Daily News Spotlight Athletes: West Mifflin's Brad Kolesar, Elizabeth Forward's Kylie Owoc
School: West Mifflin
Claim to fame: Kolesar, the defending champion in the 100-meter butterfly, will look to best his record from a year ago when he competes in the WPIAL Class AA championship meet this week at Pitt's Trees Pool.
“Brad is a great kid who sets goals and works hard to reach them,” coach Steve Larkin said. “He's a bright student, as all of our swimmers are. We're expecting him to swim a personal best and just do as well as he can.”
What do you enjoy most about swimming?
Mostly being with my friends. They're some of the best people I've met in my life. Also the self-motivation you get from swimming. I've played a lot of sports before, but I felt more with swimming. It's down to the individual. It comes down solely on you instead of relying on other people.
How long have you been swimming competitively?
I've been swimming since around third grade. I've been swimming in competitions for a while but nothing serious until around seventh grade — four or five years ago.
Which race is your favorite?
Definitely would be the 100-meter butterfly. I've surprised myself in this event the last few years. Once you taper, you see your times drop a lot more.
How are you able to always push yourself?
Really, it's a mental thing. You just try to push yourself. You don't want to be in a comfort zone because you don't know what the competition is going to have. You never know if it's going to be good enough, and that's what I like. You have to push yourself.
What is your dream car and why?
I would have to definitely say a Ford GT40. It's an older car and it's more of a racing car. My grandfather used to race in the Pittsburgh Grand Prix. I'm into racing those types of cars. They were popular in the old vintage racing days.
What are you focused on going into the WPIALs?
I'm really most focused on trying to do the same or better than what I did last year. Winning it last year is a good thing, but I know a lot of people are coming after me for that spot. I want to win the 100-meter butterfly and try to beat my time for last year's backstroke.
School: Elizabeth Forward
Claim to fame: Owoc scored 16 points as No. 6 seed Elizabeth Forward (22-2) beat No. 3 Central Valley, 59-50, Saturday to reach the WPIAL semifinals for the first time in 23 years. The Warriors will take on undefeated No. 1 seed Blackhawk on Wednesday.
“She's a very good defensive player. She's quick defensively and can rebound as a guard as well,” coach Sam Kosanovich said. “She's always our inbound person. It takes a special player to make the right pass. There's always a lot of pressure, but she always does a good job. We're looking at her and everyone else to play defensively and make good decisions. She's unbelievably dedicated to the game of basketball. She doesn't take a day off and is a great team player.”
How does it feel to be part of something special like this?
It feels great. I'm just really honored to be a part of this team. We've worked so hard as a team in practice every day to get here.
What is your primary role on this team?
I think on every team everybody has their role, and I think my role is as a shooter. But I would do anything to help the team win, whether that's with passing or assists. I'll do whatever it takes to put us in a position to win.
Where has this team improved most?
Most definitely our defense. Our defense has been really strong this year, and it has been winning us a lot of games. Coach emphasizes that a lot. We work at it hard at every practice.
What do you have to do to beat Blackhawk?
We need to play as a team. As long as we play as a team and play unselfishly I really believe whole-heartedly that we will win.
Do you have a favorite athlete?
LeBron James. Just because of his work ethic and because he's really humble, and I think that's something every athlete can look up to.
If you had to eat one thing every day for the rest of your life, what food would you choose?
Wings from Buffalo Wild Wings because I absolutely love wings more than anything. They're my favorite food.