Maddie Jaudon was not looking to be coddled.
The Batavia girls volleyball senior libero embraces being pushed when it comes to college volleyball, and Jaudon thinks she found the right spot for that at Division-I Elon University (N.C.), the school to which she offered her verbal commitment Thursday.
Jaudon said Elon's conditioning coach said he works the volleyball players just as hard as the school's football team or anyone else. That appealed to Jaudon, who thinks she has a nice head start on that front based on Bulldogs coach Lori Trippi-Payne's commitment to rigorous workouts.
"[Trippi-Payne] has made sure that conditioning is part of all the Batavia volleyball girls and that they expect that on the next level because we all know to be truly successful, you have to be an athlete and lift and be strong and be as fast as possible," Jaudon said.
Jaudon said Elon watched her play in AAU tournaments through her travel club, Sports Performance. She then attended a camp at Elon earlier this month before solidifying her choice.
She said Elon's location was one of its attractions.
"My whole family, we travel out there a lot," Jaudon said. "We like the area and we just really like North Carolina, just the whole scenery and feel about it. So I always knew if I didn't want to stay here [for college], I'd want to go to North Carolina because it just felt familiar even though I don't have family out there."
Elon, new to the Colonial Athletic Assocation, is coached by Mary Tendler.
"She was ecstatic [about my commitment]," Jaudon said. "I talked to her multiple times but we talked for like an hour that day. She was just excited and wanted to make sure I got in touch with the other girls that I met, the rest of the recruits. Right when I said 'Yes,' she was big into me being part of that family."
Jaudon is only a couple weeks from beginning preseason practice for her senior year with the Bulldogs. She was one of three juniors on last year's team, with Jancy Lundberg and Anna Clausen being the others.
"I'm just so excited to get started," Jaudon said. "I know we're going to have a really good year this year."
Khoury catches on with Morehead: It's a substantial distance from St. Charles to Morehead, Kentucky. For St. Charles North senior catcher Kyle Khoury, a future teammate from nearby Winfield helped bridge the divide.
Khoury said an in-depth chat with Morehead State outfielder Ryan Kent, of Winfield and Wheaton North High School, helped convince him to commit to the D-I Eagles on Sunday.
"I actually got to talk to one of the players on the team right now, Ryan Kent, and he talked to me about [his experience]," Khoury said. "That was a major deciding factor because he told me all about campus, what to expect with the baseball program, coaches, players, everything like that, and it sounds like a place I could really go and click right away and start playing."
Khoury was a First Team All-Area Kane County Chronicle selection as a junior. Known as a strong defensive catcher, he batted .362 with seven doubles, three home runs and 22 RBIs last season. Khoury plays travel baseball with the DuPage Training Academy, and Khoury said the Eagles expressed interest after watching the team compete at a showcase hosted by North early this summer.
Khoury said playing college baseball has long been on his radar.
"I've wanted to do it since I was a little kid, wanted to play at the best level possible," Khoury said. "Going into junior year, I thought I could do it and I ended up being able to do it. I worked really hard, got a lot of help from coaches and teammates, and toward the end, when schools started contacting me, I knew I did a good job and it could be a reality now."
The 6-foot, 170-pound Khoury said he'd like to add 10 to 20 pounds of bulk before heading to Morehead to better withstand the physical demands of catching.
• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or firstname.lastname@example.org.