12th Annual Banquet
JAMES J. BEIERSCHMITT
Jim Beierschmitt lettered in four sports at Mount Carmel. In his senior year he was elected co-captain of three teams – Football, Basketball, and Track. He was a member of Mount Carmel’s Penn Relay Team for three straight years ad was runner-up in the District Four 440 yard run and represented Mount Carmel in the State Meet at University Park. As a Quarterback of the Red Tornadoes in 1957 and 1058, Jim was noted for his fine and accurate passing, strong running ability and adept tackling on defense. He received numerous athletic scholarship offers his senior year but eventually chose the Manlius School in Syracuse, new York before going on to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point.
At Manlius Jim played both Quarterback and Defensive Halfback. He was captain of what was to be The most successful football team in the school’s history. Jim threw touchdown passes in each game while leading Manlius to a 6-1 record. Their only loss was to the Army freshman team by a score of 15-14, the only points scored against Manlius during the entire season.
During Jim’s senior year, he was starting defensive halfback for the Army eleven. He was selected co-captain for Army’s game with undefeated Penn State. He shut down PSU’s top receiver Don Caum, and helped Army win 10-7. He made key defensive pays and interceptions against Air Force and Pittsburgh.
After graduating from West Point in 1964, he served two tours of duty in Vietnam. He was wounded twice and won the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Combat Infantryman’s Badge. He served 23 years in the Army and retired in 1987 as a Lieutenant Colonel. He presently works for U.S. Petroleum Corporation in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has two sons; James, a junior at the Air Force Academy, and Michael, a high school senior.
ROBERT F. POLLOCK
Bob Pollock was an outstanding high school athlete whose athletic ability enabled him to excel at three sports. In addition to his national ranking as one of the outstanding college prospects in the country as a football player, he also received statewide recognition as a Discus Thrower in track and a tough rebounder and inside scorer in basketball.
Bob capped his great high school football career by being named to the All State and All American Teams. After sifting through dozens of college offers he decided on the University of Pittsburgh because of their excellent program in Dentistry. He had an outstanding career as a Defensive Lineman at Pitt. And as a senior he had an All-American type year. He co-captained the Pitt squad in 1956 along with another All American, Joe Walton.
Pollock and Walton led the “Panthers” to a great season which culminated in their invitation to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
Bob was named All East First Team, All Pennsylvania First team, and MJ’s Annual One All American Team. He also was invited to play in the Senior Bowl College All Star Game. The Pittsburgh Press awarded him their Dapper Dan Award as the outstanding Defensive Player that same year.
He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL; but decided to enter Pitt’s Dental School instead. He is now a practicing Dentist in Western Pennsylvania.
Bob was another of those outstanding coal region athletes who was able to parlay his great athletic ability into an outstanding career.
FRANK “GREB” GRABUSKI
“Greb” Grabuski was a terrific three sport athlete at Mount Carmel High School in the late 1930’s. He was a catcher in the first organized High School Baseball Team at Mount Carmel High. He also played two years of varsity Basketball for the “Big Red”. He was a four year starter on the Football Team that “Greb” found his niche.
He was known for his toughness and strength. A battering ram of a fullback on offense and a defensive end that could not be blocked, he constantly was targeted as the man to stop teams who played Mount Carmel in the four year period.
People who played with Grabuski, and others who saw him play talk over and over about the respect opponents had for him. Jerry Kornacki, whose brother is one of our nominees, recalls a story about attending a track meet years later and having a person he met there want to talk about playing against “Greb”. The ultimate compliment was paid him by the Shenandoah Merchants Association. After a 60 minute war between the “Tornadoes” and the “Blue Devils”, which was finally settled wen “Greb” tackled a Shenandoah runner in the end zone to give Mount Carmel a 2-0 win; the Shenandoah squad and their merchants awarded Grabuski with one of their own Blue and White letter sweaters.
Grabuski was given an athletic scholarship at Wake Forest University and planned to attend. As in the case with so many others, the war and family obligations intervened and his dreams of playing college football never materialized.
They say good things come in threes, except in the case of the Kostos Family where it comes in fives. The five Kostos Brothers: Casimir (Charles), Joseph, Martin, Anthony and Frank were outstanding successes both as athletes and people.
The oldest son, Casimir was an outstanding Football and Baseball player at Mount Carmel High School. After completing his great high school career he received a call from the Detroit Tigers inviting him to tryout for their team. He heard a more important call, and opted instead to enter the Priesthood.
