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Jennifer Fremd does it all: Rugby, football, wrestling, music (Q&A)
By Shanna McCarriston
It’s not enough for Jennifer Fremd to be a part of a rugby team in its third year of existence. In fact, nothing is enough to satisfy her thirst for new adventures. Fremd has picked up more hobbies by her sophomore year in college than most community centers offer as clubs. With her determination to try the new, Fremd’s résumé includes playing football, wrestling, practicing the martial art of judo and being so musically inclined that she could be a one-woman musical festival. Because of her hobbies, her time is limited, but if nothing else, Fremd makes each moment count.
QBSN: Why rugby?
Jennifer Fremd: I like the factors that it has to it. It has everything I enjoy about football but takes away the things that I didn’t like, such as the constant stopping, the very short sprints and the pads. Rugby is a lot more technical so it’s not necessarily dependent on your size or how ripped you are; it’s dependent very much on skill. I really appreciate that, and it’s just so much fun.
QBSN: What is the hardest part about rugby?
JF: Learning the sport. It’s very confusing at first because unless you have someone there explaining it to you while you’re watching it, it’s very hard to understand what’s going on. People are getting lifted in the air, people are passing backwards, sometimes kicking the ball, sometimes not kicking. Being one of the few people on the team who hasn’t played the sport before is very challenging.
QBSN: What is your favorite part about playing rugby?
JF: I like the fast-paced factor of it, and I’ve always been a big fan of contact sports because I like to be able to get in there and be physical.
QBSN: Where do you see the rugby team going this year?
JF: It’s hard to say this year. We’re a very young team, and we’re working things out right now. We were also bumped up to a very difficult division. The game this past weekend was an eye opener that we need to work on things. Seeing how we rebound from that will be a deciding factor, and it could go either way.
QBSN: What are your pre-game rituals?
JF: We have this thing called “the stomp,” where the team will get together in a circle and do a stomp ritual. There are warm ups and stretching and visualizing greatness. I personally do not listen to music. I sing to myself in my head.
QBSN: Who do you look up to on the rugby team?
JF: Shannon Durkin. She works really hard, cares about people and acts as a leader. And very exciting news, she became captain this year.
QBSN: How are college teams different from high school?
JF: I don’t really see much of a difference except college teams are much more invested in our health.
QBSN: What did you learn by playing football?
JF: I got very high standards because I’m used to playing with guys and so the mixture of that and wrestling got me used people being ridiculously strong very easily or very fast, and so I came here and started doing an only girls sport and said, “Wow, I’m actually decently fast.”
QBSN: How was it competing with the guys in football?
JF: I treat it no differently than playing with girls in the regard that you just work as hard as you can and do what the coaches tell you to do. You can do what they can do, it’s just not as easy to get there. Football was a kick to the ego. Someone would work half as hard and get twice the results. I would constantly work hard, do whatever I can to get stronger and better, and they would work half as hard and be able to bench 300, while I was benching 95. But now I have very high standards for myself.
QBSN: When were you introduced to football?
JF: In eighth grade P.E., we were tossing a football around, and I said, “Hey this is really fun,” and thought I should do it in high school and so I just did it.
QBSN: How did the guys react when they found out you were playing on the team?
JF: No different, just as long as I worked really hard. They didn’t judge me based on gender, they accepted me.
QBSN: Do you watch professional football?
JF: I don’t. I’m not much for watching sports because I’d rather just play them. When I watch them I always think, “I would rather be playing that right now.”
QBSN: What is your favorite sport to play?
JF: Wrestling. It’s the one I’ve done the longest. I hated it most of the time but my senior year of high school I realized how much I loved it.
QBSN: What was the highlight of your sports career in high school?
JF: I would say going to States and getting third place in wrestling but I feel disappointed in that because I should have gotten at least first or second, but I made one small mistake and lost a match.
QBSN: When did you begin wrestling?
JF: Seventh grade. I got dared to and I hated it, but I did it anyways. I stuck with it because I was really proud and I wanted to show people I could do it. That’s why I stuck with football because people were asking me if I was going to play it next year and I said, “Heck yes, it’s easy!”
QBSN: Do you see yourself still being into athletics in the future?
JF: I probably won’t be able to because I don’t want to be a professional athlete in the regard that I want to do something else. I’m hoping to be working at a company designing prosthetics because I want to revolutionize that field.
QBSN: What is your major, and how are you enjoying it so far?
JF: Mechanical engineering. I love it, and doing what you love is what matters.
QBSN: What does your family think of all your success?
JF: I guess proud? My dad hated the fact that I played football because he said, “You’re going to get injured before the wrestling season, and it’s going to be worthless,” but he’s actually happy that I did not because that got me to rugby. When my mom was a kid, she wanted to play football, but that wasn’t socially acceptable in the time period so she didn’t. She is living vicariously through me.
QBSN: What are your hobbies outside of sports and music?
JF: Collecting hobbies. Over the summer I just learned to cross stitch. I draw a lot. I paint sometimes. I write poetry. I do origami. I sort of learned Japanese.
QBSN: Did you bring some of the instruments you play to QU?
JF: Yes, I did. I brought the ukulele, guitar, trumpet and accordion.
QBSN: How do you manage doing so much?
JF: I don’t sleep much and I am very good with time management. I want to do a lot of things, but there’s not much time in the world unless you schedule things well.
QBSN: What motivates you to keep you going?
JF: The want to do everything but there being such a short time span of one human life.
QBSN: What are your goals as an athlete?
JF: I want to excel at my sport. I enjoy the challenges and being physically fit. I want to be really fast, really strong and be able to jump really high.
QBSN: What are your goals as a student?
JF: To excel at academics. I don’t have many goals except to learn, or to learn how to learn and learn how to think because I see life as a lesson.
QBSN: What are words you live by?
JF: Always try something once … at least.