26th Annual Banquet
THOMAS D. WELDON
Bolick, Eshmont, Ficca, Filopowicz, Hynoski - these are the professional athletes who make up the marquee names of the Romance Chapter Hall of Fame. Coaches like Breslin, Diminick, and Terry are mentioned when you talk about all time records. Athletes like Diminick, Fantanarosa, Sheptock, Glowtaski, and Varano have all distinguished themselves on the collegiate level. But the heart, and the soul, of the local chapter is made up of athletes who were told that they were too small, too slow, or not strong enough. They all reached down to prove every one wrong, and went on to have very successful careers in their chosen sport and helped their teams to reach the highest possible level of success. I guess you can call it good, old fashioned, "coal region" work ethic. Tom Weldon was one of those athletes.
Tom played for coach Jazz Diminick's Red Tornadoes from 1977 to 1979 and would help them to a 28-7 record, with 5 of those losses coming at the hands of Berwick and Pottsville. Tom would become the starting strong safety as a junior and led the team in tackles with 97, the 6th best season ever at the time. He would post five 10-tackles games that year, including a 13 tackle effort against Berwick and adding 16 more in the clash with Pottsville. As a senior, Tom would add 87 tackles to place his career total at 186, good enough for the 7th best total in Tornado history at the time. He posted five more 10-tackles games in his senior season, including another 13 against Berwick.
Weldon showed his versatility on offense where he contributed as a running back, receiver, punt and kick off returner. In addition, he punted and kicked off . His highlight game on offense came during a 22-14 victory over a powerful State College, where he had 4 receptions for 84 yards and 2 touchdowns of 23 and 49 yards. Tom would be given the Len Eshmont Award following the '79 season and earned Reading Eagle honorable mention.
Tom's leadership qualities were recognized when he was chosen to captain the football, wrestling and track teams during his senior year. He would win Schuylkill League Gold Medals in the long jump, 200 meter and 400 meter relay in 1980. Tom was also a two-time PIAA State Meet participant in track after winning District IV gold in 1978 and 1980 as part of the 4 x 400 meter relay team.
Following graduation, Tom went to Bucknell University where he earned a BSBA in 1984. He also received degrees from the Central Atlantic School of Trust at Bucknell University in 1989 and the National Graduate Trust School at Northwestern University in 1991. Tom and his wife Stacey have a son, Sawyer (8) and daughter, Piper (18 months) and reside in State College. Weldon is the Vice President/Trust Officer at the Northwest Savings Bank in State College
Today, Tom joins teammates Bob Zavarick, Jed Karpinski,Ed Diminick, Paul Szymanski, Dan Glowatski, Tom Cole, Frank Sheptock, and John Diminick as members of the Ed Romance Lower Anthracite Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
JAMES "JIMO" WASAKOSKI
Give me a big tackle! - no, make it two big tackles! Better yet, make it two big, strong tackles! That's exactly what coach Joe Diminick got during his first two years at the helm of the Mount Carmel High School football program. One of those guys was "Iron Mike" Chapel. The other -James "Jimo" Wasakoski. Jimo would start for two years at offensive tackle at MCA in 1962 and 1963, leading the way for guys like Joe Greco, Bob Menapace, Tom Beierschmitt, Ron Grossman and Jimmy McFadden. Those two teams would go 18-3-1 over the 2 year period, losing 3 games by a total of 10 points. Wasakoski was named to the Reading Eagle All Anthracite Team and would receive an athletic/academic scholarship to the University of Richmond in Richmond, Va.
As a freshman at Richmond, Jimo returned a blocked field goal attempt 74 yards for a game winning touchdown and was named the Outstanding Freshman Defensive Player on the team. He then lettered as a sophomore at defensive end before a severe injury short-circuited a very promising career. He would go on to graduate from Richmond with a 3.2 grade point average and earn the Award for the top Economics graduate.
