Nixa native Courtney Frerichs returned home from competing in the Olympics in Rio and she is receiving a lot of support from her community and is inspiring young athletes.
Fans had a chance to meet Frerichs at Nixa’s first football game Friday night. She finished 11th in her race, but student-athletes who met her know she is among the best in the world and are truly inspired by someone who was once in the same classrooms and practices they are in today.
“When I was watching her race, it was Nixa, Mo., like our hometown,” said Isaiah Holgerson, a 7th grader at Nixa Junior High.
And tonight, she came back, to the tracks where it all began.
“This is where it all started,” said Frerichs. “This is where I fell in love with competing and being involved with athletics.”
Frerichs says she came back a better athlete from the Olympics, her first senior international event.
“I felt like I just soaked everything up and I felt like I learned a lot racing-wise,” she said.
Friday night, Frerichs met with fans, taking photos, signing autographs and even giving some advice to young athletes.
“Just follow where your path goes. I never thought I’d be running in the Olympics, I always had an Olympic dream, but I just always stay involved in sports and took it as it came and just have fun with it,” she said.
They are listening and watching.
“It’s really great to see someone work so hard and get where she is, and come back home and have all the support that she is having. And I look up to her a lot,” said Jordan Collard, a freshman volleyball player.
No matter what sport they play, they are inspired by how far someone who was once in their shoes can get.
“No matter where you live, don’t matter how far you can get,” said Logan Davis, 8th grader.
“It’s also cool that she came from our hometown Nixa. She just inspired me to keep working hard because I want to be in the Olympics someday when I’m older,” said Keshawn Murdie, a freshman.
“It’s really cool that she made it to the top,” Holgerson said. “11th in the world is a great feat. It’s just incredible.”
And receiving this support is just as important to her.
“It’s really neat to be back here and just be around those that have seen me since I was so young,” she said. “It’s really amazing to come home and everyone is really excited, I feel really lucky to have so many people behind me.”
The City of Nixa recognized Courtney at halftime.
She said for now she’ll get some rest. She’ll be moving to Portland where she will continue training and preparing for the World Championship next year. And she’s also planning a wedding.