Westmoreland High School Athletes of the Week: Hempfield Briar Priest, Derry’s Tiana Moracco


Saturday January 15, 2022 | 7:39 p.m.

heather priest

School: Hempfield

Sports: Wrestling

Year: Senior

Claim to glory: Priest (15-2) avenged his early tournament loss to Latrobe’s Nate Roth with a 10-3 victory in the 138-pound title title match at the 69th annual Westmoreland County tournament Coaches’ Association on January 8 at Kiski Zone. Priest, the reigning 132-pound PIAA Class 3A champion, became the 42nd wrestler to become a three-time county tournament champion.

“It was great. Everyone tells me I joined an elite group. I made a game plan with my coaches. We figured out how to beat him and we executed that plan,” said Priest.

What made you decide to engage with Pitt?

They have an excellent coaching staff. Lots of kids on the team that I know, and it’s close to where I live. They made me a great offer there, and it was the right choice for me.

What does it mean to you to be three times county champion?

It means a lot. It shows that my hard work is paying off. I would have liked to be 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 champion, and he told me it was a hard thing to do but with him I can do it.

What do you think you need to do to get back on the top step of the podium?

I have to do what I did last year by working hard and I have 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.

Tiana Moracco

School: Derry

Sports: Basketball

Year: Senior

Claim to glory: Moracco, who was three points shy of 1,000 career points and 51 points off the school’s career high, scored 39 points to lead Derry (6-5, 3-3) to a victory of 53-32 over Deer Lakes in Action from Section 1-4A on 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.

“Last week was pretty good. I stopped thinking about everything and just played like I know. I have forgotten everything. I’m proud of the team as last year we were 3-10, and we’re 6-5 so far this year. It was one of my goals to win more than three games,” Moracco said.

What are your college plans for next season?

Coach Brisbane has spoken to a few schools so everything is still up in the air. I want to go to the place that suits me best. I want to go somewhere not too close to home but not too far. I would say I would like to make sure I have a good education, but I would like to play basketball in college.

What does it mean to be so close to the curriculum’s academic record?

I’m very excited to have the opportunity to do something like this. I broke a record for having the most points in a girls game, so achieving another one of my goals would be very cool.

What goes through your mind when you eclipse the 1,000 point mark?”

I hope to get it. I’m going to be more focused on the game and come out with a win. After that, I will be very happy to get 1000 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 was asked to play on an AAU traveling team.

Who is your idol and why?

My mother. She’s my #1 supporter. She tries to push me to do my best and gives me the best advice.

Tags: Derry area, Hempfield

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