Beltran of the Pueblo South cooperative brings versatility to the volleyball team

Pueblo South High School co-op volleyball player Jack Beltran has been playing volleyball for quite some time and is currently having the best season of his sports career.

But Beltran is more than a field center for the Colts — he’s become a jack-of-all-trades.

Beltran, one of 10 children in his family, has been competitive all his life. Whether it’s fighting for his place at the table or trying to stand out in his large family, Beltran has always been one to overcome obstacles.

“I’m the only one playing volleyball,” Beltran said. “So, I have to stand out in something.”

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Beltran stands out on the field. The 5-foot-9 center is a team captain and one of its leaders.

He started playing volleyball at a young age and was playing casually in the gym one day when a coach saw him and told him to “try (in volleyball) for a shot” because he might miss something in which he had potential.

Beltran was listening. It was a good thing he did.

He has since become a solid player for the Colts and in recent years has made volleyball his primary focus.

But getting there was not easy.

A few years ago, when Beltran was beginning to fully immerse himself in the sport, the pandemic hit putting him in a difficult situation where he had to learn on his own while COVID-19 suspended many sports and school activities.

“It gave me a chance to start doing things on my own,” Beltran said. “I have my own net. I started playing in a park.

News of the games in the park quickly spread around town, Beltran said, and eventually some players from the local club began to participate. Soon after, some coaches from the club team heard about Beltran and went to visit him.

“One of the people in the park asked me to go to a tournament,” Beltran said. “So I was recruited from the coaches of the club in (Colorado Springs) and so I started playing club volleyball with them.”

Jack Beltran (#7) sets up a pass for Marcus Medina (#5) in a game against Vanguard School on April 4, 2022

During his first year playing club volleyball, Beltran was a practice player. The following year, he made the team as a libero.

He has since played on the Southern Co-op team during the school year as well as his club team during the offseason.

” I love sports. It’s probably something I found I had the most confidence in, Beltran said. “And being able to play with my teams, both teams keep me going.”

Playing for the co-op team is slightly different from his club team, Beltran said.

Beltran attends Pueblo Central High School with a few other members of his team, as boys from all schools in the Pueblo area play together for South.

He said players from different schools and backgrounds coming together to compete is the biggest similarity between his club side and South. The pace of play is the biggest difference.

“With my club team it’s a little bit faster because it’s a national team,” Beltran said. “That means I’m playing against people all over the state, against people who grew up playing.”

“So coming here is kind of a novelty. It’s the second year of this volleyball co-op, so it’s a bit new here, so everyone is a bit of a newbie.

The slower pace of play works in Beltran’s favor. This helps put him in a position to dominate on the attacking side of the ball.

Beltran used to compete in other sports — he played football and ran track at Central — but volleyball became his biggest passion, at least as far as sports go.

Off the field, he wants to save lives. He is currently considering pursuing a career as a firefighter.

“I think I could be recruited (for volleyball), but I don’t know where yet. But my plans right now are … leaning towards firefighting,” Beltran said.

Beltran plans to enroll in Pueblo Community College’s two-year firefighting program. Until then, he is enjoying his time on the pitch and said if he got an offer to play in college he would probably take advantage of it.

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Christopher Abdelmalek is a sports reporter for the Pueblo Chieftain and can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @chowebacca