Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Athletes of the Week: Peters Township's Veronica Latsko, Fox Chapel's Ethan Martin
School: Fox Chapel
Sport: Cross Country
Claim to fame: Fox Chapel's Ethan Martin won the Gateway Invitational with a time of 17 minutes, 20 seconds at Plum's Boyce Park course Saturday. Martin's time was 33 seconds faster than Hempfield senior Jon Faye, who finished second. Martin — a standout in distance events in track and field — placed fifth at the WPIAL Class AAA cross country championships and 40th in the PIAA Class AAA championship race as a sophomore.
“It's absolutely wonderful (to win that meet), it means a lot,” Martin said. “It boosts my confidence. There were a ton of runners. I was kind of nervous about it. It's nice to know how the rest of the season can go.”
How much of a factor did the heat and humidity play on Saturday in your race?
The humidity always affects runners. Whenever you are out there working hard, it will slow you down. It did have a factor on me, but we train in the heat a lot. Our team has an advantage because we're so used to it.
How many miles do you run during an average week?
The maximum we did this summer was 72 miles a week. That was toward the end of the summer. On average, we run about 65 to 66 miles a week.
Have you had a chance to run any marathons?
I have not yet. I want to though. I want to try a marathon, an Ironman ... basically every kind of event. Right now I have to focus on running at the high school level and college level. Once I'm done, I'll train for one.
Have any colleges reached out to you yet?
Very few of them. Annapolis sent me something. I've been looking there for a while. It's really just been small, local schools. No D-I schools yet. Hopefully after the cross country season they'll see my resume and reach out to me.
How good can Fox Chapel be this season?
I think we can be unstoppable. North Allegheny and Mt. Lebanon are always tough. I think we can win the section this year and surprise a lot of people.
How important is a runner's footwear?
It's incredibly important. If you don't have the right shoe, you'll get blisters and shin splints. I wear Asics Minimalist. It's a gel shoe. It helps because I come down on my heel a lot.
School: Peters Township
Claim to fame: Virginia recruit Veronica Latsko scored three goals and had an assist for Peters Township in its 5-0 win over Penn-Trafford in the South Hills Classic on Friday. Latsko scored one goal in another 5-0 win over State College on Saturday at the South Hills Classic. As a sophomore, Latsko scored 45 goals to help the Indians finish second in the WPIAL and capture the state championship.
“It's great that we got off to a good start,” Latsko said. “We just have to keep the mentality of not getting ahead of ourselves and take it one game at a time. You can lose any game during the season. It's simple mistakes that can lead to defeat.”
What do you hope you accomplish this season?
As a team, I just want us to keep winning and hopefully be able to win a WPIAL championship and a state championship. I'm hoping but I don't want to jinx anything. Even if we do lose, if we become a better team from it, that's the best that we can do.
When talking to the Virginia coaching staff, what have they said they expect from you when you get to campus?
They want me to become more technical. They want me to get more speed and play faster. Other than that, they are excited and I'm excited to be a part of the Cavaliers. I blended well with them.
What other colleges were you considering?
I was looking at Harvard, Georgetown, Penn State, Syracuse, Pitt, Duquesne, University of Pennsylvania and Boston College.
Why did Virginia win out over those schools?
It was basically the team and the fact that they are in the top 10 in the nation every year. They're also in the top 25 for best schools academically.
Do you have a major in mind?
I'm looking into political science.
What game stands out over your high school career?
I'm going to say the game against Moon when we came back from being down, 2-0, last year. We came back with 10 minutes left and won in a shootout. We had so much fight and kept going at it.
— Brian Graham