PG Athletes of the Week: Nelson Westwood, Emily Lelis

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Nelson Westwood, Quaker Valley

This week: Westwood had a triple as the Quakers defeated Deer Lakes, 4-0, Tuesday in the WPIAL Class AA baseball semifinals.

Check this out: Westwood, a senior, is a rarity in high school sports these days -- a three-sport athlete. What makes him more rare is he is a captain in all three sports and is enjoying an unforgettable senior season. He was a starter on Quaker Valley's WPIAL championship soccer team, a starter on the basketball team and now a starting center fielder on the baseball team that is 21-0 and will play for a WPIAL title next week. A 4.3 grade point average student, Westwood will attend Lehigh University.

Do you feel lucky the way this year has gone? I do. I wasn't the most optimistic kid going into my senior year. It was nothing against the teams, but I thought we lost a lot of great senior leadership and athletic ability from last year, and I didn't know how my senior year would go. I'm sure not a lot of seniors go to two WPIAL championships and the semifinals in another sport.

How hard is it to play three sports? Sometimes it's challenging with school and things, but luckily Quaker Valley is small enough where I can play three sports, because the teams need kids to come out and play. It's easier where teams actually need me and kids who are like me. But sometimes it's challenging.

Which sport do you like best? That's tough to say, but I'd probably say I like soccer the best.

The NBA or NHL playoffs? I think I like the NBA a little more. Half of the reason for that comment is because I sometimes find myself wanting more action when I watch an NHL playoff game. But the other half of that comment is a dig at [baseball teammates] Clayton Bouchard and Jake Pilewicz because they are just in love with hockey.

Do you watch what you eat? I try to watch, but it doesn't always happen.

High school proms ... Meet the hype.

-- By Mike White

Emily Lelis, Springdale

Last week: For the third year in a row, Lelis won the 100- and 300-meter hurdles at the WPIAL Class AA track championships. Her time of 44.57 in the 300 was a new meet record.

Check this out: Just a junior, Lelis is already one of the most accomplished hurdlers in WPIAL history. She ran a 44.03 in the 300 hurdles earlier this season, which is the ninth-fastest time in WPIAL history. In addition to her success at the WPIAL championships, Lelis is the defending PIAA champion in both events. Last year, she became the first WPIAL girl to win both hurdles championships since the PIAA added the 300 hurdles in 1982. Lelis will attempt to defend her titles this weekend.

Did winning this year feel any different than the previous two years? It still feels awesome. It feels just as good as the first.

Will anything less than winning both at states be a big disappointment? No. There's going to be a lot of good competition. Probably the best competition in a while. I'm just looking forward to improving my times. If I finish in the top three I'll be happy.

Have you ever competed in any field events? No, I haven't. I just hurdle and I sprint in dual meets. I've messed around with the high jump and long jump in practice, but I didn't know what I was doing.

Best girls track and field athlete in the WPIAL? There are a lot of good athletes, but I'd have to say Maddie Holmberg of Hempfield. She's an incredible athlete.

Have you gotten any scholarship offers yet? No, but there's interest. I'm thinking I want to stay local.

You're home-schooled. Best thing about it? I really enjoy it. I can get up early and get school done, and I have lots of other time to work and train. It's a nice flexible schedule.

Favorite musical artist? My favorite band is the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Most people might be surprised to know that ... I'm really into tennis. I don't play competitively, but I play a lot for fun.

-- By Brad Everett

Athlete of the Week


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