Fresh starts have helped two Youngstown area women capture the spotlight at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea.
Shireen Shatti, a sophomore forward for the women's soccer team from Hubbard High, scored all three goals in a 3-0 defeat of Lake Erie College recently. For that, she was named the Ohio Athletic Conference player of the week.
Nicole Drouhard, a junior on the women's cross country team from Austintown Fitch, turned in the fastest time (19 minutes, 4 seconds) of all Division III runners in the Mel Boldt Invitational Meet at Bowling Green over a 3.1-kilometer course two Saturdays ago. She finished 10th overall and led B-W to the Div. III title.
Key changes: Both women credited their achievements, in part, to changes and progress in their training regimens.
For Shatti, it was a mental change that made the difference; for Drouhard, a physical one.
"About a week ago I had a wake-up call and changed my mindset," said Shatti. "We lost our first two games.
"My coach pulled me aside and told me I had to have the confidence to believe that I was going to score, that I have more potential, that I am not playing up to my potential, and that I am going to have to make changes on my own."
Shatti said the challenge came from assistant coaches Tracy Hart and Stacey Packard.
"I picked up my practice sessions and put a lot more into them," Shatti said.
Four goals: She responded by scoring B-W's only goal in a 3-1 loss to Wooster on Sept. 10, before scoring all three goals in the second half against Lake Erie.
Shatti registered her second career hat trick -- she had one at Hubbard -- on assists from junior forward Erin Brant of East Liverpool High, and sophomore mid-fielders Katie Johnson and Emily Panek.
"Actually, all of our teammates changed our game plan now. Our team confidence picked up and we started to play a passing game, and we switched to three forwards instead of two," said Shatti.
As of last week, Shatti led the team in scoring with four goals. The daughter of Elaine Shatti, Shireen has a 3.7 grade-point average majoring in business administration, and would like to become a teacher.
While at Hubbard, she played four years of soccer and earned three varsity letters for coach Dennis Smith. She also was class valedictorian and class president.
Training asset: In Drouhard's case, she capitalized on a full summer of training and her two previous seasons of development for a successful start this year.
"Last summer, I was hurt for five months so I didn't get to train. But this past summer, I had the opportunity to train," Drouhard said
"I can see a big difference with college training. It made me a lot stronger this year, and we strengthened as a team a lot. I just followed our college training program over the summer and raced in a few local races."
Her times over three years tell her up-and-down tale.
She posted her best-ever collegiate time as a freshman in 1999 with an 18:33.3 for 130th place in the Div. III National Championships.
But in last year's national meet, she slipped to 19:23 for 194th place.
However, her recent 19:04 in the Boldt meet showed that her comeback is on track.
Endurance factor: "My endurance is my strong point, and speed is my weakness," said Drouhard, whose coach is Dr. Bill Taraschke. "We run about 50 miles a week during practice and that builds up our endurance."
Her race strategy is to build as big a lead as possible so she won't have to depend on a finishing kick.
"[For] my last 100 yards, I don't have as much speed as other people," she admitted.
All-OAC: A two-year cross county letterman, Drouhard made all-conference both years at the OAC Championships by placing eighth last year and fifth (19:15) the year before.
But her best time in college (18:11) came while competing for the track team outdoors.
This past spring in track, she made all-conference in two events in the OAC Outdoor Championships (10:52.00 in the 3,000 meters and 18:28.17 in the 5,000).
The daughter of Lois and Charles Drouhard, Nicole has a 3.797 GPA in psychology. Her career objective is to earn a doctorate in child and family counseling.
While at Fitch, she won four letters in cross country and track for coach Rich Kempe.