Baldwin junior dives into 5-sport schedule

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Sunday, February 14, 2021 | 9:01 AM


Baldwin junior Abbey Herrle doesn’t have time to waste.

After all, she’s a five-sport athlete with a 3.6 GPA.

“Every time anyone asks about my sports and how I manage five of them, I always tell them that if you love something enough, you’ll always be committed to it,” Herrle said. “Whether I have three practices a day, or no days of the week off, I’m always happy to go to practice. I’m able to do the things I love, and to be loved by all my coaches makes the whole process super easy.

“I’d like to thank my parents for everything. I’m so grateful for everything they have done for me. I would have never been able to do the things I do without them by my side. They push me to do things even if I don’t think I can do them. I have great grades because of my father (Darren). He has taught me so many great things. My mom (Amy) has always been there for me when I’m down or frustrated.”

Herrle, 16, has earned seven varsity letters and expects to land at least another four by the end of the school year.

“What a fantastic amount of energy she carries,” Baldwin swimming and diving coach Kim Klinger said. “Abbey is one of those athletes that will succeed in whatever sport she takes on. With her gymnastics training, she is a natural when it comes to the twist dives. Her long length makes her elegant to watch as she dives.

“She has a terrific sense of humor, which helps when a dive from time to time just doesn’t go as planned. She’s a hoot.”

When not on the diving board, the 6-foot Herrle swims in freestyle events for the Highlanders.

“Anything freestyle,” she said, “mainly because I don’t know how to swim the other strokes.”

Klinger believes her athletic junior diver is being a bit modest.

“Don’t think Abbey’s skills stop at the diving board,” Klinger said. “The team has benefited from her swimming skills, too. That natural competitive streak has her racing full speed to the wall to finish ahead of whoever she’s racing.”

Herrle has earned two letters for diving, gymnastics and indoor track and one for outdoor track. She specializes in the high jump in track, but hopes to add running events to her slate this year.

“If it weren’t for covid, I would have one more letter for outdoor track,” she said.

This winter, Herrle is competing in gymnastics, indoor track and diving. And she had time to secure her driver’s license in January.

The Baldwin junior also plays tennis and participates in outdoor track.

“Abbey is a great gymnast,” said Jodi Cummings, Baldwin’s gymnastics coach. “Her highest scoring event is vault, but I think her bars event is the most fun to watch. She’s tall for a gymnast, so it makes her gymnastics amazing. Her long lines are beautiful to watch.

“Abbey is also a great teammate. If you need a laugh or to smile, we go see Abbey because she always has something funny or fun to say.”

Herrle started diving last year and has qualified for the WPIAL Class AAA championships both as a sophomore and junior.

The WPIAL Class AAA diving meet will take place Feb. 27 at North Allegheny.

“I’m hoping I do better than last year,” Herrle said. “My expectation is that I try my hardest and perform better than ever. I’d like to make it into the second round, but every other girl has been diving their entire life and it’s only my second year. As long as I walk out feeling confident with myself, I’ll know that I tried my hardest.”

Herrle’s diving career actually began somewhat casually.

“My mom and I were at our public pool,” she said, “and I was doing flips off the diving board and my mom was talking about how nice they looked. A lady came up to her and asked her if I was a diver.”

That set things in motion for the energetic Baldwin athlete.

“I’ve been the only diver (at Baldwin) my sophomore and junior years.”

Herrle is hoping to recruit her brother and sister, who are twins in eighth grade, to the Highlanders swim program for her senior season.

“Gabe plays hockey and soccer. Annabelle competes in soccer and gymnastics,” Herrle said. “I’m hoping that next year, Gabe will be on the swim team and Annabelle will dive with me.”

Herrle was a member of last year’s gymnastics squad that finished first in the silver division at the Pennsylvania Classic. She enjoys working out and performing on the balance beam the most.

“My favorite event is beam,” Herrle said, “but I perform the best on vault. Although beam makes me very nervous, I enjoy it the most. I do tricks on the beam that I’ve not seen anyone do before, and that makes me love it the most.

“I believe gymnastics has (established) a strong base on my diving. I’ve had an advantage in diving due to gymnastics and I am very grateful.”

Oh yes, Herrle’s also an avid downhill skier.

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