Sports

Sports Standouts: 6.10.15

[diving in: kat friese]
Kat Friese wasn’t too thrilled when her mom signed her up for a diving league at a local country club when she was 10. “I didn’t really want to do it, but I had a really good season and my coach said I should try out for a club team,” she recalls. Friese took the advice and used diving as a cross-training tool for gymnastics. But she became more interested in the sport the more she did it, and at age 12, she decided to focus solely on flips and twists into the water instead of on the ground.

Her decision paid off. Friese, who recently graduated from MICDS, was three-time State Champion, has made numerous trips to Nationals with the St. Louis Diving Club, and holds school records for most points scored at both six- and 11-dive meets. She also was named the 2014 All-Metro Diver of the Year by the Post-Dispatch. “All my seasons kind of blend together right now,” she admits. “It was hard balancing high school practice with club practice while also managing homework and other activities, but I had great high school coaches who supported me.” During the high school season, she practiced every day of the week, between both teams.

As the only diver for MICDS this year, she competed in about six different meets between November and February, including state and conference. Club training is all year, but its main competition season is from March through early August,” Friese explains. “I got my primary training from the St. Louis Diving Club, so that was always important to me.” She competes in all three diving events: 1-meter, 3-meter and platform. “I have dives that I always compete with, but I’m also training new dives and working on new skills,” Friese says. “When I have a new dive, it’s a big decision to figure out when to start competing with it. What I’m doing now is definitely harder and more advanced than what I was doing a few years ago. The sport is always evolving.”

Her skills were noticed by her top college choice, UCLA, and she says signing with them was the easiest decision she’s ever made. “I already knew I wanted to go to school there, so to get a chance to dive with the team is the perfect opportunity,” Friese says. When asked what she envisions for her future with the sport, she’s leaving it undecided at the moment. “I just want to dive all four years of college, and then I’ll figure out my next step.”

Standouts_Buddy-Conley[mat time: buddy conley]
Recent Chaminade graduate Buddy Conley decided long ago to turn his home wrestling antics with his brother into an actual activity. “I was looking for a sport to play in sixth grade and just thought I would try wrestling,” Conley says. “I love the simplicity of it. It’s ‘me versus you’ and solely based on physical domination. If you lose, it’s your fault, but if you win, it’s all because of you too.”

Conley says one of the hardest parts about wrestling is staying within a certain weight class. “I was trying to stay in the 152-pound class during the year to give me a strength and size advantage, but I realized I had just as much strength in a heavier class. So I’m staying away from weight cutting.” To remain in shape during the season, which runs from late November through February, he did his own workout before school each morning. Practices were every day to prepare for the almost weekly tournaments. “How you compete in the regular tournaments affects how you’re seeded in Districts,” he explains. “The top four at Districts earn a spot at the State tournament.” This year, Conley placed second at Districts, losing to his opponent by only one point, and placed fourth at State.

In the off season, practices were five to six nights a week. “The past couple of years, I competed in national tournaments when I wasn’t wrestling with Chaminade. Anyone can sign up for those, and I placed at two of them. Last year, I placed at the Ohio Tournament of Champions, and I just recently placed at the more prestigious USAW FolkStyle Nationals.”

He trained with other local wrestlers after school ended to prepare for his college season at Indiana University, where he currently is training for the summer. “I was looking at smaller colleges when my coach, Lee Ferris, mentioned Indiana,” Conley says. “They have a great program in the Big 10 and great coaches. They asked me to visit, and everyone seemed friendly.” Now, he just hopes to continue his physical domination.

Standouts_Joey-Williamstalk to… [ joey williams ]
Recent Kirkwood High School graduate Joey Williams was on the golf course as soon as he could walk, so it’s no surprise he took to the sport. He will play for Maryville University this fall.

Q| How did you get started with golf?
A| Both my parents played, and my grandfather was the head pro at Westwood Country Club, so he got me into it.

Q| When did you realize this was something you are really good at?
A| I’ve played in junior PGA tournaments since I was 7 or 8, but it wasn’t anything too serious until I qualified for State my sophomore year of high school.

Q| Any other big accomplishments?
A| I won our Sectional tournament this year and also qualified for State my junior and senior years.

Q| How do you qualify for State?
A| The top five individuals on the team qualify for Districts, and after that, it’s Sectionals and then State.

Q| How often do you practice?
A| Probably about five times a week, which includes playing and going to the driving range.

Q| What do you love most about the sport?
A| I like how it can be an individual sport or a team one. You have to focus on your own game, and you can’t give up, because that would hurt your teammates.

Q| What ’s your favorite course?
A| Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau, where we played the State tournament last year.

Recommended