A-K Valley high school athletes of the week: Samantha Coleman and A.J. Corrado
Tuesday, February 18, 2020 | 5:11 PM
School: Kiski Area
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. 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.
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 something interesting that people may not know about you?
I really like learning about space. That’s one thing I’m really interested in.
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.
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.
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.
Jerin Steele is a freelance writer
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