28th Annual Banquet
DIRK A. BEREZOVSKE
As Coach Joe Jazz Diminick refined and tweaked his new “Monster-Chuckers” defense in the early 70’s, he needed a player to man the new “invert” or “monster” position. He would have to be fast as a corner, as tough as a linebacker, have the ability to make open field tackles, and hopefully have a mean streak. Dirk Berezovske had all of the attributes and would go on to define the position for many years after he was gone. Number 45 would be the defensive leader during the 71 and 72 seasons and would help lead the Tornadoes to 12-0 record in 1972 and an Eastern Conference Crown. Coach Diminick made him the Troy Polamalu of his time in that he was given the freedom to blitz or drop back and always seemed to be in the right place at the right time.
Dirk was named the outstanding defensive player in the West Hazleton and Minersville games; and, in addition to being named co-captain, was also given the Ed Romance and Bobby Pizzoli Awards following the 72 season. Despite interest from many college programs, Dirk chose to take a grant-in-aid to the University of Pennsylvania and played football for Coach Harry Gambel through his sophomore season. He would go on to earn a B.A. in Economics from the U. of P. in 1977.
During the spring, Dirk ran track for the legendary Gerald Breslin and would run the 220, 440, 880 yard real, mile relay, and medley relay. As a sophomore, Dirk ran with Henry Hynoski, Rob Anderson, and Eugene Olear on a mile relay team that would post a second place finish at the prestigious Penn Relays. He would go on to win 2 District IV gold medals in the 440 and mile relay, thereby qualifying for the PIAA State Championship meet. Berezovske was undefeated in dual meets in the 440 as a junior and suffered only one defeat as a senior. He would add four League and five Mount Carmel Relay Championships to his total and would post a 51.4 best in the 440. MCA was undefeated in dual meets during his time from 1971 thru 1973.
Following graduation from Penn, Dirk would go on to earn an M.B.A. from LaSalle University and has coached youth baseball and soccer for the past 13 years in Whitpain Township, WRA, in Blue Bell, PA. He is currently a Product Line Specialist for the Liberty Mutual Group Alternative Markets Division. Dirk lives in Blue Bell with his wife, the former Kim Zerby, and two children, Kristen – a senior at Wissahickon High School – and Dirkm Jr. - a seventh grader at Wissahickon Middle School.
THOMAS F. BRESLIN
Thomas Breslin has been a lifelong resident of Mount Carmel. He was born in 1932 and is a 1950 graduate of Mount Carmel High School. Tom was a two-year letterman for Coach Mike Terry’s football eleven as an offensive guard and a two time letterman for the Tornado basketball team. He was very active in school activities and participated in intramural volleyball. He was also elected Class Secretary in his sophomore, junior, and senior years. Tom’s connection to his class continued through the years as he served on the committees for the Class of 50’s many reunions, most recently the 55th, held at the Mount Carmel Elks in October of 2005.
Following graduation, Breslin would enlist in the U.S. Navy. Boot camp led him to Great Lakes, Illinois where he was stationed aboard the USS Goodrich. He was stationed in the Mediterranean theater during that 40 month hitch as a Gunners Mate 3rd Class. He was honorably discharged in 1953 and returned to his beloved hometown.
From 1962 thru 1982, Tom coached the V.F.W. Junior League baseball team and was recognized for his many years of service before handing over the reigns to Henry Fedrowicz. He was always known for his sportsmanship and always taught his boys that having fun while doing your best was far more important than winning. That’s not to say the his teams didn’t always play hard and did their best to win, but came up short of the ultimate goal of a championship. His dedication to the Junior League included his serving as League Secretary/Treasurer from 1971 thru 1984. He included field maintenance, handling of monetary collections, submitting articles to the News-Item as some of the tasks he took on with pleasure. It was during those years that he, along with Tony Scicchitano, Mike Rudock, Ray Moncavage and Bob Kulish, was able to lead the drive to install lights in the town’s only baseball field so that night baseball could be played and thus eliminate the need for another field.
