Athletes of the Week: 9.14.12
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Jimmy Wheeler, West Mifflin
Last week: Wheeler had the best game of any running back in the WPIAL so far this season when he rushed for 342 yards on 24 carries and scored three touchdowns in a victory against Belle Vernon.
Check this out: Wheeler has burst on the scene this year after playing very little as a sophomore in 2011. He carried only 15 times for 87 yards last season, playing as a backup to Shamar Greene. But with Greene graduated, Wheeler has shined and has 469 yards rushing on 35 carries in two games. He is a 5-foot-8, 165-pound junior with excellent speed and good balance. In WPIAL Class AAA track last spring, he finished fourth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.04 seconds.
• Your coach, Ray Braszo, says you're the fastest player he has ever coached. You buy that? I think I have speed on me, but we did have some fast running backs before.
• Your team has been impressive in the first two games. Where does it stand in all of Class AAA? I think we're pretty high. We're in the top 10, but we have a lot of work to do yet.
• Do you think anyone can catch you from behind? I don't think they can because I'd be pretty mad about that.
• Any rituals on game day? I just pray and hope we have a good game. On Thursdays, the team always goes to Clancy's [Pub in Dravosburg]. We eat a lot of wings.
• How many wings can you eat at one time? Probably two dozen or two-and-a-half dozen.
• Best movie you've seen in the past year? I like that Batman movie.
• Who is your favorite to follow on Twitter? Reggie Bush.
• Kennywood amusement park is close to West Mifflin. How often do you go there? Actually I used to work at Kenneywood so I would be there every day in the summer. I worked on the Slingshot ride.
• People might be surprised to know ...? I set up couch cushions and pillows in my house as blockers and run around them.
Kelly Reynolds, Upper St. Clair
Last week: Reynolds helped the Panthers' girls volleyball team continue its strong start by leading her team to a win against Laurel Highlands in the championship of the Upper St. Clair tournament.
Check this out: Reynolds is a three-year starter at setter. She was named second-team All-WPIAL as a junior. Reynolds is also a star off the court, having organized Dig for Pink, a charity event benefitting Side-Out Foundation, which raises money for breast cancer research.
• What made you organize Dig for Pink? I had to do a project my freshman year. I saw [the event] was going on in another state, so I thought it would be nice to have one here.
• Most embarrassing volleyball moment? Wow. That could be a lot of things. One happened recently. I was going for a ball and my teammate didn't realize how close we were to one another. I got tripped and flew through the air. The whole crowd got real silent, but I was OK.
• How much Olympic volleyball did you watch? Anytime I was home, I'd watch it.
• What was it like seeing Hopewell's Christa Harmotto play? It was neat to watch her. It was cool because she played for the same club as me (Renaissance Volleyball Club).
• Your coach (Yoko Nagao) is Japanese. Has she taught you to speak any Japanese? No, but a lot of the shirts we wear incorporate Japanese writing with what she wants to say. We have one that says "One mind. One body" on the sides and has the actual Japanese characters for it in the middle.
• If you could meet any Pittsburgh professional athlete, who would it be and why? Probably Ben Roethlisberger because he's the quarterback of the Steelers. Setter is like the quarterback in volleyball.
• Most people might be surprised to know that ... I've actually moved quite a bit. I've lived in about 10 houses in four states. I've been here since sixth grade, though.
• What other states? Minnesota, Illinois and Florida.
First Published September 14, 2012 12:00 am