WORTHINGTON -- Sophie Wietzema is a rare athlete. She’s a jokester, she’s funny. She makes her teammates laugh, and they respond to her in ways that are obvious to everyone who’s seen her participate in a sport.
On the team bus, she leads the team in hijinks. She’s got a winning sense of humor that attracts people.
To most of us, a person like Sophie Wietzema doesn’t appear to be the type to rally a team. Team leaders aren’t usually the funny ones. But that’s not true in the Worthington High School senior’s case. She’s a natural leader, perhaps most notably in volleyball and basketball. She also participates in softball, swimming and cross country, and her positive personality shows there, too.
It’s been a frustrating year for every high school athlete because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But Wietzema did the best she could.
“We started off with volleyball being canceled, and so I was like, ‘What am I going to do to stay in shape?’ So I joined cross country. … Then they canceled volleyball and pushed back basketball. I had to work out by myself. I was running out on our country roads out by our house to try to stay in shape, then they opened the gyms and I started lifting again,” she recalled.
Late in the volleyball season, as her team struggled to close out games, Wietzema had to miss four matches by quarantining. This week’s subject for The Drill -- with a smile -- says she hopes the upcoming basketball season will be better.
She plays trumpet and takes part in choir, band and orchestra at WHS. In her spare time, she likes to kayak and paddle-boat on Lake Okabena.
You can see a video of Wietzema online at www.dglobe.com. Here is a sampling of our interview:
QUESTION: What kind of a leader do you hope to be for the basketball squad?
ANSWER: “I personally have a good mental game, so I want my teammates to have a good mental game. I try to push them on and off the court, even in the classroom, when we hang out. I just try to push them to be a better person.”
QUESTION: What would you say are some of your strengths as a basketball player?
ANSWER: I think my best qualities as a basketball player is that I’m always upbeat. I never get down on myself. But skillful-wise, I’m big as a person so I know how to use my body. I’m not the best ball-handler, but I’ve practiced and I got better. And I became more confident in my shot. I’ve been shooting outside the 3-point line throughout the years.”
QUESTION: Who is the person who inspires you most in sports?
ANSWER: My inspiration is my brother, Trevor Wietzema. He played at NAIA at Dakota Wesleyan for football for four years. He started starting his freshman year and he had a good career. He was an All-American and I just look up to him.”