WPIAL alum Q&A with Greensburg Central Catholic graduate Carolyn Appleby
Between her career at Greensburg Central Catholic and IUP, Carolyn Appleby has proven to be a winner.
After being part of Centurions teams that won at least 17 games in each of her four seasons, Appleby has helped guide the Crimson Hawks to at least 21 wins in each of her first three campaigns. She is featured as this week’s WPIAL alum Q&A.
Appleby played four years on the varsity in high school, beginning with the 2011-12 season. That campaign, Appleby played in nearly every game, and averaged 8.7 points. The Centurions, meanwhile, compiled a mark of 17-7, including 10-2 in section play. GCC defeated Burrell in the WPIAL Class AA playoffs, but lost to Keystone Oaks in the quarterfinals. The team advanced to the state playoffs, but fell to Tussey Mountain in the preliminary round.
As a sophomore, Appleby helped propel the team back into the playoffs, as Greensburg Central Catholic went 10-2 in the section again, and finished 18-8 overall. The Centurions defeated Belle Vernon in the first round, but lost to Seton LaSalle, both in the WPIAL quarterfinals and the PIAA second round.
In 2013-14, GCC went a step further. After going a perfect 12-0 in the section, the Centurions defeated both Laurel and Carlynton in the postseason. GCC fell to Burrell in the semifinals, however, and once again lost to Seton LaSalle in the PIAA second round to conclude the season at 20-6.
In her senior campaign, Appleby averaged 20.7 points. As a result of that effort, she was named honorable mention all-state, and she was also named first-team all-conference. GCC went 21-5, including a 13-1 mark in the section. In the Class AA playoffs, the Centurions defeated Beth-Center, but lost to Bishop Canevin in the quarterfinals. GCC once again advanced to the state postseason, and defeated West Middlesex before falling to Seton LaSalle for the third straight year.
After graduation, Appleby matriculated to IUP, joining the Crimson Hawks for the 2015-16 season. The 5-foot-5 guard played in 29 games, all off the bench. She averaged 5.3 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists, and added 16 steals. IUP went 21-9, including 16-6 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. In the PSAC tournament, IUP defeated Gannon and West Chester to reach the finals, but fell to Cal (Pa.). IUP also lost to Virginia Union in the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region to conclude the campaign.
The following season, Appleby drastically improved her production, as she netted team-bests 14.7 points and 3.5 assists per game in 30 contests, all starts. She also collected 3.0 rebounds per game and 49 steals, shot 34 percent from behind the arc, and 87 percent from the foul line. Propelled by Appleby, IUP went 24-7, including 18-4 in the conference. This time, the Crimson Hawks won the PSAC Tournament, culminating with a victory against Cal (Pa.). In the Atlantic Region, IUP defeated Johnson C. Smith before falling to Virginia Union in the second round. Appleby was named the team’s Postseason Performer of the Year.
This year, Appleby has contributed 14.8 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game, as well as 39 steals. She’s also shooting a career-high 44 percent from the field, as well as 34 percent from 3-point territory and 75 percent from the charity stripe. The Crimson Hawks have been one of the top teams in Division II all season, as they have compiled a mark of 25-2 thus far. IUP completed its regular season over the weekend, finishing the section slate at 20-2. The PSAC Tournament commences Tuesday.
Appleby dedicated some time to answer questions about her team’s winning streak this season, her relationship with other former WPIAL players at IUP, and what advice she’d give to herself as a high-school freshman.
You have been among your team’s top scorers each of the past two seasons. How are you able to score at a high level?
My teammates just really do a fantastic job getting me the ball and putting me in great positions to score.
Which particular area of your game has improved the most during your time in college?
I think my defense has really improved over this past year.
IUP won its first 15 games of the season. What was key to that streak?
Every day, we come into practice and work so hard. We take each game one at a time and don’t look past any of our opponents.
What are the team goals for the remainder of the season?
Our goals are to stay focused with what is right in front of us, and the rest will come.
What has been the top moment thus far in your IUP career?
A top moment for sure was when we won the PSAC championship last year against Cal U.
What led to your decision to attend IUP?
It is such an amazing campus, and the coaches really helped with my decision. Also, my family was a huge support and knew this was the place for me. I am being coached by the best coaches and am surrounded by the greatest teammates I could ask for. I knew the moment I was on campus it was the right decision for me, and it has been the best decision I have ever made.
You are one of several former WPIAL players on the team. Did you know any of them before playing together in college?
Yes, I actually knew all of them. I played against a lot of them and some were on the older teams in my AAU organization.
What is your major and ideal future profession?
My major is safety, health and environmental applied sciences. I am not sure what my ideal profession would be yet.
Greensburg Central Catholic had a strong program during your time. What was your fondest high school memory?
My fondest memory would be when we beat Burrell at home my senior year.
Do you still keep in touch with former teammates and coaches or follow GCC athletics?
Yes, I do.
Who is your favorite professional athlete?
What is the best Valentine’s Day gift you have ever received?
I’m not sure I can pick one, but it is also a plus because that is my birthday, as well.
If you woke up as a millionaire tomorrow morning, what is the first thing you’d buy?
I think my first purchase would be a Jeep Wrangler.
What advice would you give to the high school freshman version of yourself?
My advice would be just to keep working every day no matter what. Times do get tough and it can get so frustrating at points, but that’s the fun it in, and if you didn’t get frustrated and upset with yourself, it would mean you didn’t love the game. The sky is the limit, and no one can get in your way when you want to achieve something.
Sean Meyers is a freelance writer.