Westmoreland athletes of the week: Latrobe’s Vinny Kilkeary and Southmoreland’s Olivia Cernuto

Tuesday, March 10, 2020 | 5:38 PM

Vinny Kilkeary

School: Latrobe

Sport: Wrestling

Class: Freshman

Claim to fame: Kilkeary (30-7) pinned No. 1 seed Cathedral Prep’s Jake Vandee in overtime at 6 minutes, 31 seconds to capture the 106-pound title at the PIAA Class AAA championships March 7 in Hershey. Kilkeary finished as the WPIAL runner-up to Waynesburg’s Mac Church on Feb. 29.

“It felt really good to finally get that big win at the end of the year,” Kilkeary said.

What does it mean to you to rebound from a runner-up finish at WPIALs?

I always just thought to never quit and keep at it. I knew anything can happen.

What was going through your mind as you got deeper in the championship match?

I just thought if I could get to my attacks, keep wrestling hard and grinding, it would eventually come.

What does it mean to you to capture a state title as a freshman?

It feels great because it means a lot.

What’s your earliest memory of wrestling?

When me, my cousins and my teammates wrestled in the Burrell Supertrophy at 9 or 10 years old.

What’s your plan for the offseason?

I’m doing a lot freestyle. I’m going to keep going in the offseason. It’s not time to stop. It’s the biggest time of the year, I think.

Olivia Cernuto

School: Southmoreland

Sport: Basketball

Class: Freshman

Claim to fame: Cernuto, who is averaging 11.4 ppg and 4.7 rebounds, finished with a game-high 16 points to lead Southmoreland (25-1) to a 57-26 win over Huntingdon in the first round of the PIAA Class 4A playoffs March 7. Cernuto, who was 5 of 6 from the free-throw line in the first half, scored 10 of her 16 points in the first half. The Scotties faced District 3 champion and perennial power Lancaster Catholic (26-3) in the second round Tuesday.

“I think we did a really well. We are a really close team, and we did what we had to do to get it done,” Cernuto said.

What does it mean to you to perform as a freshman in the state playoffs?

That’s huge. I don’t think of it as a big game. I just try to think of it as another one. I try my best to help my team win.

What did the team learn from your loss in the WPIAL championship?

We couldn’t really get the ball in the hoop. We wanted to come back with a focus on finishing. We know what we can do on defense, and it channels to our offense. We needed to settle down and get back to the way we play on defense.

What’s the key for the team to win against Lancaster Catholic?

In the games we put so much pressure on, we don’t do as well. As long as we come out and treat it as any other game, we will do whatever needs to be done to win.

How has your game grown throughout the season?

I’m not as a nervous as I was at the beginning of the year. Now, I just go out there and play the game. I’ve been playing the game since I’ve been young.

What is one thing people might not know about you?

I’m always active, so I’m playing many different sports. I play soccer and track. I like all of them, but basketball is probably my favorite.

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