Because of his military service, Tom is a lifelong member of both the V.F.W. and American Legion. He is still an active member of the V.F.W. and has served as Chairman of the board. Tom had a 42 year career as a Production Supervisor at Arcos in Strong, where he became an invaluable and well respected employee of the company until his retirement in 1998. Tom has three children: Thomas Breslin, Coleen Klaus, and Sharon D’Rienzo, three granddaughters and one great grandson.
JACOB “JAKE” COLE
Although the Ed Romance Chapter has been honoring local athletes since 1979, only a handful can be counted as a two-time All American. Jake Cole is one of those special people, having been named a Don Hansen Football Gazette All American in 1993 and 1994 while playing for the Colonels of Wilkes University. Cole was a four year letter winner as a defensive end for Coach Joe DeMelfi and helped the Colonels to a perfect 10-0 regular season record in 1993 and the Middle Atlantic Conference Championship, as well as a spot in the Division III National Playoffs. It was the first perfect season for Wilkes since 1968 and only the 5th team in school history to accomplish the fete. He would register 10 tackles and 2 sacks in the playoff game and would be named 1st Team all MAC, All East Coast and Second Team All American Defensive End. The team would rank 1st in Division III takeaways and 2nd in scoring defense.
As a senior captain, Jake would lead the Colonels to a 9-2 record and an Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Southeast Championship. He would be named First Team ECAC, and MAC Defensive End and would again be named to the Hansen Third Team All American Team, in addition to the Sports Information Directors Third Team All American Team. He would finish his Wilkes career with 190 career tackles, 30 QB sacks, 6 forced fumbles and 9 fumble recoveries; and, would be named the 1995 Wilkes University Male Athlete of the Year. Cole was recently inducted into the Wilkes University Hall of Fame in 1995.
Jake began his career for Coach Joe Jazz Diminick at Mount Carmel as a fullback/linebacker. He would run for over 700 yards while paving the way for fellow “hall of famer” Tony Mazzatesta and contributes 69 tackles during the Tornadoes 8-3-1 season in 1988. The three losses would be to Berwick – AAA State Champion, Pottsville – Southern Division Champion, and Bethlehem Catholic – AA State Champion. The loss to Beca came in the District II AA Championship game. Jake ran back an interception vs Pottsville for 101 yards and is the longest in MCA history. His 96 yard TD run vs Marion Catholic ranks as the 4th longest in MCA history.
Jake is currently the Director of Construction for ESA Environmental Specialists, Inc. and makes his home in Nazareth with his wife Sheila and son Jacob and another on the way.
PHILIP W. GERGEN
Phil was a three-year letterman for the Mount Carmel High School basketball team in the later 40’s and early 50’s. He also played on a number of intramural championship football and basketball teams while in college at Susquehanna and Bloomsburg. But let’s get serious here! Phil isn’t being inducted today for what he did as an athlete; but for what he has done for Mount Carmel Area Athletic programs over the last 30 years. Phil’s commitment, dedication, loyalty, and love for good old MCA are second to none, and have earned him his place as an inductee to the Ed Romance Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
Gergen started his involvement with Tornado sports as the stadium announcer in 1975 for varsity football. He handles his “Voice of Tornado Football” duties with as much attention to detail as is possible. He was named “Sports Information Director” in 1983 and has distributed his “media paclets” to radio, TV, and written media personnel before all major sports events. He has collaborated with his pal Jose Gonzalo in producing 2 MCA Football Guides in 1997 and 2000, complete with every game ever played by Tornado football since 1893.
Since 2003, Phil has been working on a project to preserve all of Mount Carmel Football movies to DVD for future generations to enjoy. It began by sorting all of the old cans of 16mm tape and putting them in chronological order and burning them to DVD, complete with music and play-by-play.
