Westmoreland high school athletes of the week: Lindsay Steeber and Kurtis Phipps
By: Andrew John
Tuesday, January 1, 2019 | 6:36 PM
Claim to fame: Phipps defeated Stroudsburg senior Cameron Enriquez by a 6-5 decision to capture the 120-pound title at the Powerade wrestling tournament Dec. 29 at Canon-McMillan. Phipps won the 106-pound title last year.
“It was a good chance to wrestle some different kids at a different weight class. It felt good, and I did what I needed to do to get the win,” Phipps said.
What does it mean to you to capture your second Powerade title?
It’s a nice confidence booster. It was awesome and a good experience to build off it for later this year at WPIALs and states.
How has it been to wrestle up in weight class at 120 pounds?
It feels great. I like moving up in weight class, so I don’t have to cut so much weight. I feel strong in the weight class.
What will you need to do to earn your third WPIAL title this year?
I need to keep perfecting the things I do well. I need to be tighter on top and keep working on the bottom.
How much did your runner-up finish at states last year fuel your offseason?
It led to me wrestling everywhere in so many different places to go against all different competition. We don’t ever want that to happen again, and I don’t plan on it happening again.
What were you working on during the offseason to prepare yourself for this season?
I worked a lot on bottoms plus moving my feet more. I’m working on my finishes.
School: Belle Vernon
Claim to fame: Steeber, who is averaging 17.1 points this season, scored 32 to lead Belle Vernon (6-3) to a 71-67 win over Frazier in overtimen Dec. 27 at the Cal (Pa.) tournament. Steeber had 15 points in a 55-43 win over Uniontown on Dec. 26 in the Laurel Highlands tournament.
“It’s more our defense that allows me to score those points. We like to play a full-court man, and it helps us push the floor and score in transition,” Steeber said.
What are your college plans for next year?
I’m looking at Duquesne but keeping my options open to see if I want to play basketball in college.
What did the team learn from losing the first three games?
We are really young and inexperienced. We couldn’t carry out the pressure the whole game. We learned how to work better together as a team. It was important to lose those games against good teams to help us win so many games in a row now.
How much did those back-to-back losses to Beaver last season in the playoffs fuel your offseason?
It meant a lot ,especially for me. I took those loses hard. I knew coming into the season we lost five starters, and we were a brand new team. We were really fired up to go out there and prove people wrong.
How have things been under new coach Ronnie Drennan?
It’s been really good. I was a little scared since I had the same coach for the last three years. It was for the best because he brought his experience from coaching boys basketball. Most teams don’t see many teams play that way. He has taught us how to communicate and be close with our teammates.
What is your favorite sport aside from basketball and why?
I like football a lot. I have two brothers who play, and my dad coaches it.
Andrew John is a freelance writer.