30th Annual Banquet
“One of the best distance men I have ever coached”. That quote coming from legendary track coach Jerry Breslin in talking about Mount Carmel Area’s Jeff Yoder. Jeff burst on to the athletic scene in 169 as a cross country runner for Coach Breslin and would become a three-time place winner at the District IV Cross Country meet. After a 10th place finish in ‘69, Jeff would earn two silver medals at Districts in 1970 and ‘71, and become a three-time state qualifier. In 1971, Yoder placed 46th at the state championships as MCA placed 19th as a team.
As a track athlete, Jeff would help the Tornadoes to their 27th, 28th and 29th perfect seasons (going undefeated in dual meets). He would earn a second place finish at the District IV meet in the 2 mile as a sophomore and was part of the first of three consecutive District IV team Championships. He would establish a new stadium record in the two mile with a 9:51.6, and would add a 2:00.5 in the 880 and 4:27.7 in the mile – all regional seasonal bests. He would proceed to win District IV gold in the 880 (1:59.7) and mile (4:26.4) – both District IV records. Yoder earned a 5th place medal at the state championship meet at Penn State by establishing a new school record in the mile with a 4:21.8. He would later win the mile run at the Track Meet of Champions at Lehigh University in 1972.
Jeff would continue his outstanding performance as a 4-year letter winner in both XC and track and field at Susquehanna University. He would establish SU records in the mile with a time of 4:20.4 and XC with a time of 24:39 for the 4.9 mile course. He was a three-time medalist in the mile at the MAC Championships, placing 3rd in 1973 and 5th in 1974 and 1976. He would eventually be inducted into the SU Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.
In 1973, Yoder was part of a 100-mile relay team that made the Guinness Book of Sports Records and was part of a marathon relay from NYC to Fairfield, CT, carrying a torch through the Bronx. He continues to compete in races from 5k through half marathons.
Jeff and his wife have published humor books on parenting, politics, and personal computing. They created the first nationally distributed desktop publishing magazine in 1989 – The Quayle Quarterly. The magazine satire secured them national TV appearances on Phil Donahue, Dick Cavett, CBS Morning and many others. Jeff now lives in Trumbull, CT with his wife Deborah and two children. His daughter, 16, is a dancer, actress and violinist; his son, 14, has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and now studies Hapkido.
Beth Santelli made it a point to keep herself busy. Busy enough that she would earn 12 varsity letters in four different sports during her career at Mount Carmel Area. You can add four years of winter track to that list to see how busy she really was. Beth first made her presence felt as a freshman cross country runner for Coach Alex Madalis. She would run to a 4th place finish in the Schuylkill League meet and 5th in the District XI meet and would be the lead runner on MCA's District XI AA Championship Team. She would eventually be the first female runner at MCA to qualify for the State Cross Country Meet at Penn State for four consecutive years.
She would lead the Lady Tornadoes to their second consecutive Dist XI Championship as a sophomore. Running for Coach Bruce Wanzie in 1989 and Coach Angela Farranato in 1990, Santelli would continue her 4 year streak as MCA's Most Valuable Runner and Schuylkill League All Star. From 1987-1990, Santelli would establish 9 new course records, including a 19:11 at Edgewood in the Pines, and would go undefeated in regular season meets as a senior.
Somehow, Santelli would only run track during her freshman and senior years and would be a 2-time Schuylkill League all-star. She finished as the League runner-up in the 1600 and 3200 meter runs and would earn a silver medal at the 1991 District XI meet in the 3200 meter run. She posted bests of 5:19 in the 1600 and 12:08 in the 3200 meter run. She was named the Most Valuable Track Athlete by Coaches Michael Woytowich and Jolene Scicchitano.
Santelli would also swim competitively for Coach Betty Katona, lettering for 4 seasons. She would be elected Captain of her Cross Country and Track teams as a senior and would be voted Most Athletic Female in the class of 1991.
Beth would attend Penn State University and is a Corporal in the Pennsylvania State Police. She resides in Palmyra and continues to run competitively, focusing mainly on the 5K and 10K races. She has competed in several half marathons as well as the 2004 Philadelphia Marathon; and ran a 1:39.58 in the Hands on House Half Marathon in Lancaster.
Santelli is the mother of a son, Alex, 7 and daughter, Grace, 4.. Today she becomes only the 9th female athlete to enter the Ed Romance Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
RAY W. ROTHERMEL
In 1965, Ray would break the Mount Carmel Cross Country course record by 8 seconds in running a 12:03 over the 2.3 mile course. The old record had been established 16 years earlier by the famous Lowthert twins from Pottsville. Ray would also establish a new District IV record in winning the first-ever individual District championship in MCA history: running a 12.40 over the 2.4 mile course at Bloomsburg. That MCA team would also win the new Valley League Championship and the District IV Team Championship for only the second time in school history: the other being the 1940 team. The "65 team, under legendary coach Gerald Breslin, would go on to finish 10th in the state at the PIAA Championships at State College. Remember, that there were no classes at that time, making the accomplishment that more significant. Ray's XC teams would go 26-3 during his 3 years as a harrier.
Ray would also establish a new District IV record in the two mile, posting a 10:03 in 1967. Ray would also anchor the 2-mile relay team of Nicoletti, Brennan, and Butkera, establishing a new school while winning the District IV Championship in 1966. That year found Ray also qualifying for the state meet in the mile. Over the course of his career, Ray would be a five-time state qualifier in both track and XC and would be elected to Captain both teams as a senior.
