Westmoreland County athletes of the week: Penn-Trafford’s Joe Enick and Belle Vernon’s Jenna Dawson

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Saturday, January 21, 2023 | 11:01 AM


Joe Enick

School: Penn-Trafford

Class: Senior

Sport: Wrestling

Claim to fame: Enick won the heavyweight title at the Mid-Winter Mayhem at IUP. He defeated some of the top wrestlers in the state, including No. 1 seed Gunner Treibley of Danville in the semifinals by fall and Brockway’s Gavin Thompson, 1-0, in the finals. Enick (23-4) was a key player in helping Penn-Trafford to the 2021 WPIAL and PIAA Class 5A football title and was named the 2022 winner of the Bill Fralic Memorial Award given to the top lineman in the WPIAL. He will play football at Central Michigan.

What was the main reason you decided on Central Michigan?

It felt like home. Driving there (Mt. Pleasant, Mich.), everything was beautiful, and when I got there, everyone was nice and it was the place I wanted to be. I like the program, and they have a great coaching staff. I’ll be playing on the interior line. It fits me well. We play at Michigan State and at Notre Dame next season and at Pitt and Michigan in 2025.

How did it feel to win the Mid-Winter Mayhem?

I went into the tournament looking to do my best and have fun. I would have been comfortable if I didn’t win it, but I wrestled well. It was a great feeling, and it boosted my confidence.

Have you changed your goals for wrestling? Do you want to wrestle in Hershey, where the football team played and won the state title?

I’ve already achieved my goals, but, yes, I now want to finish my wrestling career at Hershey. I’d like to win a section title and place at WPIALs.

How does wrestling help you in football?

It’s crazy how much wrestling helps you. Wrestling helps you tremendously with conditioning, your mindset and hand combat. I’d recommend wrestling to anyone who plays football.

You lost to Latrobe’s Wyatt Held in the Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association finals on what many coaches thought was a questionable call. Would you like to face Wyatt again?

Yes I’d like to face him again. Wyatt is a tremendous wrestler, and we had a great match. I’m not going to blame the referee. I just have to wrestle a little better.

What did it mean to win the Bill Fralic Award?

It means a lot to me. It was a humongous honor to win. I would have loved to watch him play.

Who got you into wrestling?

My dad (Mike) and my pap (David) got me started in football and wrestling. They influenced me the most. They taught me everything I know from playing sports to hunting and fishing. They are great role models. They’re at all my sporting events. They’re my biggest supporters.

After a game or practice, where do you and your friends go for a snack?

Applebee’s is where we head. I don’t get much because of the cost. We get the classic combo. If I want a snack, I head to Sheetz for the hot dog special: 2 dogs for a $1. I get them with boom boom sauce, ranch dressing and pickles. You can’t beat them.

Does coach (John) Ruane have special words to motivate the team at practice or before a game?

Not really. He comes up with something different every day. The only thing he constantly says to me is get a haircut. Nobody likes my mullet, but it stays until I graduate from college because I want to become a state policeman.

What’s the last movie you watched?

It was a western called “Chisum” featuring John Wayne. I like westerns, but my all-time favorite movie is “Dances with Wolves.” It’s the best movie I’ve watched.

……

Jenna Dawson

School: Belle Vernon

Sport: Basketball

Year: Senior

Claim to fame: Dawson, a 5-foot-7 guard who has rallied from knee injuries in the past, has helped Belle Vernon win three straight games and seven of its last eight. The Leopards are a game behind Elizabeth Forward in the Section 3-4A race. Dawson had 12 points in a 52-36 win over West Mifflin on Thursday and scored 11 when the Leopards defeated Serra Catholic, 39-32, in the MVI Classic.

Belle Vernon is a roll late in the season. Why is the team playing so well?

I think we just came out to a bad start in the beginning of the season with Viva (Kreis) not playing and Farrah (Reader) being hurt due to her ankle the first few games. We’re finally starting to figure out how to play together and for each other.

What has your role been like this year?

I think one of my biggest roles is to help handle the ball and create plays alongside my point guard, Tessa Rodriguez.

What is the team’s most impressive win this season?

Serra Catholic. We didn’t let the (Elizabeth Forward) loss a few days prior get to us, and they had previously beaten EF as well.

How is your knee since you had ACL and meniscus surgery after your sophomore season?

My knee has been great this season. I have a few days where it bothers me. Playing finally feels normal again.

What is your team’s biggest strength?

We have very balanced scoring all throughout our lineup, and we’re just an athletic group of girls. We also have good guard play.

What AAU team do you play for?

I played for an organization called Erudite.

What has been your personal highlight of the season so far?

Probably beating one of our rivals, Charleroi.

Who is your favorite pro athlete?

Serena Williams.

Coach Kaitlyn Slagus was a very good player. Does she still have some game?

Definitely. She’ll still hop in to play during some of our practices, and she’s definitely a challenge to us.

Who was the best player in the last MVI summer league?

There’s a lot of talented players, but I’d have to say (Trinity’s) Eden Williamson or (Seton LaSalle’s) Mallory Daly.

If you could attend one major sports event in history, what would it be?

Any of the Steelers winning Super Bowls.

Who is going to win the Super Bowl this year?

The Buffalo Bills.

What is the best place to eat in or around Belle Vernon?

The Foster House.

Did you go to all of the Belle Vernon football games during the championship runs?

Yes, I did. I love watching the football team play, and it was exciting to watch them win states for my senior year.

Where do you think Quinton Martin will go to college?

I’m hoping for Penn State because I have a bet on it.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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