Anoka’s record in the girls’ basketball state tournament fell to 0-3 with last week’s quarterfinal loss to Eden Prairie. But Tornadoes senior guard Kyrah Fredenburg said the journey remains satisfying.
As a freshman, Fredenburg helped Anoka turn heads by qualifying for state with a 6-24 record. Since then, she helped turn the program from curiosity to contender and return to state in 2013 and 2014.
Fredenburg and her fellow seniors made program history by becoming the first quintet ever to sign letters of intent to play college basketball: Fredenburg (Concordia-St. Paul), Claire Lundberg (Seton Hall), Jordan Meyer (North Dakota), and sisters Amber and Ashley Bray (Dakota Wesleyan).
Fredenburg spoke with Star Tribune reporter David La Vaque about going to state this season and leaving a legacy.
Q: Back in 2011 no one knew where Anoka came from. What’s it like to no longer be a surprise team?
A: What we’ve done is a really big achievement. We came in as eighth-graders to a program that was pretty much nothing, and we built it up to become something. I hope it inspires others to keep on going.
Q: Reflecting on this season, what sort of defining games did you experience?
A: In our first round of [Northwest Suburban] conference games we lost to Andover and Park Center. But then the second time we beat them both and I think that gave us confidence. We said, ‘‘Just because it happened once, it doesn’t have to happen again. We can do this.’’
Q: You made it to state as a freshman and now your high school career is over. Is it hard to believe that so much time passed so quickly?
A: I still think about making it to state freshman year all the time. Walking into the Target Center you’re like, ‘Holy cow.’ You’re just nervous as can be. By the second time you’ve calmed down a little bit, and by the third time I think we were pretty good.
Q: How long have you known some of the players in this senior class?
A: I met Claire in second grade playing in-house basketball. I met Amber and Ashley and a few other girls in fifth grade. So we’ve been together forever and we have so many memories. That’s what the big thing is — making memories with your team.
Q: Five of you are off to play college basketball this fall. How do you plan on keep tabs on one another?
A: I think we’ll stay in touch pretty well. Amber, Ashley and I — I think we’ll still be talking all the time. I grew up with them and they are family friends. We’re going separate places, but we’re really not going too far from each other.
Q: What does it mean to be part of a senior group with five college players?
A: That’s just hard work that paid off. You don’t get stuff handed to you. You’ve got to be in the gym and working hard all the time. That’s our reward.
Q: What does the future hold for Anoka’s program?
A: We have a big freshman class coming up, and they’ve been pretty successful, too. Five of them were on JV. They look up to us and we tried not to disappoint them. Hopefully we’ve given them a boost to get going.
David La Vaque