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Eagle River diver Friedli earns a scholarship to academic powerhouse Colgate

Van Williams | Alaska Sports Hall of FameAlaska Sports Hall of Fame

Even though she won back-to-back Alaska state titles, elite diver Kaitlin Friedli of Eagle River believes her best is yet to come.

And she thinks the coaches at Colgate University can get her there.

The two-time Alaska high school state champion has accepted a scholarship to the private NCAA Division I school in New York and will sign her letter of intent Friday at Chugiak High School.

“At Colgate, everyone was really warm,” she said. “They were really welcoming. They were great.”

Friedli, of Arctic Dive Club fame, has been the best diver in the state for the last two seasons. She picked Colgate nearly a dozen schools, including Amherst, Dartmouth and Tufts.

Colgate originally contacted her way back in July and conversations heated up in the fall. She considered the other schools and weighed her options, eventually picking Colgate because of its academic and athletic prowess.

Friedli will graduate with a 4.04 GPA.

“I really wanted a school that would be good for my academics,” she said. “I mean, diving has always been second to academics, and so I was really looking at that first but I also knew I really wanted to dive, so once I found the schools I was OK with academically I would look to see how their dive teams were doing.”

Friedli said she couldn’t have gotten this far without the benefit of a local recruiting service called My Game Plan, headed by high school guidance counselor Dan Rufner of Anchorage.

“It definitely helped,” she said. “I was getting emails from coaches, so I would find out about their school and look them up, see what they did and what not, contact with coaches, get exposure and be known.

“We’re not as highly competitive here in Alaska, so I considered myself privileged to have been recruited by a coach.”

Van Williams, a 20-year local sports writer and the former sports editor of the Anchorage Daily News, writes about the athletic exploits of Alaskans for the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame. He can be reached at alaskasportshall@yahoo.com.