A-K Valley athletes of the week: Kiski Area’s Veronica Flanagan, Springdale’s Mason Gent

Saturday, January 28, 2023 | 3:01 PM

Veronica Flanagan

Class: Sophomore

School: Kiski Area

Sport: Bowling

Report card: Flanagan rolled a 580 three-game series to finish fourth at the second annual Westmoreland County Coaches Association bowling championships Jan. 21, at Hillview Lanes in Greensburg. She also helped Kiski Area capture the girls team title with 2,514 pins. Kiski is 4-5 this season in WPIBL action and tied for third in Section 9 North. Flanagan, a home-school student in the Kiski Area School District, is second in the North section with a 201 average, bolstered by a high game of 241 and high series of 676. She threw games of 217, 232 and 195 on Wednesday in a 4-3 loss to Butler.

How do you think you bowled at the WCCA championships?

Not as good as I wanted to. I was under both my high school average and league one but only by a couple pins. I didn’t do too bad. I more wanted the team to do good. I’ve won a lot individually, but we haven’t placed first as a team so it was nice to do that as a team.

How did it feel to win the team title?

We were really excited. It was great. We were all happy. That’s what it takes for us to do well, if we all work together. It very much is a team effort.

What are your goals for the rest of the season?

We have one match left next Friday, and my goal is to either go over average and get it up slightly or to just stay at average and bowl decent so it doesn’t move at all. My goal for (WPIBLs) is to have fun team-wise and hopefully go far in that and individual-wise is doing the best I can, go as far as I can.

How did you get started in bowling?

My dad, actually, was in a league when I was younger. It was something fun that we could both do as a family. We actually joke about it. It was supposed be $8 on a Saturday morning for shoes and a ball. Now it’s thousands of dollars spent going to national championships.

What’s the best score you ever had?

My best game I’ve ever thrown is on paper 278. I threw two 278 games this year (in junior league). It was nine (strikes) in a row, then 10th frame was 9, spare and 9 both times.

What’s the toughest part of bowling?

The mental challenge, I would say. You are competing against an opponent, but your opponent can’t control anything other than what they do. If you aren’t bowling good, and your opponent is, it’s the mental ability to not give up and keep fighting.

What’s your favorite streaming series?

Probably “Criminal Minds.”

What’s the last movie you saw?

Me and my friends went last week to see the “M3GAN” movie. It was good.

Do you do anything before matches to get ready?

I actually have a playlist of my favorite band, Skillet; they’re a rock band. We blast music on the way to matches and tournaments.

Do you like to be more pumped up and hyped or calm while bowling?

It depends on the person, I guess. Some of my teammates are a lot more calm and quieter. I very much like to be pumped up and hyped.

Mason Gent

Class: Junior

School: Springdale

Sport: Basketball

Report card: Springdale junior forward Mason Gent posted a pair of double-doubles this week for the Dynamos (8-10, 2-6), who are battling for a playoff berth in Section 3-2A. He had 15 points and 11 rebounds in a 58-52 nonsection win over Westinghouse on Tuesday and added 15 and 10 in Friday’s 46-44 loss to Riverview. Also an all-section soccer player, Gent had 19 points in a 67-62 win over Clairton on Jan. 20.

How did the team play in Friday’s loss to Riverview?

I think we played very well. It was a tough loss. Free throws definitely had the impact of the game. I think we played very well as a team. The free throws, we need to work on those a little more.

How has the team improved since the start of the season?

I think we have all gotten a lot closer and are working more as a team and not as individual players. We’re trying to win as a team not just ourselves, which is a great thing, I believe.

What’s the goal for the rest of the season?

Playoffs is the biggest goal for us all. We’re going to have to keep working as a team. We’re going to have play harder in the future.

What’s your role on this team?

I am one of the two captains on the team. One of my main roles is to keep people from turning on each other. We have to stay together as a team. That’s how you win games.

How did you get started in basketball?

I was introduced to basketball around fourth grade through a Conley-Drennan camp. It’s a camp for fourth grade through seventh grade. I played soccer since I was little, but I feel like basketball is my favorite and I’m the best at that.

Who’s the best player you’ve faced?

He wasn’t there this year, but (Braylan) Lovelace (from Leechburg) was really good. (Rocco) Spadafora (from OLSH) was one of the best players I’ve played against.

Are you involved in other activities at Springdale?

I play soccer and basketball. Those are my two sports.

Are you and your sister, Grace, competitive with each other?

Very (competitive). I think that’s why both of us are who we are today, from growing up and competing with each other. It’s made us better people and built our competitive mindset.

What’s your favorite show to stream?

I’d say “Avatar: The Last Airbender” would be my favorite show.

What’s your favorite home-cooked meal?

Shepherd’s pie.

What’s something people might not know about you?

I’m a big family guy. I have a huge family. I put my family before everything else in my life.

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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