There aren't many people who can say they are thankful for anything to do with the pandemic.
Fort Lupton's Conner Moll can.
"The pandemic closed a lot of gyms. I had to find parks and stuff to go to," Moll said. "It messed up the recruiting process. A lot of colleges were like, 'We love you. We don't have the money for it.' It played a huge part. At the end of the day, everything happens for a reason.
"I'm grateful for COVID now," he added. "It was a hard few years. It really helped me out."
Moll signed a collegiate letter of intent May 26 to play basketball and study business entrepreneurship at Keiser University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
"Honestly, I had no idea about it until my mom found it," Moll said. "I was sending emails out. I was trying to do anything to find a school. My mom was like, 'Go to Duke University,' things like that. I was like, 'Let's be realistic here.'"
Moll went to a Keiser-sponsored camp at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood.
"I was actually hoping to be signed by Colorado Christian so I can stay in state," he said. "But I met the coach. You could tell he was watching for me. I thought this might be the place. He definitely did his work and tried to make it possible so I could go there. It showed me he wanted me. It wasn't an athlete for him to sign."
Moll and his mother took a campus visit.
"He took care of my mom and I very carefully," Moll said. "We did a lot of stuff besides looking at the basketball side and the academic side. It sealed the deal when we went out there. I was looking at two others. It was basically no contest after I found this one."
Outgoing athletic director Cora Lanter called Moll "a real student and an athlete."
"I saw a positive person in the hall," she said. "He never found his way to the office for anything. That's tough to do as a senior, to maintain that poise."
FLHS boys basketball coach Jim Roedel called Moll "a leader who has the ability to do anything you want."
"You have friends who care about you. You have a school here that will help you," Roedel said. "For you to come here, in a town this size and accomplish what you did here? I am proud of you."
Moll wants to start a clothing business this summer. The eventual goal is to own his own business with his own style of clothing.
"I am not big on Colorado. I love it because it's my home. And I love Fort Lupton, and it will always be home," Moll said. "But I've wanted to move to a bigger city. I don't like the weather here. It's nice in the Sunshine State. I love the humidity, too. My parents hate it. Right now, it's looking like my new home."
"You are a great athlete, and you have amazing parents," said outgoing FLHS Principal John Biner. "Nobody sits where you are sitting by yourself. You are great in the hallways, and you are fantastic to watch playing basketball."
"I haven't been nervous or scared. I've done everything I can to prepare myself for this moment," Moll said. "It feels like more of an accomplishment and a pat on my back to myself for all the hard work I've put in."