Westmoreland H.S. athletes of the week: Norwin’s Hannah Shaw, Greensburg CC’s James Brewer
Saturday, May 13, 2023 | 6:17 PM
Sport: Track and field
Claim to fame: Shaw broke Norwin’s girls pole vault record by clearing 12 feet, 7 inches at the Last Chance Meet at Norwin Knights Stadium. The previous record was set by Kasey Kemp, at 12-6, in 2011. Shaw then cleared 12-9 a few minutes later to break her short-lived mark. Shaw, a Northeastern commit, is a favorite to win a WPIAL Class 3A title. She tends to win just about everywhere she competes. Shaw won the pole vault title at the 49th Baldwin Invitational (11-11) and took the title at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association title (12-3), the Lady Spartan/Wildcat Invitational (12-1) and the Butler Invitational (11-7). Shaw helped Norwin take second place at the WPIAL team championships.
Did you feel like you were getting close to breaking the school record?
I knew I was close to the record. The jumps I had taken at lower heights having so much room to spare proved that to me.
How long have you had your sights on the record?
Sophomore year was when I first had my sights set on the record. Also, when I decided I wanted to pole vault in college.
You have had a successful season already with multiple wins. What would make it even better?
Of course, a WPIAL title and a state medal would make this season end great. After clearing 12-9 — I attempted 13-0 and was very close — to break that barrier before the season is over would be an amazing feat.
When did you pole vault for the first time?
I first jumped in seventh grade the day before our first meet.
What goes through your mind just before a vault?
I know all of my corrections and have to trust the adjustments, so at the back of the runway, before a big jump, I try to clear my head and think, ‘You know you can do this,’ and ‘Top of the back of the box,’ which is where I’m supposed to look while running.
How much more do you think you can clear in the postseason?
I am really hoping for 13-0 now. My original goal was to conquer the record, and now that I did that, twice, I’d like to just see how much I can improve my form, knowing that’s what will get me higher.
Why is Norwin so good in track and field every year?
I think Norwin’s track program is very well run, with coaches who are obviously passionate, and a team that focuses on supporting and pushing each other.
What other event have you done this season?
I have run the 100, 200 and the 400 relay.
What event do you want to try but never have?
Shot put. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to because of all my sprinting events on top of pole vault.
What makes you happy?
Seeing all of the support in pole vault. When I PR, I see coaches and athletes from other teams jumping with excitement because everyone wants everyone to improve.
What makes you sad?
It’s upsetting to me to see others disappointed in their performance, especially when it’s obvious they were trying their hardest. It is a very mental event.
What do you order at Starbucks?
I am more of a Dunkin’ (Donuts) fan than Starbucks, and usually getting a cold brew mocha.
What motivates you?
I am typically motivated by my coaches and other athletes. Knowing how badly they want me to clear makes my personal desire even greater.
What is your favorite song?
“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.
How do you want Norwin fans to remember you?
I’d like to be remembered for my work ethic and positivity. I am training all year round, which resulted in at least a foot-and-a-half PR every year. I have also been recognized as someone who is always cheering on other competitors and helping them out.
What are you most excited about at Northeastern?
I’m excited to be a part of a very happy, successful and supportive team and be in such a beautiful city (Boston).
School: Greensburg Central Catholic
Sport: Track and field
Claim to fame: He won three individual events and was part of a fourth in helping his team win their first WPIAL Class 2A track and field championship. Brewer won the pole vault, 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles. He also ran the third leg of the 1,600-meter relay team, which clinched the victory May 9. He also is the reigning WPIAL Class 2A 300 hurdles champion.
What did it mean to be part of the school’s first track title?
It was fulfilling because it was a team effort, and I feel like we deserved it because of our hard work.
Was that one of your goals?
It was a team goal as well as an individual goal.
Has your goal changed now?
No, I would like to repeat as a WPIAL champion and maybe add the pole vault and 110 hurdles. I’d like to qualify for the PIAA in all three, and I hope to either win or finish in top three. I really hope to place in all three events.
Do you participate in other sports?
I was a right wing and right back for the soccer team, and I also swam the 50 freestyle and breaststroke. The soccer team reached the quarterfinals before falling. That was disappointing.
What are your college plans?
I plan on participating in track in college. I’m talking to Carnegie Mellon and California Tech in Pasadena. I want to meet a lot of new friends, earn an outstanding degree to prepare me for the world.
Who influenced you to run?
Participating in track is a family tradition. My older brothers Aiden and Patrick ran, my sister Corinn is at Notre Dame and my younger brother Grant is on the team. Of course my dad, Mike, is the coach and my mom Judy ran in high school and college. I’m trying to break my dad’s record in the 110-meter hurdles. I already beat Patrick’s record. Everyone in the family pushes you and encourages you to be better.
If you could have lunch or dinner with someone famous, who would it be and what would you talk about?
I would like to meet Elon Musk because he’s a pioneer. When he says something, he’s not afraid to back it up.
What’s our go-to snack when you are home?
I like the original Cape Cod dip.
Where do you and your teammates head to after a meet or practice for a snack?
We go to Chick-fil-A. I like the chicken stripes, and I either get a strawberry milkshake or a Cookies n’ Cream milkshake.
What is your favorite meal that your mom makes?
I like her spaghetti and meatballs.
What do you prefer, Bruster’s or Dairy Queen?
Dairy Queen. I like a Blizzard.
What do you prefer, Moe’s or Chipotle?
Chipotle. I get a chicken bowl with both rices, both beans and lettuce.
Is there any food you don’t like?
Anything with cheese.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
I’d like to go back to Europe. I want to go to Greece.
Where is your favorite spot that track has taken you?
What type of movies to you like?
I’m currently watching ‘The Mandalorian’ TV series.
If there was a movie to be made about you, what type of movie would it be and who would play you?
It would be similar to ‘Lord of the Rings.’ Not sure who would play me.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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