PG Athletes of the Week: Tyler Smith, Kaitlyn Slagus

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Tyler Smith, Franklin Regional

Last week: Smith, a PIAA Class AAA champion in 2013, won the 132-pound title at the Powerade Christmas Wrestling tournament with a 7-0 shutout of Hempfield’s Sam Krivus, another PIAA champion. Smith recorded five victories in the tournament and is 8-0 for the season. Smith was one of five Franklin Regional wrestlers who won Powerade titles, as the Panthers captured the team title.

Check this out: Smith, a four-year starter for the Panthers, accepted a scholarship offer from Bucknell University. He is a three-time WPIAL runner-up, two-time PIAA place-winner, and has a 128-19 record.

Where does the Powerade title rank among your accomplishments? It ranks up there with my PIAA title.

Can Franklin Regional win the WPIAL and PIAA team titles? After our performance at the Powerade tournament, I believe we have the talent required to win both titles.

How long have you wrestled? Since I was 4 years old.

What clubs do you wrestle for? Young Guns and Mat Factory. I like to work out continuously. Good things happen when you work hard.

Where’s somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit? Hawaii. It’s a lot different than Pennsylvania.

If you could see anyone in concert, who would it be? Diplo. I listen to Diplo before each match to relax me.

Favorite movie? “Never Back Down,” a mixed martial arts movie.

TV show you can’t miss? I don’t watch much TV. I’m too busy training.

Most people might be surprised to know that … I’m a pretty outgoing person. I’m definitely not a quiet person.

What were your thoughts when wrestling was reinstated in the Olympics? I was real excited. The Olympics are not in my plans now, but that could change after college.

Favorite food, and do you get to eat it very often during the season? Cookie Dough, and never have it during the season.

Kaitlyn Slagus, Belle Vernon

Last week: Slagus finished with 37 points, 18 rebounds and 6 blocks in leading Belle Vernon to a win Saturday against Laurel Highlands, one day after scoring 28 points in a win against Uniontown.

Check this out: As Belle Vernon coach Lisa Fairman put it, Slagus is having a “remarkable” season. Slagus, a 6-foot-2 junior forward, is averaging 25 points and 18.5 rebounds per game for Belle Vernon, which is 7-1 and ranked No. 4 in Class AAA. Slagus set a school single-game scoring record Dec. 16 when she had 38 points against Greensburg Salem. Slagus had averaged 10 points and 10 rebounds per game as a sophomore. Her sister, Jessica (6-1), is a former Belle Vernon standout who is playing at Seton Hill.

Did you think you would be scoring this many points? I thought I’d be scoring a lot, but I didn’t think I’d be scoring as many as I have.

How did you break the record? It was on a layup. I got a lot of rebounds in that game and my team helped me out a lot.

Do you come from a pretty tall family? Yes. My dad [Jim] is 6-8.

Did he play basketball? Yes, but he grew up in New Jersey.

Hardest thing about being a tall girl? Probably just trying to fit in.

Best player in the WPIAL? I like Allison McGrath from South Park a lot.

Have you ever gone skiing? Yes, I have.

What was it like? I liked it, but my dad doesn’t let do it because he thinks I’ll get hurt.

Your best Christmas present was … a MacBook.

One thing you didn’t get for Christmas that you wish you would have? Probably Beats [headphones].

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