Douglas County High volleyball player aims way high

Studying astrophysics, trip to Mars are among hopes for athlete


Hollis Hanson is a volleyball player at Douglas County High School in Castle Rock and is an interesting person who is involved in much more than volleyball.

Hanson wants to study astrophysics, visit Mars someday, is writing a paper on special relativity and general relativity and started her own business with her brother Shane.

There might be a better word other that interesting to describe Hanson but for now let’s start with volleyball and her hopes for the upcoming season.

Hanson played in 34 sets last season as a junior middle blocker and had 42 kills, 33 blocks and 15 service aces for the Huskies, who will be trying to follow up on the Huskies’ boys volleyball team that won the state championship last spring under coach Jason Fitzpatrick — who is also Douglas County’s girls volleyball coach.

“We are really hoping to make it to state,” said Hanson. “I’m super excited because we have a couple first team all-league (Continental) players. That would be Amaris Smith and Caity Clancy. It’s a big goal but I really want to get there.

“The boys put a little bit of pressure on us to keep a winning record for our coach but a little bit of acceptance too because they were a very physical team with a mastermind behind hitting hard and the court position.

“Now that will be coach Fitzgerald’s thing and we have to step it up with our physical ability and coming together as a team. That will be the biggest challenge for us.”

Another challenge will be for Hanson to continue to follow astrophysics in whichever college she decides to attend. Right now she is leaning toward Rochester Institute of Technology.

“Absolutely everything about it appeals to me since I was in third grade when I wanted to go into astronomy,” added Hanson. “I forget what grade I was in but I went to a space camp in Hunstville, Alabama through NASA and that’s when I decided on astrophysics. Just studying not only why but how the universe works the way it does.”

Mars is another interesting place than Hanson would like to study.

“Just because Mars is a little bit different,” she explained. “I say a little bit different, it’s a lot different. Visiting would be such a cool thing to do, just studying the things we would not necessarily expect.

“Like for example something we weren’t expecting when we sent the rover was the fact that the wind there was so strong that it took out the system in the rover. If a person was to go, we could find out some real cool things, helpful or not.”

She and her brother also found a way to keep busy during the pandemic and be helpful by making and selling pasta under the name of Palmisano Pasta. They still have the business but it does not have a website because they were concerned it might be considered an actual commercial kitchen.

“It is still up and running,” she said. “My brother and I opened a business making and selling fresh homemade pasta to locals. We started making pasta, gave some to a friend and it was really good. I guess it was better than they expected it to be.

“We started making and selling homemade pasta from our kitchen and it spread by word of mouth. A lot of people from all different parts of Colorado asked, like from Salida and we had a couple people from Wyoming were asking for pasta.

“We sort of grew up around pasta,” she continued. “Palmisano Pastas is after my grandmother (Nina Palmisano). She was born and raised in Italy. We sell it by the pound and each pound takes about 20 minutes to make. One of our busier days we made 95 meals, about 23 pounds of pasta. We go and deliver it in the afternoons. It was nice to go and deliver it to get out of the house.”

Besides volleyball, right now Hanson is writing a paper for her IB class.

“I am currently writing a paper on special relativity and general relativity,” she said. “I am writing about time travel.”



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