Senior Lauren Rogers is ready to wrap up a solid career competing with the University of Washington women's gymnastics team.
Rogers (Holy Redeemer and Northeast Gymnastics) had a standout junior season for the Huskies. She won a team-high 10 individual events – six on vault, two on floor, one on bars and one all-around title. She finished sixth in the floor exercise in the NCAA Regionals and at the year-end banquet earned the Top Dawg award.
Lauren has been an amazing athlete, coach Joanne Bowers said. She was elected co-captain this year and has done a fantastic job as a team leader.
Rogers had ankle surgery over the summer to remove bone spurs and has had to slowly get back into tumbling.
There is no doubt in my mind that she will be ready to go when we open our season (Saturday, Jan. 12 at Minnesota), Bowers said. She is a competitor and she puts team first. I cannot say enough good things about Lauren. She is one of our top gymnasts but she is an even better person.
Rogers enters this season with career highs in vault (9.925), bars (9.875), beam (9.750), floor (9.750) and all-around (39.175).
BERRY'S ADJUSTING WELL – Freshman Cait Berry (Dallas) is competing in the 100 and 200 butterfly and with three relay teams for the Westminster women's swim team. She recently finished 16thout of 27 swimmers in the 200 fly at the prestigious College of Wooster Invitational.
From the beginning of the season, Cait has been one of the hardest workers on the team despite having a prior injury that gave her a few uncomfortable practice sessions the first few weeks of the season, coach Rob Klamut said. She rebounded quickly and has adapted to college swimming quite well. This was evident by the fact that she did so well in the 200 fly at Wooster. That event is relatively new to her.
The Titans are 5-0 and return to action Wednesday, Jan. 9 against Rollins in Orlando, FL.
DOWNS A STARTER – Sophomore Jenna Downs (Tunkhannock) has started all nine games for the Keystone women's basketball team, which is 7-2 overall and 2-1 in the Colonial States Athletic Conference. The 5-foot-11 forward is averaging 6.0 points and 5.6 rebounds with six blocked shots. She had a double-double (12 points and 10 rebounds) in a 59-53 victory over Centenary.
Jenna is playing great basketball, coach Kristen Vasta said. She is focused on improving her individual skills and has really shined thus far. She continues to be one of the hardest workers day-in and day-out.
The coach lauded Downs for her improved defense and the fact that she's stepped up as a leader on the team.
She matches up against the opponent's strongest post player, Vasta said. And, she's been leading by example since the pre-season and she has been a vocal leader as well.
Sophomore Charlene Hook of Berwick (Colombia Montour) is seeing reserve action with the Giants and is averaging 7.2 points a game.
YOHEY COMES UP BIG – Junior Jenna Yohey (Berwick) earned a pair of PSAC qualifying times and helped the 200 medley relay finish first in a 147-104 victory over Albright prior to the holiday break. Her qualifying times were 55.00 in the 100 freestyle and 1:01.98 in the 100 butterfly.
Jenna missed her rest/taper a little at Akron (Zippy Invitational) and did not have her best performances, coach Stu Marvin said. We thought she might have better swims against Albright – and we were right. Jenna swam lifetime bests in the 100 free and 100 fly, and she swam the fly about 45 minutes after the free.
The two PSAC marks are the first of her career.
Jenna worked so hard over the past 2½ years and truly deserved to finally qualify, Marvin said.
The coach also learned that the 100 free may be Yohey's best race.
We're going to adjust her training to get the most out of her freestyle, Marvin said. She had a great meet at Albright and she had the entire team pulling for her.
CARR BOUNCES BACK – Junior Natalie Carr (Wyoming Area) had a tough sophomore season with the Kutztown women's swim team as she battled a rib injury. But this season, she's starting to show the promise that the coaches saw as a freshman.
Carr recently finished eighth in the 100 breaststroke (1:11.21) and 13th in the 100 breaststroke (2:38.40) to help the Golden Bears finish fifth out of nine teams in the Franklin & Marshall Invitational.
Natalie is coming along well this season, coach Tim Flannery said. I'm confident she can get back those times she had as a freshman again.
Freshman Samantha Scialpi (Pittston Area) is also a member of the squad. She swims the 50 free and the 100 and 200 backstroke.
Sam is getting stronger with each meet and practice, Flannery said. We've had to change a lot of her mechanics and she's making great strides in that endeavor. The process is going to be a long one but she's got a great work ethic and is very coachable.
GOOD START FOR PLESNAR – Sophomore Cierra Plesnar kicked off the indoor track season in fine style at Bucknell's Bison Opener in Lewisburg.
Plesnar (Dallas) finished 13th in the 60 meter dash with a time of 8.26 which earned her a PSAC qualifying mark. She also finished seventh in the 200 dash in 27.75.
Cierra was solid, coach Dave Osanitsch said. It was her first race of the year and she qualified for the PSACs.
Freshman Whitney Boyer (Hazleton Area) is also on the squad but didn't compete at Bucknell.
On the men's side, freshman Seth Tarselli (Holy Redeemer) posted a 7.33 mark in the 60 and a 23.75 time in the 200.
Seth is a little banged up with a knee injury but he gained valuable college experience at Bucknell, Osanitsch said.
The Raiders head back to Lewisburg for their next meet, Saturday, Jan. 19 for the Gulden Invitational.
DUO HELP WARRIORS – Junior Clarissa King (Nanticoke) and freshman Alexandra Woytko (Berwick) are competing with the East Stroudsburg women's swim team.
King competes in the 50 and 100 freestyle, the 100 and 200 breaststroke and the 100 butterfly. She missed some time with the team after her freshman season.
Clarissa has been doing well, coach Lisa Pizzuto said. It took her a season to get back into the swing of swimming but this year she has already set personal bests in the 100 fly (1:09.42) and 100 breast (1:22.55) and is working toward breaking her personal best times in the sprint free events by the end of the season. She's a fantastic kid to have around and she really helps make the team function as a group.
Woytko competes in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle for the Warriors. She also swims relays.
Alex has already achieved her fastest times in the 100 free dropping almost two seconds to 57.59, Pizzuto said. By the end of the year she will more than likely have personal bests in all of her freestyle events. She has a lot of untapped potential and we are doing our best to help her reach that potential.
Bill Arsenault covers local athletes competing on the collegiate level. Reach him at [email protected].