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Valley News Dispatch spotlight athletes: Knoch's Celina Sanks, Burrell's Tom Spagnolo

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Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch
Knoch's Celina Sanks celebrates with her teammates after scoring against Freeport earlier this season.
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'American Coyotes' Series

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.

Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, 12:41 a.m.
 

Tom Spagnolo

School: Burrell

Class: Senior

Sport: Soccer

Report card: A team captain, Spagnolo has helped propel Burrell (10-4, 8-2) to first place in Section 1-AA. He has 17 goals, including the lone goal in the Bucs' 1-0 victory over Valley.

What was it like to score the deciding goal?

It feels amazing, just to be the man, to score the deciding goal.

What pressure do you feel being the youngest in a family of successful athletes?

They kind of help me a lot. It's an advantage since they know so much and have taught me so much. You know what to do and what to expect.

What's your playoff outlook?

Our main concern is first winning the section. For playoffs, our main goal is to at least win two games and make the semifinals.

— Alex Novickoff

Celina Sanks

School: Knoch

Class: Senior

Sport: Volleyball

Report card: One of the top-hitting players in the WPIAL, Sanks, an Eastern Kentucky recruit, helped Knoch upset perennial power Freeport last week, 3-2. She had a head-turning 33 kills in the win.

How did it feel to upset Freeport?

Probably one of the best feelings in the world. That was the first time I beat Freeport. It was an amazing feeling because we worked so hard for it, and it went five games. It took a team effort.

What did that win do to Knoch's confidence heading into the postseason?

It definitely boosted morale, and our confidence, but not to the point where we are overconfident. We have Mars again next Thursday. We can't take any games off. If we want to take a piece of section we will have to finish strong.

Why did you choose Eastern Kentucky?

The main reason was because it felt like home. The girls and coaches are amazing. It felt like family.

— D.J. Vasil

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