Workman starting as a CNCC Spartan |

Workman starting as a CNCC Spartan

John Vandelinder

To those who know Markie Workman, the news came as a surprise.

The 2008 Moffat County High School graduate and all-time Bulldog girls basketball leader in rebounds and second leading all-time scorer, had left Adams State College.

After two weeks.

Workman, a 2008 Colorado High School Girls Basketball top-50 player, three-time Western Slope League first-team pick and two-time all-state selection, was calling it quits.

Giving up hoops.

No more bruising inside the post, elbows in the ribs down low or hip checks in the paint.

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Life of a scholarship basketball player at Adams State wasn’t what she thought it’d be.

A game that always had come easy to her, wasn’t so easy any more.

“I didn’t think it was going to be easy like high school – not that high school was really easy – but it was really hard, and it made me not like basketball anymore,” Workman said. “I didn’t want to feel forced to like basketball, and I had always really loved it.”

The 6 a.m. weightlifting and running sessions, followed by class, individual workouts, another class and then a daily late team practice, proved to overwhelm the freshman.

She felt forced to do something she had never done before – quit.

“It just wasn’t fun anymore,” she said. “I didn’t realize how much a college sport really did take your life over.”

Workman wanted her life back, so she came home.

She immediately enrolled at Colorado Northwestern Community College, content with life without basketball.

“All I thought about was staying in school,” she said. “I wasn’t even thinking about basketball.”

Until she got an itch.

“There was two weeks of open gym up at the high school, and I went up there to just kind of mess around,” she said. “And I realized how much I missed it.”

She set a modest goal at first: get back in shape and attempt to walk on somewhere next season.

“I just really missed the game,” Workman said. “I missed being on a team. I know that might sound cheesy, but it’s true. I started (playing) when I was so little.

“I couldn’t just stop playing.”

Workman had decided to return to the hardwood in October. She wouldn’t have been eligible to play until the 2009-10 season if she were to enroll at another college.

But, because she had enrolled as a full-time student at CNCC, she was eligible to don the red and white of the Spartans, based in Rangely.

“They had just played their season-opener and coach (Stephen) Garnett and (Adrian) Hayes came to see me at my work,” she said. “I liked them, I thought they were way cool and I thought ‘maybe I can get into this.'”

And she did, picking up right where her high school career left off.

In her first game as a Spartan, Workman recorded a workman-like 13 points and 12 boards.

She bullied her way into the starting role as a power forward and has helped a team that hadn’t won a game since the 2004-05 season to its first two victories in nearly four years.

“I’ll tell you what,” Hayes said. “After that double-double in her first game, she kind of put us all on notice that she was going to be a force. She immediately came in and starting pushing our other bigs (post players). Nobody wants to get shown up by Markie, so they all know now that they have to work much harder.”

Her college career is turning out much like her high school career.

“She’s really fiery and intense,” Hayes said. “She gets in foul trouble sometimes and has a hot head, but she dives on the floor for loose balls, and you don’t ever have to tell that girl to hustle.”

As a freshman, she already is commanding the attention of her teammates, coaches and even the opposition.

“Our first road trip, when we beat Lamar,” Hayes said, “they came out right away and double and triple-teamed her. They came out wanting to stop her, and we had only played a handful of games. She opened the floor up for everybody else on the court and that helps the whole team.”

CNCC (2-9 overall, 0-0 Scenic West Athletic Conference) opens league play Jan. 9 at home against the College of Southern Idaho.

“We are starting to come together,” Workman said of her third team in a year. “We have our spurts of goodness. I think it’s just having to get used to playing with one another, and I think now that conference play is here, we’ll start connecting.”

Win or lose, Workman is simply happy to be back on the hardwood.

Back to banging elbows, hauling in rebounds and hitting jumpers.

“I’m happy to be playing,” she said. “Basketball is fun again.”