Daily News Spotlight Athletes: Clairton's Vinny Moody, Steel Valley's Maddie Cotter
Sport: Track and field
Claim to fame: Moody won gold in the 100-meter dash at the Baldwin Invitational on Friday with a time of 10.89 after bolting to a personal-best 10.75 in the semifinals. He is unbeaten on the season.
“Vinny really has a lot of natural ability and speed,” coach Ed McCorvey said. “Our goal was for him to improve on his time from last year and if he was injury free he would have a good chance to do that.”
What has been the key to your success this season?
Really, it's been pressure. I feel like I have to do this. I have to win. I've finished second to my cousin, Trenton Coles, the last two years, but I haven't lost yet this year. We went undefeated in football, and I haven't lost yet in track. I'm just not comfortable being anywhere else but first. I'm taking everything so serious this year. I want to win states so badly.
Do you feel any pressure because your family has a history of success in track?
Yes, there is pressure, but that's what motivates me. My family expects me to do well and win. Even people on the streets tell me to keep doing my thing. But I have to win for my family. It probably means just as much to them as it does to me.
If you could compete against any four or five runners, who would you pick and why?
First, I would pick my cousin Trenton because he's the man, and I look up to him. Then, I'd say my aunt Marla Puryear. She ran a 11.2. ... Then, I'd have to include my idol, Usain Bolt, even though he would kick my tail. I'd just love to meet him. Finally, I'd say my dad. He's always been really fast. We were talking about it the other day. He kept saying, “You're fast, but you can't beat me.”
Do you approach your two events differently?
No. I approach all of them with the mindset that I can't lose. I don't know how it feels to lose, and I don't want to know how it feels.
What are your college plans?
I don't know where I want to go yet. I definitely want to run track because that's where the money will be for me as far as scholarships. I've been looked at for football and some schools want me to do both.
Which do you like more?
I like football a lot because I've played it since I was 6 or 7. If we had track before high school like we have football, I would say I liked track better, but I'd rather do track in college because I'm better at it.
School: Steel Valley
Claim to fame: Cotter has 11 victories and has amassed 122 strikeouts as Steel Valley's starting pitcher. She has led the Ironmen to a 11-4 overall record and a second-place mark in Section 2-AA at 7-3.
“I'd be lying if I said I was expecting this kind of performance from her,” coach Matt Janov said.
“I saw her pitch in the summer, and I knew she was going to win games, but she has exceeded my expectations.
“She has an excellent work ethic and has spent countless hours learning how to be a pitcher. She worked really hard to get better in the gym all summer with myself and our catcher and she never misses a practice or a workout.”
Why have you been so effective as a pitcher?
Well, it's basically because of my team. They help me stay mentally and physically tough. They pick me up when I'm out there. The fielding has been perfect and it's just a great team.
What do you have to do to continue this success?
Well, practice is every day for two hours, and the catcher and I catch for an hour after. We work on different pitches and whatever else we need to work on.
What pitches do you throw and which do you like the most?
I throw a fastball, a changeup, a screwball, a drop and a pitch called the twister that goes on the inside and outside of the plate. It's like a fastball with a different spin. The drop is like a fastball that will drop right in front of the plate. I like throwing the fastball and the drop the most because they're fun to throw and very accurate, and I work hard on them.
What is your favorite class in school?
Anything math related. I really like it. I've just always been good with numbers. That kind of stuff is interesting to me.
What's your favorite movie?
I'd have to say “Mean Girls” because it's just funny. I don't really watch that many movies, but that's definitely one of my favorites.
Who in your life do you look up to?
My mom and my dad. My dad actually just passed away, so for this season, I've been trying to play tough for him and dedicate everything I achieve to him. I look up to my uncle as well. He has been my coach in travel ball for a long time.
— Robert Stinner