GREENVILLE – Greenville senior AJ Frens will compete at the NCAA Division I level as he signed his letter of intent Friday afternoon to compete for the Central Michigan University men’s track and field team.
Frens, the son of Scott and Lisa Frens, said having his college commitment finalized will allow him to fully focus on his senior year of competition.
“It feels really great,” he said. “It’s something I’ve been looking forward to since I made my commitment a couple weeks ago. It just takes a lot of the pressure off this year. I can just relax and have fun.”
Central Michigan, a university in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, targeted Frens as its top pole vaulting recruit for the class of 2017.
“I actually met Bryant (Wilson), who is the (pole vault) coach at Central Michigan. I met him at indoor state last year,” Frens said. “My parents talked to him while I was competing, and they didn’t realize until later that he was actually there to watch me. So that was kind of neat. Then afterwards I talked to him for probably about an hour, just talking about stuff, and then we stayed in contact since then.”
Frens has made a couple visits to Central Michigan and enjoyed everything about the university including the campus and his future teammates.
“It’s a big Division I school, but it doesn’t feel like a big Division I school,” he said. “It’s kind of a smaller, compact campus. They still have about 25,000 kids that go there. And all the facilities are really nice. The team isn’t too big so there will be like a lot of one-on-one practices with the coach. That’s really a big advantage. It’s something I’m used to here with (Greenville pole vault coach) Micah (Coblentz).”
Frens has all the tools needed to be successful in pole vaulting such as height, speed and the ability to manipulate is body in the air, Coblentz said.
“He’s got everything he needs to go and do great things in Central Michigan,” Coblentz said. “You couldn’t ask for a kid that could listen and be more coachable than what AJ is. He comes from a great family, and he’s one of the hardest workers I’ve had that’s come through. Very methodical in what he does and tries to take the skills that we work on and masters each one.”
Frens is a two-time Ohio High School Athletic Association state track and field meet qualifier. As a sophomore he finished fifth in the Division I state meet.
“I think he’ll do great,” Greenville track and field coach Bill Plessinger said of Frens’ future in college. “He’s one of the top pole vaulters in the state of Ohio. From what Micah was telling me they were really after him, and that makes you feel good when somebody targets your kid, and says ‘This is who we want and we’re really going to target him.’”
In college Frens wants to earn a degree, most likely in engineering. He also wants to letter all four years of his collegiate career and be competitive at the Mid-American Conference championships.
Prior to leaving for college he has his sights set on breaking Greenville’s school record in the pole vault – his current personal best is 16 feet while the school record is 16 feet 1 inch. He’d also like to make it back to the state meet and do the best he can.
“The higher I can get the more scholarship money I can get on top of what he already gave me,” Frens said.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.