Ivy@50 Ivy @ 50
Ilvy Friebe
One of the greatest distance runners in League history is teaching at the University of Minnesota Medical School, where among his students is one of the League's greatest field hockey players — Princeton's Ilvy Friebe.

Small world.

Ilvy Friebe is now a third-year medical student at the University of Minnesota, where one of her instructors is fellow Ivy@50 profilee Bob Kempainen.

Friebe describes Kempainen as "one of the most loved professors here." She is aware of his well-known ability to excel in several things at the same time and adds, "He continues to do everything so well."

Like Kempainen, Friebe had ties to Minnesota. He grew up there, her grandparents are both alumni. She, however, grew up in Germany, with a German father and an American mother.

When Friebe was in the 11th year of a 13-year gymnasium program, her mother contacted Princeton Coach Beth Bozman. Friebe then attended a summer field hockey camp and "fell in love with the campus and the field hockey program." She adds, "It was the best undergraduate institution and a top-10 field hockey program. The best of both worlds."

Since she was admitted to Princeton, Friebe left her school after the 12th year. If she hadn't gone to Princeton, she probably would have completed her final year and headed to a German university.

Her feelings about Princeton are "only positive. It was such a wonderful place to go to college. I'd do it again in a heartbeat." She is glad she didn't attend a German university because she would have had to immediately start medical school, where there would have been neither sports nor student life.

She explains, "I always knew I wanted to go to medical school, but I wanted a chance to live and enjoy the college experience first. It gives you a broader education before you do what you are going to do."

Friebe started playing field hockey when she was five. She always had fun playing, even when she got serious about the sport. She says, "It all just sort of fell into place" as she progressed through local and regional teams and on to national camps.

Early in her Princeton career Friebe had some difficulty changing from the German finesse and skills game, to the Anmerican game, which she describes as more of a physical, running game. She played all four years, going to the NCAA Final Four her junior year.

After the initial adjustment period, the honors came in. Friebe was the Ivy League Player of the Year in 2001 and 2002, earning two NFHCA first-team All-America selections and Honda Award nominations. Friebe played on the under 21 and under 23 U.S. National teams from her sophomore year, including a trip to the Junior World Cup in Argentina.

She enjoyed the rivalry with other Ivy League schools. She remembers, "My freshman year we lost to Brown, which interrupted the 50-something game winning streak. It was so disappointing and we felt like we had let the other teams before us down. We never lost another Ivy League game after that during my time there."

Her busy schedule made fitting everything in tough. "That was one of the hardest things about college," she remembers. "I feel like being able to balance athletics and academics has made me much more of an efficient person. I don't think I've felt like I couldn't handle a situation since then."

As for missing out on part of the college experience because of field hockey, she feels, "Obviously there were some activities and even classes I missed because of weekends away, for example. And I missed part of my sophomore spring for the Junior World Cup in Argentina, but I believe my experience playing field hockey at Princeton and for the USA far outweighs anything I might have missed."

Today, Friebe plays on a field hockey team made up of Pakistani men and former female college players. They meet once a week and play a tournament a year. She plans to stay in the U.S. for her medical career, even though she says, "I do miss Germany. My old teammates are some of my best friends."

And a less pleasant aspect of her field hockey experience has made an impact on her life. She explains, "I'm at that time in medical school where I have to choose my specialty. Having played sports my whole life and having sustained some injuries, I am drawn to the field of orthopedic surgery and sports medicine."

— Suzanne Eschenbach