Gergen was commissioned as a naval officer following graduation from college and assigned to naval security in Washington, DC. During his 21 years in the service, Phil participated in football, baseball, basketball, bowling and volleyball, while stationed in England, Germany, and Hawaii. After retiring, Phil returned to Mount Carmel Area as a Problems in Democracy instructor and later served as Assistant Principal before his retirement.
Phil was married to the former Joan Boyle in a military wedding at Our Lady’s Church in 1958. They are the parents of two children: Susan, and Intelligence Systems Engineering Power Projection System Manager for John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Columbia, MD and Robert – a Director of Strategy and Capital Planning at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Global Headquarters in Collegeville, Pa.
LEONARD GUARNA, JR.
One of the criteria for entering the hall of fame is to bring statewide recognition to your team or town. If you’re lucky, maybe even national recognition. How about international? That’s exactly what Len Guarna Jr did when his Johns Hopkins Baseball Team defeated the Russian team from Medeleyev Institute in Russia in 1988. There was probably a lot of one, two, three strikes you’re out being yelled to the Russians. Len was a 4 year letter-winner while at Hopkins, playing in 107 games and posting a .347 career batting average and .909 fielding percentage. Guarna still appears in season best categories with hits, triples, doubles, RBI’s and walks. During his four years from ‘85-’88, Hopkins and coach Bob Babb rang up 111 wins – the most ever in a 4 year period at the time. The 1986, 87, and 88 teams would all win MAC Southeastern Section Championships, while the 33-5-1 mark put up by the 86 team registered the second best winning percentage - .868 – in Hopkins history. Only 5 teams have ever won more than the 33 games in 86. His 85 and 88 teams rank in the top ten in batting average with .325 and .327 respectively.
Len started his Mount Carmel Area football career in the same auspicious way as his dad – by scoring a touchdown the first time he touched the ball. In his first start at defensive back, Len picked off a pass against Panther Valley and returned it 51 yards for a score and followed that up with another 45 yard INT for a TD against the Panthers. He would go on to establish a new career mark with 76 receptions in a career from 81-83. It still places him 5th all time at MCA – his career total of 1,191 yards ranked second only to Frank Niglio at the time and still ranks 5th today. His 12 TD receptions has him tied for 6th on the all time list. The ‘83 Tornado eleven qualified for the Eastern Conference Championships and would eventually lose the famous “mud bowl” to North Pocono by a 13-0 score.
Guarna began his baseball career at Mount Carmel Area as a freshman starter for coach Ed Kaczmarek and later for coach Frank Bolick Sr. His teams would post four consecutive winning seasons in going 54-25 and qualify for District’s in 1983 with a 17-5 record, winning 2 games before losing to Berwick 8-5. Len’s career was highlighted by a 6 RBI performance vs Southern Columbia in 1983, a 3-run homer to seal a victory vs Bishop Haffey in ‘83, and 4 for 4 performance against Tamaqua in ‘82.
Len, along with his father, become one of the few parent-child combos to earn induction into the Ed Romance Chapter. Guarna received a B.A. in Natural Sciences from John Hopkins in 1988 and followed that up with a B.S. in Pharmacy from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science in 1993. He currently resides in Elysburg with his wife Judi and 2 stepdaughters, Lauren and Ashton.
BOBBY JOE NIGLIO
The year was 1980. The North Schuylkill Spartans had taken a 7-6 lead over the Red Tornadoes with under a minute to go. It would be the first win by an Ashland/North Schuylkill team over MCA since 1950. North Schuylkill assistant coach Frank Niglio begged Spartan head coach Barry Hackenberg to squib the kick-off or at least kick it away from his brother, Bobby Joe. The Spartans kicked to Niglio, who took the ball on the 19. He made a couple of moves and ended up streaking down the sideline in front of the N.S. bench on his way to an 81 yard kick-off return for a touchdown. A 2 point conversion pass from Tom Bergal to Ron Zaleski put the score at 14-7 and another MCA win. That would be one of many exciting plays that B.J. would make during his career as an MCA running back. He would be named to most area all star teams following the ‘80 season and would be elected to participate in the Pennsylvania Big 33 game in the summer of 1981. He accepted a football scholarship to Temple University in the fall of ‘81.
