Name: Tristin Irwin
School: Cambria Heights
Irwin’s week: The Cambria Heights boys soccer team faced two weeks of must-win games in order to qualify for the District 6 Class AA playoffs, and the Highlanders’ defense responded with a series of stingy performances to qualify.
With Irwin making save after save in goal, Cambria Heights shut out United last Tuesday and Bishop Guilfoyle two days later to earn the tournament’s No. 7 seed. Cambra Heights plays at No. 2 Philipsburg-Osceola tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the first round.
The two shutouts were part of 180 consecutive shutout minutes in goal for Irwin as the Highlanders played Bishop Carroll to a 0-0 draw on Oct. 11. Irwin, a member of the All-Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference team as a junior, has six shutouts on the season.
“It (the Bishop Carroll draw) was really big because we couldn’t lose a game to get in the playoffs,” Irwin said. “Our athletic director (Tom Boyle) told us we must do this in order to be allowed to play.”
That’s because there’s a stipulation in place for Cambria Heights to qualify for postseason play.
“We have be be at or near .500 in order to be allowed to play in the playoffs,” Cambria Heights men’s soccer coach Ken Kerchenske said. “We finished 7-8-3, so those three ties essentially enabled us to get in.”
Last Friday, Irwin added three critical extra points as Cambria Heights football earned a signature 21-19 victory over visiting Bishop McCort. The win was critical for the playoff chances of the Highlanders (6-2), who play at Somerset this Friday.
“It felt great,” Irwin said of his role in the victory. “I can’t describe how it felt to win that game.”
Keeping busy: Irwin regularly practices with the soccer and football teams, and he takes his role as the Highlanders’ kicker seriously.
He also is part of the Cambria Heights swim team - he holds four school records and specializes in the 200-meter IM and 100 backstroke - and has been a volunteer fireman in Patton since the age of 14.
The 17-year-old Irwin is permitted to go on calls but, because of his age, his duties primarily consist of helping around the scene.
Irwin also has his future planned as an Information Technology major in college.
“I’m really looking for to being in two different playoffs this fall and I want to break my records in swimming,” Irwin said. “From there, I’m looking at going to college, where I hope to play soccer.”
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