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Chris Romanek, Wheeling Park

Coming off of a state championship appearance a season ago, Wheeling Park is hoping to finish the job this year.

If the Patriots are going to accomplish that goal, they will look towards midfielder Chris Romanek to lead the way.

Romanek earned spots on the first team all-state, All-OVAC and All-Valley squads with his outstanding play as a sophomore.

“Chris was our best midfielder last year and that is saying a lot,” Wheeling Park coach Mario Julian said. “He is coming into this season with a lot of hype. A lot of coaches throughout the state know about Chris and they key on him.”

As strong as Romanek is in the midfield, the junior can also find the net and play outstanding defense for Julian’s Patriots.

Last year, Romanek netted a team-high 12 goals, along with eight assists.

“Chris is tenacious,” Julian said. “He has a quick move and he is a good goal scorer. His defense is probably one of his strengths and there are not too many guys with good foot skills who can play good defense, too.”

Although he is just a junior, his actions and his play-making abilities make Romanek a strong leader on the field.

“He is going to take on a leadership role,” Julian said. “It’s his third year as a starter, so it’s time for him to take on that role.

“I’m hoping he leads by example with his play on the field. This team goes as Chris and the rest of our midfielders go.”

The 2018 campaign got off to a fun start for Romanek and the Patriots as they rallied for a 2-1 victory in the waning seconds of a rematch of last year’s state championship with Hurricane.

Julian credited the strong play of Romanek as a key to victory.

Soccer is Romanek’s only sport and he hopes to one day continue his playing career at the collegiate level.

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