Varsity Travel Players of the Week

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Tyran Smith

Athletes from Cardinal, Chagrin Falls, Hawken, Independence, Kirtland, and Kenston have been named Varsity Travel Players of the Week.

Each athlete was nominated by his or her coach and selected based on their performances during the two-week period from Jan. 22 – Feb. 4.

BOYS BASKETBALL

Dawson CosgroveName: Dawson Cosgrove
School: Kirtland
Grade: 11
Stats: Scored 29 points in wins over Hawken and Independence
Coach’s Quote: “Dawson has been a great spark for us flying around defensively, making more mature decisions with the basketball, and making open 3s,” said Kirtland coach Nick Gallo. “Dawson’s positive energy and enthusiasm for the game of basketball is so refreshing. His willingness to understand and learn from the mistakes he makes on the floor is a great example for our program.”
Notable: Cosgrove is averaging over 11 points per game this season.
Name: Will DiFiore
School: Chagrin Falls
Grade: 12
Stats: Averaged 24 points with eight rebounds, eight assists, three steals and five charges taken in two wins
Coach’s Quote: “Will is constantly doing all the little things that may or may not show up in the box score,” said Chagrin Falls coach Dave Bargar. “He doesn’t just help our team in one area, he impacts us in many different parts of the game.”
Notable: DiFiore’s five charges taken helped Chagrin Falls top Beachwood.
Tyran SmithName: Tyran Smith
School: Kenston
Grade: 12
Stats: Scored 18 points with 10 rebounds, four assists and seven steals in two wins
Coach’s Quote: “Ty was the spark that propelled us to two victories last week,” said Kenston coach Matt Vespa. “Some players might have scored more or put up better numbers, but no one in the area did any more to help their team win than Tyran Smith.”
Notable: Smith also is a talented musician and plays the drums in the Kenston band.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Carly PerusekName: Carly Perusek
School: Hawken
Grade: 10
Stats: Averaged 25 points, 10.7 rebound, 4 steals and 4 assists in three games
Coach’s Quote: “Carly is an exceptional athlete and all-around competitor,” said Hawken coach David Murray. “Her versatility as a basketball player was extremely evident this week as she had a noticeable impact on every facet of the game.”
Notable: Perusek scored the 500th point of her career in her 33rd high school game (over 15 points per game over her first two seasons at Hawken).
Hanna TraggiaiName: Hanna Traggiaia
School: Cardinal
Grade: 12
Stats: Scored 28 points with 10 steals, 14 rebounds, 9 assists and 5 3-pointers in two wins
Coach’s Quote: “Hanna has been a sparkplug on both ends of the floor the last two weeks and caught fire in a key CVC victory over Richmond Heights, draining four 3s,” said Cardinal coach Luke Kruse. “Hanna is our most vocal leader in games and practices and has been a huge part of our program’s success this season.”
Notable: A member of the National Honor Society and Cardinal volleyball and softball teams, Traggiai plans to attend the University of Tennessee.

WRESTLING

Michael KuceraName: Michael Kucera
School: Independence
Grade: 11
Stats: Finished 4-0 with four pins in winning the 126-pound bracket at the 2018 CVC Wrestling Tournament
Coach’s Quote: “Michael is one of the hardest working wrestlers in the room and he continues to grow and develop as a wrestler,” said Independence coach Ken DeAngelis. “He keeps his teammates entertained with his great sense of humor. He is starting to realize his potential and where it can take him.”
Notable: Kucera, who is 34-8 on the year, studies electronics at the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center.
Jeff KusarName: Jeff Kusar
School: Kirtland
Grade: 10
Stats: Finished 2-0 with two pins in winning the 220-pound bracket at the 2018 CVC Wrestling Tournament
Coach’s Quote: “Jeff wrestled 182 pounds as a freshman and started this season at 285. He recently made the drop to 220,” said Kirtland coach Scott Francis. “He has made a quick adjustment to the upper weights and shows improvement every week.”
Notable: Kusar is 15-10 this season with 14 pins.
Justin RaynerName: Justin Rayner
School: Chagrin Falls
Grade: 12
Stats: Won the 138-pound bracket and was named MVP of the 2018 CVC Wrestling Tournament
Coach’s Quote: “Justin is one of the hardest workers and most coachable wrestlers I have ever been around,” said Chagrin Falls coach Victor Puskas. “His consistency over his four-year career culminated in a conference title and conference MVP. Every time Justin steps on the mat, I know I am getting his best. Additionally, he is an excellent teammate who leads both vocally and by example. I am proud that Justin Rayner represents the Chagrin Falls wrestling program.”
Notable: Rayner, who is 27-4 this season, currently needs to add just four wins to his 114 career victories to set a new school record.

Varsity Travel

COACHES: NOMINATE YOUR PLAYERS

Coaches, click HERE to nominate your athletes for the Varsity Travel Players of the Week. Athletes from all Northeast Ohio schools are eligible for the award and nominations are due by midnight every Tuesday.

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The creator and publisher of OhioVarsity.com, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for IrishIllustrated.com, a member of the Scout.com network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. OhioVarsity.com was created in 2004 and was a member of the Rivals.com network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.