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Pittsburgh Tribune-Review athletes of the week: Gateway's Julius Rivera, North Allegheny's Brooke Mancuso

| Wednesday, May 29, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
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North Allegheny pole vaulter Brooke Mancuso.

Julius Rivera

School: Gateway

Year: Senior

Sport: Track and field

Claim to fame: Rivera won the 100-meter dash at the PIAA Class AAA championship meet at Shippensburg University on Saturday. Rivera's time of 10.74 seconds narrowly edged Seneca Valley's Jonathan Dorogy, who finished in 10.83. Rivera entered the PIAA event as the WPIAL champion after winning the 100 in 10.98 at Baldwin on May 16.

“It wasn't a huge surprise because he ran well at the preliminaries,” coach Tom Labuff said. “I don't think we expected to come home with a state championship, but I did expect him to place.”

How does it feel to be the fastest high school runner in the state?

It feels really great. I've been training really hard. I had my mind set on it since the beginning of the season. It's a thrill to actually accomplish it.

Was it satisfying to shock a lot of your doubters?

It is satisfying. I run in the summer a lot with the Future Stars Athletics and a lot of people know me up there.

Have you decided where you'll attend college?

I've been looking at a few schools. California (Pa.) is at the top of my list, but there are a few other options.

Do you plan on running track?

I do. My dad ran track in college also, so that's definitely something I'd enjoy doing.

What are your plans for summer vacation?

I'm definitely going to run track for Future Stars. I'll probably take a week off and get in some longer runs and lifting. I just have to get ready for practice and nationals (in North Carolina) this year.

Brooke Mancuso

School: North Allegheny

Year: Senior

Sport: Track and field

Claim to fame: Mancuso won the pole vault at the PIAA Class AAA championship at Shippensburg University on Saturday. The win was redemption for Mancuso, who took fifth at the WPIAL championship.

“That performance at WPIALs got her fired up,” coach John Neff said. “She wanted to go into that and come out with a win, but she wasn't able to do it that day.

“You could tell from the get-go at states that she was going to have a good day.”

How gratifying was it to win at states after coming up short at WPIALs?

It was unbelievable. I don't even know how to describe how happy that it made me.

What happened at WPIALs?

I was very excited and I couldn't keep my energy under control. I wasn't fluid in my motions. I had too much nervous energy, I guess you could say.

What did you do differently at states?

I kept a lot calmer. I had a lot of time between jumps. I had to sit down and relax and think of the next thing I had to do. I tried to take it one step at a time and not get ahead of myself.

Have you decided where you'll attend college?

Westminster College.

What did you like about Westminster?

I absolutely love the coach and the team. The atmosphere is fantastic. It felt like the perfect match for me.

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