By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– James Friedman travels up to Portland on the regular for his four-and-a-half gymnastics practice every day. It’s grueling when you get out of practice at 8:30 every night, but it paid off.
But as Friedman signed his Letter of Intent to compete at the University of Iowa for gymnastics, he leaves West Salem a decorated gymnast.
Friedman won the All-Around National Championship in 2018, is a five-time State Champion, won Regionals three times and was on several Regional Elite teams. Not to mentioning being a National Champion at the Rings event as the ten-year season vet signed on the dotted line Wednesday afternoon.
“I’ve always wanted to do college gymnastics,” said Friedman. “I train four-and-a-half hours, five days-a-week. It’s pretty hard. I drive up to Portland every day. Train, drive home. It’s like 4 to 8:30, it’s hard for homework. I don’t know it really paid off.
“I’m going to train all-around. Freshman year I’m probably going to compete in four events. But hopefully by sophomore, Junior, Senior year can I can be competing All-Around, so I’ll see.
The Hawkeyes are aiming to plug Friedman in the pommel horse, rings, high bar and floor events his freshman year.
Friedman was one of four Titan student-athletes to sign Division-I Wednesday. West Salem had Piage Alexander (University of Oregon), Sarah Rice (University of Arizona) and Andres Labate (Gonzaga University) sign to D1 schools.
The two teammates, along with Olivia Orozco who committed to Western Oregon University for soccer, led West Salem to the 6A State Semi-Finals and a 14-1-3 overall record. But as they enter their collegiate careers, they’ll be playing against each other when the two squads meet in Pac-12 league play.
“I’ll definitely be nervous, but I think it’ll be really fun,” said Rice on playing Alexander.
“It’s kind of funny,” adds Alexander. “I don’t know if I’m in and she’s in the game, I don’t know if I’ll be able to take her seriously. I have to but it’s going to be weird, but it’ll be so much fun. I would love it.”
Alexander broke the single-season school record for most goals in a season with 25. Rice and Orozco were part of a defense that pitched a school record 12 shutouts in a single season.
Emily Cheavtharn committed to Pacific University following her first-team All-Conference honors her senior year setting for the Titans Volleyball team.