Niglio would emerge as a star during his sophomore year in the “Mud Bowl” game against Minersville, where he would carry 31 times for 208 yards in helping the Big Red to a 22-14 victory over the Miners. He would produce 12 – 100 yard games on his way to 2,587 yards – second only to Gary Diminick at the time. He became only the second back in school history to run for over 1000 yards in 2 consecutive seasons. His 4.097 all purpose yards list him as one of seven players to reach 4000 in MCA history. He still ranks in the top ten in career TD, career scoring, and career rushing. His team also posted a 28-7 record during his tenure.
Niglio also starred on the track where he was a four-year state qualifier for coach Diminick’s track team. He became the first area runner to break 11 seconds in the 100 meter run when he posted a 10.91 time in the Schuylkill League Meet in 1981. He qualified for the state meet in the 100, 200 and 4 x 100 meter relay.
Niglio also excelled on the basketball court for the Red Tornadoes and played on the 1979-80 team that went 27-8 and still has the most wins in Tornado history. That team would end up as Schuylkill League runners-up, as well as District IV runners-up. Bobby Joe will join his brother Frank as an inductee into the Ed Romance Chapter and certainly remains a measuring stick for all running backs who come through the Tornado system. Niglio and his wife Trish live in Elysburg with their daughter Nina.
MAJOR VICTOR M. OLEAR
Victor Olear distinguished himself as a football player after the 1989 season at Lycoming College when he was named a Division III All American as a tight end for the Warriors. Olear played for Coach Frank Girardi for 4 years at the crucial tight end position and would be named the Warrior’s offensive player of the year following the ‘88 and ‘89 seasons. He would contribute 38 catches for 578 yards and 9 scores as a junior, and would follow that up with 54 receptions for 757 yards and 10 TD’s as a senior. His career totals of 99 catches for 1412 yards and 19 scores still rank among the best ever at Lycoming. He would earn first team All-MAC honors for 2 consecutive years and would serve as one of Lyco’s co captains during his senior campaign. He graduated from Lycoming in 1991 with a degree in Criminal Justice and was inducted into the Lycoming College Hall of Fame in 1991.
Olear showed what he would be capable of as a four-year starter for Bob Chesney and the Red Raiders of Lourdes Regional. He would be named honorable mention All State as a sophomore, junior, and senior and was named to the first team All Anthracite Team as a senior. After going 1-10 during his freshman season, Olear helped the Raiders to a 35-10 record during his next three years as a tight end/linebacker. Victor would post 116 receptions for 1751 yards and 21 TD’s during his career ay OLOL – all records at the time and would also establish a season record with 51 catches for 755 yards. He also registered 17 tackles in a game on the way to 112 unassisted tackles in the ‘85 season – both school records.
Following graduation from Lycoming, Victor would graduate from the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate School and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in ‘91. He was designated a Naval Aviator in 1993 and has participated in Operation Southern Watch over Iraq in 1996, Operation Nalikatan in the Philippines in 2000, and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005. He is currently serving as the Current Operations Officer for Marine Aircraft Group-29 at Marine Corps Air Station New River, NC. He has accumulated 3,400 flight hours and 630 Night Vision Goggle hours in the AH-1W nad has flown over 400 combat hours and 33 combat missions in the AH-1W. He has earned the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal and Air Medal with numeral “7” denoting 7 strikes. He is the proud father of two boys, Victor Michael Jr and Nicholas Charles.
