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Andale volleyball player Rachel Friedrichs has suffered through an ACL tear and a neck injury during her high school years.

Andale volleyball player Rachel Friedrichs has suffered through an ACL tear and a neck injury during her high school years. Travis Heying/ The Wichita Eagle | Buy this photo

Getting to know Andale’s Rachel Friedrichs

Published Sep. 4 at 9:52 a.m. | Last updated Sep. 4 at 9:53 a.m.

Rachel Friedrichs

Andale volleyball

Friedrichs, a senior middle blocker and basketball player at Andale, has a 4.0 grade-point average and has made a non-binding commitment to play at Missouri Western. She has overcome a serious skiing accident and an anterior cruciate ligament tear.

At 6-foot-2, have you always been the tall girl?

“Always. You always feel kind of, not left out, but you feel a little different. It always helped me for sports. I’m not really complaining. Being tall, everyone expected me to be a hitter, be a down-low post (in basketball). I didn’t care where I was playing. Just being on the floor is what mattered to me.

“But I don’t wear heels. I don’t like being the girl that everyone points out, ‘Oh my gosh, she’s so tall.’ I embrace it, I just don’t show it off.”

Can you tell me about your skiing injury?

“It was my freshman year in high school, during spring break. I went up to Copper Mountain in Colorado with my family, went off a jump too fast. I fractured a bone in my neck, was air-lifted to a hospital, had surgery … spent three months in a neck brace.”

What was the worst part of that injury?

“It was the three months in a neck brace, knowing I was out for sports. My summer was basically ruined for me. Couldn’t swim, had to stay inside. Physical therapy reminded me what I had done and how I had injured myself.”

And your second major injury happened at a volleyball camp in Omaha in the summer of 2013?

“I was going up for a slide and I landed on one foot, hyperextended my knee, tore my left (anterior cruciate ligament). I knew it was pretty bad. I tried to play again, but that was a fail. I tried to convince myself that it was OK, that I could play through it.”

Were you devastated?

“I was heartbroken. It took me a while to get over that. It was a little bit of depression, knowing I wouldn’t be able to play for six months, (I had to) go through rehab again. Watching my friends play the sport that I loved, that was the worst part.”

Since you missed your junior year of volleyball and basketball, how excited are you for your senior year?

“I’m very excited, but it’s also kind of bittersweet, knowing that this is my last year playing at Andale. But it’s also exciting knowing I have four more years of volleyball at Missouri Western.”