Name: Dre Downs
Position: Right-side hitter/Middle Blocker
Major: Speech Communications
Interesting Random Fact: Down is one of six children. She has three brothers and two sisters.
Junior middle blocker and right-side hitter Dre Downs has it in for Utah. Maybe it is because the state symbol is a beehive. Or it could be because Levan, a town in the middle of Utah, is so named because it is "navel" spelled backwards. Or maybe it is because birds allegedly have the right of way on any Utah public highway.
For whatever reason, this Clinton, Utah, native has single-handedly tried to destroy the Utah Utes on the volleyball court. She plagued them with double figures in kills and has produced clutch blocks both times the Rams faced this major Mountain West Conference rival.
In the teams' recent clash on Saturday, Downs was a huge contributing factor as the Rams clenched a share of the MWC title. She added an impressive 10 kills and a .500 hitting percentage to the effort.
"Dre Downs was unstoppable and was a huge spark," CSU head coach Tom Hilbert said in a press release.
This self-described intense, loud and emotional player holds CSU's single-season ace record with 59 and was named to both the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators Classic and University Park Holiday Inn Classic Tournament Teams this past season. She also placed second among her Rams last year with her .299 hitting percentage.
Maybe Downs' success can be attributed to lucky superstitions.
"I wear my hair the same for every game and prefer to wear a headband. Every time I've worn the headband, we've done really well," Downs said.
She also brushes her teeth right before every game and can only be taped on a specific training table before she plays.
Outside of volleyball, Downs' lifestyle is more laid back then her tenacious play on the court.
"I really enjoy reading, listening to music and I love Hobby Lobby. I'm a dork," Downs said.
Downs' literary preference is interlaced within the words of Shell Silverstein, especially in any poem from "Where the Sidewalk Ends." Michael Jackson's "Beat It" is her favorite tune and has even earned a place on the teams' warm-up tape specifically for her. In the movie category, Downs quickly picks "Pirates of the Caribbean" as her flick of choice.
On the fashion front, Downs likes to keep it conservative. She would get a second piercing in her ears if she had to get pierced or tattooed and is most comfortable in her Lucky jeans that she got as a senior in high school.
"They have duct tape holding them together," said Downs of her cherished duds.
When she is not spiking balls and blocking attempted kills, Downs prefers to be outside and wants to learn how to fish.
"I really like Horsetooth Reservoir. I love nature," Downs said.
This is in direct contrast to her intense fear of deep oceans and getting eaten by a shark. It might even be as bad as the fact that Salt Lake City has a law against carrying an unwrapped ukulele on the street, or the rule that you cannot fish from horseback within the state.
These odd laws are possible motivations for Downs' one certainty in her future plans.
"The one thing I know is that I'm not going to live in Utah again," Downs said. "I lived there for 18 years and I would really like to see what other things are like."
Downs plans to hang out in Fort Collins for a few years and would like to work for a non-profit organization for a while.
In the meantime, the 6-foot-3-inch junior will be focusing her energy on helping the Rams beat New Mexico in the first round of the MWC Championship Tournament.