Daily News Spotlight Athletes: Wilson Christian's Brendan Schink, Elizabeth Forward's Braelyn Tracy
School: Wilson Christian Academy
Claim to fame: Schink bowled a 300 game during the six-game qualifying round Friday at the Pennsylvania state tournament, then dispatched Jack Celmer of Conrad Weiser in the semifinals of the stepladder tournament. In the finals, the sophomore knocked out Mark Artley of Milton with a 194-184 victory to win the state title.
“Brendan is a pure leader,” said Ray Vilage, who coached Schink when he bowled for West Mifflin as a freshman. “He's a great student; he has a 4.0 GPA. His desire for the game and his desire to learn is what make him such a great bowler. He is constantly looking for ways to get better. He just has a strong desire to bowl, and he's only 15.”
How did it feel to win the state championship?
It's hard to explain. I'm so happy I can't really explain it. It's still to the point where I haven't even realized that I've won yet.
What do you enjoy most about bowling?
I just love the sport and the camaraderie. I've watched my dad bowl for years, and I've always wanted to bowl because of him.
Is there a particular strategy that you follow?
The most important thing is being patient and trying to be relaxed. Everyone is going to miss a spare or have an open frame here and there. You just have to walk off the lanes and come back the next frame and try again.
What do you like to do outside of school andbowling?
Well, I'm on a travel baseball team, and I'm a coin collector. I'm also in drama and chorus. We're doing “Aladdin” this year, and I have one of the lead roles in that.
Who has been the toughest opponentyou've faced?
I'd have to say Adam Weyandt from Greensburg Salem because I've seen him bowl, and I know he's really good. When we were at regionals it was a really close match. I only ended up beating him by five pins in the quarterfinals.
If you could change one thing about bowling as a sport, what would it be?
I would say keep everything scratch and never do handicap. There are bowlers that purposely bowl below their averages to gain an advantage, and that's not really fair to all the rest of the bowlers that play fair.
What's your favorite movie?
I would have to say “The Goonies.” It's just a great movie. My entire family loves it. It's a good adventure movie. It helps you remember the good times even in bad times.
School: Elizabeth Forward
Claim to fame: Tracy competed in the PIAA Class AA swimming championships last week, finishing fifth in both the 200- and 500-yard freestyle races. The senior also won gold medals in the same races and set personal-best times at the WPIAL meet earlier this month.
“She had a fantastic season,” coach Tammy Blackwood said. “She wanted to be tapered down for the WPIAL and the PIAA meets, and she accomplished both. I think she was quite successful at both meets. What she's done in the past four years is nothing short of amazing. She is disciplined, hard working and motivated. Her family supports her, and she is very well-rounded. There's a lot more to come from her, and she will definitely be successful at the collegiate level.”
Are you satisfied with your performances over the last two weeks?
Yeah, I kind of expected to place higher, but I can't be too upset. I got two new best times at WPIALs and two gold medals, so I'm happy.
Are you happy with your high school swimming career overall?
Yes, I am. I was a four-time WPIAL gold-medal winner, and I was able to medal at states four times. I can't be too mad at that.
What are your plans for next year?
I'm either going to go to Cal U or Toledo. People make fun when I say it, but I'm going to school to be a mortician. I realized that that kind of stuff didn't bother me. So I shadowed a mortician for a day, and I loved it. I also plan to continue swimming, and I hope to make an Olympic trial cut.
What will you miss most about high school swimming?
I think the atmosphere is the biggest thing I'll miss. At WPIALs, the atmosphere is great. I've been swimming with three close friends — Josh Krieg, Andrew Ferrington and Kameron Faychak — for a really long time, so it's going to be weird not being in the same lanes with them.
What is your favorite movie?
My favorite movie is “The Hurt Locker.” My freshman year, I had an amazing cross country coach who was also in the army. His name was Staff Sgt. Bryan Hoover. He was killed on duty in Afghanistan. That movie reminds me of him and how important he is to me.
— Robert Stinner