We’ve all been reminded recently of the cutthroat fierceness of Michael Jordan, but remember even MJ is really a “mama’s boy” at heart who wisely relies on the advice of his mother Deloris to this day.
And while the world anticipates tonight’s airing of episodes seven and eight of “The Last Dance” featuring that final Jordan run, we first spend the day celebrating mothers around the globe.
Center Point-Urbana senior Peyton Kriegel attributes much of her success as a volleyball and basketball standout to her mom, Gretchen.
“She takes me all around the Midwest and gets me where I need to be,” Peyton said. “She got me through my recruiting process, which was brutal. She was always in my back pocket, ready to talk and support me and I’ve always appreciated that about her.
“I think that will continue into my college career, as well.”
Peyton will pursue a degree at the University of Sioux Falls beginning this fall while continuing her volleyball career for the NCAA II school.
Gretchen played volleyball, basketball and softball at Elkader Central before attending Winona State in Minnesota and earning her degree.
“I realized DII was where I belonged and looked at Winona since mom went there,” Peyton said. “Sioux Falls reached out my junior year and as soon as I stepped on campus, I loved it.”
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As for sparking that love of sport, father Scott got things going around age 6, but the CPU activities director was soon heavily assisted by Gretchen, who coached Peyton’s youth volleyball team for several years.
“Mom played catch with me in the yard and always had good insight on softball,” Peyton said.
Gretchen’s knowledge and passion led to her continuing to coach the local travel team, even after Peyton moved on to a bigger club in Waterloo at age 13.
“I love that about her, she’s always willing to do for others,” Peyton said.
On top of being the mother of three daughters and the wife of a busy activities director, Gretchen is the assistant superintendent at Marion High School, a school that very often has rivaled her daughter and husband’s teams due to their size and proximity.
“When we played at Marion, everyone wondered what she would wear,” Peyton said with a laugh, while revealing “she wore a gray and black shirt to be neutral.”
While husband Scott and younger daughters Kolbie and Taylor still attend CPU, Gretchen can now wear the purple, black and white of Sioux Falls to support Peyton with the rest of her family.
With schools on pause, Gretchen has been balancing her Zoom meetings with gardening and doing landscaping work on their home.
“She loves what she does,” Peyton said. “We don’t always get along, but we always find our way back around. She’s easily one of my best friends and I can count on her for anything. I just want her to know that, even though I don’t say it very often, I love her and appreciate everything she does.”