Pittsburgh Tribune-Review athletes of the week: North Allegheny's Kevin O'Brien, Shaler's Brianna Schwartz
School: North Allegheny
Claim to fame: O'Brien was the low medalist at the PIAA Western Regional qualifier with a 1-under par 71 on Oct. 15. O'Brien competed in the PIAA state tournament Monday and Tuesday, shooting a two-day total of 164 to finish tied for 28th.
What did regionals do for your confidence?
It's just about going into it wanting to qualify and get to the next round. At the same time, you want to go out and shoot a good round. It's still a title and it reinforces that I can play at a high level.
What mindset did you have going into the PIAA tournament?
It's always tough. The course isn't very hard, but you can get into some trouble. I just wanted to try to stay committed to my shots. There's a lot of stuff you can't control in the game of golf, but you just have to commit to be the best you can.
Have you decided where you want to attend college?
Not yet. I'm deciding between Seton Hall and St. Mary's. With St. Mary's, I have an uncle in California. It's cool out there, I've been there twice. I have a lot of family in New Jersey, too. They are both good Division I schools.
Sport: Cross country
Claim to fame: Schwartz won the Tri-State Coaches Association meet with a time of 18 minutes, 10 seconds, beating North Hills junior Mary Malone by 22 seconds at Cooper's Lake Campground in Slippery Rock on Oct. 18. Schwartz will return to the Cooper's Lake on Thursday for the WPIAL Class AAA championship meet.
How did the wet conditions last week affect your performance?
The course itself wasn't really too bad. It was muddy going up the hills. It wasn't very cold, which is not what I expected. The rain calmed down throughout the day.
Did you get a chance to take mental notes to prepare for Thursday's WPIAL championship?
This week I think it's supposed to be sunny, so that'll be a big change. I'm just trying to start out faster and get a faster time.
Is it easier mentally since you competed in the WPIAL championship last year?
Last year, I was definitely a little nervous, but I feel more relaxed and more confident now.
— Brian Graham