Crystal Lake Central’s Maddy McCormick was ready to board a plane at Denver International Airport when she unexpectedly received a call from Colorado State women’s volleyball coach Tom Hilbert with some exciting news.
McCormick had just attended a summer camp at the Fort Collins, Colorado, school and did not expect to hear back from Hilbert so soon. The Tigers junior outside hitter certainly wasn’t ready for what came next: an offer to play for the NCAA Division-I Rams.
“It was pretty cool,” McCormick said. “I stepped aside from the gate and it happened so fast. It was kind of cool how it all happened. I talked to them after [camp] was over. I know he wanted me to give him a call when I got home, so I thought the camp went really well.”
McCormick verbally committed to Hilbert and Colorado State at the airport Thursday. She also had interest from St. Louis, Xavier, Yale and the College of Charleston.
The 6-foot outside hitter was looking to make a decision before the start of her junior year and found everything she was looking for at Colorado State.
Colorado State was 23-8 last season and finished first in the Mountain West Conference at 15-3. The Rams dropped their first-round match to Tennessee, 3-2, in the NCAA Tournament. They’ve made it to the NCAA Tournament in each of the past 24 seasons.
“It’s such a good program and Coach Hilbert has built such a good atmosphere,” McCormick said. “They have such a big fan base in the community and town, and they give back to the community all of the time. I went there, and I just fell in love with it.”
McCormick, a Northwest Herald All-Area honorable mention selection as a sophomore, was third on the Tigers last season with 180 kills and 274 digs and led the team with 54 aces. Central went 31-6 and placed third in the Fox Valley Conference at 13-3.
McCormick was named to the AAU All-American team last month after a standout performance at AAU Junior Nationals in Florida with her club team, Sky High Adidas 16 Black. That team, which finished fifth out of 68 teams, also includes Cary-Grove’s Jenna Splitt, Crystal Lake Central’s Madeline Timmerman and Karina Simatos, Dundee-Crown’s Jenna Brown, Huntley’s Emma Konie and Jacobs’ Maggie Wallenberger.
“It meant a lot to me,” McCormick said of being named to the AAU All-American team. “I’ve been working really hard this summer, and that really put the cherry on top. It kind of shows everything I’ve been doing was worth it.”
McCormick has been working on all aspects of her game since the end of last season, but it’s her vertical measurements that have really improved. Her approach jump has been measured at 9-foot-11 and her block jump at 9-6.
McCormick is looking forward to playing against top competition in the Mountain West, but she remains focused on helping her high school team make it farther in the postseason than last year. Central’s season ended with a 25-13, 25-19 loss to FVC champion Prairie Ridge in the Class 4A sectional final.
The Tigers return their entire starting lineup.
“We’re all coming off good club seasons, so I think it’s going to be a great year,” McCormick said. “Obviously, we ended with that loss to Prairie Ridge, which was disappointing, but we fought hard throughout the season. I think we’re just going to come back stronger this year.”