PG Athletes of the Week: 9.20.13

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Connor Slomka, Pine-Richland

Last week: Slomka rushed for 238 yards and three touchdowns to lead Pine-Richland to a 49-19 win against Butler.

Check this out: Only a junior, Slomka (6 feet 1, 205 pounds) is among the top two-sport standouts in the WPIAL. In addition to being a very productive running back, Slomka is also an excellent lacrosse player, having committed to play that sport at Ohio State. Slomka has helped Pine-Richland begin the season 2-1 by rushing for 559 yards and eight touchdowns. As a sophomore, he rushed for 1,031 yards.

Any chance you'll decide to play football in college? I'll make the decision when the time comes. I like football, so I hope I'm put in that situation (of picking between the two sports).

Your game two weeks ago against Seneca Valley was televised on Root Sports. Did you record it or watch a replay? Of course. I recorded it.

During the game, did you think about being on TV at all? I think it was more before the game. It [stunk] when we were losing and the cameras were in our faces, but other than that I didn't notice.

You play North Allegheny [tonight]. What's the key to beating them? It sounds really simple, but we just have to be the team that makes the fewest mistakes. As long as we play sound football, don't make many penalties and don't turn the ball over, we have a good chance.

What's the Steelers biggest problem? It's hard to pick out one. They need to find their identity.

Who has the best pizza? That's an easy one. Cenci's (in Wexford).

If you could go on a date with any celebrity, who would it be? Brooklyn Decker.

Where would you take her? One of my football games. No, I'm kidding. I don't know, maybe the Bahamas. Something nice like that.

Most people might be surprised to know that ... I used to live in Germany.

When did you move? I moved here in first grade. My dad was in the Army, so we lived on an American base.


Ashley Leto, North Allegheny

Last week: A senior outside hitter and reigning all-state player, she has helped lead North Allegheny to the No. 1 ranking in Class AAA volleyball.

Check this out: Leto started playing volleyball in fourth grade and began to take it more seriously in middle school. She was inspired to get into the game by her mother, who won the state volleyball championship in her senior year of high school in Connecticut. Leto will play collegiately for California University of Pennsylvania.

You were all-state last year. What were your thoughts after finding out you were given that distinction? That was my goal for last year.

There are a lot of movies about girls basketball, gymnastics, figure skating, etc. Does it bother you that there aren't really any volleyball movies? Why aren't there any? I've never seen a volleyball movie. It's a very hard sport to mimic in a movie. I guess it's just too hard for them to mimic.

What's the offseason like for you? A lot of club volleyball. My club team went to the national championships.

What's a stereotype you hate about volleyball players? That we talk down about other teammates.

In the Olympics, do you prefer watching team volleyball or beach volleyball? Both. They're both enjoyable to watch.

Do you have a prematch ritual? I've got some weird ones. I usually wear a warm-up shirt and tie the sleeves in a knot. I wear a necklace with a four-leaf clover on it -- I keep it on as long as I can before the game, until they tell me to take it off, and I give it to my coach who is also Irish and I let her wear it during games.

What's the first thing you do when you get home from practice? Try to do all my homework and get it done.

What's the farthest you've ever traveled for a match? We flew to Texas for nationals.

Where's somewhere you've always wanted to visit? Italy. Anywhere in Italy. It's such a beautiful place.

Athlete of the Week


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