High School Athletes of the Week

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J.J. Matijevic


This week: Matijevic went 2 for 2 with a home run and five RBIs Monday in an 11-5 victory against previously undefeated Penn-Trafford.

Check this out: After Monday, Matijevic was riding one of the most impressive streaks in WPIAL history. He had hit a home run in six consecutive games. He also had a streak of 10 consecutive hits. For the season in seven games, he is hitting .692 (18 of 26) with 7 home runs, 1 triple, 5 doubles, 25 RBIs and 18 runs scored. He also has walked 11 times. He hit only one home run in 2013.

College talk: Matijevic, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior shortstop, signed with the University of Arizona.

 Have you ever come close to a home run streak like this at any level? Maybe T-ball? Ahhh, not at all. I feel like I never worked so hard as I did this offseason and I feel it's paying off. I have to give a lot of credit to my teammates, too. In front of me and behind me, our lineup is loaded. So they have to pitch to me.

 But you have to be surprised by this? Oh yeah, I am.

 Can you keep the streak going? I'm going to try, but more than likely, no.

 Have you always been a good power hitter? Yes, all the way through my years of playing. But now I've made the transition of hitting more to the opposite field and more line drives. It's not just all power.

 Do you think you will be taken in the major league draft and is there a chance you will sign? I don't really like talking about that. As of right now, I'm going to college. As the season progresses, I'll talk more about it with the people around me.

 Who has the best hats in all of baseball? The Los Angeles Dodgers.

 People might be surprised to know ... I sleep with my new baseball equipment when I first get it.

-- By Mike White

Maddie Holmberg


Last week: Holmberg captured four gold medals (100- and 300-meter hurdles, long jump and 400 relay) Saturday at the Lady Spartan Invitational.

Check this out: Holmberg is one of most versatile track and field stars in the WPIAL. A junior, she has the WPIAL's top reported time in the 300 hurdles and fifth best in the 100 hurdles and the best long jump. Her 400 relay team also has the top mark. Holmberg already has earned nine gold medals from the WPIAL and PIAA championships in her career. She's the defending WPIAL Class AAA champion in the 100 and 300 hurdles. Holmberg owns a career-best long jump of 19 feet, 10 inches.

 Hardest event to train for? It's hard because they are all so different. Probably the 300 hurdles just because it requires so much endurance, conditioning and form.

 OK. Hardest event to compete in when it's raining? I would say long jump because your steps have to be accurate. If it's raining, you might have to slow down. And the sand gets hard and sticks to you.

 Largest crowd you have ever competed in front of? Probably at [indoor] nationals [at the Armory in New York City recently]. Nationals is really nerve-wracking. People from all around the country are there. You're like in a circle with the bleachers and crowd all around you.

 Where do you display all your medals and awards? I'm actually working on that now. I have them hanging around in my room. I would like to kind of construct something where I can separate my big medals from the big meets from the ones from when I was younger.

 Spring sport you would play if you didn't run track? Our school just started lacrosse. I have a few friends on the team. I think that would be fun.

 Most people might be surprised to know that ... I was a competitive cheerleader for five years.

-- By Brad Everett


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