Kyle Cwalinski conquered adversity to emerge as a two-sport standout in his senior year at Valley View.
His year started with an All-Region performance as a defensive end for the District 2 Class 4A champion football team that beat Berwick in the title game in two overtimes, 24-17. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound converted quarterback, had 77 total tackles with 15 for loss and four sacks with a season-high 12 tackles coming against Berwick in D2 title game. His success should have come as no surprise, his father, Brian, was a Big 11 Football Conference all-star defensive tackle in 1986 and widely considered one of the most tenacious and physical football players of his era.
In the spring, he finished with a .291 average with 16 hits and 14 RBIs and had eight doubles. He was one of the emotional leaders for the Cougars who won the District 2 Class 4A championship, the program’s first since 2000, and who reached the PIAA Class 4A final against Ringgold. There he came up with the bases loaded and cleared them with a triple to right field. His smash spotted Valley View a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. However, Ringgold recovered for a 6-4 win.
Still, Cwalinski is the final Times-Tribune Coordinated Health Athlete of the Week for the 2017-18 Scholastic Sports Season.
Here is more from his interview:
KYLE CWALINSKI, Valley View
FAMILY: Mom, Kim; Dad, Brian; Sister, Kelsey; Brothers, Brian, Jayden, Zach and Chase.
FAVORITE SPORTS TEAMS: Oakland Raiders, Miami Hurricanes, New York Yankees.
ATHLETES HE ADMIRES: Bo Jackson, Ray Lewis, and Brian “The Boz” Bosworth. I like the work ethic they all had and the physicality that they played with. I watched the 30 for 30 in ESPN on The Boz like 1,000 times. He was unbelievable.
FAVORITE FOOD: Burgers. And they have to be loaded. I think Chile Cheeseburgers are my favorite.
FAVORITE MOVIE: The Incredibles. And I don’t care what people think. That movie was awesome. The team just went to see The Incredibles 2 and it was great. It lived up to the hype.
YOU BATTLED INJURIES EARLY IN YOUR CAREER, TEARING AN ACL AND SUFFERING A TORN LABRUM IN YOUR PITCHING SHOULDER. HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT COMING BACK? It woke me up a little bit. In my first scrimmage back when against Mid Valley, I had one play at quarterback and I couldn’t throw the ball 5 yards. My dad, was like listen, you are moving to tight end and defensive line. And I thought, no way. All through leading into my junior year, we were in the yard going at it. I can’t thank him enough for doing that. It’s all taken off from there. I loved playing defensive line because you actually do the hitting rather than being hit. The only drawback with baseball was not being able to pitch. I liked pitching. I also have to thank my trainers who helped me get back. If you don’t have that drive to get back, you don’t get back. Without all of their support, I would never have gotten where I was at the end of the season.
ATHLETE OF THE WEEK