Joseph was also an outstanding three sport player at Mount Carmel and went on to become captain of the 1921 Bucknell University Football Team.
Martin, the middle brother, was an outstanding end for coach “Doggie” Julian at Albright University. He was also a Barber in his spare time; but apparently cut more hair than classes. After finishing at Albright he played in a semi-pro league in Philadelphia for several years before returning to Mount Carmel where he opened a tavern.
Anthony, who graduated from Mount Carmel in 1922 concentrated on Football. He did well enough to be elected captain of the 1925 Bucknell Squad. He graduated as an Engineer from Bucknell and for several years after was a full-time engineer and a part-time football player with the professional Frankford Yellow Jackets.
Frank, the youngest son, was a center on the Football team and a guard on the Basketball team from 1926 to 1930. He also starred at Bucknell. Frank got into the education field and eventually became chairman of the Penn State University Hazleton Campus.
An outstanding family who used their excellence in sports as a springboard to success in other areas of life. They are a welcome and important addition to our Chapter’s Hall of Fame.
LEN GUARNA, SR.
Len Guarna was one of Mount Carmel High School’s outstanding three sport athletes. He lettered in Football, Baseball and Track as a sophomore and junior; but a school policy preventing participation in track and baseball at the same time limited his participation to football and track only as a senior.
He co-captained both the track and football squads his senior year. He was a district class jumper on track and an all state selection as a football player.
Lenny was involved with one of the oddities that sometimes crop up in sports; as a sophomore football player he scored the first time he ever touched the football in a varsity game. Almost 20 years later his son, Lenny, Jr. scored the first time he touched the ball as a Tornado varsity player.
After his successful high school career, Len played varsity football for the Susquehanna Crusaders for two years. But a disabling knee injury in his junior year ended his football career.
After graduating from Susquehanna in 1965 he coached football and basketball at Mifflinburg High School for one year; but responding to an opportunity to return to Mount Carmel High School as a coach the following year. He was a highly successful freshmen coach for 18 years, producing many undefeated teams and helped establish that winning tradition that aided Jazz lead the “Tornadoes” to their glory years and was also instrumental in setting up a weight program in the off-season for the Tornadoes. Len coached the jumping events for the track team for 17 years producing many Southern Conference and District IV Champions.
Lenny gave up coaching in 1983 following an illness. He remains on the faculty at Mount Carmel Area High School where he has been an instructor in the Business Education Department for 25 years.
“Jabbin” Johnny Jadick was born in Diamondtown and went from there to become a World Boxing Champion.
In January 1932, Jadick won the Junior Welterweight Championship of the world by pounding out a 10-round decision over Tony Canzomeri. Canzomeri also held the Lightweight Championship currently, but that title was not effected.
It was a classic boxer versus slugger matchup. Jadick was known as “Jabbin Jonny” because of his clever footwork, his excellent boxing skills and his stinging jab. Canzomeri was a slugger who waded in and threw potential knockout punches with both hands.
Jadick was knocked down once and stunned three or four times, but he was able to recover each time and get back to his jabbing and boxing strategy. Eventually, he wore down his bigger and stronger opponent and was able to win the decision.
Millie Balon has been an active sportswoman all her life, but as a Female Golfer he has been in a class by herself.
From 1958 through the present, she’s been the outstanding female Golfer in our area. As a matter of fact, from 1958 through 1983, a 25-year period, she won the Woman’s Championship at Fountain Springs Country Club 22 of 25 times. In 1984 she joined Indian Hills Country Club and won their Ladies Championship in 1984, 1985, 1987 and 1988.
At Fountain Springs, she was the only Female Golfer to shoot Par (71), and on one occasion won the Schreck Memorial Handicap Trophy, a feat never before accomplished by a woman.
Millie is a member of the Pennsylvania Ladies Golf Association and the Central Pennsylvania Ladies Golf Association. She once played an exhibition match with Golf Professional Betsy Rawls, which she considers her greatest sports thrill.
Millie was previously inducted in the Jerry Wolman Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1976, but our Chapter felt it was important she be part of our group.
Pete Lentini was a solid high school athlete at Mount Carmel High School. He was a four-year letterman in Track and a three-year letterman and Offensive tackle on the 1970 Southern Division Championship Team.
When Pete got to College, he began to flower By the time he began his junior year at Juniata College, he started to zoom. In what was essentially a two-year career at Juniata, he became the “Indians” third leading receiver of touchdown passes and fourth on the roll for career receiving yardage (1,286).
Pete also caught the second and sixth through eighth longest passes in Juniata Football History, good for 94, 73, 63, and 62 yards.
