Time management is of the utmost importance to Mei Fredeen.
It has to be in order for the Green Bay Southwest senior to get around to all the activities she is involved with at school, including being National Honor Society president, student body treasurer and class vice president.
Fredeen ranks third in her class with a 3.94 GPA. She plays the piano and violin, qualifying for state solo and ensemble with both instruments. She also advanced to the WIAA state girls tennis tournament.
Despite her busy schedule, Fredeen manages to make time for one of her favorite hobbies — speedskating.
Fredeen began competing in the sport not long after she learned to skate. She became the first member of the Cornerstone Speed Skating Club to win a national championship last year when she won the Junior B Ladies Short Track title.
Fredeen, who can complete a 500-meter race in less than 49 seconds, discusses competing in a unique sport in this week’s Senior Spotlight.
Why do you enjoy speedskating?
Speedskating is a really huge mental sport. You have to have a lot of mental stamina and not just physical strength, which is why I love it. You have to have strategy and patience.
How did you get your start in the sport?
They had learn to skate classes here (at the Cornerstone Community Center). After a while I didn’t like to listen to the instructors and just wanted to race around a lot. I saw the hockey guys would be playing tag or something. Shannon (Holmes) suggested to my mom that I try speedskating because she was also in charge of that at the time. I tried it and really loved it. That’s what I’ve been doing ever since.
When did you start to realize you could excel at speedskating?
There used to be a skating competition for the state of Wisconsin. My very first year of doing that, my mom had no idea how good I was, but then I came in first for that. She was really surprised because she had to get home and go to some dinner for something, and we were still stuck there because I was still racing.
You grew up training with Sammy Holmes, who was a senior at Green Bay Southwest last year. How much of your success in the sport is a credit to her?
It really helps to have a training partner to push you. We’re always there to push each other. We get serious during competitions sometimes but after a while we just kind of grew closer and meets were always fun to be around each other.
You did cross-country skiing and speedskating as an underclassman. How tough was it to juggle both of them?
It really helped with cross training for speedskating to build up your endurance a lot.
Are there any similarities to tennis and speedskating?
In both of them I feel like you have to have a lot of patience. In speedskating you have to have patience when you’re going to set up a pass. The same goes for tennis. It’s also a really mental sport. You kind of have to have patience when you’re going to make the right shot. You just can’t hit everything as hard as you want and hope it goes in. There is a lot of strategy in both.
Why did you decide to attend college at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut?
Their physician assistant program is ranked fifth in the country. It’s the top direct entry physician assistant program, so I was really thrilled when I got in.
What sparked your interest in the medical field?
I always liked math and science more than the language arts field. My dad is a pathologist and my mom is a pharmacist, so that kind of pushed me over into the medical field area. … I really enjoy (science classes). I think it’s pretty fascinating. We’re going to be dissecting sheep’s brains in a couple weeks I think in my anatomy class, so I’m kind of excited for that.
You play the piano and the violin. Which instrument is your favorite?
I would say violin is my stronger of the two now. I still play piano and violin and have gone to state for solo and ensemble before for both of them.
What’s your favorite sports memory?
Probably last year going up on the podium and winning the national (speedskating) championship.
What’s your most embarrassing sports memory?
My freshman year I got sunburned so badly that my dad was so concerned that he wanted me to wear a mask while I played tennis. It was so bad.
Which teammate would you bring on a roller coaster?
Kristen Mason. She’s always living on the edge and I feel like we would both go on the scariest roller coasters.
Which teammate could survive on a deserted island?
Isabella McNaughton because she’s pretty smart and I feel like she would be really resourceful in that kind of situation.
Who would you give half of your lottery winnings to if you won?
Sammy Holmes because she’s one of my best and closest friends. We would probably go out and do something fun with it.
What do you like most about your school?
I really love challenging classes. I think Southwest challenges me and pushes me to do my best.
Class: Anatomy and physiology.
TV show: “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Movie: “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
Singer: Ed Sheeran.
Childhood toy: Anything with Spider-Man.
Athlete: Serena Williams.
“Her dedication stands out the most to me. I think that’s going to pay off for her in the long term, not just in skating and tennis, it’s more life skills she’s gaining from sports more than anything. Her dedication, her attitude and work ethic are the things that stand out the most about Mei.”
— Cornerstone speedskating coach Shannon Holmes
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