DANIEL E. RUPP
FAKE 44 – X CORNER – That was one of the many plays that would separate Danny Rupp from others on his way to becoming the career completion leader at Mount Carmel Area following his graduation in 1980. Dan would connect on 210 of 438 passes from 1976-1979 as a three-year starter for Coach Jazz Diminick’s Red Tornadoes. The fact that he surpassed the legendary, and fellow hall of fame quarterback, Joe Buchinski would make the accomplishment that more meaningful. The completions still rank third today behind David Shinskie and Michael Higgins. His ‘78 season with 89 completions still ranks 9th on MCA’s all-time list. Dan’s single game effort with 15 completions stood atop the list until 2001. Rupp’s season total of 1,502 yards in 1978 was the 3rd best at the time and still ranks 10th all-time. His career total of 3,584 stood behind Buchinski’s 3,763 at the time of graduation and still ranks 4th today. His 32 career touchdown passes still rank 4th all time. All of these marks are more impressive when you consider that Dan played before wide open offenses took over the game of football.
Dan’s career started when he opened at quarterback in the opening game of the 1977 season and lead Big Red to a 50-12 win over Marion Catholic. He completed 4 of 6 passes for 113 yards and 2 TD’s. He would lead the Tornadoes to a 28-7 record over the next three years and register 15 – 100 yard games and 4 – 200 yard games, while throwing at least one TD in 22 games. His 15 of 24 0 257 yard game vs Panther Valley is especially interesting in that all of his completions in that game would go to fellow hall of famers – Paul Szymanski, Jed Karpinski, Ed Diminick, and Bobby Joe Niglio.
Dan would also excel on the track for Coach Diminick as a high hurdler. Following graduation, Dan enrolled at Delaware Valley College and would earn four varsity letters playing for the Aggie football team that won the MAC North Championship in 1981 and 1983 under Coach Al Wilson. He graduated in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and earned the DVC Football Scholastic Achievement Award – given to the graduating senior football player with the highest GPA>
He is currently employed by QTG (Quaker, Tropicana, and Gatorade) a subsidiary of PepsiCo. He is the Senior Manager of Logistics for the Southern Region. Prior to QTG, Dan worked for Nabisco Brands, Inc. in Pennsauken, NJ. He and his wife Susan live in Wewahitchka, Florida with their daughter Sara, 13.
JOSEPH “JAZZ” DIMINICK MALE SCHOLAR ATHLETE
David Langton is a throw back athlete at Mount Carmel in that he has been a three-sport star for the Red Tornadoes, while participating in football, basketball, and baseball. He has earned 4 letters in baseball and basketball and two as a member of the Big Red football team. David first made his presence felt as a member of John Lazicki’s basketball team as a freshman and has been a solid contributor ever since. The 2005 team made it to the District IV Championship game, losing to perennial powerhouse Loyalsock. The 2006 team headed into District IV play as a three seed with a fine 16 and 8 record, but lost it’s opener in a buzzer-beater to Lewisburg.
David has excelled on the baseball diamond for Coach Ed Kaczmarek, leading the ‘05 nine into District IV playoffs for the first time in a number of years. David was named the outstanding pitcher and leading hitter with a .460 average. He was named the 2005 News-Item Co-Baseball Player of the Year and was named to the First Team as a pitcher. He is being followed by a number of baseball scouts and representatives of Division 1 and 1A programs.
In 2004, Coach Mike Brennan convinced David to give football a try. And what a good thing it was. Over the last 2 seasons, Langton has contributed 49 receptions for 808 yards and 11 TD’s from his split end position. He led the ‘05 team with 35 catches for 651 yards and 10 TD’s while being named to the first team by the News-Item, Pottsville Republican, Press Enterprise football teams and was given an honorable mention by the Pennsylvania Football News All State team. He was recently named to the WNEP-TV Dream Team as a wide receiver. He aslo chipped in with 75 tackles – 11 for loss – as a linebacker, and was named the Ed Romance Chapter Athlete for the Month of September.
