Athlete of the Week: 10 questions with Oliver Barkal, New Trier baseball
Oliver Barkal recently graduated from New Trier High School and was a starting pitcher for the Trevians. He will pitch for Niagara University starting next season.
1. Do you have any pregame rituals or superstitions?
For me, superstition-wise, I love drinking a Monster energy drink before a game. That’s a big thing for me. Then I grab my lacrosse ball and I have to (use it to) roll out before a game — my arms, legs, whole body.
2. Why did you go with Niagara for college?
I think it’s a good fit for me. I love the small schools Niagara is all centered on the sports programs, and I was working hard to find a Division 1 program. And I found it right there.
3. What’s your favorite pitch to throw?
I think I have two. I love throwing my slider and love when people swing at it in the dirt. I also love punching people out with a fastball right down the middle. Just dotting it. I would chose my slider, I think; that’s my favorite pitch.
4. What can you do to be ready to pitch at the next level?
I think it’s all about mentality, working hard in the gym every day and staying in the game. You gotta be focused at the next level. The hitters are better, the pitchers are better. I got to keep up with everybody.
5. What is your favorite thing to do off the field?
I’d say it’s what I’m about to go do now. I love jumping in the lake with my friends. I love being around the water and the beach.
6. If you could play another sport, what would it be?
If I could play another sport, I would love to play basketball. I would love to be another four or five inches taller to do that, too.
7. Who is your favorite ballplayer?
He’s actually retired. I’m a big White Sox fan and grew up loving Paul Konerko. The White Sox always sucked when I was younger and Paul Konerko was the highlight of that team.
8. If you are in Walgreens with a couple bucks, what are you buying?
I’m probably going straight to the Vitamin Waters — any flavor. They are all good to me.
9. What is something people do not know about you?
I love history. I love learning about it, love taking history classes. I love the old English era, knights and all that.
10. What are you going to remember about New Trier baseball?
It’s a great program and brings everybody together. We might not have accomplished what we wanted, but I think our team had grit and sometimes things didn’t go our way and that’s just the name of the game.
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Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319