20th Annual Banquet
According to his coach, Jazz Diminick, Bob Hamernick was “the quickest off the ball of anybody I ever coached.” When you think of all the great backs Jazz coached during his 30-year legendary career that is quite a statement, but Jazz makes this statement with little doubt in his voice.
He started the parade of great “pony backs” at Mount Carmel. He stood out as runner, pass receiver and kick returner and was part of a team that was one of the most exciting ever to play for the Tornadoes. The 1966 squad featured Bobby, Greg Doviak and Dabby Niglio and they scored points in bunches. That team defeated Carlisle at the Silver Bowl in a shootout that many Mt. Carmel fans still call the greatest game ever played in the Silver Bowl.
When he graduated in 1967, Hamernick was in the top 10 in practically every offensive category. He was Co-Captain of that squad and was an All State Honorable Mention…back in the days when there was only 1 All State Team; and most of the spots were occupied by players at the big schools who were supported by big newspapers.
He was also a solid track man as a sprinter and pole vaulter. He was District IV Champion in the pole vault in 1966.
Bob started as a running back for C.W. Post College on Long Island. He had a solid career there and won several post season honors.
ANDREW J. SIKET
Andy Siket was one of Kulpmont’s all-time greats. He starred in both basketball and baseball for three years at Kulpmont; and as an All-League player led the Wildcats to Susquehanna Valley League Championships and in 1939 to the District 4 Finals.
He entered Villanova University in 1939 on a basketball scholarship and played there for two years before leaving. He played for a number of semi-pro teams including the Sunoco Oilers which once won 66 games in a row. In 1945 he and John Barr formed a semi-pro team called Star Lane which played 17 exhibition games against touring professional teams and won all 17 games.
In 1946 he played for Sunbury Mercuries in the newly-formed Easter Pro Basketball League. One of the players n that league was the legendary “Sonny” Hill a Philadelphia player who is considered the “Godfather” of basketball in Philadelphia.
He played in the Eastern League for three years, and was named MVP in a number of Gold Medal tournaments. After retirement he became a basketball official and continued in that capacity for years. He died in 1995.
PAUL H. SZYMANSKI
Paul was a standout 3-Sport star at Mt. Carmel. As a football player he played quarterback, defensive end, tight end and kicker. He made the Reading Eagle All Anthracite Team as both a junior and senior and was All State Honorable Mention.
He also started for 3 years as a basketball player to chalk up both 1000 points and 1000 rebounds. He was a Schuylkill League All Star, a member of the Harrisburg Patriot top 10 and a member of the Reading Eagle All Stars. He was also MVP of the Schuylkill County-Berks County All Star Game.
In track he lettered 4 years and was a consistent winner in both high jump and the triple jump. He set a new school record of 6 feet 6 inches in the high jump; and was a District and Schuylkill League champion in the triple jump.
After high school, Paul attended West Point Prep and received a Senatorial Appointment to the US Military academy. But he opted for a football scholarship to the University of Virginia where he participated in 28 of the 34 games played during his three years there. He was an All ACC honorable mention for academics. He also played in Virginia’s first post season game ever: the 1984 Peach Bowl.
FRANK “KITE” PINAMONTI
Frank Pinamonti was a guy who “put his money where his mouth is.” From 1951 until his death in 1995, Pinamonti was actively involved, either as a player or sponsor, as Mt. Carmel’s patron saint of fast-pitch softball.
Many of the kids who played for Pinamonti over the years are members of his Hall of Fame. He attracted the best and treated them accordingly. His teams competed for 33 years in the now defunct Intercity Softball League. When that league folded Frank began to look around for a place closer for his team to play. They competed for 7 years in the Sunbury-Danville league before moving closer to home in the Anthracite League for the past three years.
Ed Romance would be thrilled at the induction of Frank Pinamonti. He felt anyone who was doing something for the Coal Region Sports was doing a great service. And not many did more than Frank Pinamonti.