In addition to football at MCA, Wasakoski was a four-year starter for coach Tufky Andrulewicz's baseball nine. He pitched, played first and second base and captained the team during his junior and senior seasons. During his four years, the Tornadoes won 33 games while losing 19 and had 4 consecutive winning seasons. Jimo also pitched legion baseball, along with Frank Bolick Sr, for the Northern Valley of Girardville and posted a 7-0 record on the mound. Wasakoski also started for one year with the Tornado basketball squad and chipped in with 12 points and 10 rebounds per game.
In a complete turnaround, Jimo found himself as a member of the track team at Richmond and ended up with a 154 foot discuss throw - good for the second best throw in school history at the time.
In 1972, Jim received a Masters Degree from Penn State University and served as Commander of the 65th Military Police Company at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He served as the player/coach for the Battalion's football, basketball, and softball programs. He also found time to win the Military Police Golf Tournament at Fort Bragg.
After returning home, Wasakoski played in the Adult Basketball League for the Avalon and Political Club teams. He also played Fast Pitch Softball for Shuda Café and B & E Body, winning many league titles and finishing 5th in the state for 2 consecutive years. Jim led the league in home runs for 2 years.
Jimo helped to start the CYO Basketball Program at Queen of the Most Holy Rosary in 1984 and coached the team for 8 years, winning several titles and putting up a 34 game win streak. Jim currently lives in Elysburg with his wife, Maryann and is set to retire from the Pa. Dept of Public Welfare after 32 years of service. Jim and Maryann are parents of a daughter, Jenna, 25, and son, Jimmy- an outstanding athlete himself - deceased.
FRANK C. BOLICK
In the previous 100 plus years, only one graduate of Mount Carmel High School had ever played professional baseball - Joseph B. Young in 1892 - and that was for two innings, pitching for St Louis in the National League. That all changed in 1993 when Frank Bolick was announced as the starting third baseman for the Montreal Expos and manager Felipe Alou. Bolick would play most of that 93 season with the Expos at third base and first base, hitting 4 home runs and posting a .329 slugging percentage. He also posted a .992 fielding percentage. From 1994 thru 1997, Bolick played in the minor leagues for the Pittsburg Pirates, Colorado Rockies, Cleveland Indians, and Anaheim Angels. He also spent some time playing winter ball in the Mexican League. Franks's perseverance paid off in 1998 when he was called up to the Anaheim Angels and played first, third, left field and was the designated hitter.
Bolick then took a gamble and signed with the Chiba Lotte Marines of the Japanese Major League. He went on to have four solid seasons with the Marines, playing first, third, and excelling as the designated hitter. Bo was so beloved by the Japanese fans that he was elected to play in the Japanese All Star game in 2000 as the designated hitter. Frank hit over 100 home runs and batted just under .280 during his 4 years in Japan with his best being 31 HR's in 2001, 102 RBI's and .296 average in 2000. Frank became only the 5th foreign player in Japanese history to homer in his first ever at bat on April 14,1999. All this is even more impressive when you consider that Lotte Marine Stadium, with its deep outfields and winds blowing off the bay, make it one of the toughest stadiums in the league to homer.
Following graduation from Mount Carmel Area in 1985, Bolick received a full scholarship to play baseball for the Ramblin Wreck of Georgia Tech and coach Jim Morris. During his freshman season, Bolick set an ACC record for walks with 72 and set the Georgia Tech record for home runs by a freshman with 16. His team, that year, went 45-23 and won the ACC Championship and went on to play in the NCAA Tournament. The 45 wins represented the most ever for a Tech team up until that time. Bolick was then drafted in the 9th round by the Milwaukee Brewers in 1987and played in A and AA minor league teams for the Brewers. He was then traded to the Seattle Mariners, where he played AA and AA from 1990 thru 1992, before being traded to the Expos.
In high school, Bolick was a four-year starter on the baseball team and led them into district play on three different occasions. Bo was also a three-year starter in football as a quarterback, fullback, halfback and defensive back. There are many people who believe that Bo could have gone to the NFL as a punter, with his 40 yard average and 4 to 5 second hang time.
