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Did you hit the bullseye or just paint it?

March 8, 2010
By MIKE MATHISON, Special to the Herald-Star

A 17-year-old archer was in the woods supposedly working on his craft when his dad came along to see how he was doing.

"Pretty good," said the son.

"I would say you are doing better than good," said dad. "Look at all these bullseyes."

The father started to walk away.

"Keep up the good work," he said to his son.

The young man now started to feel badly because he knew how proud his dad was of his shooting that day.

But, he also knew that hitting all those bullseyes that day was really easy and that night he told his dad.

"Dad," he said rather timidly. "You know all those bullseyes I had today?"

"Yep," said dad.

"Well, they weren't really bullseyes," confessed the son. "I shot the arrows into the trees and then painted the bullseyes around the arrows."

Are you hitting bullseyes before or after they are painted?

And, it's not really about hitting the bullseye, it's about the process and the practice involved in becoming more efficient and more successful in hitting the bullseye.

Forever ago, Steubenville Big Red Liz Repella was told that painting the bullseye after the fact was not acceptable.

So, she worked and worked and worked and did so just as hard in the classroom as on the basketball court or in the weight room. She decided that to be the best she had to outwork everyone and did so by heading to Big Red coach Rick Camilletti and immersed herself into the Big Red football workouts.

She scored 2,065 career points during prep career, the most of any girl or boy in Big Red history.

"I was taught that from a young age, I cannot do anything less than I can do," she said. "It started with school, not even with sports. I learned to always put my best foot forward and that carried over into sports.

"My dad used to always tell me when I was younger that 'if you don't like being out here, then don't be out here. If you're not giving 100 percent there is no reason to be playing.'

"I think that's what's wrong with the world. If you always give your best and never settle for anything less than you are capable of doing, other things will fall into place. Once you get into the real world and get a job, no boss is going to accept it if you're not trying 100 percent.

"They don't like it when you're late for work two days in a row. If you learn at a young age how to always give your best, it's a lot easier when you get older."

She also learned not to settle for anything less than her best.

"My dad told me that," she said. "I knew college was going to be a lot different than high school and that it was going to be a lot of hard work.

"But having my parents tell me these things since I was young and working hard in high school has helped. I think if I came into college not working hard at Big Red, not studying hard, not lifting hard, college would have been a lot harder. I came in with the mindset that I was going to have to work hard and that has made it a lot easier."

She was recently named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Women's University Division first team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

She is one of the five best across the nation.

That comes by painting the bullseye first.

Her basketball skills are surpassed by her academic skills.

"Liz is truly a student-athlete and this is something that West Virginia University should be very proud of for her efforts in the classroom," coach Mike Carey said. "She is a tremendous role model both on and off the court for WVU. We are very proud of her."

"I'm very honored by this award," said Repella, who has a 3.95 GPA in exercise physiology. "It is a true reflection on the amount of work I put into my studies as well as my efforts on the court. This is an award I'm tremendously proud of."

Repella became the second CoSIDA Academic All-American in WVU women's basketball program history, joining former All-American Rosemary Kosiorek, who was named to the team in 1991 and 1992. Repella was a first team CoSIDA Academic All-District II performer last year.

She is joined on the national first team by Erin Anthony (junior, 3.78 GPA in civil engineering/U.S. Military Academy); Angie Bjorklund (junior, 3.80 GPA in psychology/Tennessee); Kelsey Luna (senior, 4.00 GPA in psychology/Indiana State) and Maya Moore (junior, 3.70 GPA in individualized major/Connecticut).

To be eligible, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at her current institution and be nominated by her sports information director.

Repella followed that by becoming the third Mountaineer in school history to be named to the all-Big East first team, joining Meg Bulger (2005) and Olayinka Sanni (2007, 2008). Repella leads the team in scoring, averaging 14.1 points per contest. She has also tallied seven 20-point games on the year.

And, to think, people really thought she was overrated.

The seniors on the Indian Creek girls basketball team refused to paint the bullseye after the arrow had landed.

They have turned around the culture of Redskins girls basketball and that is not an easy thing to do.

Starting as seventh-graders, they went 17-0, 17-0, 6-15, 17-4, 20-1, 18-5.

The current seventh- and eighth-graders just finished 32-2 between them.

This has not been done because teams allowed them to win. It was done through sweat and hard work. It was done living in the gym.

It was done because coaches open the gym doors and they shoot and shoot and shoot.

Story now is four of those seniors - Ty Harris, Meghan Billick and Gabbi and Mikki Davis - will take their talents to Muskingum University as a group.

I am usually not one for rumors and stuff, but considering how many times Muskingum coach Beth Fox has been in gyms watching those four, it would be a coup to get them all.

The Muskies are young. There are only two seniors and no juniors on the 18-player roster.

Put those four in the mix with their work ethic and get-after-it attitude, Muskingum will be a really fun team to watch in the future.

Those four led the Redskins to three straight OVAC titles, a sectional championship and a district appearance.

Now, it's time to hand the baton.

Thought it was rather fun trying to listen to the Lakers and Penguins game at the same time yesterday on WSTV-1340AM.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at

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