A-K Valley athletes of the week: Highlands’ Jimmy Kunst, Freeport’s Julia Cummings

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Saturday, March 11, 2023 | 6:57 PM


Julia Cummings

Class: Senior

School: Freeport

Sport: Bowling

Report card: Cummings finished second at the Western Regional girls singles bowling championship Friday at AMF Noble Manor Lanes. Cummings rolled a five-game series of 995 to lead in the qualifying round. She then won her semifinal match before falling in the finals to Conneaut’s Victoria Medrick. She was named to all-tournament team at regionals and also helped the team reach the regional semifinals Saturday and advance to next week’s state tournament. Cummings also won the WPIBL singles title late last month when she threw a 584 series and then rolled a 240 in the finals. She was named MVP for the Northwest Division after averaging a division-leading 192.63 with a high game of 260 and high series of 677.

How did you bowl Friday at the regional singles?

I felt like I threw the ball really good. I made a lot of good shots. I just felt like in the title match, she just bowled better than me. I just kept leaving splits.

How did the team bowl Saturday at the regional tournament?

We ended up losing to Norwin (in the semifinals). It was a good experience the whole day. We all had fun.

What are you looking forward to at states?

I’m glad we made it to states so we can be there as a team and hang out and have fun.

What did it take to win the WPIBL title last month?

I picked up a lot of spares. I threw a lot of strikes. Mentally, I needed to keep myself in it.

What is it like to compete at these bigger tournaments?

It gets stressful at times. When you are down a lot, it puts a lot on you emotionally. I’ve learned to handle it because I’ve been the anchor for my travel team. It kinda of gives me an advantage.

What is the key to being successful in those events?

I think it’s very much mental. If you miss a spare and you’re upset and mad, that’s going to carry on for however many frames you have. If you can brush it off, that can completely change the outcome.

Have you ever bowled a perfect game or come close?

I haven’t bowled a perfect game yet. (My best is) 278. I’ve gotten close with 260s.

How did you get started in bowling?

My dad (Shawn) has bowled for a long time. He bowls in a couple leagues He was like, ‘Why don’t you start bowling junior league?’ We’ve kind of gotten more serious with it with tournaments and more leagues.

What are your plans for next fall?

I’m planning to go to Duquesne (to study) pharmacy.

What is your favorite home-cooked meal?

Either London broil or bolognese.

What’s your favorite streaming show?

Any baking shows.

What’s the last movie you saw in a theater?

“Top Gun.”

Do you have a favorite restaurant?

Ichiban.

What’s something people might not know about you?

That I’ve never been on a plane before. I’ve been wanting to, but I just haven’t done it yet.

Jimmy Kunst

Class: Senior

School: Highlands

Sport: Basketball

Report card: Kunst scored 23 points Friday night to help Highlands earn an 81-67 victory at Johnstown in the first round of the PIAA Class 4A boys basketball playoffs. The senior guard averages nearly 18 points per game this season for the Golden Rams (22-5), who will play WPIAL champion Lincoln Park in the PIAA second round Tuesday. The Leopards (26-1) defeated Highlands in the WPIAL semifinals last month.

How did the team play against Johnstown on Friday night?

I thought we played really well. I thought it was one of our best games all year. We came out early with a lot of energy. Very together. We had five guys in double figures. We played well.

How did it feel to bounce back after losses to Lincoln Park and Laurel Highlands?

It was great. We really took those two losses hard. We took time to reflect and really let those losses sink in. It felt really good to get another win.

What will it take to defeat Lincoln Park on Tuesday?

Definitely at the defensive end. They have a very high-powered offense. They have two very, very good players. We let up 80-some points last time. We need to lock in on all five players on their team and play defense.

What will you remember most about your senior season?

Just the little things, the bus rides, going out to eat with the kids, handing out with my best friends that I’ve grown up with since childhood and the winning side of things. I think we’ve done a lot of that this season.

Have you made plans for next fall?

I’m attending Eastern Michigan to play baseball.

What do you plan to study?

Pre-med or something biology. I want to get into pharmaceutical afterward.

Have you started to also think about baseball season, with it starting Friday?

Definitely. I’ve played throughout he winter, doing little things and lifting. It’s not baseball season yet, but I’ve started to think about it.

What positions will you be playing this year?

I’ll be pitching and playing middle infield.

Any early expectations for the team?

Just taking one game at a time, definitely making the playoffs. We lost a lot of seniors last year. The playoffs is an obvious expectation.

What is your favorite home-cooked meal?

Definitely some steak and fries and maybe fruit on the side.

What’s your favorite streaming show?

Right now is “Outer Banks,” but all time it would probably be “Lost.”

What’s the last movie you saw in a theater?

“Avatar.”

Do you have a favorite restaurant?

Freedom Square Diner up in the Heights. It’s a breakfast place.

What’s something people might not know about you?

I can draw a little bit. I’ve taken a skill in drawing. Lots of portraits. I try to draw different people. I like to draw cities and try to landscape.

Bill Hartlep is the TribLive sports editor. A Pittsburgh native and Point Park graduate, he joined the Trib in 2004, covering high school sports. He held various editing roles before assuming his current position in 2019. He can be reached at bhartlep@triblive.com.

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