Today, Bo joins classmates, Mike Diminick, Rob Varano, Maria Fantanarosa, and Joanne Menapace as members of the Ed Romance Chapter of the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame. Frank makes his home in Kulpmont with his wife, Sue, and two daughters, Heather (9) and Jennifer (6).
You can imagine not ever losing a basketball game at home for a full season. But how about a whole career? Charlie Griscavage did just that! During his four-year career at Mansfield University, his teams never lost a game at Decker Gymnasium, home turf for the Mansfield Mountainiers. From the time he entered college in 1958, the Mansfield basketball team would start a 27- year run where they would enter post season play on 21 different occasions. During his career, they were the first PSAC Champion ever and would go on to win it for four consecutive years. His teams were a combined 76-9 during his time with coach Bill Gibson. Charlie would become a three-year starter at shooting guard and would average 14-15 points per game while leading the team as captain in 1962. Some of his teammates like Craig Cooley, Jim Turner, Dave Russell and Dick DiBiaso are also listed in the Mansfield record books
Griscavage's career started at Mount Carmel Catholic High as a freshman under coach Joe Apichella. He started for four years for the Rams and in 1958 helped coach Frank Ulicny achieve the first winning season in Catholic High history. Charlie would also become the leading scorer in Catholic High history when he posted 1,335 career points, surpassing Billy O'Brien's 1,068 from 1951-54. Charles led the Anthracite Basketball League in scoring as a junior when he threw in 500 points, including a single-game high of 41. As a senior Charlie lead the Rams into a playoff for the first half title with Pottsville Nativity, and had high games of 35 against Marian Catholic and 30 in a 102-82 victory over Jim Thorpe. That was the highes scoring game in Ram history. Charlie's 1,335 points still ranks 10th on the combined all-time scoring list of St Ed's, Shamokin Catholic, Mt Carmel Catholic and Lourdes Regional.
In 1958, Catholic High entered the Bloomsburg State Teachers College Tournament for the first time and were victorious in the opener against Moscow, but lost in the semis to Tri-Valley. But Charlie and his pals Tony Brennan, Earl McGinley, George Richards, Stan Petrovich, Tony Strike, Ron and Larry Joyce and Billy Brown would start Catholic High basketball on the path to great success on the hardwood.
Griscavage would graduate from Mansfield in 1962 with a B.S. in Education and would begin a teaching and coaching career that would last close to 40 years. He would become the head basketball coach at Wellsboro for seven years and serve as the golf and tennis coach for 20 years. His 1983 tennis team would win the District IV Championship. Charlie also helped young basketball players develop as the coach of the Wellsboro Middle School basketball team for 25 years. He recently retired as a PIAA basketball official after 31 years. He makes his home in Wellsboro, where he and his wife, Sandy, are parents of four children, Charles Jr, Susan, Debbie, and Lisa.
If you were a young football player at Mount Carmel, you only had to look to the storied teams of the past 100 years to find a role model. But if you were a young girl and interested in running track, finding someone to emulate was not as simple. After all, track had only been around since 1971 when coach Al Santos started the program for girls at Mount Carmel Area. In the early 80's, Joanne Menapace ran her way into the record books and established marks as a middle distance runner that still stand today. She became the role model for all young girls who would go on to run for the Lady Tornadoes.
Joanne became only the second female athlete at Mount Carmel Area to represent the Tornadoes at the PIAA State Championship Meet for 4 consecutive years. Joanne won 7 District IV gold medals during her career, winning the AAA 800 meter championship as a freshman, the AA 800 meter and 1600 meter championships as a junior. She became the first, and only, MCA female to ever win 4 District IV golds in 1985 when she won the 800, 1600, 1600 meter relay and 3200 meter relay championships. The 3200 meter relay team, consisting of Menapace, Margot Guinan, Angela Vaughan, and Tammy Trione would go on to place 4th at the PIAA AA State Championships in a time of 9:42.8. Her 800 time of 2:20.37, 4 x 400 meter relay time of 4:12.7, and 4 x 800 meter relay time were all regional and school records.
