DURHAM, N.C. -- For Nate Freiman baseball was always his one true passion. The senior first baseman competed in track during high school, but admits he wasn’t very fast. Track was a way for the Wellesley, Mass. native to stay in shape, while baseball was his passion.
“I love baseball,” Freiman said. “I love playing it. I love watching it. I love reading about it. Just the sport itself I love being around.”
For Amanda Blumenherst, golf was what she was seemingly born to play. She first swung a golf club at the age of four and despite competing in a number of sports, including swimming and basketball, the senior women’s golfer turned all her focus to the golf course once she reached high school.
“I am extremely competitive,” Blumenherst said. “I definitely would have tried my hardest [at the other sports]. I was most talented at golf that is why I chose that one over the other ones.”
Both continued their athletic careers at Duke and after four years of receiving numerous accolades the pair were named Duke’s ACC Senior Male and Female Athletes of the Year.
“It is such an honor,” Blumenherst said. “Duke is such an elite school. To get to go to Duke and be an athlete is such an honor for every student athlete. Being selected out of that elite group as the Duke student athlete of the year is really so special. “
“It is an unbelievable honor,” Freiman said. “With everything I just try to take pride. It has always been really important. I came here to play baseball, but I also came here to be a student. I think I have put everything I have into both those facets of life for the past four years.”
The award takes into account both athletic and academic success.
Blumenherst has a GPA of 3.807 to go along with her athletic achievements.
This season she has registered a team-best 72.86 stroke average on the year to go along with one victory, three top-five finishes, four top 10 finishes and seven top 20 placements. Her stroke average is ranked No. 1 in the ACC.
She won the U.S. Women's Amateur with a 2-and-1 victory over Azahara Munoz over the summer in 2008 and was runner up in the event in 2007. She helped lead the U.S. to a 13-7 victory over GB&I in the Curtis Cup, and is a three-time National Player of the Year, three-time Golfstat award winner, three-time first team All-America and three-time All-ACC honoree.
“She basically does everything the best,” Freiman said. “Everything she does she is the best at. She works harder, she puts more into academics, and she practices harder and spends more time than anybody else. Everything she has is because she has worked for it.”
Freiman boasts a 3.84 GPA to go along other academic awards including Academic All-District III honors in 2007 and 2008. He is also a finalist for this year’s Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.
“I consider myself a hard worker but he is an amazingly hard worker,” Blumenherst said. “He has put so much time into baseball and school. He completely deserves this award so much.”
On the baseball diamond Freiman is just as successful. This season he is just four home runs shy of tying Duke’s all-time home run record and is currently tied for the ACC home run lead with 15 long balls this season, and is on pace to lead Duke in batting average, home runs and RBI for the third straight year.
Despite the personal success of Freiman on the field he is most proud of the success the Blue Devil team is sharing this season. The fact that Duke is in the running to make the postseason has made this his most memorable year playing baseball at Duke.
But neither senior’s year is complete just yet. And it wouldn't be in the pair's nature if they were satisfied with their current accomplishments.
Blumenherst is currently with the rest of the women’s golf team in Gainesville, Fla. competing in the 2009 NCAA East Regional at the University of Florida Golf Club.
Freiman is currently with the baseball team in Charlottesville, Va. as the Blue Devils prepare for their weekend series with the Virginia Cavaliers as the Blue Devils try to lock down a birth into the postseason.
Both Blumenherst and Freiman consider their parents to be their biggest supporters, who never put unwarranted pressure to be a highly successful athlete while growing up. From that, their love and passion for each one of their individual sports grew.
“What I realized is that you have to really care about something,” Freiman said. “You have to really, really, love something in order for it to affect you that profoundly.” I don’t feel like anything else could make you as frustrated or as happy as something you put everything into.”