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MOUNT WASHINGTON - In a family with one of the best known sports names in Bullitt County, Bullitt East senior Jade Troutman is the anomaly, one of the few females in a lineage dominated by males, both past and present.
That never stopped Troutman from following her sports interests. She grew up playing volleyball, basketball and softball while also competing in track. She became a member of the Lady Charger volleyball program as a seventh-grader and a year later was playing basketball at the high school level. As a freshman and sophomore she had top three finishers in the Kentucky State Track and Field Championships in the high jump.
While the family line is best known for basketball, Jade Troutman decided to take another route last week when she signed to play volleyball at the next level at Indiana University Southeast.
Troutman is the first local athlete to sign for the 2010 school year almost a year ahead of time.
The volleyball-basketball question was answered by Troutman during her sophomore year when she decided that she was better suited to play volleyball. Still, she continues to play basketball and will be a key contributor this winter on the highly-ranked Lady Charger squad.
“I like volleyball more,” Troutman said after signing all the paperwork in a ceremony in the school’s lobby. “I feel like I’m better at volleyball than basketball.”
At this point, Troutman is not considering doing two sports at IUS.
“I never really thought about that,” the 17-year old said. “I just know that I was always going to play volleyball. Just volleyball.”
Unlike most college-bound volleyball players, Troutman has never had the time to devote herself to the club level squads where most college coaches do their recruiting. Troutman played for the Lady Chargers from July to October and then moved on to the next sport.
It was only when Troutman accepted an invitation from Bullitt East teammate Brittany Gajdik to attend an open gym event at IUS that she got on the radar of first-year IUS head coach Lesley Prather. The IUS coach quickly made a date to watch Troutman in a high school match and it wasn’t long before a financial aide package was put on the table.
“I came out here and watched her play a couple of times,” Prather said. “I look for athletes and Jade is definitely an athlete. She will fit into our system perfectly.”
Prather said that she feels that Troutman can be a left-side hitter.
Troutman is the first player that IUS has signed this fall. They hope to sign five players in total.
Troutman was one of the better players in the area the past few seasons as a part-time disciple of volleyball. Everyone is in agreement that when she concentrates on the sport full-time that she can get much better.
“She can be as good as she wants to be,” Bullitt East head coach Michelle Gajdik said at the signing. “She’s a pretty good athlete overall. She would have been outstanding if she had picked one (sport) earlier, but that’s not something you have to do.”
Troutman is the daughter of Laura Dalton and Ricky Troutman. Her mother, when she was Laura Allgeir, was one of the top slo-pitch softball players in the country. Her father played on the first Bullitt East boys’ basketball team.
Troutman has a twin brother, Chase, who is a member of the Bullitt East boys’ basketball team. She also has a younger brother, Ezra, who is an eighth-grader at Eastside Middle School.
At this point, Troutman plans to major in secondary education with the possibility of becoming a coach.
“I just knew this was where I wanted to go,” she said of IUS. “That made the decision easy.”