Joanne would lead her track team to the District IV AA Team Championship in 1985, the first since 1976. Her 800 meter time of 2:20.37 and 1500 meter time of 5:20 established region records at the time. Cross-country started out as a way to get in shape for track, but after one season Joanne was hooked, and lettered for three years. Her second place finish at the District IV meet in 1984 helped the Lady Tornadoes to a silver medal at the District meet as well as 8th place at the PIAA State Championship.
Following high school graduation, Joanne attended Bucknell Univeristy, and was another in a long line of dedicated runners to perform under the guidance of late legendary coach Art Gulden. Her Bison teams were the ECC Women's Cross Country Champions from 1985-1989. Joanne also ran on Bucknell's Indoor and Outdoor Track teams which both placed second in the 1987 ECC Championship Meets. Individually, Menapace finished third in the ECC Indoor 1000 meter in a time of 2:49.54 and third in the ECC outdoor 1500 meter in a time of 4:49.32 in 1987 - the 4th best time in Bucknell history at the time.
The Bucknell women finally won the ECC Outdoor Track Championships as a team in 1989, with Joanne adding a second place 1500 meter finish in a time of 4:50.42.
Joanne continues to run competitively in local road races, corporate challenges,, and team relays including the Hood to Coast - the largest relay race in North America stretching 195 miles from the top of Oregon's Mount Hood, down to the Pacific Ocean.
Menapace has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1990. She has worked in the software industry for large companies (Oracle) and small start-ups (Amplitude), and now independently provides technical consulting services. She is a volunteer and President of the Board of Directors of Discovery Dogs - a non-profit organization the trains assistance dogs for people with disabilities. She is married to Russell Bertuccelli who loves football and wishes that he too could have grown up in Mount Carmel.
Wrestling is one of the oldest sports known to mankind and dating back to the first Olympiad held in Athens, Greece. It is a fierce individual combat sport requiring a combination of strength, endurance and discipline to compete. Joe Pecaitis did elect to compete and follow in the footsteps of his father and brother and become a wrestler. After more than 25 years of dedication as both a wrestler and a coach, the Kulpmont native has amassed and impressive 209 victories as a wrestler and coach on the high school and college levels
Joe's distinguished athletic career began at Mount Carmel Area High School where he won 75 matches in PIAA and AAU competition. In 1982, he finished second in District IV competition to eventual state champion Nate Carter of Shikellamy. He eventually reached the state quarterfinals before losing in overtime to the defending state champion. In 1983, he became the first wrestler in MCA history to qualify for the state tournament for two consecutive years by winning the District IV 155lb championship, finishing third in Northeast Regional competition and repeating as a state quarterfinalist. He was a Susquehanna Valley League All Star and was the recipient of the D'Angelo Memorial Award as well as the Lou Grayson Award.
After graduation, Joe won first place in the Region III qualifying Tourney and won a bronze medal at the Keystone State Games. He also finished second in the 190lb open division at the Middle Atlantic AAU fall freestyle wrestling championships.
joe earned an athletic scholarship to Lock Haven University, where he went on to win 49 matches against some of the stiffest competition in the nation. Joe finished third at the prestigious Mat-Town Usa tournament and was a runner-up and third place finisher at 177lb at the Naval Academy Turkey Bowl Invitational. He also place 3rd and 6th at the Sheridan Tournament at Lehigh University and 7th at 190lbs at the Midwest Open held at Iowa State University.
Following graduation, Joe went on to pursue a teaching and coaching career as an assistant at Gettysburg College and helped the "Bullets" record 36 wins from 1989-1993 in the MAC conference. Joe moved onto the scholastic ranks as an assistant at Gettysburg High School from 1995-2000,where the Warriors won 49 duet meets and recorded the best season in school history. That 1999 squad won the District III Championship and Mid-Penn League Championship.
