Greensburg Tribune-Review athletes of the week: Latrobe's Christopher Johnson, Kayla Owens
Claim to fame: Johnson, who had 10 goals and 13 assists during the regular season, scored a goal and had an assist to lead Latrobe to a 3-2 win against Chartiers Valley in the PIHL Class AA Penguins Cup semifinals March 12. Johnson also had a goal and an assist in a 2-0 win over Hampton in the first-round March 7. Latrobe will face Pine-Richland in the Penguins Cup finals Wednesday night at Consol Energy Center.
“I'm very happy with how the team is doing during these playoffs, and hopefully we will have two more games,” said Johnson, citing a state championship game berth for tonight's winner. “We have to play smart hockey, continue doing the small things. That's what has helped us with the two wins so far.”
What does the team need to do to defeat Pine-Richland?
We need to keep doing the small things, like getting the puck deep and low. We need to get more time on the power play and continue working hard as a team.
What have the seniors — Josh Singley, Robert Vasinko and Shane Brudnok — meant to this team?
It's great having the seniors this year. They have been down this path before during their freshman year and they can tell us what to expect during this playoff run. It's great to be on Josh's line. I was on his line during my freshman year. We work well and move the puck well.
What has been your personal motivation during this playoff run?
Just really the goal has been to win a state title. It's been pushing me so far. Whenever the team is down, I try to put the team on my back. But the success has to be given to our overall team effort. My personal success wouldn't have happened without the help of my linemates.
What do you want to be remembered for when you graduate?
I just want to be known for the hardworking player I am and for being a great guy in the locker room. I'm not very uptight. I like to keep it very loose. I give it all I have when its time to practice and play a game. I want the underclassmen to look at me as a leader.
What is something people might not know about you?
I'd say that my favorite pregame meal is pasta. Before every big game, my mom has it ready for me to eat or I can heat it up if she's not there.
Claim to fame: Owens finished third in the 200-yard IM with the time of 2 minutes, 3.11 seconds and helped the 200-yard medley relay team place fourth (1:47.19) at the PIAA Class AAA swimming championships Friday. She also finished fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:04.05) and helped the 400-yard freestyle relay team take fifth (3:30.51) on Saturday.
“I was pretty excited with how I performed and by placing third in the 200 IM and fifth in the 100 breaststroke,” Owens said.
This is your third year going to states. Did you feel anymore prepared and did it help you perform better?
Since I have gone to states since my freshman year, it helped me with my nerves. I was nervous, but I was more relaxed than previous years.
What do you need to improve on during the offseason?
There is a lot I need to improve. I need to work on getting better with my technique and having better turns. I think I can improve a lot more. I need to keep working hard in practices everyday.
Did you think you met your expectations this year?
I think I did more than I expected. I was able to place third in the 200 IM and fifth in the 100 breaststroke. It was kind of a surprise to me.
What is the best piece of advice you ever have received?
Don't doubt yourself. Always believe you can do it with any goal you have in mind.
If you had the chance to meet anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
I would probably say (Olympic swimmer) Dara Torres. She has been competing at high level meets. Also, she has earned a lot of medals and because I like how she loves to continue to swim as she has gotten older.
— Andrew John