Ozarks Life: Courtney Frerichs setting her sights at a second Olympic team

Frerichs made the 2016 Olympics as a member of the U.S. Women’s Steeplechase Team
Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 10:35 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -What was your dream as a kid?

Did you reach it?

Or did you have to give it up?

“It’s every little athletes dream,” Courtney Frerichs said, “no matter what sport it is, you know for me gymnastics, of growing up to be able to A: just a wear your country’s uniform on the biggest stage, and then to be on the podium with the American flag was a dream come true.”

The Nixa native continues chasing her dream but it’s not in gymnastics anymore. Her current dream is of making the U.S. Olympic Women’s Steeplechase Team for a second time.

“If I got the opportunity to be back it would still be a dream come true,” Frerichs said. “It’s just as meaningful as the first time.”

That first time was in Rio in 2016. Courtney was coming off an NCAA National Title in the steeplechase while attending New Mexico. She made the U.S. Olympic team, then qualified for steeplechase at the Olympics, and finished 11th.

“While the 2016 Olympics was a dream come true,” Frerichs said, “I was so inexperienced. I needed to learn and be better.”

“I saw that work paying off in 2017.”

That year Courtney finished second at the World Championships in London, shaving almost 20-seconds off her Olympic time. If she ran that time back in Rio, it would have been good enough for the Silver medal.

Then in 2018, Frerichs cut more time off and set an American and North American record. Completing the 3,000 meters of steeplechase in just over nine minutes.

“I thought things were going in the right direction,” Frerichs said, “and then March of 2020 came.”

All athletes lost a year of competition but Courtney, like she did while growing up in Nixa, didn’t lose focus on that little girl’s dream.

“It was a chance for me to grow as an athlete,” Frerichs said. “To be better prepared for 2021 and I think it’s paid off. I’ve improved some of my flat times. I think I improved my mental game. And for myself, being another year older is not a bad thing.”

It’s a mindset Courtney takes this weekend into the U.S. Olympic Trials that she often shares with kids in the Ozarks. Set a goal, surround yourself with positive people, and go for it.

“I see a strong, competitive team,” Frerichs said about the other women competing in the steeple.

“As I go into these trials, even though I’ve been there before, it’s not guaranteed. I’ll be so proud to make a second team; if I’m able to.”

“It’s hard to describe how thankful I am to have these opportunities,” Frerichs said.

Frerichs first round at the Olympic Trials will be on Sunday at 8:35 pm. Ozarks’ time. The Steeplechase final will be Thursday at 10:47 p.m. Ozarks’ time.

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