A-K Valley athletes of the week: Freeport’s Kira Schrecongost, Deer Lakes’ Wayne Love

Saturday, March 2, 2024 | 2:51 PM

Kira Schrecongost

School: Freeport

Class: Junior

Sport: Swimming

Report card: Schrecongost won the WPIAL Class 2A girls 100-yard butterfly title for the second time Thursday. She edged rival Katie Jackovic, a senior from South Park, by 58 one-hundredths of a second, winning in 55.37 seconds at Pitt’s Trees Pool. She won the 100 fly title as a freshman, also topping Jackovic for the title before Jackovic returned the favor last year. Schrecongost again earned four medals at the two-day WPIAL meet with a fourth in the 200 individual medley while helping Freeport finish second in the 200 medley relay and sixth in the 400 free relay. She will return to the PIAA championships March 15-16, at Bucknell.

What is it like going head-to-head for three years with someone as accomplished as Katie Jackovic?

It is a lot of fun. We know so much about what each other can do. We both know that when we face each other that we’re going to give it our all. We push each other to be our best so much. I am sure we will race against each other at states. It will be intense, especially with us going against (Bedford swim star and Olympic Trials qualifier) Leah Shackley. Finding out who will be runner-up against her will be a battle for sure.

What does it feel like to be a two-time WPIAL champion?

It’s honestly really cool. I am one of the first swimmers in Freeport history to have two WPIAL titles. I feel like it is a really big accomplishment. I am so proud.

Was it a good two days for the Freeport group of swimmers?

The two relays that I was in, we broke school records in both. We were really excited for that. We all worked so hard the past couple of weeks, and we had a lot to give when we got down to Pitt. We all supported each other, and we all turned in some really good swims.

What is the game plan to get ready for states?

I am definitely going to be resting more for states. We’re going to up the mileage to start and then go down slowly. There’s also some technique things we will be working on with our races.

What is the goal for states?

The medley relay is pretty pumped for what we can do at states. We were super close behind Mt. Pleasant, and there might be something new coming out of that. In my individual events, I am hoping for some new best times, for sure.

Do you wish states came sooner after WPIALs, or do you like that full couple weeks to get ready?

I like that time we have to get ready as it is now. If it was (this week), I don’t know if that is enough time to prepare and refocus your mindset on everything. I do have a lot of takeaways from my swims, so it is nice to have a good amount of time to improve some things.

Do you have any pre-meet or pre-race routines?

I just have to do a certain warm-up before I swim. It’s nothing too out there. I just want to make sure I feel right and I am relaxed and focused. That is what I do before most of my races. I also listen to music a lot, too.

What is on the pre-race playlist?

I am like all over the place with what I listen to. I will listen to one thing one day and not like it the next day. Some of the playlists Spotify makes from songs I’ve listened to are on repeat a lot. A lot of it is on the rap or hip-hop side.

What was it like to share the WPIAL experience with your sister, Kasey, for the first time? How do you feel Kasey swam over the two days, taking third in the 100 back?

I think she was more excited once everything was done. WPIALs can be pretty stressful, especially for someone swimming there for the first time. But she handled herself really well. Sometimes, you don’t see many freshmen on podium. She was really happy with how she performed, and I was really happy for her.

If you could choose to play another sport for Freeport, what would it be?

I did soccer when I was younger, so that is probably what I would play.

Do you have a hobby or talent people might not know too much about?

I am really good with art, drawing and painting and that type of stuff. I do oil pastels a lot. It just depends on what my school project is. I like to draw different flowers and animals. We have four different art levels (at Freeport), and I am in Level 3 right now. I have four or five things I’ve done that are hanging up right now. It’s cool because I know it is something that I can do for a long time. In my free time, I like to draw or read.

Wayne Love

Class: Senior

School: Deer Lakes

Sport: Basketball

Report card: Senior forward Wayne Love had nine points and six rebounds in helping Deer Lakes beat Burrell, 55-49, in the WPIAL Class 3A championship game Friday night at Petersen Events Center. His three-point play 2 minutes, 15 seconds left gave the Lancers a five-point lead they never relinquished. The Lock Haven football recruit also had 23 points in the Lancers’ 84-73 win over Neshannock in Tuesday’s semifinals.

How does it feel to win a second straight WPIAL championship?

It feels great. I think from the start of the year that was our plan. We knew that’s exactly what we wanted to come out and do. We make our schedule as hard as we can, so when we get to the big stages like this, we know what we have to face and know what we have to do.

What made the difference against Burrell?

Our preparation. Our coach, Coach Fletch (Albie Fletcher), he spends countless, and looks for anything. All the scout guys help what we do. We know this team because we’ve played them for multiple years. That’s definitely a big help.

What was the celebration like on the court?

It felt amazing. That’s something I love. Doing it last year was amazing, but being able to do it two years in a row, I couldn’t imagine it. It’s amazing.

What the fan support mean to you?

I love it. Every single game we have countless amount of students. Our side, I don’t think there was a single open seat over there. Same thing last year. Home games, we’re selling out crowds. I think it’s amazing. I love this community. I love everything about them and how they come out and support us every single game.

What can you do in the state playoffs to keep this going?

The same thing we’ve been doing. We need to come prepared every single game. We can’t take any opponent lightly. We’re going to win a state championship. We need to play everybody with our best game.

Why did you decide on Lock Haven?

It’s a small place, and that’s what I wanted in a college. The coaching staff started (reaching out) my senior year and immediately believed in me. That’s what I loved.

How many tattoos do you have?

Right now, I have a whole sleeve, one on my leg and one on my arm. I have to finish (the sleeve). It took four (sessions for the forearm) and one (above the elbow).

Why do you keep going back?

All my tattoos have inspiration to them. That’s something I love about it.

What is something people might not know about you?

Just the amount of hours I work for everything. I’m not home very much because I’m here, I’m working, I’m at school, I’m lifting, I’m doing all this other stuff. I’m always doing something.

How do you want to be remembered at Deer Lakes?

Being on these amazing teams. I just want to be remembered by putting banners in the gym and putting trophies in our trophy case.

Who is the team comedian?

I’d have to go with Aiden Fletcher. He says the right things at the right time, and it’s amazing.

What has coach Albie Fletcher meant to this team?

I think he’s meant everything to us. From the start, we believed in him, and we knew he was going to take us exactly where we want to go. The amount of hours (he puts in), I don’t think he sleeps. He’s going to get it right back from us, because we know what he does for us. The second he became the coach, I was excited because I knew I believed in him.

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at mlove@triblive.com.

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