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Greensburg Tribune-Review athletes of the week: Hempfield's Sherman West, Latrobe's Francesca Fazzini

submitted - Latrobe's Francie Fazzini
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>submitted</em></div>Latrobe's Francie Fazzini
Submitted - Hempfield's Sherman West
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Submitted</em></div>Hempfield's Sherman West

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Andrew John
Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Sherman West

School: Hempfield

Year: Senior

Sport: Track and field

Claim to fame: West was part of the relay team that won the 1,600-meter relay with a time of 3 minutes, 28.02 seconds Saturday at the 11th annual Greater Latrobe Wildcat Invitational at Hempfield's Spartan Stadium. West, who was the meet MVP, also finished second in the 200-meter (23.06) and 400-meter (50.36) and was part of the 400-meter relay team that finished fifth (45.72).

“It was really exciting. I didn't really think I was going to be the meet MVP,” West said. “I wasn't expecting to do all that well because of a tweaked hamstring that I sustained earlier in the week. I guess all the therapy paid off.”

What are your plans for college next year?

I want to study sports management. I have a lot schools looking at me. I have a schools from the Division III all the way up to the Division I level that are looking at me. I want to go Division I. I'm working hard in the classroom, and I need to keep my grades up. I want to go somewhere that has a good team and somewhere that has a really comfortable environment. I want it to feel like I'm at home.

What were your goals going into the season?

My goals going into the season were to help win the WPIAL team championship. I also want to be county champion in the 400-meter and be the individual WPIAL champion in the 400-meter.

What did you work on in the offseason?

I put in a lot of hard work this offseason. I started to practice earlier this year because of a season-ending football injury. I was able to start working out in October. I was able to start with my mid-distance. We were just doing our track workouts, running a lot of agility drills, squats and weight room stuff.

How is it to be part of a track and field program like Hempfield's?

Being part of Hempfield track, it opens your eyes. I wasn't in any sports before I came to Hempfield. I wasn't naturally athletic and talented. The coaches would work with me and help me improve as a runner. With all the talent we have here, it pushes me harder and makes me want to carry my team to wins. It's the best experience in my life. I wouldn't trade it in. I think we have the best coaching staff in the WPIAL. We are also like a family. We go out to eat and have fun together. We have so much chemistry. It's not just school and track for us.

Who motivates you most and why?

I want to say my family because I'm scared to disappoint them.

Francesca Fazzini

School: Latrobe

Year: Senior

Sport: Track and field

Claim to fame: Fazzini finished second in the 800-meter Saturday with the time of 2:26.42 at the 21st annual Lady Spartan Invitational at Hempfield's Spartan Stadium. Fazzini was part of two winning relay teams for the Wildcats, including the 3,200-meter relay (9:48.51) and 1,600-meter relay (4:04.99).

“This is the first year I ran the 800 and the 4x800, and it felt good,” Fazzini said. “With help from the coaches and the training we will put in, I can only expect me and the others to get better as the year goes along.”

What are your plans for college next year?

I haven't decided yet. It's between either Bloomsburg or Duquesne. I want to study speech pathology. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to run track in college. I wanted to wait and see if I could handle the stress of college and running track. I'm thinking on waiting until states to decide if I want to run or not. It all depends on how I do compared to everyone else.

With you running the 800 for the first time this year, how do you prepare?

It's a longer race than what I'm use to. When I go out there, I need to keep in my mind what times I'm suppose to hit and do my best.

What went into the decision to run in the 800?

My coaches have been contemplating it since before the season started. They had a couple of kids in mind who they thought could run and so they having been testing us out, and we ended up doing well.

What were your goals going into the season?

I didn't really have any. I want to win obviously every time I go out there.

What do you want your lasting legacy to be when you graduate?

I want people to remember you can be a student-athlete and have job. You can always find a balance between all of those and still have a life. I'm an example of that.

— Andrew John

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