Claim to fame: The 40-plus-runner field was trying to catch Rodriguez at the Bald Eagle Invitational but did not succeed. Rodriguez ran to a first-place finish in a time of 20 minutes, 18.86 seconds. She also has posted a top finish in every WPIAL dual meet this season for the Leopards, who went unbeaten and won their third straight section title.
Did you surprise yourself by winning the Bald Eagle Invitational?
Yes and no. My coach and I knew my ranking was pretty high, and I knew I wanted to go for it. So I would say I was surprised, but in a good way.
What did it take to win that race?
It took a lot of mental strength for me to get through the race. It felt odd being in the front the entire time and not having someone to push me. The rain and the mud was definitely a factor. I had to convince myself to just keep going and push myself as best I could.
How long have you been running cross country?
I’ve only been running cross country since my freshman year.
How does cross country help you in basketball?
I like to think being a runner gives me an advantage over a lot of people I play in basketball. I know no one will be able to outrun me on the court, that’s for sure.
What rule would you most like to change in cross country?
Having section meets early in the morning. Which I’m not sure if we technically can’t do that. If anyone knows an answer to that, let me know.
You could attend any sports event in the world, past or present. Where are you going?
I’d definitely choose to go to one of my dad’s basketball games. He always tells me how good he was in high school. I want to see all the amazing things he tells me I need to start doing.
Claim to fame: Myers scored two goals and had two assists Thursday as Latrobe opened the PIHL season by defeating Franklin Regional, 8-2. Myers, a forward, is a four-year starter for the Wildcats. He is a team leader and was a captain his junior season.
What was the key to defeating the two-time Pens Cup finalists on Thursday?
We knew we had to come out strong, and we did that. Things didn’t go well as we hoped in 2022, and we missed the playoffs. Our hard work in the offseason paid off.
What motivated the team?
We saw a preseason poll that had Franklin Regional ranked No. 3 and didn’t mention us. We went out determined to make a name for ourselves. Beating them was a morale boost.
Who or what got you started playing hockey?
My dad (Sean) built an ice rink in my backyard, and that’s where I developed a love of the game. I was also introduced to the Penguins and Sidney Crosby at a young age.
Who is your favorite hockey not named Sidney Crosby?
I love watching Connor McDavid. I actually met him when he played in Erie before he got drafted. That was pretty cool. He has great speed and determination.
What is your most memorable moment in hockey?
It hasn’t happened yet. If I had to pick, probably Thursday’s game so far.
What piece of equipment smells the most that you own?
My gloves smell the most. My mom hates to smell my hands.
Where is your favorite pizza in Latrobe?
I love the flaky crust at Jioio’s. Some people don’t like it, but I do.
Where is your favorite place to get wings?
Dino’s is my favorite place for wings.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .