Outstanding Canadian who jumped 10-7 takes on Wisconsin Volleyball | college sports


DENNIS PUNZEL For the state newspaper

Paul Pavan admits there are times when he needs to step back and say ‘wow’ at a spectacular play Trinity Shadd-Ceres is making on the volleyball court.

“Oh, all the time, all the time,” said Pavan, who coached Shadd-Ceres for three years at the Kitchener-Waterloo Predators Volleyball Club in Ontario. “All the time we coaches just look at each other and say, that’s a pretty athletic move.”

Pavan has no doubt that University of Wisconsin volleyball coaches, players and fans will be saying similar things a few years from now when Shadd-Ceres joins the Badgers as a member of the 2024 recruit class.

“She’s probably the most athletic kid I’ve ever coached,” Pavan said. “I think their advantage is really, really high. She has all the qualities needed to be a great volleyball player.

“Her ability to get airborne, her athleticism, her way of looking at the game, there are so many positive traits and she’s just starting to tap into them. She now has two years to bring them all together and our goal is to make her a player to get into the Wisconsin program and hopefully make a contribution right away.

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Pavan knows a thing or two about gifted volleyball players. He coached his daughter, Sarah, who was one of the greatest players in NCAA history, a four-time Nebraska first-team All-American who led the Cornhuskers to the 2006 national title and honors national player of the year and tournament standout became player awards. His other daughter, Rebecca, played in Kentucky and was a member of the Canada national team.

For all her volleyball attributes, 16-year-old Shadd-Ceres is best known in Canada for her track and field exploits. As a long jumper and sprinter, she is one of the best track and field athletes in the nation. Her personal best in the long jump is a jump of 6.47 meters (about 21 feet, 3 inches). This is the best not only for their age group, but also for U18 and U19. It is number 1 in the world for the U17 and second for the U18.

But Shadd-Ceres has turned her attention to volleyball and will prioritize that sport going forward after a summer in which she focused on athletics.

“Volleyball is my passion,” said Shadd-Ceres, who started athletics when she was 8 and volleyball when she was 11. “I think it’s because it’s a team sport. Track is very individual and related to itself. I am a perfectionist and as a perfectionist you have thoughts in your head. Volleyball is more of a team sport and you can count on your team to drive and support you. It’s just a lot more fun.”

Shadd-Ceres hasn’t played volleyball since April as she devoted her summer to athletics, but that didn’t stop collegiate volleyball coaches from recruiting her.

With the college coaches unable to speak to potential recruits until June 15, Pavan took it upon himself to fill the coaches in on Shadd-Ceres. He targeted coaches from top programs and sent statistical information and videos.

“I hadn’t contacted any of the top coaches about my athletes in years,” Pavan said. “When Trinity showed up, I thought, here’s one I’ll call in about. I very rarely talk about top athletes with top coaches. They took notice and we started communicating and talking about some of the numbers, their ability to get airborne, their athleticism.

It turns out the manager he spoke to the most was UW’s Kelly Sheffield, whom he has known for 20 years dating back to Sheffield’s time as manager at Albany.

“I think Kelly trusted what I told him because some of the players I’ve sent to the States in the past, including one who was probably one of the greatest players in NCAA history,” Pavan said . “Kelly did his homework and made sure this is someone who could compete at the Big Ten level.”

Although Shadd-Ceres is only about 5ft 11 tall, she more than makes up for it with her jumping ability. She touched 10-foot-7, a number that surprised even Pavan when she tested her racquet last winter.

“I knew she jumped so much higher than everyone else,” he said. “When she jumped 10-7, I made her do it again because I thought something was wrong here. Then she uncorked another 10-7. And she might have a little bit more in her once she starts training hard.”

Shadd-Ceres said she heard from about 30 schools but quickly narrowed things down to three. She had the benefit of being mentored by her mother, Crystal Shadd, a standout athlete who twice qualified for the Canadian Olympic team in the triple jump and competed in track and field in eastern Michigan and Arkansas.

Shadd-Ceres only made two campus visits, coming to UW for the Marquette and High Point matches. She said she liked the coaches very much and was made to feel welcome by the current players, including fellow Canadian Anna Smrek.

“I didn’t know her, but I knew about her,” said Shadd-Ceres. “Seeing how she played before she went there and how she developed really showed me how good a school they are.”

She also met with former Badgers like Dana Rettke and Sydney Hilley who were there to receive their championship rings and attend the banner unfurling ceremony.

“Honestly, it was overwhelming,” Shadd-Ceres said of the experience. “The sport in Canada doesn’t really compare to the sport in the US. Seeing the support system, the fans, the noise in the stadium, it was surreal. (The former Badgers) were just the nicest people ever. Because they were so good, I thought maybe their attitude would be different. It’s like they can find athletes that can take me to the next level, so they have a very good program.”

Shadd-Ceres visited Kentucky the following weekend when the Badgers played the Wildcats there, but by then she had pretty much made up her mind.

“I wanted to compare it to Kentucky and experience that too,” she said. “But I think it was always Wisconsin.”

Shadd-Ceres, who has spoken in the past about being included in Canada’s Olympic team in 2024, said she has no plans to compete in athletics at UW. And it will definitely only be a side issue for them in the years to come.

“It’s definitely a goal to be on the Canada national volleyball team,” she said. “For the track, I’m just trying to figure out if I want to do it as a sport or just as off-season training.”

Pavan encouraged her to devote the summer to her exploits on the track and believes participating in different sports has helped make her an even better athlete. And as her focus shifts to volleyball, he sees her skill rise. He said she was already a good passer and could get even better. He will also develop their attack skills.

“But she’s got two years to put that together,” he said. “Now that she’s focused on this game, I don’t see that as a problem at all.”

Shadd-Ceres is eager to work on her game and has high goals for her UW career.

“I feel like Wisconsin is the school that makes me a better person,” she said. “So I’m the best player I can be personally and at the same time the best person I can be. And I would say it would be great to win a national championship. I really want to reach my full potential and I think Wisconsin is a very good school to do that.”


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