David ranks in the upper 25% of his class, is an honor roll student, and has posted a 1030 in his SAT’s. Her is a member of Students Opposing Discriminating Actions, Future Teachers of America, the Interact Club, the Spanish Club, and SPARC. His future plans are to attend a four year university and major in business management. He is the son of Christine Langton and David Langton, Sr. Langton adds his name to an impressive list of Joe Jazz Diminick Male Scholar Athletes honored by the Ed Romance Lower Anthracite Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
JOSEPH D. WASILEWSKI FEMALE SCHOLAR ATHLETE
MARISSA A. NOVACK
Marissa A. Novack, daughter of John and Donna Novack of Marion Heights, has been named the Joseph D. Wasilewski Female Scholar Athlete for 2006. She is listed on the Distinguished Honor Roll and is a member of the National Honor Society, Quill and Scroll, and Masque and Gavel. She was named Rotary Student of the Month for October by the Mount Carmel Area High School faculty, and was the third place winner of this year’s Voice of Democracy contest. Marisa has attended a leadership conference, “Make a Difference”, in the summer of 2005 at Penn State’s University Park Campus, and has also attended “Exploring Environmental Chemistry” camp at Muhlenberg College during the summer of 2004. She has also participated in the Science Olympiad at the Penn State-Hazelton campus.
Novack has been the president of the Pep Club for two consecutive years, president of the Cheerleading Boosters Organization, the vice president of the Science Club, and co-treasurer of the Spanish Club. She is also an active member of the Interact Club and Peer Mediation. Along with being a news anchor for WKMC-TV, Marissa works in the capacity of typist, reporter, and editor of “MCA Live”, the school’s morning television program. She is also an editor for “Tornado Times”, MCA’s news/feature magazine. She served as a member of the cast of “Damn Yankees”, the 2003 production by Mount Carmel Area’s Theater/Arts program.
Athletically, Marissa has earned two varsity letters in both softball and swimming. She also lettered once as a cross country runner. She was named Most Improved swimmer following the 2002-2003 swim season, and posted a third place finish for most team points during the 2003-2004 swim season. She has been a two-year member of the varsity football cheerleading squad, and was a three-year member of the varsity basketball cheerleading squad, serving as a captain for both units this season. During the past summer, she was nominated for All-American while attending the NCA (National Cheerleaders Association) cheerleading camp.
Upon graduation, Marissa plans to attend the University of Pittsburg where she will major in biological sciences, with an interest in pre-med.
Joe Dowkus has recently been recognized by the Associated Press AA First Team All State offensive lineman. His achievement marks the 12th consecutive year that a Mount Carmel Area football player has been named to the first team. It also becomes the 14th consecutive year that a Tornado player has been named to an all-state team. Joe was also named a Pennsylvania Football News First Team offensive lineman, as well as being named to the Reading Eagle, Pottsville Republican, Bloomsburg Press Enterprise, and News Item all star teams.
Big Joe broke into the starting lineup in his first varsity game ever as a freshman in a 27-7 win over Pius X in 2002. He would start in every game that freshman season on the way to a 15-0 record and MCA’s 5th State Championship in the 18-13 win over Seton LaSalle. He is one of 7 modern-day players to start in their first varsity game as freshmen. Joe would then start in 47 of 48 varsity games during his four-year career at MCA and would posy a 37-11 record as a Tornado.
Although hampered by nagging injuries during his sophomore and junior seasons, Joe would have a great senior season playing on both sides of the ball. He served as a co-captain to this year’s squad and would provide outstanding leadership to the 2005 team, which included 11 freshmen. During his career, Joe led the offensive lines which would produce over 15,000 yards in offense, almost 900o yards on the ground. He also chipped in with 89 tackles – 18 for loss – and 4.5 sacks in his limited defensive action. Joe will always be remembered for the leadership he brought, both on and off the field. He showed the young freshmen and helped to lay the ground-work for continued success by Tornado teams of the future.
Joe is also very active in school, serving as his Class President as a sophomore, junior, and senir and as Student Council President as a senior. His interests vary from art to music to cars. He plays bass and electric guitar in two groups – Ascension, a heavy metal band, and UnBroken Chain, a classic rock band. He plans to attend Kutztown University and major in art education. He is the son of Janet and Joseph Dowkus.