GEORGE S. HOMIAK
George Homiak was a member of the 1927 State Championship Football Team. His play as a tackle on that squad drew the attention of the legendary Lou Little, who at that time coached for Georgetown University. Little later became famous as coach of Columbia University which ended a long win streak of the US Military Academy in what was considered one of college football’s all tie upsets.
Homiak attended Georgetown on a football scholarship and lettered twice as football player and a boxer. But like in so many other instances, George was needed at home by his family and so he left Georgetown after his sophomore season.
He was a fun-loving guy who loved sports and a good time. His family bar became legendary and a Mt. Carmel landmark. People who had merely driven through Mt. Carmel would remember the town for “Homiak’s Bar.”
George Homiak loved Mount Carmel and its sports heroes. It’s a nice thing to have him included among the best athletes we’ve ever had.
MIKE FANTANAROSA JR.
Mike was an outstanding defensive tackle for the 91 and 92 Red Tornadoes and was named to the Reading Eagle All Anthracite team following each of those two seasons. But as a shot putter he was in a class by himself. He won the silver medal in the PIAA Championships in ’91 and then came back to win the Gold Medal with a heave of 56 feet 3 inches in ’92.
Mike was a little bit of a late bloomer and really began to hi his athletic stride when he entered Kutztown University. His freshman year at Kutztown he led the football team in tackles, putted the 16 pound college shot a school-record 53 feet 5 inches; and was named the University’s Male Athlete of the Year.
Ed Augusiewicz’s story sounds like a dozen others you’ve heard regarding terrific Coal Region athletes whose lives and careers were cut short by the intervention of World War II, or family pressures. After a bang-up career at Mount Carmel High, where he led his team to a 9-1-1 record as a senior, Augusiewicz enrolled at Wake Forest University. He did well as a frosh for Coach “Peahead” Walker and was counted on to be part of the starting defense as a sophomore.
There was a war going on, though. And like so many other patriotic young men of the time, Eddie Augusiewicz heard the call to arms. He enlisted in the Army and was assigned to one of the glamour groups as a paratrooper. Within a year he was far from Mount Carmel…serving as part of a regiment chosen to attack Anzio Beach. You historians will know that this battle was one of the most important and fiercely-fought of the War. Practically his entire regiment was annihilated at Anzio. Very few returned unscathed; and many like Eddie had wounds so severe their lives were altered forever. He had a leg wound that kept him from ever playing football again, even though he re-enrolled at Wake Forest to give it a try.
Since he was unable to play football, he dropped out of Wake Forest and took a job with the Postal Service in Washington, DC. He remained there until his death of a heart attack.
JOHN E. “JACK” BRENNAN
Jack Brennan played at Mt. Carmel Catholic from 1942 through 1946. He played varsity football four years and was a captain in 1945 when the Rams won the Diocesan Championship with a 7-3 record.
He enlisted in the Army after graduation and was part of the 7th Calvary Regiment in Japan with the U.S. Army of Occupation. While there he played with the Regiment’s football squad.
After being discharged from the Army, Jack enrolled at Georgetown University from where he graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1952.
He spent the majority of his business career in the computer industry, working at various times in technical, marketing and management positions. He founded a computer software firm in Spring House, PA and worked there until retirement in 1995.
1968 FOOTBALL SQUAD
Jazz Diminick called the 1968 season “the most prosperous in the history of our school” in an annual letter to colleges and football scouts. The Tornado coach had taken to writing biography on each of the seniors, including their stats and college board scores, to colleges where he hoped to drum up interest in his players.
The Tornado coach proved he was a good judge of events as they occurred. He wasn’t so good at forecasting, though.
Prior to the season he had predicted the three toughest games of the season would be against Pottsville, Shamokin and Shikellamy. Actually he thought at least two of the schools might be ranked higher than his own team. His team knew differently, though, and actually handled all three rivals easily shutting them out by a combined score of 60-0.
What a team. They were led defensively by Bob Sacavage and Dennis Lentini and offensively by the “Touchdown Twins” Gary Diminick and Bobby Veach and quarterback Jeff Greco.
