Photo by Joe Chitwood
From left, Hershey Head Coach Dustin Jorgenson Kerry, Clay and Jamie Frels, Hershey Assistant Bear Jorgenson and Jenna Frels.
Hershey senior Clay Frels accepted a scholarship offer Wednesday to play basketball for the Hastings College Broncos.He said that his friend, Tucker White, a Hershey graduate that now attends Hastings was instrumental in gaining the scholarship.
“He helped by always talking me up to the coach there and I sent some film, finally took a visit and met Coach Bill Gavers and the assistants and they all showed interest in me and sent me the offer the day before I went to Lincoln to watch the state basketball tournament. It was pretty exciting.”
Frels also received an offer from Doane University.
“Both schools have great athletic and academic programs, and both scholarships offered the same money, but Hastings had more of the things set up that would help me with my minor and major studies,” he said.
Frels said that the coaches told him they liked his “length and agility’ and liked how he could “really move the ball and dictate an offense.”
Frels has played organized basketball since the second grade. “I’ve always played here at Hershey and also played on a traveling team the summer of my freshman year.”
“It’s always been my dream to play on past high school. Like every little kid, I dreamed of playing in the pros someday,” he said. “But once I got into high school I was fine as long as I got the opportunity to continue after high school is over.”
Frels said that three people helped him along the way.
"Hershey Coach Greg Miller, who everyone knows passed away, helped me develop my talent, he made me passionate for the game," he said. "And coaches Dustin and Bear (Gordon) Jorgenson made me improve. They always pushed me harder than anyone else and encouraged me to continue to work harder. I am forever thankful for Greg and my coaches.”
Frels said he will remember everything about his high school career.
“Maybe the senior year the most because I got to play with all my friends and knew it was our last time together,” he said. “And winning the SPVA tournament and going undefeated at home this year; we were the first team at Hershey to ever do that. It was a fun ride this year but I will remember all of it, that is for sure.”
Hershey Head Coach Dustin Jorgenson said he was excited for Frels.
“It is something he wanted to do all his life and he has put in so much time in the gym," he said. “And I don’t know if Hershey has ever had a kid that put in so much time helping with the camps and elementary basketball. He was a good leader on our team. Some kids lead by example and some are vocal, but he does it both. He has set the standards high here at Hershey.”
Vice Principal Jeremy Thomas said he was proud of Frels.
“He worked very hard his whole career. It was more than his play, it was his sportsmanship he displayed," he said. "Over all the past years, he worked with Miller, the little kids and comes to the gym every Sunday to help. Just to see the collective work he put in shows me that Hastings will not only get a great player but a great kid. I wish him all the best.”
Frels will major in biology with a minor in athletic training.
“I want to go into physical therapy and athletic training and stay involved in athletics,” he said.
He is the son of Jamie and Kerry Frels and lives in Hershey with them and his younger sister, Jenna.