Friend Encounters is a weekly series featuring friends who have met celebrities.
I first came across Mikaela Dokes a couple years ago. The youngster was a basketball junkie and a fantastic player for her age. I interviewed Mikaela and her father Walter at On the Beat With Mikaela Dokes.
I loved seeing Walter post pictures of Mikaela with many college players, including Notre Dame's Sarah Cernugel. She looks so happy and the players love seeing young fans. I'm sue they appreciate old fans like me, too, but I am nowhere near as cute as little Mikaela.
Cernugel has had an interesting career with the Fighting Irish. As a sophomore, she was one of two walk-ons in the 2021-22 season. While her playing time was a bit limited, she still saw action in 10 games, scoring in two of them. This season, she has appeared in nine games (as of this wrting), scoring two points. It might not seem like much, but Cernugel is a vital part of the team. A great practice player, she pushes the others to greater levels. Still, hopefully, she will see more time in her senior year next season.
As for Mikaela, she has a bright future on the court. I will be following her progress all the way, as I have the last couple years. Young athletes like Mikaela are the future of women's sports.
Mikaela Dokes and Sarah Cernugel in South Bend, IN-February 2022.