Boys volleyball: Boulder's Corran Hanzlik-Green earns area player of the year

Jun. 7—If there was someone better than outbound senior Corran Hanzlik-Green to lead Boulder in its first season with a boys' volleyball program, Tobin Skenandore said he hasn't met them in his 20-something years of coaching.

"Corran was one of the individuals that, if you're lucky enough as a coach to have come in, it's special," the Panthers' coach explained. "If you do this long enough, you might have somebody like that, that has the leadership skills, the patience, and the sheer desire to implement yourself to become better every day.

"With him, it was all that — but the big thing was that he just embraced the idea of playing volleyball with his friends. That kind of perspective shows who he is as a person."

It's been almost a full month since Hanzlik-Green helped lead Boulder to nine wins in its inaugural season. And in another month or two, he said he'll head to California to pursue a place on the professional beach volleyball scene while studying at Cal Poly.

But for now he's just enjoying himself. He's teaching kids how to water ski and wakeboard at a camp in Lebanon, Missouri.

Seems like wherever in the world the boys' volleyball player of the year is, he's content in a leadership role.

"It's my favorite," Boulder's one-and-done volleyball captain said. "If I had to choose between playing volleyball and coaching volleyball, it'd be a hard decision. It'd be pretty even. I enjoy coaching other people — not that I think I'm the best coach in the world."

A pretty dang good one, though, if you ask those around him.

Hanzlik-Green comes from a volleyball family, with his dad being a former pro player and his older brother Keeton recently a part of the indoor program at Pepperdine.

For a long time, Hanzlik-Green played in the indoor club scene while traveling for men's beach tournaments. Never had he played for a team at Boulder High School until an opportunity he said he couldn't pass on presented itself this spring.

"My goal was to set a precedent for this kind of joyful communion of all these different levels of players from Boulder and Fairview and other schools," he said. "To come together on one team and enjoy something, and set a high standard for the program going forward."

Tobin's deemed "floor general", the 6-foot-5 outside hitter finished top 10 in the state with 312 kills. In hitting percentage, he was first at .469. (Which for context, is almost 100 points better than men's national powerhouse UCLA hit (.372) during their 2024 championship season.)

To him, none of it surpassed the relationships he said he formed this spring. Marveling about a squad made up mostly of newbies and athletes not in their primary sport, he said the Panthers may have had "more synergy and cohesiveness" than any experienced club team he's played with.

His coach credited him for that.

"Out of everyone I've coached," said Skenandore, who's seen more than a few elite athletes in his two decades long coaching career. Including former star lacrosse player Gavyn Pure when he was an assistant at Dawson, "who was one of the best lacrosse players in Colorado history."

"But Corran, with everyone I've seen," he went on. "His patience, the willingness to play with whoever and just say, 'I'm having fun with my friends. I don't care about anything else.' That was fun. I said to him before he left, 'I've never had a player like you, and you will always be one of my standards.'"

Boulder did not qualify for the 24-team regional field, finishing the regular season 9-14.

Notably, however, the Panthers took eventual champ Mountain Vista to the limit in a three-set tournament match in April before narrowly falling, 25-15, 18-25, 19-17.

Hanzlik-Green said he'll always cherish that.

"They had all their starters in and weren't trying anything weird against us," he grinned. "We played out of our minds, and it was just really fun to be in that atmosphere. I know the coach over there, and he told me after that 'you guys were our toughest match so far.' And that made me proud that our rag-tag group gave them a good fight."