Pittsburgh athletes of the week: TJ's Brendan Crousey, Shady Side Academy's Krystyna Rytel
School: Thomas Jefferson
Claim to fame: Crousey scored a goal and registered three assists as Thomas Jefferson defeated Greensburg Central Catholic, 5-3, on Nov. 16. Crousey, a defenseman, is tied for seventh in PIHL Class A with 17 points (six goals and 11 assists) for the Jaguars (7-0).
What's led to your team's success early on this season?
I think we've rallied behind having a first-year goaltender and really wanting to play well in front of him, and in all honesty it's really helped us.
Being a senior defenseman, does rallying in front of a new goaltender start with you?
Yeah, I would say it starts all on the back end with me and Casey Dolsky, the captain of our team, sort of showing all the young defensemen how to do it, and so far we've been successful in doing so.
What's the key to being a good offensive defenseman?
It all starts in the defensive zone. You've got to be able to get the puck out first before you can have those kind of offensive opportunities.
What's your favorite Thanksgiving food?
What's your favorite class?
Probably sports theory, I enjoy learning about different sports other than hockey.
School: Shady Side Academy
Claim to fame: Rytel scored her 100th and 101st career goals as Shady Side Academy defeated Camp Hill, 4-0, in the PIAA Class A championship game Nov. 18. After falling to Greensburg Central Catholic in the WPIAL championship game, the Indians (17-4) outscored their opponents 16-1 in the state playoffs.
What does it feel like to be a PIAA champion?
It's awesome; I'm so proud of everyone on the team.
Was it a little extra special to score your 100th career goal in the game?
Yeah, I really wanted to get 100 goals before the end of the season, and I'm really happy I was able to do that.
Did last year's 9-4 PIAA championship game loss play a factor for the team this time around?
Going into the game, we really wanted to use our loss last year as motivation to win again this year, because obviously that was pretty awful to lose by that much, and we didn't want to do that again. … It was more (discussed) a couple days before, because in the locker room right before, we really just wanted to focus on this year and sort of move on from last year and what happened.
Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions?
My family does a lipsync battle every year.
What do you want to improve on before next season?
Playing in the air.