Alle-Kiski Valley spotlight athletes: Knoch's Cole Shinsky, Highlands' Cassidy Runyan
Report card: Shinsky helped Knoch reach the WPIAL playoffs as a hitter and pitcher. He's delivered three triples, and a pair of doubles and nine RBIs. He has struck out 23 batters in 20 innings.
If you could describe the season so far in one word, what would it be?
Exciting. We've had our ups and downs. We almost beat Hampton.
Earlier in the season you were hitting well, but teams seemed to adjust. Was that adjustment difficult for you?
Yeah, it was. I'm still adjusting to it. I have to take a completely different approach.
You've played on a travel team the past few summers. How many states have you played in and what was your favorite?
I've been to Ohio, North Carolina, Delaware, Maryland and Tennessee. My favorite is Tennessee because the weather is always nice and the more south you go, the better the competition.
Your first-round playoff win over Thomas Jefferson is believed to be the first in school history. How does it feel to be a part of that?
It feels great. I feel like we can accomplish just about anything.
Report card: Runyan is the leading hitter for the Golden Rams. She has a team-high three home runs this year. Highlands will take on Elizabeth Forward in the first round of the playoffs on Thursday at Hempfield.
Highlands has been one-and-done the last three years in the playoffs. What's the mentality around the team this season?
The senior leadership, we really want to win. It helps that we have six seniors leading the team. Plus the coaches are motivated to help out and get us going.
What would be the picture-perfect way to end your senior season?
We wanted to win the section title, so winning the WPIAL title would be just as good.
What made you decide to commit to Clarion for softball?
The coach and the school, I really like it up there. It's a smaller school, but the team is really nice and I love the coach. I plan to play four years and major in biology.
On Senior Night you described a most embarrassing moment. What was it?
There was a passed ball at second and I went to third. My coach told me to stay up, and I was already sliding. I tried to stop myself, and I touched third and fell in front of everyone.
— D.J. Vasil