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Spotlight Athletes: Burrell's Tayler Roach, Freeport's Matt Huston

| Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, 11:40 p.m.
Burrell swimmer Tayler Roach
Freeport hockey player Matt Huston

Tayler Roach

School: Burrell

Class: Junior

Sport: Swimming

Report card: A third-year starter, Roach has been an integral part of Burrell's success this season. The Bucs are 6-0-1. Roach, along with teammates Mackenzie Bindas, Abbie Horcizak and Ally Spohn, qualified for the WPIAL Class AA championships with a time of 4 minutes, 9 seconds in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Bindas also swims the butterfly leg in the 200-yard medley relay, in which Burrell has secured its place at WPIALs (2:06). This season, she has finished in either first or second place in the 100 butterfly, in which she has a career-best time of 1:09.

Q: How long have you been swimming competitively?

A: Since my freshman year. All of my friends were on the team as a freshman, and I wasn't really good at the other sports so I figured I'd give it a try.

Q: What is your favorite part about swimming?

A: I like that it's a team sport but it's also an individual sport.

Q: What are you thinking about when you're on the platform and waiting for the gun to sound?

A: At first, I get really nervous, my stomach is really tight, and then when the gun goes off I just dive in and don't really hear anyone else.

Q: What are some of your goals for this season?

A: To qualify (for WPIALs) in the 100-yard butterfly finally and to qualify in the 200 freestyle. I'd like to really go (to the WPIALs) as an individual.

Q: What do you do to stay focused during a meet?

A: I listen to music. I usually listen to Nicki Minaj to get me hyped up for my race.

Q: Who is your favorite swimmer?

A: Michael Phelps. He's the most respected swimmer. I honestly feel if he wasn't there, nobody would look at the sport as much as they do.

Q: Do you have a role model and who is it?

A: My oldest sister (Blake Roach) is my role model. She's the smartest person I know and she's always been there for me.

Q: Which three words best describe you?

A: Stubborn. Determined. Honest.

Q: Which three people would you like to have dinner with?

A: Michael Phelps, Nicki Minaj and Beyonce.

Q: What is your least favorite food?

A: Potatoes or peanut butter. Awful.

Q: What movie can you watch over and over again?

A: “Titanic.” I just like the ending and how it's different than what most endings are.

Q: What is something interesting about you that nobody knows?

A: I like to read. A lot of people don't know that.

Q: What are you reading now?

A: “Looking for Alaska.” I read it before and I know what happens in the end, and that's why I like it.

Q: How many books do you read a week?

A: Depending on the week, probably one or two.

Q: What is your favorite subject at school?

A: Literature.

Matt Huston

School: Freeport

Class: Senior

Sport : Hockey

Report card: After settling into his class schedule, Huston returned to the Yellowjackets for the fourth game of the season and has posted a 5-2 record. He has split time as a starter for Freeport (12-4-1) since his freshman season. He picked up the win in a physical, 3-2 overtime win over PIHL Class A Eastern Conference rival Bishop McCort and he also was in goal for the Yellowjackets' 7-4 win over Westmont Hilltop. He ranks 10th in Class A with a .875 save percentage. Huston also is a member of the Pittsburgh Selects under-18 club team where he sports a 9-3 record, a 2.81 goals-against-average and one shutout win through 12 starts.

Q: How long have you been playing hockey?

A: Hockey since I was 6, and figure skating since I was 4.

Q: Did you ever compete as a figure skater?

A: Yes, I did. I skated in one competition. It was in 2004 and (I took) sixth place.

Q: What is your favorite part about playing hockey?

A: A couple of things. I love being with my (teammates) in the locker room, on the ice and I love the camaraderie of it. I love being able to come up big in big situations. I like the pressure.

Q: Who has been the most difficult scorer for you to defend against?

A: Last year, Connor Quinn from Quaker Valley was probably the most difficult. This year, it's a little bit more spread out. I would say Jordan Timmons from South Fayette.

Q: Who is your favorite NHL goalie?

A: Jonathan Quick (of the Los Angeles Kings). I try to model my style a little bit after him.

Q: Why did you decide that goalie was the right position for you?

A: Our goalie in fourth or fifth grade went down, I liked how the equipment looked, so I strapped on my pads and I've been playing goalie ever since.

Q: Why do you wear the No. 80?

A: There isn't a real specific reason for the No. 80. I wear No. 60 for my club team because my dad, who passed away a few years ago, was born in 1960.

Q: Do you have a role model, and who is it?

A: My dad. He inspires me to do everything I do to the best of my ability. That's something he preached, and when he passed I tried to emulate that in every part of my life.

Q: Which three words best describe you?

A: Hardworking. Helpful. Personable.

Q: What kind of music do you listen to?

A: Anything from Sinatra to hip-hop. No country.

Q: Which three people would you like to have dinner with?

A: Jonathan Quick, Isaac Newton, Mozart.

Q: What is your least favorite food?

A: Brussel sprouts.

Q: Which movie can you watch over and over again?

A: “Saving Private Ryan.”

Q: What is something interesting about you that nobody knows?

A: I do volunteer work. Couple friends of mine, we started a charity called Blessings in a Backpack. It's a national charity, and we started the first chapter here in Pittsburgh in 2012

Q: What is your favorite hockey movie?

A: “Miracle.” It's an all-time classic.

Q: What is your favorite subject at school?

A: Biology. I find it fascinating to learn about how we as humans work. The more you learn about a subject, the more you realize we have absolutely no idea what's going on inside of us.

Q: What are your plans for after high school?

A: I was accepted to Wesleyan University in Connecticut for next year.

— William Whalen

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