At season’s end Sacavage was a first team all stater, Diminick a second teamer and Lentini and Veach honorable mention.,
They scored a total of 369 points to only 58 for the opposition over the course of the entire season. And even though they lost in the Easter Conference Championship game to Blakely, they were one of our most important teams. They created the blueprint for all the great Mount Carmel teams that followed.
The names are still recognizable by Tornado fans: Veach, Diminick, Greco, Lentini, Sacavge, Semicek, Sulick, Shirmer, Dubb, Churprinksi and many others. More importantly, the wheels were set in motion for the great Mount Carmel Express of the next 110 years. Listed as underclassmen on that list Joe Diminick sent to those college recruiters were names like Phil Klaus, John Halcovich, Gary Howanec, Henry Hynoski, and Carm Defrancesco.
This was Joe Diminick’s 7th coaching season. So the site work and preparation was already in progress…but this was the team that put Mt. Carmel on the high roads as a football power to be reckoned with.
Tiffany Okronglis, captain of the 1998 girl’s basketball team this season, scored her 1000th point as a Lady Tornado and led the team to a 7-4 record in January, qualifying them for participation in District playoffs.
Tiffany is a dominant force in basketball, but she also takes part in many other extra-curricular activities. She was a cheerleader four years and currently serves as senior class treasurer. She holds the same position in the FTA. Tiffany is also a student government representative, a member of FNA, SADD, Stand Tall, SPARC, the Biology Club and the Community Service Club.
Okronglis plans to attend a four-year college to pursue a career in athletic training. She is the daughter of Charles and Donna Klischer and Vince Okronglis.
Matt Montgomery was a split end on this year’s successful Red Tornado football team. Matt had 23 receptions for 387 yards and 5 Tds. As a punt returner, he amassed the 553 yards and scored 4 Tds, a school record. On defense, he is credited with 51 tackles (31) solo, had 4 interceptions, broke up 8 passes and recovered 2 fumbles.
In November, Matt was named Ed Romance athlete of the Month. Whatever position he was asked to fill, he did so with alacrity, and because of his exemplary performance received various 1st and 2nd team honors from other organizations across the region and state.
His versatility, however, has not been limited to football. Matt was a 2 year letter winner in basketball, and 3 year letter winner in track and field, a District qualifier in 4 events as a sophomore.
Matt’s other extra-curricular activated include memberships in SADD, Biology Club, Community Service Club, FTA, Spanish Club, Latin Club, a and Ski Club.
Montgomery is the son of Fritz and Pam Montgomery of Kulpmont.
Matt will be attending University of New Haven, CT to major in Criminal Administrative Justice and continue his football career.
Jed Gonzalo has been able to balance his schedule of academic courses while earning 6 varsity letters in three different sports.
As Co-Captain and senior leader from his point guard position, Gonzalo has led the Tornado basketball team into District IV playoffs for the second consecutive year. He has led the team in assists and steals over the past two seasons. His career totals in assists and steals ranks him in the top five all-time in both categories.
Last spring, in his first year of track, Gonzalo worked his way onto the 4x400 meter relay team which went on to win the Schuylkill League Championship and establish a new school record in the event. Jed also lettered in baseball as a sophomore.
Academically, Jed ranks second in his class with a 98.5 average and is a member of the National Honor Society. As a sophomore, Jed was the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership representative from MCA, and as a junior was a recipient of the School Board Merit Award. This year, he has qualified for both the 700 and 1300 club for SAT excellence and has been named Rotary Student of the month for September and Ed Romance Athlete of the month for December. He is also president of the Student Government.
Last summer, Jed organized and led a group of seven basketball players in sanding and refinishing the basketball playing surface.
Gonzalo has been offered academic scholarships from Wilkes University and the University of Scranton and will chose one to begin his career in the study of medicine. Jed is the son of Rose and Jose Gonzalo, Shady Acres.