NEPONSET – After failing to make the state finals in either shot put or discus at state in 2012, Kewanee High School’s Freya Block, a senior from Neponset, dedicated herself to improving for her final high school campaign. The extra effort paid off at Charleston this year, as she came home with second-place medals in both events.
Her runner-up finishes in both events capped off a season in which Block dominated her competition, setting multiple meet records. These accomplishments make Freya Block the 2013 BCR Girls Track Athlete of the Year.
“Basically, at the beginning of the season, I decided that, since my junior year didn’t go so well, I was going to approach everything differently,” she said of her attitude coming into this year. “(I decided to) not focus on the stressful things and just enjoy it and that helped a lot. I think that’s the whole reason that I was successful this year. I learned from my mistakes.
“Going into finals, I was like, ‘Oh this is my final year, but I’m not going to freak out and be like I have to win.’ It was good because the two girls who won truly deserved to win. They’ve been just ahead of me all four years, so it’s not a disappointment.”
The key for the trip to state this year for Block was to keep it loose.
“I was the only one (to qualify for state) from Kewanee,” she said. “So, with there only being me, and I was able to invite one of the other girls on the team, we just really relaxed and did whatever in our free time. Thursday prelims and then finals aren’t till Saturday, so we had a just relax and do whatever. It was really nice.”
Block rewrote the record books in 2013. She set meet records in both events at Kewanee’s Brockman Invitational, the Riverdale Invitational, and Princeton’s Howard-Monier Invitational. She also set the mark for shot put at the Three Rivers Conference meet and Princeton’s Ferris Co-Ed Invitational.
She started the season with a championship in shot at Indoor State. She finished first in both events at the TRAC meet, Sherrard Tiger Relays, Riverdale Invitational, Princeton’s Ferris Co-Ed and Howard-Monier Invitationals, Brockman Invitational and the Erie Sectional.
“In both events, I made up for last year,” Block said. “During the season, my numbers were better. At state, they were about the same. Overall, (the year) was really good. At a lot of the meets, I’d have a good throw, and my coach would be like, ‘Oh, you broke the meet record.’ I thought most of these meets, (Bureau Valley’s) Melanie Thompson had, and I couldn’t believe that I broke her records.”
She finished on top of the BCR Honor Roll in both weight with throws of 40-4 3/4 in the shot and 132-7, both considerably ahead of the next best efforts.
While she was not quite in kindergarten yet when Neponset High School closed its doors, the annexation of Neponset’s district into Kewanee took place when she was in eighth grade. Block has fond memories of the old Neponset schools, but has made the adjustment well.
“I was a little sad to see it go,” she said. “Neponset was a really great school, and I enjoyed being in a little school. Now that I’ve been at Kewanee for four years, it’s fine, but at first, I was like, ‘Oh darn.’”
Freya will be carrying her career into the collegiate level, as she will be heading to Southern Illinois University in the fall.
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