Valley News Dispatch spotlight athletes: Apollo-Ridge's Alex Smith, Ford City's Gina Batiz
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Report card: Always a 3-point threat for the Vikings, the 6-foot-2 guard averages 13 points per game. He scored 13 points in Apollo-Ridge's opening playoff win against California. He also is a standout receiver on the football team.
Word is you can dunk. How often do you practice dunking and do you try to dunk in games a lot?
I try it in practice every once in a while. I don't really try to do it during games unless there's a wide-open lane.
What's the most creative dunk you have tried during practice?
Probably a (reverse) dunk. I go from the wing and take off and do a 180 backwards.
Was it difficult to overcome the ankle injury that caused you to miss some time this season and did it affect your confidence level?
Yeah it did. It didn't really bother me at the end of the season because there were nonsection games. I was upset I couldn't play and be there for them. It messed me up going into the first playoff game. I wasn't used to practicing, and I hadn't practiced that whole week. I wasn't ready to get back in and I did all right.
Do you feel pressure when you're called upon to make a needed 3-pointer?
Yeah, but since the whole team looks for me for a basket I feel like I have to make it to give me the confidence.
School: Ford City
Report card: Batiz placed second all-around and third in vault at the WPIAL Gymnastics Championships. She also competes in bars and floor exercises. She is the only competitive gymnast at Ford City.
What were your goals heading into the WPIAL Championships?
I was hoping to get medals like I did and ... also to support my school.
Is gymnastics more mental strength or physical strength?
It's a combination of both because you have to set your mind to it, and it's also a lot of physical strength. I've been training since I was 3.
What's the craziest move you ever tried?
My backhand spring on the beam. It's four feet in the air.
Your sister, Courtney, was a successful gymnast at Ford City. Was there ever a friendly competition between the two of you?
People always ask us, and I can't answer that question because I'm not her.
Do you still reach out to your sister for advice?
Yeah, definitely. She sometimes coaches us. She helps me a lot.
Do you compete on a team outside of Ford City?
Yes, Ultimate Gymnastics. USAG, the United States Association of Gymnastics.
What goes on with the USAG?
There's levels, and I'm a Level 8. There's levels 1-10. It's a different private club. There's elite and college levels.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- State police say escaped Armstrong County inmate has been captured
- Judge rules McCullough guilty of taking money from elderly woman’s estate
- Pirates’ Burnett endures another poor start in blowout loss to Reds
- Starkey: Garoppolo baffles Steelers
- Pirates bolster bullpen by trading for former closer Soria
- Steelers’ reserve quarterbacks vie to secure spot behind Roethlisberger, Gradkowski
- Former Virginia Governor Gilmore joins 520 vying for presidency
- Emails among Governor Wolf’s aides reveal concern over AG Kane
- Pitt, McConnell-Serio agree to new contract through 2020-21 season
- Inside the Steelers: Rookie linebacker Chickillo continues to excel
- Warrant issued for man accused of killing Brookline woman