Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Freeman PREP PROFILE-- Nikki Condit

from today's Waukesha Freeman --

Senior ranks with some of school’s best leaders
Coach: ‘I want my three daughters to be like her’
By Tony Mooren Freeman Correspondent

WAUKESHA – John Burke labels Nikki Condit “one of the finest captains I’ve ever had.” The label comes with a quick addendum from the Catholic Memorial High School girls soccer coach: “And that’s saying a lot after players such as Leslie Osborne and Jenny Baumann.”

Which is saying an awful lot because Osborne was the state’s first player on a U.S. World Cup team, and Baumann is a former state Player of the Year and high school all-American. “Nikki is of that caliber – a tremendous leader. One of the best compliments I can give her is I want my three daughters to be like her,”

Burke said. “She has that desire to set a great example. She recognizes that many girls look up to her and feels that responsibility acutely. She lives every day knowing that if she makes good decisions, others will be influenced by them. And she’s had that mind-set since a young age.”

Condit, a senior whose family lives in Pewaukee, began playing soccer when she was 4 years old and “absolutely fell in love with it” for a myriad of reasons. “My family did a lot of moving around and there are soccer fields everywhere,” she said. “So they’re like a piece of home everywhere, and when you’re on the field, you can forget outside distractions. “And it’s not just scoring goals or winning. It’s the closeness and camaraderie of teammates. We’re like a family, and having teammates there to support you and pick you up when you’re down is great.”

Condit, a member of the state’s top-11 team last season, has had few reasons to be down much while attending Memorial with the Crusaders advancing to three straight WIAA Division 2 championship games and winning the title last season with her as the leading scorer.

Many times Condit is involved in the decisive goals. One of her fondest recollections is scoring a goal to beat Pius in overtime this season. “I got a great ball from Karly (Lentz) and what was neat about it is right before the overtime, coach Burke said, ‘Condit, now’s your time to put the game away.’ It was a tremendous moment after we won with everyone running up and celebrating. My teammates are so patient with me and I owe them so much.”

As of early last week Condit had scored 143 points on 55 goals and 33 assists in her career at Memorial. She holds school records for most goals (six) and most points (14) in a game. “Over the past four years she’s absolutely the Most Valuable Player we’ve had and not only because she’s a pure goal scorer,” Burke said. “She always seems to come through in big games and has a competitive spirit beyond what you see in most players. And she’ll battle through injuries and fatigue. But then there’s her leadership.”

Burke has his players involved in a TOPSoccer program that brings athletes together with children who have special needs. “When someone is really challenging, I’ll turn to Nikki,” Burke said. “She’s wonderful with the children. She has infinite patience and it’s even more impressive watching her with those children than it is watching her on a soccer field.”

One of Burke’s three daughters, Molly, was diagnosed with leukemia during Condit’s sophomore season. “That was an earth-shattering event for his family and me,” Condit said. “As soon as it happened, something had to be done to put a positive spin on it.” Her solution was a quote from Crime and Punishment: “Be of great heart and fear less.” She had bracelets made with the quote and Molly Burke’s name on them, sold them with proceeds going to a scholarship fund at Memorial and wears one on her left cleat every game.

On the field, Burke sees Condit as a player who is “extraordinarily quick. In a 5-yard area she’s about as quick as anyone I’ve seen, she can change direction on a dime and is also extraordinarily comfortable with the ball.” Condit sees herself as someone with creativity, savvy and good field awareness. “Sometimes I’m able to work through problems quickly – see a team’s weakness and exploit it,” she said.

She works on her shooting the most, either staying after practice or at her house where she has a rebounder. “I wasn’t thinking about college at all until high school,” she said. “Once I realized how much I truly loved the game and how much I was willing to sacrifice. I started to think about playing in college.”

Condit already is a twotime first-team all-Classic 8 Conference selection – she was second-team her freshman season – and has accepted a scholarship to play for DePaul University in Chicago. “I’m extremely excited about where I’m headed,” she said. “I’m going to miss Catholic Memorial but I’ll stay close. Sometimes I’m really surprised when I look back a little and it’s kind of cool. I hope I had a positive impact, and it will be exciting to watch other players in the program take over.”

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