Tarra Oravec named national player of the week for softball
USCAA HONORS SOPHOMORE PITCHER FOR WINNING DOUBLEHEADER
Throws One-Hitter and Two-Hitter with 10 Strikeouts
Sophomore pitcher Tarra Oravec was named the United States Collegiate Athletic Association’s Player of the Week in softball for the period March 26-31. Oravec, a graduate of Kiski Area High School, scattered three hits with 10 strikeouts in picking up a pair of conference victories over Penn State Worthington Scranton, 9-1 and 13-0.
“Tarra throws hard and has good change-up,” said Mike Marsili, the fourth-year head coach. “At the plate, she is a strong hitter and she has deceptive speed.”
Hours after learning of her USCAA honors on April 3, Oravec validated her selection by pitching and hitting the New Kensington Lady Lions to a 10-4 win over arch-rival Penn State Beaver. While her arm held Beaver at bay for six innings, her bat fueled New Kensington’s six-run fifth inning with a grand slam, one of her three hits on the day. The homer was Oravec’s second of the game and her five RBI was the best of the day for either team. Oravec’s heroics improved her record to 3-1 on the year and New Kensington’s record to 3-1 in the Penn State University Athletic Conference and 5-6 overall.
When she’s not on the mound, Oravec is a stalwart at third base. The administration of justice major has an excellent glove, in addition to hitting for power and average. During the season-opening swing through Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Oravec batted .416 with a home run, three doubles and five RBI.
Oravec’s athletic dexterity on the field is equaled by her academic acumen in the classroom. She is on the Dean’s List, whose membership is reserved for students earning grade-point averages of 3.5 or higher. She expects to earn her bachelor’s degree in 2014 and continue her education in law school.
The Allegheny Township resident joins a select company of Penn State New Kensington athletes who have garnered USCAA Player of the Week honors. Oravec is the first softball player to earn national recognition. In men’s basketball, Ta-Wayne Steele (2011), Justin Reed (2009 and 2010) and Jeremy Hurt (2007) have been honored. Adam Stawski was named to the honor roll during the 2009 golf season. Heather Stewart earned the award during the 2007 women’s volleyball season.
National honors have been a staple of the campus athletics program since it joined the USCAA in 2005. In the past seven seasons, five student-athletes have been named to the All-America team: Mende Hicks, women’s volleyball (2006-07); Jeremy Hurt, men’s basketball (2007-08); R.J. Hurt, men’s basketball (2007-08); Matt Miller, golf (2008-09); and Stawski, golf, (2009-10).
In addition, four student-athletes were selected to the USCAA Academic All-America team: Matt Knapp, golf (2011-12), Kayla M. Smail, women's volleyball (2008-09); Jeremy Hurt (2006-07 and 2007-08); and Christy Heasley, women’s volleyball (2006-07).
The USCAA is a national organization that is geared to provide athletic opportunities to small colleges — those with enrollments of less than 2,500. It sponsors 11 national championship tournaments in men's and women's sports. Established in 2001, the USCAA was incorporated to provide an opportunity for members to compete on an equal level of competition with schools of similar size and athletic programs. Headquartered in Newport News, Va., the organization has more than 82 member institutions in 24 states, stretching from Maine to California.