Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Andy Cross / The Denver Post
Gabby Carta-Samuels can feel the stares whenever she walks through the Colorado athletic department.
The glares don’t come from fellow Buffaloes who are mad at her, or who don’t wish her anything but the best every time she hits the court with the CU volleyball team. Yet the stares are enough to remind the senior that everyone knows who she is.
She’s the young woman whose brother will be doing everything he can to topple the Buffaloes on Friday night.
While Carta-Samuels will be in Seattle competing with the CU volleyball team at the annual Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge her brother, Colorado State quarterback KJ Carta-Samuels, will be trying to build on a record-setting individual performance at the Buffaloes’ expense.
“I’m obviously friends with a lot of the football players here, and Nick Fisher is one of my best friends,” Gabby Carta-Samuels said. “He’s a safety, and I told him, ‘If you pick my brother, I will kill you.’ But it’s been awesome. We have a couple funny group texts going. It’s different now that we’re really rivals now, and he’s in the starting position. It’s a little harder for me than to just see him on the sideline.”
It is not necessarily uncharted territory for the senior libero. Her brother previously was a backup at Washington, and just last year the Buffs’ volleyball team was recognized at halftime of the UW game at Folsom Field, allowing their parents a rare opportunity of seeing their two Division I offspring on the field at the same time.
However, with Jake Browning entrenched as the starting quarterback for No. 6 Washington, KJ Carta-Samuels decided to take advantage of the graduate transfer option, ultimately landing at CSU. The siblings already have spent time with one another on each campus, with the CSU quarterback meeting several of the CU defenders aiming to make his life miserable on Friday night. The volleyball-playing sister will be out of town, but the parents surely are grateful there will be four weekends in September and October when the Rams football team and the CU volleyball team will be home on the same weekend.
KJ Carta-Samuels was a bright spot for CSU in an opening loss against Hawaii last week, throwing for a school-record 537 yards.
“He’s my best friend in the whole world,” Carta-Samuels said. “We’ve done everything together our whole lives. To have him come to Colorado State, it wasn’t like it was a rival at all. It was like I have my best friend 45 minutes away from me. It’s been the biggest blessing. We both needed that back in our lives, because we have been apart for four years.”