Off the mat, Joe has earned a B.S. in education with emphasis on the mentally and physically handicapped from Lock Haven. He later earned a Masters Degree in Physical Education and Principal Certificate from Western Maryland College in 1999. He is currently employed as a Department Head for Middle School Education at Gettysburg Area School District. He is married to the former Michele Cassis of Lock Haven and is the father of two children, Madison 6, and Joseph 4, and currently resides in Gettysburg.
DR. MICHAEL SCICCHITANO
Have you ever noticed how something that seems really bad at the time turns out to be something very good. Mike Scicchitano and his family experienced the low, when in 1982, Mike lay on the Williamsport High School football field uncontious. He was taken to a Williamsport Area hospital where he was diagnosed with a concussion. It was that experience in the hospital that changed Mike's career ambition and decided that he would become a doctor - and he did!
Scicchitano was a two year starter and letter winner for coach Jazz Diminick's Red Tornadoes in 1981 and 1982. Mike played center and defensive tackle and would go on to earn All Anthracite honors from both the Reading Eagle and Harrisburg Patriot News. He served as co captain in 1982 and would be given the Joe Grey Award as the teams outstanding lineman. Michael was the middle of five Scicchitano brothers who would play 13 seasons for the Tornadoes from 1976 thru 1996 and would be a part of 127 Tornado victories.
Mike also letter for four seasons as a discuss and javelin thrower for coach Diminick's MCA track team. As a senior, Michael would win District IV Gold Medals in the discuss and javelin and would represent Mount Carmel Area at the PIAA State Track Championships in 1983.
Mike would enter follow brother in law Mike Revenis to East Stroudsburg University in the fall of '83. As a freshman, Mike would finish second in the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference with a throw of 227' 8" in the javelin. His throw would earn him a trip to the National Championships in Missouri where he finished in the top ten. Scicchitano then transferred to Temple University where he threw the javelin for the Owls in 1986 and 1987. When he was elected captain of the track team in 1987, Mike accomplished the rare fete of being elected captain of his team at two different universities, having also served as captain as a sophomore at East Stroudsburg. He was recognized as Temple University's Scholar Athlete in 1987. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1987.
Scicchitano would go on to graduate from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1991, completing the journey that started that October night on the football field in 1982. Not surprisingly, Dr Mike is now an emergency room physician at the Shamokin Area Community Hospital. He is married to the former Laurel Goodlunis and makes his home in Denmar Gardens, Kulpmont. They are the parents of four children, Emily (13), Michael (10), Erin (7), and Mathew (3 months). He enjoys spending his days off as an avid hunter and fisherman.
How many athletes can boast of only losing one game in their varsity careers - in two sports? Sam Skelding is one of those special athletes for he went 33-1-1 as a football player for Coach Jazz Diminick and was 43-0 in dual meets for track coaches Breslin and Diminick. As a hurdler on the Tornado track team, Sam ran the 180 lows, 330 yd intermediate hurdles and participated as a member of the 4 x 220 yard relay. Sam won District IV gold in 1975 in the 330 yard IM and 4 x 220 yard relay. During his four years with the track team, MCA won four consecutive Schuylkill League Meets and won two District IV Championships and placed second on two other occasions.
It was as a football player where Skelding made his mark. Sam became a starter during the 1973 championship season as a strong safety and helped lead the defense to 12 consecutive wins and an Eastern Conference Crown. As a senior co-captain, Sam led the Tornadoes to a 9-1-1 record, with their only loss coming in an upset loss to Tamaqua 9-7. Sam helped the team with 71 tackles and was the second leading scorer with 10 TD'S on only 86 rushing attempts. He was named All Anthracite, Al Central Susquehanna Valley, and First Team on the Reading Eagle All Anthracite Team. Sam was also recognized as the Ed Romance Player of the game for his 27 carry - 152 yard performance in a 16-6 win over Pottsville.
