BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
When people began congratulating Clarkston Junior High School freshman Claire Nowicki she didn’t know why they were congratulating her.
The evening the proud praises began, her mom, Kathleen Nowicki Akin, told her she was named to the 2017 Freaky Freshman list from Michigan High School Volleyball Insider.
“When I found out my heart dropped,” Claire shared. “I was thrilled. I realized my hard work of practice, lessons and strength training is starting to pay off.”
Claire, currently an outside hitter on the Clarkston Varsity Volleyball team, was also selected to be on the Lakeshore high performance team from the region which played in Fort Lauderdale during the summer.
She began playing volleyball when one of her friends thought it would be a good idea. They both went to a beginner league and clinic.
“It was fun and I continued to play,” she said. “Looking back, I was so scared to spike or attack the ball because I couldn’t do it. Now it’s one of the strongest parts of my game. What’s also fun is my friend hasn’t played volleyball since.”
She added she loves doing what she is passionate about and volleyball is one of those things.
“I also love making new friends on a team and being part of that bond teammates have,” she said. “Like in any sport, the thrill of winning is awesome.”
Her goal for this year and years to come is to continue to improve.
“I always know there is someone working just as hard so I can’t be comfortable relaxing,” Claire said. “I try to do something every day to work on my game whether it’s working onmy vertical or even my mental game.”
She added she would like to attend more college matches because she would like to play for one of the colleges in the Big Ten. She aims to also be a professional sand volleyball player or college coach someday.
When Claire isn’t studying or playing volleyball, she enjoys her time by staying underneath her blankets and relaxing and also hanging out with her cousins and friends.
“If wasn’t playing volleyball, I might pursue something with the arts,” she shared. “I like drawing.”
The Lady Wolves host Mercy High School on Oct. 19 with JV beginning at 5 p.m., varsity follows.