Valley News Dispatch Spotlight Athletes: Freeport's Bria Otwell, Kiski Area's Mike Simmons
School: Kiski Area
Report card: Simmons scored 27 points to lead Kiski Area to a 63-23 win over Albert Gallatin in Section 1-AAAA action Saturday. Simmons scored 12 points in a 52-49 win over Norwin on Jan. 22 and finished with 16 points in a 61-51 win over Latrobe on Jan. 18.
“I feel like I have done pretty well,” Simmons said. “The upperclassmen and the coaches have been helping me out. They have been able to find me when I'm open to score.”
The team got off to a slow start but has won seven straight. What keyed the turnaround?
I think we have pulled together as a team. We have been living up to the saying on our warmups: “Teamwork makes dreamwork.” We have gotten a lot of leadership from our seniors.
What does the team need to do to make a deep run in the playoffs?
We just need to keep doing what we are doing. I hope we make a run at the WPIAL title.
What is one thing people might not know about you?
I like to sing, but I'm not really good. Whatever comes on, I'll start singing.
— Andrew John
Report card: The sophomore swimmer specializes in long distance events and is the defending WPIAL champion in the 200-yard IM and 500-yard freestyle.
You've qualified for WPIALs in the 200 IM and the 500 freestyle. What are your goals for the rest of the year?
I want to get my WPIAL sweep, and to get that I need the 100 freestyle and the 50 freestyle. For WPIALs, my goal is to win, and my biggest goal is to make it states.
Do you have any pre-swim ritual you do before meets?
I listen to music and try to stay calm and relaxed. I also stretch a lot.
What has been the key for the girls team this year?
We've got a lot of new girls this year, a lot of freshman. We've bonded well this year. We've had fun and gotten along. Since we've gotten bigger, we've grown more as a team. Last year, we couldn't experiment as much because we didn't have that many people.
Are you planning on doing another sport in the spring?
I'm doing track and field. I love running. It helps clear my head. As much as I swim I get stressed, and when I run I feel like I can release that stress.
So tell me about your alter-ego?
Brett is just a mean person. That's what my mom calls me when I get behind the block. I get really pumped up, and when I get pumped up I get angry. My whole team makes fun of me for it because when I get mad they say “uh-oh here comes Brett.” My mom came up with the alter-ego.
— D.J. Vasil