Rejuvenated Jeeps adjusting to new campaign

Photo by Jimmy Lafakis/The Herald
Northeast Dubois swimmers participate in drills during a recent practice in Dubois.


DUBOIS — While the Northeast Dubois swimmers find their flows in the water, Jeeps head coach Kendra Friedman observes an energetic conglomerate of student-athletes. In a season riddled with uncertainty, Friedman and the Jeeps are determined to add more prosperous chapters to the program’s history.

“They still have that same drive,” she said. “They still want to compete. They still want to try to win.”

The official Northeast Dubois roster lists 11 girls. A robust upperclassmen group features juniors Anna Schnell, Sabrina Dunning and Jade Mundy. Seniors Adelle Fravell and Hailey Sweeney bring veteran leadership to the unit.

Freshmen Paige Troxal, Mary Seybold, Jazlyn O’Brien and Averi Bauer are the youngest Jeeps. Sophomores Kendall Buechler and Elizabeth Schepers supply additional depth.

Although the Jeeps’ summer workouts were limited, both the boys and girls are establishing their routines in practices.

“We didn’t really get to do what we normally do,” Friedman said. “Normally, I like to do a lot more preseason conditioning and a lot more running. Because of COVID, we kind of had to put a lot on hold. We didn’t really get that this summer, which is OK. We’re here now. We’re practicing. We’re putting in the work now.”

On the boys side, Northeast Dubois will attempt to fill the void left by last year’s decorated senior class and Italian foreign exchange student Lorenzo Vaiardi. Last season, the versatile Vaiardi left his imprint and became only the second Jeeps male swimmer to qualify for state.

Eight boys will suit up for the Jeeps. Two freshmen, Landon Reuber and Aiden Elliott, will join sophomore Rolen Case in the underclassmen group. Juniors Dakota Roach and Preston Brinkman provide solid doses of experience, while seniors Trevor Buechler, Carter Beckman and Pierce Brinkman set the precedents for their younger teammates.

Friedman’s guidance has helped the Jeeps comprehend the benefits of refining multiple muscle groups in training sessions.

“Whenever you compete, you’re using every muscle in your body,” she said. “You have to have a lot of time spent in the water, but you also have to have a lot of time spent outside of the water doing things like conditioning, running and weightlifting. You have to have drive. If you don’t, you’re not going to do well in swimming.”

To that end, Friedman underscored the importance of other sports playing their roles in holistic fitness. The Jeeps also participate in sports such as cross-country, soccer and baseball.

“They’re not just dedicated to swimming,” Friedman said. “I think that makes them very well-rounded, which I think is probably different from a lot of other programs. It gives them a little bit more of an edge.”

The disciplined student-athletes remain poised throughout their intense meets. The Jeeps have embraced Friedman’s rule — no phones are permitted during competitions.

“They need to be up and cheering for their teammates,” Friedman said. “If they have a teammate swimming, they need to be up and cheering. That’s something that they’re used to. It’s second nature now.”

The Northeast Dubois boys and girls will compete against Tecumseh and Southridge at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 7 at Tecumseh.

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