Following graduation, Sam was given a full scholarship by Coach Wayne Hardin of the Temple Owls. Sam became the starter at strong safety four games into his freshman season. The Owls went 6-5 and 4-6 during those two seasons, but had upgraded their schedule to include teams such as Penn State, West Virginia, Boston College, Syracuse and Pittsburg University. Sam got to play against Tony Dorsett from Pitt and former teammate Joe Diminick at Penn State. Sam was featured in an article in the Philadelphia Inquire recognizing his 10 tackle effort vs Dorsett and the Panthers. Sam returned a punt for a touchdown against Grambling and ran an interception back to paydirt vs Rhode Island. A severe knee injury shortened Sam's career, but he graduated on time in 1979 with a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree, and followed that up with a Master of Computer Science Degree from Dayton University in 1984.
Sam continued in football as a grad assistant under Hardin and coached outside linebackers. Sam had the priviledge of working under coaches Carson Long at Cardinal Brennan, Bill Flynn at St Clair and Gerry Slemmer at Wilson High. That Wilson team went 13-1 in 1989 and lost in the AAAA state final to Upper Saint Clair.
Sam is currently Director of Global eCommerce Software, a division of Systrends Inc. located in Tempe, AZ. Sam lives with his wife Denise and children Kera, 17 and Tyler, 11 in the Reading suburb of Blandon.
JOSEPH JAZZ DIMINICK MALE SCHOLAR ATHLETE
MATTHEW M. DEMCZKO
GPA - 100.4, Class Rank - 2 out of 128, SAT - 1290 , Sports participation - 12 varsity letters in three sports and captain of 2, Extra curriculars - enough to fill two pages - Community service - plenty! This year's scholar athlete, Matt Demczko, certainly fits the mold of previous recipients of this prestigious Romance Chapter award.
In 2000, Matt found himself on the first-ever soccer team at Mount Carmel Area. He has the distinction of scoring the first goal in Mount Carmel Area soccer history against Northern Lehigh. That team went 1 and 19, with its first win coming in game 19 vs Lourdes Regional. As a result of his play, Demczko was named a co captain following his freshman season and has held the title for all four varsity seasons. During the last two years as a mid-fielder, Matt has scored 33 goals in addition to 11 assists while helping the Tornadoes to a 9-10-1 record in only their 4th year of play. Matt received News Item first team honors in 2001, 2002, and 2003 and was given Schuylkill League honorable mention in 2002 and 2003.
Matt has also been a four- year letter winner as a member of the Tornado basketball team, where he has played both the point guard and shooting guard positions. Matt has averaged 8 points and 4 assists over his career in helping the Tornadoes into post season play on 2 different occasions including this past year. Demczko has also lettered for four seasons with the Tornado track team as a hurdler and high jumper, receiving News Item honors as a junior.
Demczko was named Rotary student of the month for September and was named the School Board Merit Award winner for February. He is a member of the National Honor Society and is listed among "Who's Who Among American High School Students."
Matt's leadership qualities continue as President of the Art Club, Vice President of SADD, and Vice President of Student Government. He is involved with the Yearbook Committee, Spanish Club, Tornado Times - MCA's feature magazine - is a reporter and cameraman for MCA Live - MCA's morning news broadcast, and will take on the role of Nathan Detroit in this year's production of "Guys and Dolls." Matt's community service includes volunteering as a referee for Mount Carmel's Youth Soccer Program, as an altar server in his church, as a member of the Interact Club and as peer tutor and mediator.
Demczko has received the John Marshall Scholarship from Franklin and Marshall College and will enroll in the fall as a Biochemistry major with an interest in pre-med. Marshall scholars are chosen for having demonstrated a passion for learning, an intense interest in probing specific areas of study, and for superior academic achievement. His is the son of Mrs Ann Demczko, Kulpmont.
