Achieving a personal goal in any aspect of life is rewarding — especially when reaching multiple goals.
But there’s something to be said about the realization that hard work really does pay off.
“I mean, it’s really about how hard you work,” United graduate Maggie Slawson said. “I knew I wanted something, and I worked for it.”
Slawson, a freshman on the women’s volleyball team at Lycoming College, helped the Warriors to a 25-11 record this fall and their best season since 1999. The 5-foot-6 outside hitter racked up 203 kills and a .227 hitting percentage while recording 84 service points.
“I had many goals going into the season,” she said. “I mean, as a freshman, it was my goal to earn a starting spot and make an immediate impact with the other girls that were starting. I also set a goal to end the season with over 200 kills.”
Slawson, who eclipsed 1,000 kills in her high school career, handled the move to the Division III program well.
She also finished her first college season with 107 digs on defense and posted double-digit kills in more than 10 matches.
“I thought it was going to be a tough transition, but I knew I was ready to up my game,” she said.
“I was ready for intensity that was greater than what high school offered me, especially being an outside hitter. It was great, and I didn’t really have any problems.”
But she said she definitely couldn’t have done it alone.
“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Slawson said. “I was one of the smallest outside hitters in the conference. I was intimidated at first, but then I realized, ‘Hey, I can jump’ and the fear just kind of left me. My team helped me a lot during the season, and when you have everyone working together, it becomes easier to finish the game.”
Slawson had opportunities to participate in track and field at the collegiate level, too, but knew she wanted to stick with her first love, volleyball. She won the Indiana County and Heritage Conference championships in the 200-meter dash and placed fourth at the District 6 championships in both the long jump and triple jump as a senior. But her track days might not be over.
“I do miss track a lot,” she said. “It was a hard decision, definitely, but I knew playing volleyball is what I worked hard for. Plus, Lycoming said that I could maybe run for a neighboring school, so I’ve been in contact with area colleges, and it’s still an option.”
Her main focus right now, though, is volleyball, and her incentive is to help her team as much as she can. Slawson is already setting big goals for herself — and her team — for the years to come.
“I now know that if I might be able to average over 200 kills like I did this season, and my new goal is to reach the 1,000-kill milestone in college like I did in high school,” she said. “We had a lot of team accomplishments this year, and our volleyball team wants to consistently see the playoffs, which is always our team goal. We just have to keep working hard and keep working together, and we can achieve a lot more than just hits.”
STEFAN MOREAU (Army, football): A 2012 graduate of United High School, Moreau is in his first season as an offensive lineman with the Division I Black Knights after playing for the United States Military Academy Preparatory School last year. The 6-foot-3, 270-pound freshman has yet to appear in a game for Army, which has lost four straight and is 3-8 this season. Moreau was named the All-Gazette Lineman of the Year in 2010. The Black Knights are scheduled to play in the Army-Navy game on Dec. 14.
MICAH TENNANT (Lehigh, football): A freshman from Ligonier Valley, Tennant saw action in one game this season for the Division I FCS Mountain Hawks of the Patriot League. The 6-foot-6, 300-pound offensive lineman appeared in Lehigh’s 45-24 win over Georgetown on Oct. 19. The Mountain Hawks finished their season with an 8-3 record after losing Lafayette on Nov. 23. Tennant was named to the 2012 All-Gazette football team.
RYAN HARR (Waynesburg, football): The Derry graduate concluded his career at Waynesburg with his best season yet. A senior defensive back, Harr appeared in nine of the Yellow Jackets’ 11 games. He recorded 15 total tackles and had a forced fumble. Waynesburg went 7-4 this season and played in its third straight Eastern College Athletic Conference bowl game, a loss to the College of Brockport.
MATT JONES (Waynesburg, football): A 6-foot-1 senior defensive back from United, Jones played in all 11 games for the Division III Yellow Jackets on the kickoff return team. He also saw action on defense this season, and recorded a tackle against Geneva on Oct. 26.
MATT COY and HAYES SALANCY (Waynesburg, football): Neither Coy, a 5-foot-11 sophomore tight end, nor Salancy, a 5-10 freshman running back, saw time for the Yellow Jackets this season. Coy is a Penns Manor graduate, and Salancy is a Ligonier Valley graduate.
TYLER MATUSAK (Slippery Rock, football): The kicker from Derry finished his freshman season with 23 kickoffs for 1,341 yards for Division II Slippery Rock. He saw action in five games for The Rock, which went 9-3 this season and advanced to the Division II playoffs. Matusak, listed at 5-foot-10, 170 pounds, did not attempt an extra point this year. In high school, he led the area in field goals in 2010 and 2011 with seven and six, respectively.
KODY OLIVER (Geneva, football): The 6-foot, 230 pound running back from United was inactive this season due to an offseason knee injury, and his return to football is questionable. Oliver spent time on the sidelines and in the press box, though, helping his teammates. The Golden Tornadoes finished the season 5-5.
ALEXA SICHKO (Thiel, cross country): A freshman from Penns Manor, Sichko competed in three events this fall for the Division III Tomcats. In her first action of the season, she finished 252nd overall at the Inter-Regional Rumble on Oct. 19 with a time of 27 minutes, 17.9 seconds. At the Presidents’ Athletic Conference Championships on Nov. 2, Sichko ran to a 50th-place finish in 26:53.3 to qualify for the regional meet. She then placed 287th on Nov. 16 at the NCAA Mideast Regionals with a time of 27:31.