Westmoreland High School Athletes of the Week: Hempfield Briar Priest, Derry’s Tiana Moracco
Saturday, January 15, 2022 | 7:39 PM
Claim to fame: Priest (15-2) avenged is early tournament loss to Latrobe’s Nate Roth with a 10-3 win in the championship match for the 138-pound title at the 69th annual Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association tournament Jan. 8 at Kiski Area. Priest, the defending PIAA Class 3A 132-pound champion, became the 42nd wrestler to become a three-time champion at the county tournament.
“It was great. Everyone tells me I joined an elite group. I put a gameplan together with my coaches. We figured out how to beat him, and we executed that plan,” Priest said.
What made you decide to commit to Pitt?
They have a great coaching staff. A lot of the kids on the team I’m familiar with, and it’s close to home. They gave me a great offer there, and it was the right choice for me.
What does it mean to you to be a three-time county champion?
It means a lot. It shows my hard work pays off. I wish I could’ve been a four-time champion, but I learned from it.
What would it mean to you to defend your state title?
It would mean so much to me and my family. My coach is a two-time state champ, and he told me it’s a hard thing to do but with him, I can do it.
What do you think you need to do to get back to the top of the podium?
I got to do what I did last year with working hard, and I need to keep a good mindset.
Who was your favorite wrestler to watch growing up and why?
Bo Nickal. I thought he was crazy. Nico Megaludis since he was kind of my style.
Claim to fame: Moracco, who was three points shy of 1,000 career points and 51 points shy of the school’s career record, scored 39 points to lead Derry (6-5, 3-3) to a 53-32 win over Deer Lakes in Section 1-4A action Jan. 10. Moracco, who is averaging 23.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg and 3.2 steals per game this season, scored 28 points in a 44-41 win over Burrell in section play Jan. 13.
“This past week has been pretty good. I quit thinking of everything and just played the way I know. I put everything out of mind. I’m proud of the team since last year we were 3-10, and we are 6-5 so far this year. That was one of my goals to win more than three games,” Moracco said.
What are your college plans for next season?
Coach Brisbane has been talking to a couple schools, so everything is still up in the air. I want to go to the place that will best fit to me. I want to go somewhere that’s not too close to home but not too far. I would say I’d like to make sure I will get a good education, but I’d like to play basketball in college.
What’s it mean to be so close to the program’s school record?
I’m very excited to get an opportunity to do something like that. I broke one record to have most points in a girls game, so to reach another goal of mine would be very cool.
What’s going through your mind as you eclipse the 1,000-point mark?
I hope to get it. I’ll be more focused on the game and coming out with a win. After that, I will be very happy about getting 1,000 points.
What do you like more, volleyball or basketball, and why?
Volleyball is a sport to keep me active. I play basketball all year round. The first year I started playing basketball, I got to be asked to be on a traveling AAU year team.
Who’s your idol and why?
My mom. She’s my No. 1 supporter. She tries to push me to do my best and gives me the best advice.
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