Athlete of the Week: Jessica Mieras, O’Gorman Knights
Jessica Mieras' game is just as important as her faith is.
"My faith is a really big part of my life. To be able to put faith and basketball together is really awesome. To pray before every game gets you really pumped, and you are like, 'Yeah, let's go do this,' and being able to show your God-given talent on the court," says Mieras.
"We are a big believer in our system here at Sioux Falls O'Gorman and she's such a well rounded player. She's a great basketball player, and has the spirtiual aspect. Strong in her faith, is academically strong, has high morals, character and integrity. Has all those characteristics, and pillars of what you would want out of your players," adds head coach Kent Kolsrud.
Jessica has been playing basketball in her driveway since she was young, and as she has gotten older, has fell in love with the game.
"What I like most about basketball is I like the contact part of it, and being able to be myself, and to express myself on the court. It's taught me a lot of life lessons, like how to compose yourself, and winning isn't everything, but yet it works. It's really helped me through my life and being able to have that as outlet."
As a 6'2' junior forward, Mieras has been on the Knights' varsity team since she was a freshman, and is always finding ways to improve her game.
"I just keep working on my outside games as well as my inside game to make sure I get better every time. What I am going to keep working on is my outside game, and my dribbling, and shooting to become a threat both inside and outside," tells Mieras.
Kolsrud has seen her hard work pay off in practice and in games.
"She's really a complete player. She's a difference maker at both ends of the floor. Defensively, she's a presence in the post, rebounds extremely well on that end, and blocks shots. Offensively, she's a solid presence in post. She can shoot a 15 to 17 foot perimeter shot. She is a go to person when we need a basket, and is a nice free throw shooter."
Not only is Mieras versatile on the court, but she leads vocally for the Knights.
"I believe I am more of a leader by getting on the court early, shooting hoops, working hard, and having them follow by my example," says Mieras.
"She is a great leader for us. Is an integral part of our program for three years now. A great person on and off the basketball court, and does anything we ask of her," Kolsrud contributes.
Her leadership is shown through her teammates, as they have the utmost respect for Mieras on and off the floor.
"(They would say) I am really aggressive and really care about them. That there's not a day that goes by you don't realize I don't care about the sport," shares Mieras.
Jessica's love for the game, faith, and leadership has made her a unique player for Kolsrud to be able to watch her grow and play from the sidelines.
"It's been a great experience to be able to coach her for three years at the varsity level. We're really excited what she is going to accomplish her senior year at O'Gorman. We expect her to have a great senior season, and hopefully lead out basketball team to a great season."
After Mieras wraps up her senior year at O'Gorman next year, she will be continuing her basketball career at South Dakota State to play for coach Aaron Johnston. Early in March, she got an early opportunity to play in the Class AA State Tournament at Frost Arena.
"It was fun because you are on the court playing with your high school team, but also realize there's many more games to be played on this court. It's always cool to have that experience already on the floor," says Mieras.
She cannot wait for her future at SDSU, as basketball has helped her become a well-rounded individual.
"It's helped me a lot because I am more confident about myself to go do other things in my life and to be able to be that confident person everyone wants to be around."
Jessica loves cheering on SDSU, and watching her favorite player, Doug McDermott play at Creighton. When she's not playing basketball, she is playing volleyball and throwing shot put and discus. Last fall, Mieras helped lead the Knights to a Class AA volleyball title. In school, she loves math and social studies.
**For story ideas, or comments, email Sam at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @samtastad.**