A-K Valley athletes of the week: Burrell’s Taylor Johnson, Riverview’s Christian Tamburro

By: HSSN Staff
Wednesday, February 21, 2018 | 11:16 PM


Taylor Johnson

School: Burrell

Class: Senior

Sport: Gymnastics

Report card: Johnson was golden on Saturday when she earned the advanced division's all-around title at the WPIAL individual gymnastic championships at Moon. Johnson, who took silver last year, posted scores of 9.6 in the vault, 9.1 on bars, 9.4 on beam and 9.5 on floor to finish with a overall score of 38.7. She placed first in vault, bars and beam and second in floor. As a member of the Burrell track team, she runs the 100- and 200-meter dashes and also ran the first leg of the 2017 WPIAL Class AA champion 400-meter relay team. Johnson recently committed to run track at Washington & Jefferson.

How long have you been competing in gymnastics?

Since I was 3 years old.

How do you keep focused during your routines?

I try to block out every noise that would distract me.

How did finishing in second place last year motivate you going into your senior year?

It motivated me a lot. The year I got second my (Pittsburgh North Stars) teammate (Katrina Jones) beat me.

When you finished the floor routine, did feel like you had a good shot of winning?

Yes.

What was your reaction once you realized you won gold in the all-around?

I was just really happy.

Is there one event that is more difficult for you than the others?

The beam. Ever since I was little, I've always had trouble with staying on, and it's a little scary for me.

How does gymnastics help you in track and field?

They way you train in gymnastics pretty much trains your whole body. It trains everything that benefits me in track.

What three words best describe you?

Athletic. Funny. Oblivious.

What three people would you like to have dinner with?

Marc-Andre Fleury, TJ Watt and Chance The Rapper.

What is your favorite subject at school?

Biology.

What are you going to study in college?

Environmental science.

What is something interesting about you that nobody knows?

In second grade, I broke my ankle because I was wearing gaucho pants and they got stuck on a pool ladder.

Christian Tamburro

School: Riverview

Class: Senior

Sport: Wrestling

Report card: The last time a Riverview wrestler reached the WPIAL Class AA final, gas prices averaged 96 cents per gallon. Tamburro (20-8) broke a 30-year drought when he scored a 5-4 overtime decision against South Fayette's Michael Dedi in the semifinals and advanced to the Class AA 160-pound championship match, where he fell to Burrell's Shaun Gates. As a member of the Riverview football team, the 5-foot-8 Tamburro is a two-time WPIAL Class A Eastern Conference honorable mention and was named the Raiders' defensive MVP as a senior.

How long have you been wrestling?

Four years. Since my freshman year.

What kind of advice would you give to yourself as a freshman wrestler?

Listen to your coaches more. They know what's right, and you don't have to think that you know everything.

How and when did you learn that you ended Riverview's 30-year drought of not having a wrestler reach the WPIAL Class AA finals?

Right after the semifinal match, my coach told me. It was a really cool experience.

What do you like most about wrestling?

I'm the only one on the mat. I don't have that 11-man group that I have on the field like in football.

What are your thoughts on advancing to PIAA Southwest Regionals this weekend?

I'm excited. Coming in as a second seed is a whole different thing, and I'll get an easier match in the first round.

Are you more of a wrestler or a football player?

I love football and I've been playing longer, but I'm a wrestler in my heart and in my mind.

What do you eat on the day of a match?

Before weigh-ins its usually nothing. After weigh-ins I usually eat carbs and stuff.

What do you pig out on after a match?

Peanut butter and jellies are big and just junk food.

How does wrestling help you with football?

Driving your legs and the constant movement with your feet and hands.

What three words best describe you?

Lighthearted. Fun. Focused.

What three people would you like to have dinner with?

Cael Sanderson, Arnold Palmer and Atilla the Hun.

What is your favorite subject at school?

Wood shop. If you asked me a few years ago, it would have been history.

What are your plans for after high school?

Attend a trade school for most likely carpentry.

What is something interesting about you that nobody knows?

I love music. Music can motivate and move me so much.

Who is your favorite band or artist?

It would have to be Motorhead.

— William Whalen

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