A-K Valley boys athlete of the week: Leechburg’s Gavin Cole
Tuesday, October 12, 2021 | 9:30 AM
Report card: Cole had a hat trick in an 8-0 win for Leechburg over Derry last Tuesday. Through nine games, Cole had eight goals and eight assists. He is also the kicker for the Apollo-Ridge football team. Leechburg and Apollo-Ridge have a co-op for soccer.
How’d it feel to register a hat trick and help the team get a win?
The hat trick was definitely nice to get, but it was also nice to assist my teammates and help a decent amount of players score a goal.
What is the feeling around the team after a 5-3-1 start to the season?
We have made huge strides with our progress skill-wise and with how competitive we play. I think every aspect of our game has definitely came up throughout the team.
Leechburg and Apollo-Ridge are major rivals in other sports, so how has it been coming together to form a soccer program?
I was at Kiski Prep for the first year of the program’s history, but when I came in my junior year you would’ve thought everyone had known each other since they were little. Not even just the soccer team, but I’ve notice that the communities have come together more. People will go to the Leechburg boys soccer games and then attend an Apollo-Ridge girls soccer game. It’s allowed the communities to come together in friendlier ways.
How is it balancing being a soccer player and a football kicker?
I’m lucky to have two great coaches that work with me and my tight schedule. Every day after school I go to football practice and kick with the team. I leave there between 4:30 and 5 o’clock to make it to soccer practice (in Leechburg). We’ll practice from 5:30 until 8 for soccer. Every day is a pretty busy day for me, even Saturdays.
Who has been a big influence in your soccer career?
My biggest soccer influences have to be Rafal Kolankowski, the head coach at Plum. He used to coach my club team (Hotspurs) and the club director Tom Oveden. I definitely have to thank them for making me the player I am today.
What is your favorite school subject?
Government and economy. I’ve just always liked history. It’s always been one of my favorite classes. Learning about history just interests me the most.
What are your hobbies outside of soccer?
If I’m not playing soccer I’ll most likely try to find my way into a tree stand to hunt. I hunt turkey in the spring and pheasant and deer hunt in the fall. Hunting and fishing are mainly my go-to spare time hobbies.
Jerin Steele is a freelance writer
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