Duran notches career milestone with 1,000th dig

Chico State volleyball player Emily Duran became the fifth Wildcat ever to reach 1,000 career digs. Photo courtesy Chico Wildcats

It’s Emily Duran’s senior year and she is finding herself in the record books at Chico State. Having reached 1,108 career digs during her ‘Cat career, Duran has reached a milestone that only five players in the history of Chico State have ever obtained.

Pretty impressive considering that Duran only had 29 digs in her first year.

“It was a goal I set for myself as a freshman,” Duran said. “I knew I wanted to reach 1,000 digs by the end of my career and to come full circle almost four years later knowing I did it is incredible.”

Duran said she was uninformed that she was coming close to a record.

“I actually had no idea I had reached it until they announced it over the speaker at our game,” she said. “It was the perfect match because my grandparents were there and my two former teammates, Molly Ratto and Alex Shurtz, who are my best friends.”

Going down in the record books is usually a top memory, but for Duran, she couldn’t just pick one, she said. One that sticks out is Coach Cody Hein letting Duran kick 30-yard field goals to get out of conditioning during preseason. The training is exhausting, so it was a big deal.

“My sophomore year and my senior year I had one or two chances and when I did it both times, my team went crazy and dog piled me,” Duran said. “I’ll never forget that. I had always wondered what it was like to be at the bottom of a dog pile, so that was like a dream come true.”

Duran was already high-profile in the ‘Cat record books when entering this season. Duran averages 4.56 digs per set, which puts her on the list as third all-time.

Duran has dug out 246 digs this year. Duran is leading the charge for a team who is averaging 16.42 digs per set.

Numbers like these don’t come easy and for Duran, she just plays the game.

“I try to work as hard as I can and when you are playing defense, that goes a long way,” Duran said. “I never really focused on the numbers. I just made it a goal to work as hard as I could to touch every ball that came towards me.”

Senior outside hitter, Ellie Larronde, who has been teammates with Duran since their first year, recognizes her hard work.

“Emily is so dedicated to whatever she is doing in life,” Larronde said. “I love playing volleyball with her because she is fully invested in every single point. She goes all-out on the court.”

Duran’s dedication to what she does came early in life from her father, who is her role model, she said.

“He is a firefighter and the toughest person I know,” Duran said. “He set an example for me at a really young age how to be a leader and to be tough.”

Her dad follows her to every game, even if he isn’t really there, Duran said. He is the voice in her head telling her to go full speed after everything.

The ‘Cats still have a lot of games ahead of them and time will tell how far up in the books Duran goes.

“Knowing that I am a senior and I only have a limited number of matches left in my Chico State jersey is enough to keep me focused,” Duran said. “It’s not really about the amount of digs I get, I just want to do what I can to help my team win and enjoy every second I have left.”

Ryan Grady can be reached at [email protected] or @RyanGrady23 on Twitter.