Editor’s Note: The Courier-Tribune’s Boys and Girls Athletes of the Year for Liberty, Liberty North, Kearney and Smithville were selected by sports writer Mac Moore based on his opinions from covering the teams and using insights provided by area coaches when available.
Kearney Girls Athlete of the Year: Andi Kreiling, volleyball and girls swimming
Andi Kreiling went into the summer of 2020 with less uncertainty than most of her peers dealing with the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kreiling squared away her college plans with a month to go during her junior year. She committed to Arizona State in the sport where she had turned all of her (athletic) focus: volleyball. Kreiling opted out of competing in swimming following her sophomore season because of she wanted to focus on conquering her academic workload.
But Kreiling returned to the pool during her senior year after she had wrapped up most of her strenuous studies.
Her decision would ultimately lead Kreiling to a state-title finish in the 100-yard freestyle event at the Missouri Class 1 state championship meet in February. She became the second Bulldog girls swimmer to win a state crown, the first since Madison Strathman won in the 100-yard breaststroke in 2015.
Kreiling nearly won two state championships, but her time of 23.55 in the 50 free left her five-hundredths back of the winner and earned her a silver medal in the event.
Kreiling’s multiple top-3 performances were the first time that’s happened for Kearney since she had three during her freshman season. She also earned a fourth-place finish in the 50 free during her sophomore season.
In her main sport of volleyball, Kreiling also impressed with her elite athleticism.
She helped lead the Bulldogs to the district title game for the second time during her four years on the team. Kearney went 15-5 on the season and won 12 of the games in 3-0 sweeps, including six in row down the stretch.
Kreiling dominated at the net, delivering 4.4 kills per set as she finished with a team-high 293. She was also second on the team in solo blocks with 7 and third on the team in total blocks at 33. Kreiling finished her four-year high school volleyball career with 805 kills and 189 blocks and the team went 78-35-7.
Kreiling will head to Arizona State this fall looking to make a similar impact for the Sun Devils.