Westmoreland athletes of the week: Latrobe’s Alex Walker, Norwin’s Jayla Wehner
By: Andrew John
Tuesday, March 12, 2019 | 1:30 AM
Claim to fame: Walker, who led Latrobe with 41 points (11 goals and 30 assists) during the regular season, finished with a goal and three assists to help Latrobe (15-4-1) to a 4-1 win over Hampton in a PIHL Penguins Cup Class 2A first-round victory at Nevin Arena on March 4. Latrobe will meet top-seeded Pine-Richland (19-0-1) in the semifinals at 7 p.m. Wednesday at RMU Island Sports Center.
“It was a good game for us overall. I played good. We have to take it one game at a time in hopes we make it to the Pens Cup and states,” Walker said.
What’s the key to pulling off an upset against Pine-Richland?
They’re No. 1, and we’re the underdog. We just have to keep doing what we’re doing and pull out the victory.
What’s your pregame routine?
Lane Ruffner and I have chicken wraps before each game. I just do the same stretches and warmups before the game.
How would you describe your style of play?
I like to think I provide everything. I’m not afraid to go to the net, score a goal or find someone for a goal. I like to grind it out in the corners and win a puck battle.
What’s your earliest memory of playing hockey?
I would have to say back in developmental in fifth grade. We would get beaten by a team that we shouldn’t have lost to. I’d get called up to play and the game would play in our favor the next time out.
Who’s your favorite hockey player?
Nicklas Backstrom. I like how he makes those nice passes to Alex Ovechkin. I like to think Greg Ferri and I work together like those two.
Claim to fame: Wehner, who is averaging 10.2 points, scored 13 to lead Norwin (22-2) to a 62-45 win over Altoona in the first round of the PIAA Class 6A playoffs March 8.
“It wasn’t just me. It was a team effort. I couldn’t do it without my teammates, with their defense and with their passes. I think it was a good overall team performance,” Wehner said.
What was the team’s mindset heading into the state playoffs?
We knew we had a chance. After losing to North Allegheny, we thought we had to come back stronger. We thought we had something to prove to not just the other teams in the WPIAL but the teams in the state playoffs.
What did the team learn from the close loss to North Allegheny in the WPIAL semifinals?
We learned every play counts. Every little thing from the tip to the buzzer counts. We knew we had to play hard from that point on to show everybody what we had.
How has your game grown throughout the season?
I’ve used more of variety in my game. I’m not just driving but also driving and dishing to open teammates. I look to make sure I make the right play for the team.
Who’s your favorite player to face?
I like playing NA so anyone from there since they give us good competition. I like to play against Rachel Martindale since she plays with a lot of energy and she doesn’t take a play off.
If you weren’t playing basketball, what sport would you play?
Softball. I used to play up until high school so I’d probably go back to that.
— Andrew John