Westmoreland high school athletes of the week: Greensburg Central Catholic’s Eva Denis, Greensburg Central Catholic’s Nick Szekely

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Saturday, November 4, 2023 | 9:55 PM


Eva Denis

School: Greensburg Central Catholic

Class: Junior

Sport: Volleyball

Claim to fame: Denis, who contributes in several ways to the Centurions’ rotation, helped the team reach the WPIAL Class A semifinals.

In a 3-2 loss to Serra Catholic, she had 17 kills and five blocks.

GCC finished fourth in the WPIAL after falling to Frazier in the third-place match Thursday.

“Eva can pick up almost everything,” GCC coach Erin Salas said. “She’s quick and hits hard. She has been that way since middle school when I started with this middle school class.”

GCC has had strong season. Did you think the team could make a playoff run?

Yes, absolutely. We have a very talented team, and we all work very hard and well together.

What position do you play, and what do you like most about it?

I am an outside hitter, and I also play defense when I am in the back row. I love being an outside hitter because, even though I am short, I’m able to showcase how high I can jump and how hard I can swing just the same as any 6-foot volleyball player.

How long have you been playing volleyball?

For about six years. I started playing CYO volleyball in 5th grade. I used to be a gymnast, and that took up a lot of my time when I was younger.

Your brother, Carlo, is GCC’s all-time leading goal scorer in boys soccer. What makes him such a good player?

I think his determination to prove himself on the field each game makes him a great player. He is very passionate about soccer and always has a positive attitude, too.

Do you and Carlo have similar athletic traits?

Yes, I think we have similar athletic traits. I’m pretty intense on the court, and I’m definitely passionate when I play. I’m super competitive too. We are both short, but I think we use that to our advantage because we have really good balance. I think we are both in good physical shape and are quick and strong also.

Who wins when you race each other?

If it were a short-distance race, under 60 meters, I think I could beat him. He might disagree with me. But he is much better at running mid-distance than me.

Where do you get your quickness from?

Both my parents were athletes, and one of my my mom’s sports was track. She would say I got my quickness from her.

Did you play soccer?

I played for a few years when I was younger, but I was never as passionate about it as Carlo was.

You are a WPIAL and PIAA place winner in track and field. What are your goals for this season?

My goals for this track season are to break my (personal record) of 12.32 (seconds) for the 100 meters, and also help my (400 relay) team make it to both WPIALs and PIAA. I’d really like to improve my distance for long jump, too.

Do you play a winter sport?

I play club volleyball for Renaissance VBC in the winter season.

If you had a fantasy football team for high school teams, who would you pick from GCC?

I would probably pick Samir Crosby to be the receiver and Tyree Turner for QB. To be honest, I’m not really familiar with the other players.

What is your favorite holiday?

Christmas.

Who is your favorite band or artist?

Olivia Rodrigo or Rihanna.

What show have you binge-watched?

“The Vampire Diaries.”

Any pets?

I have two dogs, Dobby and Denver.

What’s your nickname?

Everyone mostly just calls me Eva. My mom calls me Eve.

Any unique talents or hobbies?

I like to bake and cook.

Before I compete in any sport I ______?

Take a nap and listen to music.

Nick Szekely

School: Greensburg Central Catholic

Class: Senior

Sport: Cross Country

Claim to Fame: The senior finished his high school cross country season with a sixth-place finish at the PIAA Class A cross country championship Saturday in Hershey. He placed third in the WPIAL a week ago, and he helped the Centurions to a WPIAL Class 2A track and field team championship last spring.

Were you pleased with your performance at the state meet?

Oh, yes. It was pretty awesome. I was there when I was a sophomore, and my time was 17 something. I ran a 16:48.

Was that your personal record?

No, I ran a 16:03 earlier this season.

Was this your best memory in high school?

For cross country, yes. Another special moment was my sophomore season when my relay team broke a school record with Kyler Miller, Jackson Vacanti and Charles Slike.

How old were you when you started running?

Probably 3 or 4. My parents had to attach me to a leash because I was always running away from them. Fifth grade is when I started to run cross country and soccer. I quit soccer in eighth grade to focus on cross country.

Have you picked a college yet, and do you plan to run?

I haven’t applied yet. I was waiting for after the cross country season. I’d like to run at a Division I program for the competition that would make me better. I’d like to major in biology and then into the medical field and study cardiology.

What is the last movie you watched?

My friend and I went to see the horror film “Five Nights at Freddy’s.”

If you were to star in a movie, what would it be?

I’d like to play Spiderman.

What type of music do you listen to?

I like Mac Miller.

Where is your favorite vacation spot?

Home. I’d rather stay home because that is where my stuff is.

Where would you like to visit some day?

Germany. I heard it is a cool place.

What is your favorite meal your mom makes?

Poor Man’s Beef Stroganoff.

Where do you and your friends head for a meal after a meet?

Buffalo Wild Wings. I get the hottest bone-in wings.

What’s something you do that would surprise your friends?

I’m a creative writer. I love to write.

If you were to have dinner with someone famous, who would it be and what would you take about?

Voice actor Yuri Lowenthal. We would talk about all his different voice characters he does.

Who is your favorite athlete?

My sister Lyndsey. She plays goalie for Carlow.

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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