NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — This weekend, Alannah Blanks lives out a dream.
She’ll help lead Normal West into its first trip to the state volleyball tournament since 1995.
“It’s always something you think about,” Blanks said. “Seeing how the season was going, you never know how things would click with your teammates and things like that.”
Things have clicked for the senior middle blocker and not just with volleyball team.
Blanks moved to the Twin Cities from tiny Lebanon, Illinois last year. She made the volleyball, made friends and starting making a difference in the school.
Now she’s the co-president of her school’s Open Doors program, which helps prepare students for life after high school. And she’s the president of the Black Student Union, helping organize student volunteer work with non-profit groups like the Midwest Food Bank.
“I like being able to promote academic excellence among all Normal West students,” said Blanks. “And an inclusive, acceptance and positive (attitude) in the school.”
West (33-6) takes on Belvidere North (38-2) in the class 3A state semifinals at Redbird Arena Friday night. Blanks made a great impression on her coach last year and continues to do it now.
“She is so hard working, she just fit in right away,” said Wildcats volleyball coach Kelsey Mueller. “When I found out she was named the president of the Black Student Union, I was so excited. You couldn’t have picked a better person for it.”
Blanks admits she wasn’t sure how’d she’d react moving from such a small community to a big one. But she was determined to make an difference in her final two years at Normal West.
“Coming here, I needed a way to impact the school,” Blanks said. “In the back of my mind, I always wanted to and they have given me the opportunities here at West to be able to do it.”