Westmoreland high school athletes of the week: Week ending Feb. 19, 2023

Saturday, February 18, 2023 | 9:16 PM

Melina Stratigos

School: Belle Vernon

Sport: Swimming

Year: Junior

Claim to fame: Stratigos helped the Leopards to a 67-47 victory over Steel Valley as she won the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly and swam legs of the winning 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams.

She also won a pair of events in a 93-64 loss to Connellsville.

Over the weekend, at the South Park Invitational, Stratigos teamed with Grace Newbould, Marty Maley and Ava Bosetti and swam the anchor leg of the winning 400 freestyle relay, and also teamed with Maley, Bosetti and Marlee Davis to win the 200 medley relay.

She also took second in the 100 freestyle and third in the 50 free.

When did you start swimming competitively?

When I was 8 years old.

What are your best times this season?

A 25.67 in the 50 free and a 56.72 in the 100 free.

What is your favorite event to swim?

The 50 free.

Do you swim for fun in the summer, or do you try to take a break from the water?

In the summer, I swim for my club team, Pittsburgh Elite Aquatics. I swim year-round for them as well.

Who is your favorite professional athlete?

Caeleb Dressel.

Who is the best swimmer you have gone against?

Lily King from Mt. Pleasant.

How many hours do you train per week?

Excluding meets, I train 6 days a week. The average training I usually do is 12-14 hours per week.

Do you plan to swim in college? Is so, where?

I do plan on swimming in college, however I am unsure of where I want to swim.

Do you have any pets?

I have three Great Danes and a cat.

What or whom do you look to for inspiration?

I look at my mom and my dad for inspiration. They are my biggest fans, and they always support me.

Do you play any other sports?

I run cross country and track.

Do you have a pre-swim routine?

My pre-swim routine is eating a light snack, like a granola bar or fruit, along with a ton of water. I also stretch a lot to keep my muscles loose so I’m ready to go.

What is your favorite subject in school?

Biology and other science-related classes

What is your favorite school lunch?

I don’t typically eat the school lunch, but my favorite is either chicken bowl or nachos.

Where do you think Quinton Martin will go to college?

Penn State.

Xavier Solomon

School: Penn-Trafford

Class: Senior

Sport: Hockey

Claim to fame: Solomon is the leading scorer for the Penn-Trafford hockey team that is making a late-season run. The Warriors have won three consecutive games to improve to 11-7. Solomon has scored 24 goals and tallied 16 assists. He also plays for the Pittsburgh Vengeance travel team.

Do you plan on playing hockey after high school?

I do, but I’m not sure if it will be college hockey or junior hockey.

What position do you play?

I’m a right-handed shooter and play on the right wing.

How has the season gone?

It’s gone good so far. We started well, then injuries occurred and we struggled. Now we’re getting healthy, and we’re playing well again.

What has turned the season around?

We had a team meeting, and now we’re playing a more team game. At the beginning of the season everyone wanted to beat us.

What’s the reason why you’ve been able to score more?

My linemates are unbelievable. We have good chemistry. Jack Blank does a great job centering the line, and Nate Loughner is a great winger.

What’s the reason for your change?

I’m more consistent and mature. I worked really hard this past summer, and my hard work is paying off. I’m also more consistent. I also took more lessons, and I lifted more. You are never too old to learn.

When did you start playing hockey?

I started playing Dek-hockey when I was 7, and I liked it a lot. I started playing ice hockey when I was 10, and I loved it. It came natural for me.

Who got you started in the sport?

My dad, Kurt. He didn’t play hockey. He was a guard on the football team. He signed me up for Dek-hockey, and I’m glad e did.

Did you play any other sport?

I played lacrosse. I didn’t last year because I wanted to focus on hockey. Lacrosse took a lot of time. I’m planning to play lacrosse my senior season.

Who is your favorite hockey player?

Vladimir Tarasenko. I really liked the way he played.

Who is your favorite hockey team?

I like the Penguins. They need to make some trades and get better in the bottom six.

After a practice or a game, where do you and your teammates head for snacks?

Applebee’s or Chipotle. My friends and I love the half off appetizer. I get a chicken bowl with brown rice when I go to Chipotle for a pregame snack.

What’s your favorite meal that your mom makes?

I like everything she makes, especially her chicken and pasta.

What would you dream ride be?

I want to own a Corvette.

Where is your favorite location that hockey has taken you?

I really like Nashville. It’s a lot of fun there. I also love country music.

Where would your dream vacation be?

I like Hilton Head. But I loved to travel to Jamaica.

If you could have lunch with anyone, who would it be, and what would you talk about?

Mario Lemieux. I love to talk about hockey with him and talk about his life. It would be amazing.

The Pirates have started preseason training. How do you think they will finish?

I think they’ll have a pretty good season. Better than the past few seasons. I’m excited to watch the young guys.

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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