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G-Salem's Tatro juggles soccer, science

| Monday, April 27, 2009

Greensburg Salem senior Hannah Tatro is just as comfortable in a biology lab as she is on the soccer field.

"We did breeding of urchins the other day in AP biology and it was just amazing," Tatro said. "It was good. We had the eggs and we put them together. It was really cool looking in the microscope and watching them go through mitosis."

Tatro, who has a 4.0 grade-point average and plans on majoring in Health & Science in college, is one of 38 student-athletes from Westmoreland County nominated for the Excellence Award at the 53rd annual Judge John J. Driscoll Scholar-Athlete Awards banquet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Ferranti's Lakeview.

"It's really exciting for me and I feel completely honored to be chosen from a great class of guys and girls at my school," Tatro said. "I'm really excited to show up and represent Greensburg Salem."

Not only has she done a solid job representing the school, she's already eclipsed expectations some had established for her this year.

Because Greensburg Salem finished the 2008 soccer season with a 4-11 record, Tatro slipped under the radar and wasn't among those selected to the all-state teams by the coaches. Though she didn't get that kind of recognition, the senior defender, who scored 11 goals, still earned a scholarship to the University of Miami, where she will play for coach Tricia Taliaferro.

"It's more difficult, yes, but because I play on other teams I was able to get (noticed) through them," Tatro said. "High school wasn't my way to get into the soccer world. My club teams, that's probably what really pushed me through."

Knowing that she wouldn't garner any attention at the high school level, she attended several college showcases and took visits to Boston University, Stony Brook, Georgetown and North Carolina State. But it wasn't until she attended the Raleigh Shootout that she decided on a school that, up to that point, hadn't scouted her.

"I had e-mailed Miami my schedule and asked them to come down and watch me, and they happened to be scouting down there and they contacted me even though they hadn't even seen my e-mail," Tatro said. "They were just there recruiting and I guess it was meant to be. They saw me, sent me an e-mail, and I was excited to hear from them and I went down there and it was the last school that I visited. I knew that was it."

In addition to playing at Greensburg Salem, Tatro also played for the Pa. West Olympic Development Program since she was 12 and also played in Region I, the final step before getting a tryout for the U.S. National team. Though soccer will get her an education, however, she would have a hard time choosing between scoring a goal or making a breakthrough in the lab.

"I don't know how I could compare them because they're totally different," Tatro said. "Scoring a goal is something personal and something you can share with yourself and your family and the team, but in the lab, science in the lab, you can help thousands or millions in you find something great like, someday I (hope) I'll be."

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