Westmoreland athletes of the week: Mt. Pleasant’s Lily King, Hempfield’s Eli Carr
Saturday, February 4, 2023 | 5:53 PM
School: Mt. Pleasant
Claim to fame: King was dominant for the second straight year at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association championships at Derry, winning the 100- and 200-yard freestyle races in record fashion.
She set county records of 49.63 seconds in the 100 free and 1:49.27 in the 200 free.
King also anchored the winning 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay, the former of which also won with a record time of 1:45.52.
Did you surpass or equal your expectations at the county meet?
I definitely surpassed my expectations for the county meet. I wasn’t sure what to expect for my times going in, but I definitely did not expect to get the times that I did. I was surprised in a good way.
Where are you with your progression and preparation for the postseason?
I’m not really thinking about postseason right now. I’m trying to just focus on high school season and what’s directly ahead of me right now and work hard on that.
How many WCCA, WPIAL and PIAA gold medals do you have now?
Fifteen total: eight WCCA golds, four WPIAL golds and three PIAA golds.
What was the experience like qualifying for the 2024 Olympic Trials? When and where are the trials?
Qualifying for the Olympic Trials was the most exciting and surreal experience ever. I had been working for it and dreaming about it for so long, it was so crazy to think about the fact that I had finally and actually done it. The trials are in Indianapolis, Ind., from June 15-23.
How close do you think you are to your Olympic dream?
I am as close to my Olympic dream as I have ever been before. Getting the qualifying time for trials really got me to that point. I hope to get even closer between now and 2024.
Girls sports at Mt. Pleasant have taken a big step forward in the last several years. What has it meant to be a part of that?
Being a part of girls sports at Mt. Pleasant these past several years is an amazing thing. I am surrounded by so many talented and successful girls here, including teammates and friends who play other sports, and also lots of support. It means a lot to me to have that atmosphere in my school.
At what age did you start swimming, and how did you become interested in the sport?
I started swimming when I was 10. I got into it because at the moment I wasn’t playing a sport, and we got a paper at school about Aqua Club, so my mom just said, “Oh, you haven’t tried swimming yet,” so I did and it just stuck. I loved it immediately.
How many hours a day, and week, do you spend in the water?
Our practices are 2-1/2 hours, six days a week, so that’s 15 hours a week in the pool. Sometimes, we have morning practice once a week, which is an hour-and-a-half.
During high school swimming season, I can’t _______.
Sleep as much as I might like to.
Who is your favorite Olympian?
What’s the best way to recover after a big meet?
Drink chocolate milk and sleep in really late the next day.
At what other sport are you secretly good?
I used to play volleyball.
What’s more exciting, a Lily King final kick, or a Jonas King slam dunk from a couple years ago?
This is a tough one; I’d say a Jonas King slam dunk. They were really cool and exciting, and I liked watching my brother play basketball.
Have you ever met a celebrity?
I have never met a celebrity, but I did have the chance to see a couple really famous swimmers when I was at the Toyota U.S. Open.
If you could meet any famous person, who would it be?
Are you pursuing any NIL deals yet?
In the summer, do you still swim for fun?
Sometimes I do. I’ll go with friends, but it’s a little strange to go from swim practice to then go swim somewhere and not have to do a workout.
Favorite movie, song and book?
“10 Things I Hate About You”; “Anything,” by Taylor Swift; “The Fault in Our Stars,” by John Green.
Who’s winning the Super Bowl?
The Philadelphia Eagles.
Claim to fame: Carr, 16, had a big week and helped Hempfield finish third in the WPIAL and qualify for the PIAA team championships. He went 4-0, including a 7-1 victory against Trinity’s Blake Reihner, who was ranked No. 1 at 139 pounds. It looks like Carr, who was ranked No. 2, will take over the top spot.
How was your week?
How big was it to defeat Reihner?
I probably lost to him, maybe five or six times in my life. I had never beaten him, so that match was awesome for me and the team as well.
What was the key to your victory?
I was always very close with him, and I knew if I wrestled smart and wrestled the way I know I can, I could beat him. I went out with the mindset that I had nothing to lose, and my training is starting to pay off.
What are you goals this season?
Probably top five in states. I just have to continue my training and being consistent and not running out of gas before the season ends. Keep chugging along.
Who was the biggest influence in your life?
My dad (David). He’s always been there for me. He wrestled back in the day for Hempfield. He always gave me the option that if I wanted to take a break or whatever. He pushes me to my limits, and I appreciate that.
How old were you when you started wrestling, and what was it like?
I think I was 5, and I remember the first time I took the mat being really scared and wanting to go home. I might have even peed my pants; I’m not going to lie. It was a rough day, but I instantly liked it and I always wanted to come back.
Where has wrestling taken you?
I’ve been to 15 or 20 states through wrestling. The furthest I’ve gone was I wrestled in a tournament in San Diego. I definitely want to go back.
What vacation spot is on your bucket list?
I liked to visit Hawaii. Me and my aunt always talk about going there. So that’s my dream vacation.
After a match or practice, where do you go for a snack?
I like Chipotle. I get a bowl and turn it into a burrito because you get more. I get steak, guacamole and corn.
What is your favorite meal that your mom makes?
I like her Kung Pao chicken.
If there is a famous person you’d like to meet and have lunch with, who would it be?
What is your dream ride?
It would be a Ferrari. Because my last name is Carr, everyone called me Ferrari when I was little. I think it would be funny.
What is your favorite class in school?
I like math. I enjoy it because it’s like a puzzle.
Do you want to wrestle in college?
Yes, definitely. I’d like to major in some sort of engineering.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Tags: Mt. Pleasant
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