His senior year, Pete earned: Second Team All State Honors behind Penn State’s Don Natale; Third Team Little All American ; First Team ECAC All East Division III; Most Valuable Player in the Middle Atlantic Conference; led Middle Atlantic Conference in Receiving and Scoring; participated in Stagg Bowl for NCAA Division III Championship.
NICKIE ARMON BRUNO
Nickie Bruno was an outstanding student and athlete at Kulpmont High School. He and fellow Honoree Mike Lashendock co-captained the 1951 Kulpmont High School Football Team which won the Eastern Conference Championship.
Nickie was a terrific two way tackle under coaches Bob Balent and Ed Stavenski at Kulpmont. He was good enough to make Honorable Mention on the 1951 AP All State Football Squad.
He received a number of college offers and accepted a grant to play at Mansfield State University. He had an exceptionally promising career cut short when he died in 1954 attempting to save the life of another person.
On May 26, 1954, he attempted to rescue a young man from an excavation cave-in in Lewistown, Penna. He himself died from injuries sustained in the futile rescue attempt. His parents, Armon and Mary Bruno, received the Carnegie Medal for Heroism posthumously as a result of his Heroism.
ROBERT JOSEPH HERTZOG
Bob Hertzog was a late starter as a basketball player. Actually he never played any sort of organized basketball until his senior year at Our Lady of Lourdes High School.
He had the one most important ingredient: height; and his natural talent combined with his height helped him establish himself as a “Diamond in the Rough”.
Apparently college coaches saw enough potential and raw talent to offer him college scholarships, and he finally settled on Susquehanna University. He entered Susquehanna University in the fall of 1973. The rest, as they say, is History.
Hertzog lettered in basketball all four years at Susquehanna. In 1976 he was a member of the All Tournament Team in the First Annual “Crusader Classic” played at the Selinsgrove School. He was also named to the All Lutheran College All American Team in 1976-77.
His final year at Susquehanna, Bob averaged 15 points and 12 rebounds per game; and until very recently held the Field House record for rebounds in a game with 21.
Bob graduated from Susquehanna with a Degree in Sociology in 1977. He still remains active in basketball; and is an instructor at the Susquehanna University Summer Basketball Camp. He also plays in one of the local winter leagues.
MARCELLUS “MERTZ” KORNASKI
Mertz Kornaski has been a part of Mount Carmel Catholic High School History right from the start. He was a four year letterman and offensive and defensive end for the Rams, and the team’s captain in 1934 and 1935.
Mertz was too little to give college football a serious try; but he was able to utilize his speed and terrific pass catching ability to become a highly regarded high school player. Catholic High in those days had just begun to play the sport, having just become a four-year school. At that time Coal Township “Purple Demons” were a highly regarded High School Team; and they issued a challenge to the “Rams” to play a game. Coach Jerry Breslin knew his team, which consisted of 16 or 17 undersized over-achievers would be seriously outgunned; but Mertz and his teammates persisted in asking their coach to schedule the game. Coach Breslin finally agreed to the game. But he made an arrangement to fortify his “Munchkin” line with some players borrowed from the semi-pro Atlas Wolverines. The Coal Township coach, Smokey Kobilis, couldn’t believe how the Catholic High Team could do so well against his team, and how some of the Catholic High kids looked a little old to be in high school. The game ended in a 50-0 win for Coal Township.
MARCUS ANTONIO STARTZEL
Marcus continues the fine tradition of outstanding scholar athletes honored by the Ed Romance Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
He is a three-year letterman in football where he was an outstanding fullback and linebacker for the Tornadoes. He also lettered two years for the Tornado Baseball Team and was named the team’s most improved player last year.
Marcus scored 1290 out of 1600 on the College Boards; and his 730 out of 800 in the Mathematics portion of the Scholastic Achievement test put him solidly among the Nation’s elite in that category.
His grade point average at Mount Carmel high School is a perfect 4.0 never having gotten anything but an “A” in any subject. His total cumulative average is 97.31.
He has accomplished this while taking the most difficult Science and Mathematics Course the school offers; including Advanced Placement (College Level) Calculus and Biology.
Marcus has accepted an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and will report there on July 3, 1990. He follows his brother, Ron, to the Naval Academy. Ron is a 1988 graduate of the Academy.
Marcus is the son of Elizabeth and Ronald Startzel of Strong, Pennsylvania. The Hall of Fame is proud to include Marcus on it’s list of Blue Ribbon Scholars.