have faith in the people who are up there who I talked to that they are going to find the right fit," Stapp said. "I love Colorado. So once I heard Boulder was starting a team, I decided I really needed to stay in Colorado."
Bohn, senior women's administrator Ceal Barry and compliance director Julie Manning have been working in concert to recruit the program's first players. They identified the top in-state targets in this year's junior class by talking to several high school and club coaches in the area.
One of those coaches is Sam Bartron, who founded and built the Team 180 club program in Denver into the premier club in the state. It produced 18 players who signed national letters of intent with various schools around the nation in November during the initial signing period in the sport.
Stapp and Link will be able to sign their letters next November during their senior years.
Bartron has coached both players for years and said the CU program is off to a solid start with its first two recruits.
"One of the things that I love about Ella is that she is only just starting to come into her own," Bartron said. "Her room for development and growth is really pretty amazing. She is very tall, very strong, very powerful. ... I think she is going to absolutely flourish at the collegiate level."
Bartron said Stapp and Link are two of the best players the state has to offer in the 2013 recruiting class.
"You're getting one of the best players in the state for her age group for sure," Bartron said of Link. "She's really athletic and completely dedicated to the sport. ... I've actually been coaching Tori since she was in the seventh grade and I've gotten to know her very well, and I know that she is totally committed, completely dedicated, very athletic and she will do everything in her power to be the best she can be and help support her teammates."