BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - When Kaitlin Drew-Mead tried out for the Monsignor Martin hockey program four years ago, head coach Linda Groff-Mroz knew there was something special in the freshman.
"Oh my lord, she spun somebody around like a top, just moving the puck in and out of their feet, cut in and sniped top shelf and I knew at that moment," said Groff-Mroz.
Now a senior, the captain remembers her experience quite differently.
"My freshman year, when I came in, I was absolutely terrified of the seniors of (coach Groff-Mroz)," Drew-Mead said. "Work hard. It pays off."
And, it has. Kailtin has transformed into a complete hockey player. At any point in a game she could be centering a faceoff, roaming the blue line or pressing the action off the wing. She'll take that skill set with her to DIII Plattsburgh next Fall and suit up for the Cardinals.
"It's great," she said. "I've been working at it for a while both on and off the ice."
"She's a powerhouse. She's strong on her skates, her edges are phenomenal. She's just an all around phenomenal hockey player," Groff-Mroz added.
Kaitlin is currently fifth in Federation hockey action with 11 goals on the year, but if the squad is in a bind, they know just who to turn to.
"I can look at her and be like, go get one please," Groff-Mroz joked. "And I yes, I do say 'please' and "thank you'."
"It makes me feel good. It gives me a little boost," Kaitlin said.
"It's really kind of a blessing to have her a part of our team," Groff-Mroz added. "She's top five that have come through this program. It's nice, because we're only seven years old. She came in as a freshman and made that statement as a freshman and continued to do it year after year."
***SUPER 7 COUNTDOWN***
#1 – Kaitlin Drew-Mead, Monsignor Martin Hockey
Currently ranks fifth in the league in scoring with 11 goals and seventh all-time in league history with 81 points (54 goals, 27 assists).
#2 – Dom Welch, Cheektowaga Basketball
The senior Warrior joined an elite club, becoming just the 16th player in Western New York boys basketball history to eclipse the 2,000 point mark in his career.
“Dom’s a special player. He has a skill set that is very unique to the high school level. Every game he faces all types of different defenses and is able to consistently put up numbers, doing whatever it takes to help the team win.” – Pat Cullinan, Head Coach
#3 – Zaria McCullough, Williamsville South Basketball
Scored her 1,000 career point in the Billies in a 64-29 win over rival Williamsville East by pouring in 19 points.
"We're so excited and extremely proud of Zaria reaching this milestone. She means so much to the team and our program at Williamsville South." – Kristen Dolan, Head Coach
#4 – Justin Hemphill, Cardinal O’Hara Basketball
The sophomore recorded his first career triple-double (20 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists) in the Hawks 85-66 win over Central Christian and also hit the game-winning basket in an upset 74-73 win over Buffalo East at the MLK Classic.
“Justin is the heart and sole of Cardinal O'Hara Basketball and he keeps getting better every day. We have high hopes for the team this season because for the first time our most talented player is our hardest working and also shows the most leadership. When you have that combination in a talented player, everyone else feeds off of his energy and enthusiasm. We will go as far as Justin takes us and I know he has his mind set on a Monsignor Martin Title. “ – Tony Pulvirenti, Head Coach
#5 – Tashawni Cornfield, Lake Shore Basketball
“Tashawni was the leading scorer against Fredonia last Saturday with 21 points. She also had 5 rebounds and 5 steals in that game. Against Starpoint she had 8 points 6 rebounds 3 steals. She is averaging 12.4 points a game as a freshman, second leading scorer on 10 - 0 team. She plays tenacious defense.” – Andrea Conrad
#6 – Katrell Jackson, Cheektowaga Wrestling
“Katrell was seeded third to begin the tournament. After a couple pins he beat the 2nd seed Bryce Rowe from Ripley / Chautauqua Lake in the semis in double over-time and then beat the number one seed from Falconer Ingrao who was also #1 in WNY rankings at the time. He also won in OT.” - Coach Haberl
#7 – Maggie Spyche, Orchard Park/Frontier/Lake Shore Hockey
Recorded an 18-save shutout in a 3-0 win over Kenmore/Grand Island.
“Maggie currently has an 0.83 goals against average. She has 6 wins, zero losses and 3 shutouts on the season.” – Lucian Forcucci