Alivia Fraase, a junior at Fargo Shanley, can thank her older sister, Aubrey, for helping her develop into one of North Dakota’s premier athletes.
“The main reason I played was because my sister (five years older) played sports,” Fraase said. “She played soccer and I went to her tournaments. It was kind of a motivation to be better than her.”
Much like her athletic ambition, Fraase’s dedication to her community started at an early age.
Her involvement began in the sixth grade, when she was asked to do a couple hours of community service as part of her Catholic education. Now, she continues community service by volunteering at Fraser Child Care and coaching elementary students in sports.
Fraase is being honored by USA TODAY High School Sports and the Army National Guard with the Inspiration Award, presented to 15 student-athletes across the nation who go above and beyond in their communities, and whose loyalty inspires others to better themselves.
“I love kids and want to make a bigger impact with them,” said Fraase, who carries a 3.79 GPA and plans to play volleyball while majoring in pre-dentistry at the University of North Dakota. “I always have the memories of playing with them.”
Her mother, Sue Fraase, recalled Alivia always being competitive growing up, and eventually she developed into a three-sport star in soccer, volleyball and basketball.
She burst onto the volleyball scene as just a freshman and led the senior-dominated Deacons with 327 kills (she now has 1,190 kills after three years).
“I don’t think anybody expected me to hit that well my very first year,” she said. “I was the youngest on the team and we had great chemistry.”
As a junior, Fraase helped the Deacons post a 31-3 record and finish third in the Class A state volleyball tournament. In addition to 483 kills, she had 453 digs, 92 blocks and 30 service aces. She was named all-state first-team for the third year and chosen as the North Dakota Gatorade Player of the Year.
“She doesn’t come off the court. She plays all six rotations,” volleyball coach Curtis Johnson said. “She’s a solid passer and most teams stay away from her. It’s not so much her power as her accuracy. She finds the open court and is very good at seeing open spaces.”
Basketball took center stage this winter and gave her one of her greatest thrills when the Deacons – starting five underclassmen - won the Class A state title with a 53-29 victory over Minot. A powerful 6-foot post player, she contributed eight points and a team-high 10 rebounds in the championship.
Coach Tim Jacobson called Fraase the best post player in the tournament.
“She’s a very solid athlete, quick and is smart,” he said. “She has the ability to jump and get good position. She’s a great defender, anticipates very well and is very quick off her feet. She could play college basketball, probably Division II.”
Jacobson told a story to illustrate what a calming influence she is not only on the team, but also on the coaches.
“In the semifinals things got intense and my voice was raised,” he recalled. “She said, ‘Just remember that cool heads prevail.’ ”
Those are the lessons she tries to instill in the younger girls she coaches as well.
“I want them to get values of hard work and dedication to get that team feeling, and have great chemistry on and off the court,” she said.
“They think they are in seventh heaven,” Jacobson said of the sixth-graders. “The kids just love her.”
Coaching younger girls – a job that comes with responsibilities such as giving them advice on when they can begin wearing makeup – is just one of her many outside activities.
Fraase also has worked with Bag of Hope, where volunteers make gifts for hospitalized children, and spends time with special-needs youngsters as a volunteer at Fraser Child Care.
“It’s kind of like a self-check,” she said of all her work with the Fargo youth. “There are so many eyes on me. They become like my little sisters and I want them to stay right on track.”