PG Athletes of the Week: Brianna Schwartz, Joel Hart

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Brianna Schwartz, Shaler

Last week: A junior standout, she defended her title as the WPIAL cross-country champion, winning the Class AAA race in a course record 17:52.

Check this out: Schwartz played basketball and soccer in middle school and ran cross country on the side. She played basketball in ninth grade before dropping that sport to focus on cross country. Saturday, she will compete for the PIAA title.

Explain for people who hate the thought of running why you chose cross country: It kind of takes some training and then it starts being enjoyable once you're able to actually do it and you're in shape. I don't know. It's relaxing I guess. Kind of just calms me down. It's fun. I don't know how to explain it.

What do you think about while you're running? I'm usually with someone, so that way I don't have to be alone and I can talk to them.

Well at the WPIAL meet you were all alone ...(she won by 53 seconds): In the races I'm just focusing on my form and being calm and thinking about my training.

You won the race. The next closest girl on your team finished 161st. What are practices like for your team? I usually run with the boys on my team. The girls stick together, and I go with the boys.

What are you looking forward to at the state meet? I'm excited for the course because throughout the summer and into the season I've been doing a really hard hill workout and I'm excited for the Hershey course, there's a lot of hills.

Do you know what the record there is? I believe 17:48. I think it was set this year. I'm not sure what the times will be like. I'm looking to stick with the top girls.

Would you ever run a marathon? Maybe when I'm older, but right now, no. I feel like that would be a fun thing to do.

Joel Hart, Upper St. Clair

Recently: Hart helped No. 1 seed Upper St. Clair reach the WPIAL Class AAA boys soccer championship by scoring two goals in a quarterfinal win against Mt. Lebanon and then two more in a semifinal triumph Monday against Bethel Park. The Panthers will meet Peters Township tonight in the final at Highmark Stadium.

Check this out: Hart, a senior forward, is one of the top players in the WPIAL. He has scored 34 goals for an Upper St. Clair team that typically doesn't feature a big-time goal-producer. Hart has led the Panthers to a 19-0-1 record and their third consecutive trip to the WPIAL title game. The defending PIAA champion Panthers are ranked No. 3 in the country by Student Sports. Hart will play collegiately at American University, a Division I school in Washington, D.C.

It's your third trip to the finals. Does it feel any different this time? It does because I'm a senior. It means a lot more because it's my last time in the WPIAL championship.

Coolest part about playing at Highmark Stadium? Definitely the backdrop of the city. It's a beautiful stadium to play in. Also, I love playing under the lights. It's just an amazing atmosphere.

The Upper St. Clair football team will ... win WPIALs and states.

Player on your team who would be a good football player, excluding kicker or punter? Garrett Blake and Anthony Pezzone. They're our two big hitters.

Most people might be surprised to know that ... I was born in England. I moved here when I was 8.

Question we didn't ask that you wish we would have? What my best soccer moment was.

What was it? Definitely winning states last year in Hershey.

Athlete of the Week

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