A-K Valley athletes of the week: Freeport’s Sydney Selker, Apollo-Ridge’s Greg Klingensmith

Saturday, May 21, 2022 | 5:46 PM

Sydney Selker

School: Freeport

Class: Sophomore

Sport: Softball

Report card: Selker threw a complete game, allowing one run on five hits against Central Valley in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs on Wednesday. Selker batted .483 and hit seven home runs while driving in 27 runs during the regular season.

What is one thing you have to do before every game?

I have to put my hair in my bow. If I don’t have my bow, I freak out. I also have to warm up in a specific way.

What went into you going the distance in your playoff game against Central Valley?

It was definitely hard with the rain, but throughout the whole thing, I knew that we wanted that game bad and I knew that pitching was going to be needed for that game, so I just pushed through the rain. I had to switch out balls frequently, but I stayed positive throughout the entire game.

How did it feel to be able to win that playoff game?

It was amazing because Freeport softball hasn’t won a playoff game in a few years, so being the team that broke that record was super exciting. We all wanted to win that first game so we could face Beaver second round, and it happened, so we’re all super stoked about it.

You had an amazing year with the bat. What went into your preparation?

It was definitely hard coming back from an injury. I was off all winter long not being able to hit or anything, so hitting was definitely something I had a focus on when I came back. I was like, “I want my stats to be better than last year,” so I pushed myself each and every practice to get better.

What was your most memorable home run this year?

The one against Karns City was the most memorable because my sister and I both hit a home run. We’ve always wanted to do it, and it’s her senior year, so whenever we both hit it together, it was magical.

How was it like playing with your sister in softball?

I absolutely love it. She’s my best friend. Playing with her is just something not a lot of people can experience, so I’m super lucky to have gotten to play with my sister.

How much do your teammates mean to you?

My teammates are my sisters. We’re with each other every day for about two and a half hours. I love each and everyone to death. We play super well together, and I always have their back.

Who would you say has pushed you the hardest in softball?

My parents have definitely pushed me hard, but I would say all of my coaches. They know that I’m capable of anything, and they know that if they keep pushing me.

How much do your parents and your family mean to you?

I don’t know how I would live without my family. They are my all-time supporters. They’ve always supported me in everything I’ve done.

How much has travel softball with the Outlaws helped for high school softball?

It definitely helped a lot because we really only get two weeks off, and that’s in August, but we go all year round. We work hard in the fall. We work hard in the winter, and those reps in the wintertime really helped me for the spring.

What’s next for you and the team?

We’re gonna put forth all of our efforts out to the field. We’re going to work super hard as a team and see what the outcome is. For me, personally, I’m hoping to get Division I offers by next fall. I know it’s kind of pushing it, but I’m going to work super hard for that goal.

What do you want to do after high school?

I want to major in kinesiology. My dream is to become a physical therapist for an athletic team, so like a professional team. I want to be a physical therapist.

Greg Klingensmith

School: Apollo-Ridge

Class: Senior

Sport: Track and field

Report card: Klingensmith finished second in the discus (152 feet, 4 inches) at the WPIAL Class 2A championships Wednesday. He broke his own school record. A William & Mary commit for football, Klingensmith is a two-time first-team all-conference selection and was the conference’s defensive lineman of the year.

How did it feel to be able to break the discus record?

It felt like a huge honor. The record there was standing for a very long time, since like the ’70s, so breaking it was a huge honor.

What was your experience like at the WPIAL championships?

I had a blast. The weather wasn’t the best, but I can’t really complain. I didn’t throw as well as I did last year, but I still got second place, which was my goal.

How did it feel to be able to get your first football playoff win as a high schooler?

It was so much fun. That will be a memory for the rest of my life, but I knew the team we had last year was going to go far and we did. I loved all those guys in the class of ‘21.

What was your defining moment in sports?

Whenever I broke the school record, I think that was a big moment. I think that really secured my self-confidence, and that was before I had any offers for football. Also winning that first playoff game at home was just such a surreal moment in my eyes and that had the same impact as breaking the score.

How much have your teammates meant to you?

I don’t know where I’d be without my teammates. The Class of 2021, they’re the best. They were amazing. In football and basketball, the class had every position covered. Baseball was also really good, but from the outside looking in, you might think that those guys were super cocky and self-righteous, but they weren’t. They’re always super nice and super fun. And they had a lot of knowledge, which was beneficial to me and my class, learning from them.

How was it stepping into a leadership-type role for the team?

With the underclassmen, I’ve always wanted to just try to give them the knowledge that I have before I leave.

Who has pushed you the most throughout your entire athletic career?

My mom and dad, they’ve always pushed me to be the best, but other than family, definitely coach (John) Skiba, my football coach. Since I started playing football in my seventh-grade year, he’s always pulled me aside because he saw the potential that I had, and he really pushed me to be the best.

What does your family mean to you?

They’re super supportive. I will be a first-generation college student, and that’s unbelievable for them. They always say they’re like, ‘I never thought we’d had kids and this would be happening.’ And now my sister and I are both going to college. My dad was a huge influence on me when I was younger, and my mom was just so proud of me. I am so blessed to have the parents that I do and to back me up no matter what my decisions were.

Why did you choose William & Mary?

I did some research and found out this second-oldest university in the country, and I’m a big history nerd. So that was always cool. I saw some pictures of the campus, and I was it’s such a beautiful place. On my game day visit, I got to see them playing on the field, which is the nicest field I’ve ever seen just in terms of aesthetics and the quality of it. I just got there, and I met the coaching staff, you’re not really supposed to judge your decision off of that, but that was a big influence. I just liked the team and how they handled themselves.

What will your major be?

I’m going to go for business, but I’m still undecided.

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