A-K Valley high school athletes of the week: Samantha Coleman and A.J. Corrado

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Tuesday, February 18, 2020 | 5:11 PM


Samantha Coleman

Class: Freshman

School: Kiski Area

Sport: Gymnastics

Report card: Coleman placed second overall in all-around in the Intermediate II division at the WPIAL gymnastics individual championship Saturday at Moon. She placed 15th on vault, eighth on bars, fifth on beam and fourth on floor for a total score of 33.575.

How did it feel to come home with a silver medal Saturday?

I was pretty proud of myself for doing that just because I wasn’t expecting it. Going in as a freshman against a lot of seniors and doing well felt good.

What were your expectations for the day?

At first, I was really nervous because it was my first time. It was a little overwhelming because of how many girls were there, but once we got going, it was a little less nerve-wracking. My coach (Brandy Poymabo) was really helpful through it all. I really didn’t think I was going to place, but I was able to come through and get second.

What is your strongest event?

Floor, because I’ve always liked tumbling. I’ve always liked it.

What music did you use for your floor routine?

I really don’t know the name of it, but it’s very dramatic and has some vocals.

What got you interested in gymnastics?

I’ve been doing gymnastics since I was seven. I tried dance and cheerleading, but I just didn’t like them. Then I tried gymnastics, and I fell in love with it.

Do you have any superstitions or pregame routines?

I have to go bed really early before meets because if I’m not rested it really freaks me out.

Do you have a favorite pregame meal?

We usually go out to eat the night before. The morning of the meet, I usually don’t eat much other than a protein bar.

What’s your favorite school subject?

Definitely math, because I like problem solving.

Do you participate in any other sports?

I do track. This year I’m trying pole vault. Last year I did the 100 (meter), 4-by-100 relay and hurdles.

What’s your favorite TV show?

I really like The Office. It’s very funny.

What’s something interesting that people may not know about you?

I really like learning about space. That’s one thing I’m really interested in.

A.J. Corrado

Class: Junior

School: Burrell

Sport: Wrestling

Report card: Corrado won his first WPIAL title Saturday by upending two-time defending champion Conner Redinger of Quaker Valley in a 2-1 decision in the 152-pound final. He has a 39-8 record and joined teammate Ian Oswalt as WPIAL champion. Corrado is one of 10 Burrell wrestlers who will try to qualify for states at the Class AA Southwest Regional at IUP this weekend.

How does it feel to be a WPIAL champion?

It feels great. The last two years I wasn’t able to be a WPIAL champion, but I’ve been working hard. I’m looking forward to regionals and states this year. I’m feeling good at 152.

What did you do to celebrate?

I just went home and hung out with my family for a little bit then went and hung out with my friends. It’s back to work this week to prepare for regionals, and then I have two weeks to prepare for states. My main goal this year is to be a state champion.

You had faced Redinger twice this season before the WPIAL final, so what did you learn from those two matches that helped you Saturday?

I had to pick up the pace on him. The first time I kind of ran out of gas, and it was a sloppy match for me. The second time, I got into my offense more and was able to stay on my feet a little bit more. I just kept up what I did last time because it worked before, and I didn’t want to fix what wasn’t broken.

What are you looking forward to this weekend at the Southwest Regional?

A lot of great competition from the state is going to be in the regional bracket, so I’m looking forward to wrestling some of those guys and seeing where I’m at and see what work I have to do for the state tournament.

Do you have any superstitions or pregame routines?

No. I’m not really superstitious at all. I feel like it’s all on me, and there’s nothing playing a huge factor on the outside.

Do you have a favorite pregame meal?

I get a little sugar, carbs and fluids in me right after weigh-ins. You can’t eat too much the first day, of course, because you have to weight in again the second day. I like Reese’s cups. Those are really good.

If you had entrance music on to the mat what song would you choose?

I would probably come out to rap music because I like it and listen to it a lot, but I’m not sure what song exactly. That’s something I’d have to think about before the match.

What’s your favorite school subject?

Math. I don’t know. I’ve always been pretty good at it. I guess I’m more interested in it than other subjects. I do like science a little, but math plays into that. Back when I was like 5 years old, I’d have my aunt give me math problems to do just for fun.

Who are your best friends on the team?

I’m friends with all of them. I don’t want to pick any favorites. It’s more of a brotherhood throughout the team.

What’s your favorite TV show?

I’m more of a Netflix movie guy, and I like to play video games.

What’s something interesting that people may not know about you?

I’d have to say it’s my passion for video games. I play a lot of video games when I’m not wrestling. I think playing video games is where I get my competitive nature from. I like to play NBA 2K20 and the Call of Duty games.

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

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