Westmoreland Athletes of the Week: Mt. Pleasant’s Reegan Brown, Hempfield’s Ethan Lebin
Saturday, March 5, 2022 | 10:03 PM
School: Mt. Pleasant
Sport: Swimming and diving
Claim to fame: Brown was part of Mt. Pleasant’s winning relay teams at the WPIAL Class 2A swimming championships at Pitt’s Trees Pool on Friday and Saturday. The Vikings’ 400-yard free relay capped the championship performance with a WPIAL record. Brown was joined by SaraJo Gardner, Lily King and Trinity Graft. They finished in 3 minutes, 32.12 seconds, about a half-second better than the previous mark set by Oakland Catholic in 2002 (3:32.66). In the 200 medley relay, Brown was joined by Gardner, McKenna Mizikar and Kiersten O’Connor. They finished in 1:49.46, just finished ahead of Freeport (1:49.71). Individually, Brown finished third in the 200 free with a time of 1:57.34, behind Northgate’s Elise Nardozzi (1:49.41) and Shady Side Academy’s Maeve Kelley (1:53.82).
“I’m very happy with how the season is going. I’m so happy with how it played out. We’ve worked so hard, and I’m happy that all that hard work paid off,” Brown said.
What’s it like to be on a relay team that broke a WPIAL record that stood since 2002?
Going into it, we knew we were close to it. All that hard work paid off for that one moment. I hope, if we don’t break it next year, that record will stand for many years to come.
What was your mindset heading into the 200 free?
I was pretty nervous because the 200 free was something new for me. I needed to stay cool, calm and collected. I knew if I swam my race everything will be OK.
What’s your favorite relay and why?
I don’t have a favorite relay. I would say I enjoy the girls on them. They are all amazing girls and being on a relay team with them makes them my favorite.
What’s your mindset heading into the state meet?
I need to continue to work real hard. I need to keep the details in mind. I need to stay ready and don’t let other things distract me.
Who’s your favorite swimmer and why?
Caeleb Dressel. I follow him on Instagram. He shares posts on his underwaters. You can see the dedication that it takes.
Claim to fame: Lebin won the WPIAL Class 3A 126-pound title by upsetting Thomas Jefferson freshman Maddox Shaw. Lebin lost to Shaw in overtime Feb. 26 in the Section 2 tournament. He is one of four Hempfield wrestlers to qualify for the PIAA Championship March 10-12 at the Giant Center in Hershey. He has a 30-6 record this season and is 82-24 overall. This is the second time he qualified for the PIAA tournament after finishing fourth in 2021.
“Winning the WPIAL title is pretty big, especially because he was ranked a lot higher than me,” Lebin said. “I’m looking forward to the state tournament. I need to stay consistent with my training and believe in what I can do. I believe I’ve worked hard all my life and all that hard work pays off eventually.”
What is your go to move in a match?
The double leg because it’s easy to hit. I also like the reinforced arm bar to turn people. That’s what I used in the finals.
What was the difference from the last time you met Shaw?
I was able to turn him and score and then I was able to get off bottom. The last time neither one of us scored until he held me down in the ultimate tiebreaker for the win.
What’s your mindset heading to the state tournament?
I just have to keep grinding. Be consistent and work hard. I just have to stay calm because it’s my first time there.
What is special about wrestling?
Wrestling is just great to help build mental toughness. The hard work and discipline, it’s all there in wrestling. I don’t think there is any other sport like it.
Has it hit you yet that you’re a WPIAL champion?
Yes, a little bit. It still feels a little surreal. I’ve been waiting a while for this. It feels good to have it.
Hempfield is taking four wrestlers to Hershey. What does that mean to you?
I’m really proud of my teammates. We all stuck together, grinding it out for the weekend. Hopefully we’ll all place in Hershey. We’ll have to put it all out there on the line.
Who is your favorite wrestlers and why?
I think my favorite wrestler is Brian Kapusta. He’s coached me my entire life and I followed his whole life story growing up. (Kapusta was a two-time PIAA champion from Greensburg Salem and a three-time NCAA Division II national champion at North Dakota State.)
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