Athlete of the week: Jayde Krauth, Elk River, volleyball: Serious fun

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Jayde Krauth has more on her mind than just volleyball during the season. And that’s fine with Elks coach Pam Gothe, who knows she’ll always get the industrious senior’s best focus and effort.

“Jayde is a good leader because she is very mature and well-organized,” said Gothe. “She is also academic all-state and very good in music. Those are three things that she takes very seriously. She is busy, but she juggles them really well. She has a job, too, at a coffee shop.”

Jayde Krauth, converted from setter to middle blocker her junior year, wound up with 505 career kills. (Photo by Jonette Krauth)

Gothe had enough faith in the 5-foot-8 Krauth to switch her to middle blocker her junior year, when the Elks were short at that spot. Krauth had been a setter from third grade through 10th, when she became a starter after a senior was injured.

“We felt she was strong enough to handle it,” said Gothe. Krauth’s reaction: “Pam asked me to do it for the team, so that’s what I did.”

The move paid off. As a junior Krauth  was second on the team with 151 kills and fourth with 28 ace serves. This year she led the Elks in kills (278), kill percentage (.396) and blocks (18 solo, 48 assisted) and was fifth with 24 aces on a team with several formidable servers. She was all-conference and got the team’s top offensive player honor.

Counting her sophomore stats, Krauth had 505 career kills and 52 aces. Though she had enjoyed setting, she came to relish the whirlwind at the net.

“It was a big challenge,” said Krauth. “I’ve played every position in volleyball and this one is the toughest! You’re always reacting to the ball. You never stop moving. You have to be aware of the whole court, and you have to get ‘up’ (in the air) on every block.”

Krauth was a big factor in the Elks posting winning records of 15-12 and 16-14 the last two years, ending a string of six losing seasons. This year they reached the section finals, highlighted by a tense 3-2 upset of Duluth East in the semifinals in Duluth. “That was definitely my career highlight,” said Krauth, who led with 13 kills that night.

Musically, she’s the trumpet principal chair in the band, has made all-conference  in 11th and 12th grade and was chosen for two college  honor band camps this fall.

“When I’m not studying or playing volleyball, that’s what I’m doing: music,” said Krauth, who also plays piano and saxophone. She favors jazz and classical and is currently working on a difficult solo, “Haiden’s Concerto.”

“I take everything I do seriously,” acknowledged Krauth. But she clearly does them all with joy and inspiration.

As co-captain, Krauth competes with a tenacity, and positivity  that rubs off, said Gothe. She was entrusted to call the offensive sets. Her grit was also appreciated: “Jayde played most of the season with a foot injury and never gave up.”

Knocking down kills is the glamor part of volleyball, but the longtime setter keeps that in perspective. “You can’t get the kills without the good pass and the good set,” she said. “It’s a team thing.”

THE KRAUTH SCORECARD

Jayde Krauth

Personal file – Age: 17 … Family: parents Troy and Jonette; brother Jake, 10 … Sport: volleyball … Other activities: concert band, jazz band, pit orchestra (trumpet); National Honor Society  … Academics: 3.93 GPA … College plans: Minnesota or St. Thomas, Global Relations and Mass Comm. double major, music minor

Favorite stuff – Class: AP Literature, AP World History … TV show: “Gray’s Anatomy” … Movies: “Batman” series … Music Cake, Black Keys, Fleet Foxes … Team: Twins … Athletes: Lance Armstrong, Karri Walsh … Kickback: playing music … Food: Chipotle fare, especially pork and rice burrito … Drink: hot tea or coffee … Place she’d like to visit: London, and France

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