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McKeesport Daily News Spotlight Athletes

| Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, 1:06 a.m.

Name: Jimmy Harrison

Sport: Wrestling

Year: Senior

School: West Mifflin

Claim to fame: Harrison won in the Gateway tournament earlier this season; defeated Mt. Lebanon's Kevin Kinyua, 7-5, in the semifinals of the Steve DeAugustino Holiday Classic and then won, 12-1, in the finals.

“Jimmy has been a four-year starter and has always been a little undersized,” coach Tony Salopek said. “He's a really hard worker and is incredibly coachable. He just wants to win and will do the things that he has to do to win.”

What do you enjoy most about wrestling?

I just like how competitive it is, how you always have to work hard to get stuff done. You just have to keep working to get better. The more work you put into something, the more you can get out of it.

Do you use your size as motivation to work harder?

Yes, definitely being smaller and not being as close to the weight as everybody else certainly is. When most are dropping down and you're below the weight, you definitely have to work harder in the weight room to get quicker being smaller. I like it though. It gives you something to think about knowing you have to do that extra work. You think about the guys that don't have to do what you have to do. It's definitely motivation.

What wrestling accomplishment are you most proud of?

I'd say it would be making it to the WPIALs and placing at the WPIALs my sophomore year. I made it to the WPIALs last year. But I got fourth, and I needed to get to third to go to states.

What are your goals this season?

I want to make it to states and place there.

Do you watch wrestling?

I watch it whenever there's a good match on the Big 10 Network or when someone we know that has gone on to college is wrestling. Coach Salopek took me to Clarion to see James Flemming, who went to West Mifflin. We've gone down to Pitt a few times, as well, to watch some matches.

Do you have any college plans?

I'd like to continue wrestling. I'm not sure about where I'd like to go yet or what I'd like to do, but I would definitely like to continue wresting.

What do you like to do outside of wrestling and school?

I just like hanging out with my friends and riding dirt bikes and stuff like that.

Alexis Yanief

School: Thomas Jefferson

Year: Junior

Sport: Basketball

Claim to fame: Yanief, who's averaging 15 points, scored 13 to lead the Jaguars (3-6, 1-1) to 34-31 win over Albert Gallatin in the Laurel Highlands tournament.

“I got this job one day before the season started, but it was clear that Alex can handle the ball very well,” coach Dom DiMattia said. “She can drive to the basket ,as well. We try to isolate her a lot because she has a lot of skill.

How long have you been playing basketball?

I've been playing since I was 6 years old. My dad was always really into it. He bought me my first basketball hoop for Christmas, and ever since then, he's been working with me.

What do you like most about playing basketball?

I think the freedom on the court to make my own choices, I guess you could say. I really like playing in general. I also play soccer, but I like basketball more. It was my first sport, and I was always better in basketball than soccer. So I think that has a lot to do with it, too.

On a team that is relatively young, do you take it upon yourself to be a leader?

I consider myself a leader on the team. We have two seniors, but I feel like I try to do a good job as a leader.

What is your favorite vacation spot?

I enjoy going to Myrtle Beach (S.C.). I've been going there since I was really little with my family.

Do you watch a lot of basketball?

I do. I enjoy watching it a lot. I watch a lot of college and high school, as well. I watch a lot of high school because I play AAU, and I enjoy watching my AAU teammates play.

What do you think you'd like to do in college?

I really don't know what school I'd like to go to, but I really would like to go for biology and chemistry — any kind of medical field. I'd like to eventually go to medical school.

What do you do when you're not playing basketball?

I enjoy hanging out with my friends and spending time with my family.

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