CHAMPAIGN — Allie Trame’s athletic workload has been consistent and busy since entering high school in 2016.
Play volleyball for St. Thomas More from August through November, earning a couple IHSA state trophies along the way.
Suit up for the Illini Elite club team from November through June. Her most recent tryout, in fact, occurred one day after the Sabers capped a run to third place in the Class 2A tournament.
The summer months, then, are spent preparing for more STM volleyball.
“It’s a lot,” admitted Trame, the reigning News-Gazette All-Area Player of the Year. “But, honestly, I get bored whenever I’m not doing anything. I feel like I get more done when I’m super busy.”
Even the busiest folks need a breather here and there, however.
And Trame got hers earlier this summer, via a multi-week European vacation to France and Spain.
Trame figures it was the first time in “three or four years, probably” that she’s had an extended volleyball separation.
“It was really nice,” she said. “I was really antsy to get back in the gym just because I didn’t do anything when I was (in Europe) — just vacation. But it was a good mental break, too.”
She hardly was able to make it last.
“In Barcelona there was a sand volleyball game going,” Trame said. “Me and my brother kind of looked at each other like, hey, we should go play.”
They ultimately didn’t, allowing Trame to fully capitalize on her downtime.
That’s now in the past. She’s back to business at STM, albeit under very different circumstances than her first three seasons offered.
The middle back is the Sabers’ lone senior. Her head coach is former Illinois volleyball star Kelly McClure, following Stan Bergman’s departure for Mahomet-Seymour. And STM has been promoted to Class 3A action after its consecutive pieces of 2A state hardware.
“We’ll be kind of the same, but also different,” Trame said. “We have six freshmen coming in. I think they’re adjusting really well, and I think we’re bonding really well this year so far.”
Trame will try to improve on impressive junior-year statistics with fellow big hitter Kayla Brandon now graduated. Trame averaged 3.73 kills per set in 2018, pairing well with Brandon’s 3.33.
How exactly she might achieve that was a process she attempted to perfect during her latest club campaign.
“I focused a lot on speeding up my approach,” Trame said. “Just little fundamental things like my footwork and blocking, just being able to push up to the net better and being able to track hitters better.”
Her Illini Elite career allows for a mindset of self-betterment, the benefits of which she then can take back to North Mattis Avenue.
“We have like six, seven, eight teams in the gym, so I feel like it’s a lot more independent at club where you kind of have to push yourself,” Trame said. “It’s kind of more focused on you rather than ... oh, you’re one team.”
Being back with the Sabers does allow Trame to continue working with McClure, who converted from outside hitter to middle back during a four-year Illini career that included first-team all-Big Ten recognition in 1996.
“I was so happy (when McClure got the STM job),” Trame said. “Just having someone who’s been there before and knows what I’m going through, that really helps.”
Trame won’t be following in McClure’s footsteps as it pertains to a college choice. Trame is committed to Alabama, even with the offseason departure of three assistants previously under head coach Lindsey Devine.
Those coaching staff changes at Alabama didn’t perturb Trame. It was just another change the easygoing youngster accepted with open arms.
“I picked the school because of the school and the culture the athletic program had,” Trame said. “I was really disappointed whenever the coaches left, but that was only part of it. It would’ve been nice to play for them, but I love the new coaches and we get along really well, so it all worked out.”