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Alle Kiski Valley spotlight athletes: Kiski Area's Eric Kennedy, Freeport's Cassie Suran

| Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, 6:21 p.m.
Kiski Area cross country runner Eric Kennedy
Kiski Area cross country runner Eric Kennedy
Freeport soccer and hockey player Cassie Suran
Freeport soccer and hockey player Cassie Suran

Eric Kennedy

School: Kiski Area

Class: Senior

Sport: Cross country

Report card: After missing his junior season nursing stress fractures in his legs, Kennedy has rebounded to again be one of the Cavaliers' top runners. He finished third with a time of 16 minutes, 44 seconds at the WPIAL Class AAA championships last week at Cooper's Lake to qualify for Saturday's PIAA championships in Hershey. He placed second at the WCCA meet and ran a personal-best 16:12 at the Spiked Shoe Invitational at Penn State.

Where's your favorite cross country course to run?

The Spiked Shoe Invitational course at Penn State.

What's the most difficult course you've run?

The state course (at Hershey). The second mile is all hills, and the last half-mile, there's a pretty steep hill to the finish line.

What's the longest race you've run?

I haven't done anything longer than a 5K.

What kind of running shoes do you wear during a race?

I wear the Nike Elite 8s and Hoka Clifton 2s.

How do you prepare before a run?

I usually won't eat until a couple of hours before.

What do you eat the day of a race?

Something light. Oatmeal and banana for breakfast.

Do you have any pre-race superstitions?

No. I try to stay away from those.

What three words best describe you?

Committed. Perfectionist. Smart.

What three people would you like to have dinner with?

Meb Keflezighi (U.S. Olympic runner), Matthew Centrowitz Jr. (U.S. Olympic runner) and Jerome Bettis.

What did you dress up as for Halloween?

I went to a party and wore a hot dog costume.

Do you believe in ghosts?

Yes. No personal experiences, just others' accounts.

What is your favorite scary movie?

Not big into scary movies. “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”

What is your favorite trick-or-treat candy?

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

What is your favorite subject in school?

Chemistry.

What is your favorite school lunch?

Pizza day.

What is something interesting about you that is nonsports-related?

Last winter I went out to Breckenridge and Vail, Col., to snowboard. It was a lot of fun. A way different experience than the slopes around here.

What are your plans for after high school?

Go to college and study engineering and run Division I cross country and track. I've gotten an offer to have a spot on the team, but no money, at Cornell and Notre Dame.

Cassie Suran

School: Freeport

Class: Senior

Sport: Soccer

Report card: Suran has surrendered just one goal in the postseason for Class AA No. 2 seed Freeport, which will play in its first WPIAL championship game Thursday in Highmark Stadium. Suran and her defense have recorded 11 shutouts and have allowed 12 goals through 19 games for Freeport (15-3-1). She also managed to score from her position on senior night in the Yellowjackets' 5-0 win over Deer Lakes. Suran also plays defense for the Freeport hockey team and goalkeeper for the lacrosse team.

How long have you been playing soccer?

Since I was 4.

Can you describe the vibe surrounding this year's team and how you all feel going into Thursday's championship against Freedom?

It's all positive. We've come together so much this year than ever before. We are very focused on trying to do whatever we can to come out on top.

How has coach Brittni Grenninger helped turn the program around?

She came in my sophomore year and told us that she had high expectations and holds us accountable for everything.

What is the strength of this year's team?

Our passing and defense for sure.

Were you secretly pulling for Section 2-AA rival Highlands to win the other semifinal game?

Yes and no. In a way I was because it would have been really cool to have an all Alle-Kiski final.

Which goal is more difficult to defend, lacrosse or soccer?

Lacrosse for sure. For both of them it's all about angles, and for lacrosse, you get hit with the ball and you have to shake off the stinger.

Do you come out of lacrosse games black and blue?

Oh yeah, for sure.

Has the team come up with a strange playoff superstition?

Not that I've noticed. Everybody had their own superstitions.

Have you come up with any of your own?

Away games, I sit in the goalie seat. It's the second seat behind the bus driver.

What's your favorite color of Gatorade?

Light blue.

What three words best describe you?

Crazy. Athletic. Outgoing.

What three people would you like to have dinner with?

Evgeni Malkin, Hope Solo and Mario Lemieux.

What did you dress up as for Halloween?

Super Girl.

What is your favorite scary movie?

I like the “Scary Movie” series.

Favorite trick-or-treat candy?

Twix.

What is your favorite subject in school?

English

What is your favorite school lunch?

Spaghetti.

What is something interesting about you that is nonsports-related?

I'm in Key Club. It's the club in the school that puts together charity events.

What are you plans for after school?

I want to go into sports medicine and athletic training.

— William Whalen

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