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Trine is all in on Trine

Like sister, KHS senior commits to school with last name

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TRINE TRINE TRINE - Kokomo senior softball player Karley Trine (center) recently committed to join her sister, Ellie Trine, at Trine University next fall following her senior season. But first, she wants to break the single-season home run record for the Wildkats. Her Wildkat family showed up in droves to support her on her signing day on Nov. 16.

Though she’ll be leaving her hometown following her senior year at Kokomo High School, Karley Trine has committed to a college that at least feels familiar in a unique way. Plus, her sister plays softball there already, making Trine University already feel like family.

Trine’s sister, Ellie, is currently a sophomore for the Thunder, and Trine said she’s looking forward to rejoining her sister on the field after playing together for just one year at Kokomo. Ellie was a senior when Karley was a freshman for the Wildkats, but now due to the extra year of COVID eligibility given to college athletes, it’s possible the two will have a longer run together as teammates in college. So is there any relationship between the Trine name and Trine University?

“I don’t know. My sister goes there now and plays softball, and they’ve been trying to figure it out with her and do an Ancestry search, but they haven’t really found anything,” Trine said. “Then again, everybody is like, ‘There has to be. It’s not like a common last name.’”

She said she never had even heard of Trine University until her sister was looking at going there for her college career. But after seeing Ellie’s success and talking to her about the coaches, school and culture there, she began to think on it for herself.

Trine said she likes the idea of a small school with small class sizes and a smaller college roster. She’s in it to contribute, not sit on the bench, and she knows Trine will give her an opportunity.

“I wanted a small campus, so I didn’t get lost, you know. And a better connection with the coaches. They have a pretty small roster since they are a smaller school, and I didn’t want to be on the team just to get benched. So with the smaller roster, I’ll get more playing time, and I'll get seen more and I’ll have a better connection with the coaches personally,” she said.

The university is roughly two hours away from Kokomo, which is close enough to be close but far enough to be away from home, Trine said. Coming home won’t be a big chore, and she’ll be able to visit with friends often, which was big for her.

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Trine has been playing with the same teammates almost her whole life, either through school teams or on travel teams, and that won’t be the easiest thing to leave. But rejoining her sister and playing at the next level is thrilling, she said, and helps ease the transition from her comfort zone in Kokomo.

She loves her hometown, which turned her into the player she is today. Whether it was growing up at Berkley Park playing in the city softball leagues, to traveling all over the state and country at the high school level, the Kokomo area is a rich garden for athletes to grow.

“It’s bittersweet, because I love playing with the girls I grew up with. I grew up with everyone who plays on the high school team, and we’re all friends outside of softball. We’re friends at school, we hang out on the weekend and do all that, and it’s so much fun to play with them, and have the bus rides with them, and have the locker room stuff with them, and do all this team bonding stuff with them,” Trine said.

But what’s nice is it’s easier to come watch Trine play at Trine University, compared to her travel team. Her friends, parents and grandparents can make the day trip up any time vs. following her team all over the Midwest.

Trine wants to end her final season at Kokomo on a high note. The conference and sectional are the two main team goals, but she has her own goal in mind for 2022. After hurting her back last season and missing several games, a revenge season is in order.

“My personal goal is I want to break the school home run record in a season. I think it’s nine, I’m pretty sure, and last year I had six. But also halfway through the year I broke a bone in my back when I was diving for a ball in the outfield, so I was out for the second half of the season up until sectionals,” Trine said. “Then I was just like, ‘I want to play in sectionals.’ So we were rushing to do therapy and rushing to do treatment and rushing to get it manageable to play with, and I didn’t get to make that goal because I had to miss seven or eight games.”

So Trine is determined to go out with a bang, or several bangs, over the fence. The mound is a bit of a mystery the Kats will have to figure out this season, losing their starting pitcher to Lewis Cass, but the defense and the hitting is there, and the program is strong under Coach Mike Susong.

Her favorite memory on the field so far is winning the conference in her freshman year vs. McCutcheon, but Trine is determined to stack more favorite memories in her final season. She’ll leave it all out on the field before going to her destined college next fall, joining her sister for a family reunion at Trine University.