Macy Carrabine knows how long it takes to drive from her residence to where she’ll play volleyball the next four seasons.
“Fifteen hours and 38 minutes,” she said with a laugh.
Recruited to play libero at the University of Denver, Carrabine, a four-year starter at Center Grove from 2013-16 and the Daily Journal’s Player of the Year last fall, is currently experiencing 1,100 miles of scenery.
Carrabine, who left Sunday, didn’t get much of a summer vacation. But she’s hardly alone there.
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The pressure to perform at a high level has made strength training a year-round reality for college athletes, and incoming freshmen can ill afford to wait until August to leave for school the way previous generations of players did.
Offseasons have yet to become completely extinct, yet they do seem to be shrinking.
Too far away to drive home for a weekend, Carrabine had to attempt to squeeze a summer’s worth of fun into a relatively short span of time.
“In June I got to be with my friends and do all the summer stuff,” said Carrabine, who led the Trojans in service aces last season with 55 while ranking second on the team in kills (336), digs (320) and assists (76).
“The first part was really fun, but I’ve never been so tired in my life.”
Although she plays a winter sport, former Center Grove basketball player Val Clark also left Sunday morning for Eastern Kentucky University to begin conditioning with her new teammates.
Everything Clark learned as a three-sport high school athlete with the Trojans now changes.
“I’m sure since we are starting so early that workouts will be extremely tough, and I’ll be sore a lot from pushing my body in a new way,” Clark said. “This on top of starting class and everything I know.
“But I am excited to see what I can do at the next level.”
Center Grove sprinter Grant Mason will attend Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. He is training with a coach locally, but leaves for school at the end of July.
“My sprint coach at Lipscomb (Marcus Evans) has a similar workout regimen to my coach here,” Mason said. “They are on the same page about everything.”
Most local athletes who compete at the next level do so within an hour’s radius of Indianapolis, an area that includes Indiana University, IUPUI, the University of Indianapolis, Anderson, Taylor, Indiana Wesleyan, Purdue, Marian and Franklin College.
Such close proximity allows many of them to take part in summer conditioning without packing their bags and moving into a dorm.
Delanie Hill, who scored 100 career goals in her four seasons as a Franklin soccer player, is expected at Marian University on Aug. 7 to begin preseason practices. But the Knights already hold three workouts per week (7 to 8 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays) so that freshmen like Hill become more familiar with everything from campus layout to teammates to facilities.
“The biggest challenge is starting new and getting quicker and stronger,” Hill said. “But I feel more comfortable now than I did as a high school freshman because I was younger and less mature then.
“Soccer is part of me. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.”
One local athlete who won’t be leaving for campus soon is Ryder Emberton, Whiteland’s record-holder in the shot put and discus. He departs for Iowa Central Community College on Aug. 27, where he’ll compete for the Tritons’ track and field program.
In the meantime, Emberton works out twice weekly at Whiteland High School in order to adjust to the 16-pound shot put used at the collegiate level (it’s 12 pounds in high school) and slightly heavier discus.
“If I was playing football, they would want me there in mid-July, but I decided not to do that,” Emberton said. “I’m glad I’m still here.”