JOSEPH D. WASILEWSKI FEMALE SCHOLAR ATHLETE
ROXANA G. GUERRA
Each year since 1979, competition for becoming the Ed Romance Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame Scholar Athlete has been intense. So much so, that the Hall decided to award a male and female award in 2000. In order to be named, students found that they had to distinguish themselves in some way to stand above the rest. This year's female scholar athlete, Roxana Guerra, did something that none of the other previous winners had done - score a perfect 800 on her verbal SAT. Roxana is truly a scholar with her 100.78 average ranking first in a class of 128 students. In addition to the 800, Guerra scored a 680 in math for a total of 1480.
Roxana was recognized as the Rotary Student of the Month for November and was named a 2004 Horatio Alger Association Pennsylvania Scholar. She placed third in the 2002 Northeast Science Olympiad and in the 2002 Voice of Democracy contest. She won the 2000 American Legion Auxiliary Americanist School Award and attended the Pennsylvania Governor's School in the summer of 2003. She was also one of MCA's representatives at the Bloom Math Contest.
In addition to her studies, Roxana is very active at Mount Carmel Area, serving as a typist and "on air" anchor for WKMC-TV. She is the assistant editor of "The Watch" - Mount Carmel Area's school newspaper. She is the President and past Historian of the French Club and Secretary of the Interact Club.
Roxana is also a member of the marching and concert bands at MCA and serves presently as treasurer.
Athletically Roxana has earned two varsity letters in her three years with coach John Backes and the Tornado swim team. She has also lettered in cross country, where she was a member of the All News Item Team following her sophomore season. Roxana has also served as the statistician for the Mount Carmel Area track team for the last three years.
Roxana is involved in her community as a volunteer for the Meals on Wheels program and has participated in the Annual Crop Walks. She helped organize a Halloween Children's Festival in October of 2002 and is currently working on her senior project - a peace-themed garden.
Guerra is the daughter of Mrs. Mirend Matukaitis of Mount Carmel and plans to attend a four-year university, majoring in history, with hopes of entering medical school. Her life goal is to work with the Red Cross and be able to help people who need assistance.
Full scholarship to Ohio State University! What more needs to be said about Jon Skinner's ability on the football field. At 6'5" and 280 pounds, Jon's service were sought by a number of Division I schools, but it was coach Jim Trestle who convinced Jon to become a Buckeye. Jon first broke into the starting lineup as a freshman near the end of the 2000 season. That experience helped him to become a three year starter at offensive tackle for the Big Red. A devastating pass blocker and a superb run blocker, Jon helped the Tornadoes to a 47-7 record during his four years at MCA. He helped the offenses gain over 18,000 yards for an average of 342 yards per game. His teams also averaged 32.4 points per game while setting a new MCA record with 26 consecutive wins. He was part of two State Championship teams in 2000 and 2002 and an Eastern Conference Championship in 2001.
For his efforts, Jon was recognized as a first team offensive lineman on the Patriot News Platinum 33 team, as well as being named first team all-state by the Associated Press. Jon also picked up first team honors by the Pennsylvania Football News and as a member of the WNEP - 16 Dream Team. Skinner ranks 3rd in a class of 128 with a 100.15 average and 1230 SAT. He is the son of Judy and John Skinner, Mount Carmel.
Tim has achieved the distinction of being one of those rare athletes to be honored for his achievement in two different sports. As a football player, Tim has placed himself amongst the best receivers in MCA history. This past season, Tim became MCA's all-time leading receiver with 1866 yards, surpassing the 1850 by Joel Gonzalo in 1994. Tim also finished third in his career with 107 receptions - only the third player in history to accomplish the fete. Tim also established a new career record with 29 touchdown receptions, surpassing the 24 by Frank Niglio in 1966. In 2003, Tim has 49 receptions for 863 yards and 16 TD's . His 9 receptions vs Line Mountain established a new single game mark at MCA. For his efforts, Tim became the 35th player in MCA history to be named First Team All State by the Associated Press. He was also given first team honors by the Pennsylvania Football News and WNEP TV 16 Dream Team.
