Athletes of the Week: 3.15.13
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Tyler Smith, Franklin Regional
Last week: Smith won the gold medal in the 132-pound weight class at the PIAA Class AAA wrestling tournament after gaining a 5-3 decision against Cumberland Valley's Patrick Duggan in the championship Saturday at Hershey.
Check this out: Smith, a junior, stood on top of the medal platform after finishing as the WPIAL runner-up for the third year in a row. Smith wrestled at 112 as a freshman and 120 as a sophomore. He placed fifth at the PIAA championships last season. Smith had a 45-4 record this year, lifting his career mark to 120-19.
• When the championship match ended, what was going through your head? I was so excited. I just never thought all the hard work would pay off.
• Had you ever wrestled Duggan before? No, but a couple of my teammates had. They were letting me know what to watch out for.
• The fact that you were the WPIAL runner-up three times, did that make winning the state title even sweeter? Yeah. When I lost in the finals, my coaches just kept telling me that I trained to win state titles, not WPIAL titles. I listen to my coaches because they know better than me.
• Where will you display your gold medal? They gave us a little medal case to put it in. Right now I have it sitting on top of my TV.
• Have you ever been to Chocolate World in Hershey? Of course. I go every single time I'm there.
• The NCAA tournament is coming up. Will you get into any bracket pools? I usually get into a couple with my friends. I always lose, though, because I don't know much about college basketball.
• When's the last time you went bowling and what was your score? Probably my freshman year. Me and my teammates went. I think I had a 92.
Maggie Gruber, Mars
Last week: Gruber, a senior, won the 100-yard butterfly and 100 backstroke at the WPIAL meet, breaking the WPIAL record in each of the events (records she previously set).
Check this out: Gruber and Mars competed at the PIAA Class AA championship meet Wednesday and Thursday as Gruber retained her 100 butterfly title -- her fourth -- on the first day of competition. She also won the 100 backstroke for three consecutive years before this week. She will swim next season at Virginia Tech.
• What's your mindset right now coming off your second-biggest meet of the year and now going into your biggest one? I'm excited that I did so well at WPIALs and I hope to do well at states. Being tapered and rested for this meet makes me really excited and ready to go.
• How did you get started in basically specializing in backstroke and butterfly? When I was little, I was horrible at those strokes. I don't know. I guess my coach from a while back got me doing butterfly a lot and I kind of fell in love with the stroke so I stuck with it.
• What are some of your goals heading into the state meet? The ultimate goal would be to get my best times and for our relay to do well and make it to finals and to just have a good time.
• Do you feel any pressure about having to defend the PIAA title in butterfly? Whenever I get to finals, I do get a little nervous, but I tell myself to just calm down and let everything go.
• What made you settle on Virginia Tech? Whenever I would take my recruiting trips, I just felt like I was happy whenever I was there. I really connected with the team. I love the coaches and love the campus. I'm really excited to go there.
• Your favorite food? My mom's homemade macaroni and cheese.
First Published March 15, 2013 12:00 am