Westmoreland athletes of the week: Belle Vernon’s Robert Spekis, Norwin’s Olivia Gribble
By: Andrew John
Tuesday, March 19, 2019 | 1:25 PM
School: Belle Vernon
Sport: Swimming and diving
Claim to fame: Spekis captured the 100-yard breaststroke title at the PIAA Class AA championships after finishing in 56.63 seconds March 14 at Bucknell. Spekis placed third in the 100 breast as a junior and 14th as a sophomore.
“It was a very nice way to end not only this season but my entire racing career in high school. I knew that race was going to be an exciting one since I’ve raced against some of those guys for four years. Shaking my coach’s hand one last time after getting my medal was a nice way to say good bye to it all,” Spekis said.
What are your college plans?
I’m looking at Florida Atlantic and Nova Southeastern and Lafayette College. I hope to make a decision in the next couple weeks.
What does it mean to you to capture gold at states in your final year?
It means a lot. Coming in after my freshman season, I set a goal for me to win the WPIAL meet and medal at states. I just had to set the bar higher to win at states. To say I did that is something special to me, and it’s nice to bring that back to my school.
What’s it like to have another teammate like Ian Shahan also capture gold with you?
It’s cool to share it with someone else. It would be a nice experience alone, but to have someone that you could relate to is a good feeling. It’s nice to work with someone throughout the season, and we accomplish our goals together.
What are you going to do to prepare yourself for the collegiate level?
I need to keep doing what I’m doing. I have the right mindset for college after these last two years. I was able to experience some bigger meets and tougher competition.
If you had one superpower, what would it be?
Breathing under water. I’m into the marine life since I’ll be majoring in marine biology in college. It would be cool to experience it without scuba gear.
Claim to fame: Gribble scored 13 points for Norwin (23-3) in a 68-58 win over Northampton in the second round of the PIAA Class 6A playoffs at Cumberland Valley on March 12.
“I thought we played well together as a team. We were able to stop them defensively when we were pressing. Throughout the season, my teammates found me, and I was able to knock them down. We had good chemistry on the offensive side. It was big since we were able to find open shots for each other,” Gribble said.
How can you use the loss to Peters Township in the quarterfinals of the PIAA playoffs as motivation for the offseason?
I thought we played well as a team. In the first half, the turnovers killed us, and we couldn’t make a jump shot. We came back in the second half, but we weren’t able to make a long enough run to put us ahead.
How do you think your game grew throughout the season?
In the beginning, I thought I was a shooter, but towards the end I would rebound efficiently and handle the ball at the point.
How would you describe your game?
Mostly a shooter. I always look to shoot. I drive to hole when it’s open and shoot runners when I have to.
If you weren’t playing basketball, what sport would you play?
Softball. I use to play in the neighborhood a lot. It felt natural to me.
If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be?
Maya Moore. She’s my favorite basketball player. She’s very inspirational at the level she plays.
— Andrew John