Daniel Merz, Norwin
Last week: Merz finished with a season-high six points (two goals, four assists) in a 7-2 win against Shaler last Monday.
Check this out: Merz, a senior forward, is the second leading scorer in PIHL Class AAA with 46 points. He's one point behind Peters Township's Trevor Recktenwald. In 14 games, Merz has 30 goals and 16 assists. He has had at least one goal and two points in every game, and four hat tricks. Merz has led Norwin to an 8-6 record and first place in Class AAA Section 3. As a junior, Merz had 44 points (22 goals, 22 assists).
• Who is your favorite NHL player? (Laughs) Alex Ovechkin.
• Wow. Are the Capitals your favorite team, too? No, but they're a close second behind the Penguins.
• Is playing professional hockey a goal of yours? I don't know about playing professionally, but I definitely would love to play college hockey. Right now I'm looking to play Division I hockey.
• When you score a hat trick, does anyone ever throw hats on the ice? I've had my friends do it a couple of times.
• Would you ever do it at a Penguins game? Yeah. If I was sitting close enough.
• You're number is 24. Any special reason? Well, I've been 24 pretty much my whole life. It started when I was a kid. My dad was big into NASCAR. I picked Jeff Gordon's number and have stayed with that.
• If you were on American Idol, what song would you want to sing? Probably Jason Aldean's "The Only Way I Know."
• Who will win the Super Bowl? I think the Patriots. They're coming on strong.
• Best thing you got for Christmas? A new hockey stick.
• Favorite food a family member makes? My mom makes a green bean casserole I really like.
Kristen Murslack, Pine-Richland
Last week: The Rams competed in a meet at North Hills last Thursday, and Murslack swam her "off" events but was happy with her times. Pine-Richland won the meet on the girls' side.
Check this out: Over the greater part of the past year, Murslack has established herself as one of the area's best high school swimmers. Last year, she finished first in the WPIAL in the 200-meter individual medley and the 100-meter breaststroke. She finished second in each of those events at the PIAA meet. She is the PIAA record-holder in the 100 breaststroke, breaking a record that was set in 2000. She has committed to swim next year at Auburn.
• How did you get started swimming? My mom signed me up for swim lessons when I was 3. I got the hang of it and, by the time I was 5, I started club swimming. I've basically been swimming my whole life.
• What are your goals for this season, both individually and as a team? Definitely for senior year, my goal is to win states. It would feel great to go out on top like that. For team, I would want us to place as high as possible for WPIALs and states.
• Who do you expect will be your toughest competitors this year? Probably North Allegheny. They've always been an extremely deep team with a lot of good swimmers. They're definitely the team to beat. Individually, I'd say Steph O'Toole from Butler. It'll be a good race between us at WPIALs and states.
• What's your favorite event to swim? Probably the 200 IM.
• Why did you choose Auburn over the other schools pursuing you? I feel like everything they had to offer was exactly what I was looking for. It stood out from any other colleges I visited.
• People would be surprised to know what about you? I'm a triplet.
• What's the best movie you've seen recently? Probably "Pitch Perfect."