In basketball, Tim became only the 10th 1000 point scorer at Mount Carmel and established himself as the all time leading scorer in MCA history with 1363 points, surpassing the 1319 by Bob Zavarick in 1978. Tim established the mark in a game with Panther Valley where his team qualified for the District IV tournament. Tim was a four-year starter on the hardwood, completing a career where he was known for his hustle and team play. Wargo is the son of Joe and Donna Wargo.
1954 EASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP FOOTBALL TEAM
"Wait until next year!" That was the cry around the Mount Carmel area even before the start of the 1954 football season. After all, Mount Carmel High was coming off a 3-7-1 campaign in 1953 and had a team that was mainly sophomores and juniors, sprinkled with a senior here and there. Little did anyone know , that during the season to come, the Tornadoes would establish a standard of excellence that all future teams would strive to match.
The Tornadoes were led by co-captains Frank Ficca and Tom Vershinski and coached by Mike Terry and assistants George Wrona, Charle Karlow and Vic Dallabrida. They opened the '54 season on the road at Sayre, coming from behind in the 4th period on a 58 yards touchdown pass from Wayne Kautter to Vershinski. It was the first opening game victory for the Red and White since 1949 and perhaps was a sign of things to come. The Tornadoes then did in Tamaqua by a 25-14 score as Kautter threw for 184 yards and Frank Ficca ran for three scores. Four more Kautter to Vershinski TD passes paced the Tornadoes to wins over Mahanoy City and Berwick. Glenn Wetzel scored four touchdowns at home against Kulpmont as the Tornadoes won their fifth straight. The game also marked "Homecoming"and "Walter Diehl Night" in memory of the former Tornado gridiron great.
Hurricane Hazel would then cause a delay in the showdown between the Tornado eleven and Coal Township's Purple Demons. Playing on Saturday night at the Silver Bowl, the Tornadoes found themselves down by a 7-0 score with less then 2 minutes remaining. Two passes from Kautter to Vershinski and Ficca put the ball at the 2, where Speedy Butela took a pitch around the end to paydirt. The all-important extra point was booted by Frank Ficca and the Tornadoes escaped with a 7-7 tie. The paid attendance of 8,025 was believed to be the largest since the '36 Thanksgiving Day battle with Shamokin, estimated at 10,000.
Wins over Pottsville - 24-12 , Ashland - 43-12, Shenandoah - 32-7 and Sunbury - 19-7 set the Tornadoes up for their annual Thanksgiving Day clash with Shamokin, Only this year, all the marbles were at stake. A win would propel the Red and White into the Eastern Conference championship game. The Tornadoes would go with their usual starting lineup of Ron Jelus and Vershinski at the end spots, Tom Revak and Bill Coyne at the tackles, Dan Ficca and Bill Luskus at the guard spots and Tom Sarisky at center. Kautter would be the quarterback, with Frank Ficca, Glenn Wetzel and Speedy Butela at the halfback spots with Bob Shannon at fullback. Mount Carmel racked up a 31-13 over Shamokin with touchdown runs from Shannon and Butela and three by Jiggs Ficca. The 10 wins in a season represented the most ever by a Tornado eleven dating back to 1893.
The Tornadoes and coach Terry then went to Scranton Memorial Stadium to take on the Invaders of West Scranton in the Eastern Confernece Championship tilt and came away with a methodical 34-13 thrashing of coach Sam Donato's squad. Wetzel scored 2 TD's. while Kautter and Vershinski scored one each. Ron Jelus returned a fumble 40 yards and Ficca(2), Zenyuh and Vershinski chipped in with extra points. The 34 points established a new record for most points ever scored in a championship game and the win marked Mike Terry's 50th coaching win at Mount Carmel High School. He was also believed to be the first coach to win Championships with 2 different teams (Kulpmont - 1945).
Next year did turn out to be a great one with a 10-1 record, but it was this year - 1954 - that set the standard for all Tornado teams to come.