A-K Valley athletes of the week: Freeport’s Vinnie Clark, Cheswick Christian’s Olivia Rochkind

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Saturday, January 15, 2022 | 7:01 AM


Vinnie Clark

Class: Senior

School: Freeport

Sport: Basketball

Report card: Clark had a game-high 22 points to lead Freeport to a Section 1-4A victory over Keystone Oaks. He is one of four seniors in the Yellowjackets’ starting lineup who have helped the team achieve more wins this year (seven) than last year (six).

How’d it feel to help the team achieve a big section road win?

It felt great because we were 1-2 in section, and both our losses were by a close margin, so we definitely needed that win. Without it, it would’ve been an uphill battle in the section the rest of the year. Coming out with a close win, we were all excited and relieved. We were glad we all came together and won that one.

What is like being a part of a senior-heavy team?

Us four guys know what to expect from each other. Even though we have four seniors, our group of juniors have been playing their whole lives together, too, so everyone knows what to expect from people. It’s a pretty nice luxury to have.

How has been working with new coach Sean Devinney?

We love Coach Devinney. The main thing he’s brought is a big source of energy. Every game and every practice there has to be energy, or something is off. We’re always upbeat and never have an off day. He’s not just our coach. He’s our friend, too, which is nice.

Who would win a team-wide game of knockout?

I would win, so I’ll say who will come in second place, and I think it would be Jason Kijowski. He doesn’t miss very often.

Do you have any pregame routines or superstitions?

Not really. It’s always been pretty much the same thing, and (Coach Devinney) makes sure we don’t veer off the track of what we’ve done in the past too much.

What was your favorite Christmas gift you received?

This year I got an Oculus Quest 2, which is one of those (virtual reality) headsets. They are really cool. It was something different to get, and I’ve been having a ton of fun with it.

What is your favorite school subject?

I’ve always enjoyed history more than the other subjects.

What are your hobbies outside of basketball?

I love to play music. I make music with my cousin. My dad plays guitar, and I play guitar, so I’m always around music.

Olivia Rochkind

Class: Senior

School: Cheswick Christian

Sport: Basketball

Report card: Rochkind had a career-high 34 points in a 56-22 win for Cheswick Christian over Grace Christian Academy. She had 33 points in the previous game. She has a younger brother, Grant, who plays on the Chargers boys basketball team.

How did it feel to reach a career high in points and help the team earn a win?

It was pretty incredible. With all of the work I’ve put in it felt pretty good to accomplish that, especially with the team that I have.

What worked well for you lately that you’ve been able to put up big scoring numbers?

Being a post player is something that I’ve realized is my best attribute in the game. My teammates do a really good job of moving the ball around and working well together. Post feeds are how I get most of my points, and my coaches have helped me with my footwork. I’ve been able to get that down, and that’s helped me score.

What’s it like having a brother who also plays basketball?

I would give most of the credit for how I play to him. He loves the game more than I do and is one of the best players I’ve ever known. I would never really beat him in any kind of game against him, because he’s 6-foot-4, but he’s pushed me to work harder and play better. I have another younger brother, Brady, that is in middle school. His biggest sport is football, but he’s good at basketball and really any sport. Growing up with brothers you are kind of forced to play sports, because that’s what boys do. Playing with them gave me the inspiration to play basketball.

Who would win a team-wide game of knockout?

Allie Szramowski, because she’s probably the best foul shooter on the team.

Do you have any pregame routines or superstitions?

I just give the glory to God for everything I do. I pray before games and always try to give my best. I set a goal to score every game going to back to my freshman year, and I’ve been able to do that. I’ve succeeded in that, and that’s pushed me every game, too.

What was your favorite Christmas gift you received?

I got a pair of Jordan shoes.

What is your favorite school subject?

Math because if you are pretty good at it, you can get through it.

What are your hobbies outside of basketball?

I work at a kids youth program. I like hanging out with my friends and going to youth group, but I’m mostly playing basketball. It’s a big part of my life.

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

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