From MO to Tokyo

From+MO+to+Tokyo

Eli Dean, News & Sports Editor

Trivia nerds will be the first to tell you that Jason Bourne’s hometown is Nixa, Missouri. But for those who live in Nixa, there’s another hometown hero that carries much more meaning than the fictional character. Olympic steeplechaser and former Nixa High School track star Courtney Frerichs placed second in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

“I always tell people about Jason Bourne,” Frerichs said. “It’s something that puts Nixa in perspective.”

It’s been ten years since Frerichs graduated from NHS, but she still remembers the coaches who sent her on the path she’s been on since.

“Coach Brumley was really influential to me,” Frerichs said. “He was the one who got me on the track team and made sure I could play soccer and be on the team at the same time.”

Lance Brumley’s attitude to running is what put him over the top for Frerichs when she was getting started in what would become her lifelong career.

“It wasn’t just about our running ability,” Frerichs said. “It was about our ability to be a teammate, and that really changed running for me.”

Brumley, still the track coach at Nixa, remembers Frerichs succeeding in many different areas when she was here.

“She was a big soccer player,” Brumley said. “She was one of the few special athletes that could do both sports and do them successfully.”

Brumley said that Frerichs was a valuable athlete even in high school.

“Back then, there weren’t as many girls on the team as there are now, and the events she did didn’t have a whole of people who did the same thing,” Brumley said. “She was quite valuable to our team.”

Since then, Frerichs’s own athletic goals have centered around having the opportunity to medal in the Olympics — something she was able to accomplish over the summer.

“It was everything to me,” Frerichs said. “All the stress, tears and miles — to have it be all worth it and to believe that I was truly the best version of myself was the biggest part of that moment.”

The moment itself, however, almost never happened. Due to the growing spread of COVID-19, the Olympics were postponed for a year, which put a lot of mental strain on Frerichs as she prepared for her second Olympics.

“It was really difficult in the spring because we weren’t sure if they were even going to happen,” Frerichs said. “It felt like the wind had been knocked right off my sail.”

Frerichs never gave up though, and time and time again she was able to put the sail back on the ship even as the winds got stronger throughout last year.

“Once I realized I needed to make a new set of goals with the Olympics being delayed I was able to become a better athlete because of it,” Frerichs said. “In hindsight, I think the extra year ended up serving me really well.”

When they finally got started, it was much different than 2016 in Rio, but it’s one that Frerichs will never forget.

“I walked away from the Rio Olympics thankful for the opportunity, but felt like I hadn’t taken any risks,” Frerichs said. “I wanted to go into Tokyo putting everything I had out there and I think I was able to walk away from the whole experience proud of myself no matter how the results went.”

Frerichs hopes that with a new generation of athletes, someone is able to share the spotlight with her.

“Don’t be afraid to dream big,” Frerichs said. “I was encouraged to set goals that seemed really out there, but even as those dreams might seem daunting to some, you begin to see your potential and what you can achieve through those goals.”