CEDAR RAPIDS — There are 404.4 miles between Xavier High School and South Dakota State University.
But to Xavier senior Garrett Ries, SDSU feels like the closest thing to home.
“I had other offers but I chose SDSU because it felt most like home,” Ries said.
After 10 years of playing baseball, Ries signed to play at South Dakota State University. He said that South Dakota is similar to Iowa, and there are many elements that remind him of home, including outdoor life and opportunities for hunting.
Ries is a catcher and has been playing on varsity baseball since his freshman year. Xavier baseball head coach Dan Halter described Garrett as a strong leader behind the plate.
“Garrett loves the game and wants to be great as a team and individually,” Halter said. “He works hard for us, he’s fun to be around and wants to do things the right way so we can have success.”
Catching is a position where a lot is asked of a player — mentally and physically — and, according to Halter, Ries has grown into that role.
“When I was on campus I wanted to get to work, and that’s how I knew I wanted to go there,” Ries said.
As of two years ago, SDSU hired a new coach, Rob Bishop, and Ries believes he is going to develop him into a strong athlete through weight lifting and nutrition. Ries always is working to get better and wants to make his senior season the best it can be.
The Saints kick off their season at home against Waterloo West on May 24,