Whether it’s through respect of an opponent or the camaraderie between teammates, the bond created through competition is undeniable.
Abby Feuchter and Ali Zieverink have witnessed that bond and as a result, a life-long connection has formed between the two.
Their relationship — on and off the basketball court — has earned them the nickname “the dynamic duo.”
A term coined by their fathers, Bill Feuchter and Dan Zieverink, the Shawnee State seniors are perfectly happy with their epithet.
“I don’t think there could be more of a perfect name for us because everything we do, we are the dynamic duo,” Zieverink said. “On the basketball court, obviously, because we play really well together and we’ve played together since the ninth grade. Abby’s notorious for her no-look passes, so I’m always ready. Other people might miss those passes but I always feel like I’m reading Abby’s mind in a game, which sounds weird, but I always know what she’s going to do.
“And even in our friend group. If some guy is trying to talk to her and she’s not interested, I instantly know. So, I think that nickname couldn’t be more perfect for us because in everything we do, we’re working together. I like it.”
Feuchter, the Bears’ point guard, is always looking for her teammate and best friend on the court — even when she isn’t looking.
“I always know where she is on the court,” Feuchter said. “I always give her no-look passes and she’s always ready. She’s always getting them and that’s why we’re the dynamic duo. I love it. I don’t think there is another nickname that you could give us that would be better.”
Feuchter and Zieverink began their friendship in high school, even though both girls attended different schools. The two girls grew up in Cincinnati, Feuchter attended Colerain High School while Zieverink graduated from Lakota West High School.
In fact, their fathers became friends first with Feuchter and Zieverink following suit shortly after. Both girls began playing AAU ball in the ninth grade and started spending more time around each other as a result.
“In high school, we were close but it was almost like just during AAU season,” Zieverink said. “We traveled together and hung out during those times, but during school we basically did our own thing.
“So, when we came in our freshman year (of college), we were spending every day together and we instantly became really, really close. We’ve just been best friends ever since.”
Feuchter said the two have become so close that Zieverink has a tendency to create her own nicknames for her best friend. Even though Abby is a shortened version of Abigail, Zieverink wanted to be different from the pack and began calling her Gail.
“I remember in AAU when she wanted the ball, she would scream Gail, Gail,” Feuchter said. “It would always crack me up because my name is Abby.”
However, once the two reached the campus at SSU, Gail became popular, much to the chagrin of Zieverink who decided it was time to change things up.
“So, when we came here, everyone started calling me Gail because she did and she didn’t want people to call me that,” Feuchter said. “She wanted to be different. So, she decided to call me snail and to this day, she calls me snail.”
So, as the four-year ride reaches its conclusion, both girls are trying to stay focused on the team’s goals while taking a moment to reflect on the past four years.
“It’s really weird. I try not to think about that because I’m a very emotional player, anyone can tell you that. I’m sometimes called a head case — not really,” Zieverink said jokingly. “But some games it’ll hit me. Like at Rio Grande who is one of our biggest rivals, we were in the locker room and Abby was sitting beside me, and I realized that would be the last time we would be playing (in that arena).
“But right now, I am just trying to stay focused on our season and trying to take the emotion out of it.”
However, once their time at Shawnee State is over, their lives may take them in different directions, but their friendship will never change.
“It’s going to be weird. It’s going to be hard. But the one thing I’m certain about in my life is mine and Abby’s friendship,” Zieverink said. “It’s going to be weird waking up and not hearing her scream or hearing her being loud across the hall, but instead of being physically in the same room, I know we will be FaceTiming or calling each other several times a week.
“I don’t think it’ll be much different, and I know she’ll come and visit and I’ll go visit her. The only weird part is not physically seeing her everyday but I know our friendship isn’t going to be any different.”
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.