After returning to Mount Carmel, Rothermel would coach the cross country team from 1978-1984, with his best finish in 1982 with a 10-1 record. Their only loss that season was at the hands of Blue Mountain, a team that had not lost a dual meet in a number of years. Ray had done so well, as to have 2 bus loads of students attend the match with Blue Mountain - a definite first for the sport at MCA. Ray also started girls running at MCA in 1979, and was able to see the start of the Girls League in 1984. His team went 9-1, losing only to Tamaqua by one point.
Ray is Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina with a degree in Chemistry . He would earn a B.S. in Educations from Bloomsburg University and eventually would teach Chemistry at MCA until 1984. At that time, Rothermel left to take over his father's business at the Willard A. Rothermel Funeral Home.
Ray and his wife Linda K. have lived and worked in Mount Carmel their whole lives and are the proud parents of a daughter, Dr Lori Rothermel, and a son, Detective Ray Rothermel.
In 1939, Edwin Rakocy stood atop the podium at Penn State's Rec Hall as a state champion wrestler - Mount Carmel's FIRST ever wrestling state champion.
Rakocy won the state championship wrestling in the 155 pound division, back in a time when winning a state championship was as tough as qualifying for the medal round. There was only one division back then and one loss - and you were done. The top four qualifiers in Districts didn't move on - only the winner. He wrestled in a time where the point system was in its infancy. Edwin would decision Joe Manozi of Grove City in the 1/4 finals, defeat John Abraham of Canonsburg in the semi, and bested Art Foot of Lower Marion to win the gold.
Rakocy wrestled for Coach Alfred Morse and led the 1939 team to its most successful season since the sport was inaugurated with a 5 - 2 -1 record. Included was a 24-11 victory over powerhouse Shamokin. The Red Tornado matmen were also crowned District IV Champions in the first meet of its type to be held in District IV. In addition to Rackocy, Matthew Rakus, Chester Zukowski, and Aldo Cortellini won District IV Crowns. Rakocy would earn four varsity letters wrestling for the Big Red. Rakocy made it to Penn State in 1938 wrestling heavyweight, even though he only weighed 155. He would lose to the eventual state champion from Cannonsburg.
Rakocy would also play football for Mount Carmel and after the 1938 season was chosen, along with Sam Ososkie and Dink Duncavage, to represent Pennsylvania in an all star game in Florida
As it turned out, Rakocy lost his state championship medal as he moved through different parts of the country before settling back in Elysburg. Replacing it began with a chance meeting with Judge Robert Sacavage at the Northumberland County Law Library.
As Sacavage puts it, "I was in the library when this elderly gentleman came up to me saying he was looking for the wrestling match," Judge Sacavage told him that 'they were in Hershey, but the gentleman said he was looking for the judge who was the state champion, and wanted a match with him. In discussions with Rakocy, Sacavage discovered that his medal had been lost, so he, along with his brother Greg Sacavage, began the process of replacing Rakocy's medal. The Mount Carmel Area wrestling boosters were nice enough to pay for the medal and had it presented to Rakocy along with a Citation.
Following graduation, Rakocy entered the Air Corps and was unfortunate enough to be in Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack. A carpenter by trade, Edwin moved about the country through Hershey, Cape Cod, and Florida before settling at his current home in Elysburg with his wife Vitalia. He is the father of a son, Dennis, and daughter, Brenda.
PHILIP J. KLAUS
Known for his rugged and physical type of play, Phil Klaus finally adds his name as an inductee in the Ed Romance Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. Phil joins 8 other classmates form the class of '71 and 13 other team mates from the 1970 Southern Division Championship team. Phil started for 3 years as a defensive end and tight end for Coach Jazz Diminick. He was a main part of MCA's "Golden Era" that saw MCA go 34-2 over a three year period and never lose a regular season game. They would win 3 Southern Division Crowns and one Eastern Conference Championship. For his efforts, Klaus was named to the all state 2nd team as a defensive end and to the 3rd team as a tight end. He would also become the starting defensive end in the 1971 Big 33 game at Hershey Park.
Phil would receive a full scholarship to UCLA and would become the starting guard and long snapper for the freshman team in 1971 and would letter as an offensive guard/long snapper in 1972. He then transferred to Humbolt State University, where he started at defensive tackle and would earn Honorable Mention to the All West Coast Division II All Star team.
Klaus would also letter two times in basketball and 4 times in track while at MCA. As a track athlete, he is a true rarity in that he owns District IV Championships in the shot put, discus, and javelin. He is also a part of only a handful of athletes to throw over 50 feet in the shot and 150 feet in the discus. Phil had bests of 52'1.5" in the shot, 150'0" in the discus, and 192'10" in the javelin. His MCA team would win 4 consecutive District IV Championships. At Humbolt State, Phil would garner Far West Conference Honors as a Javelin thrower, heaving the spear over 198 feet. .
Klaus would begin his professional career as a coach at Mount Carmel Area and Bloomsburg High Schools before moving on to State College High School. Phil would coach football, basketball, and track and field for various periods from 1979 to 1999.His throwers and pole vaulters were always in the midst of District Championships.
Philip has taught Technology Education at State College since 19983. He has added duties as a drafting instructor for the South Hills School of Business and Technology, as well as, Penn State University Career Development.
Phil and his wife, Donna, are the proud parents of daughter, Stephanie and son, Jeffrey.
JOSEPH E. AHRENSFIELD
Joe Ahrensfield has had the good fortune to be able to be on championship teams at every level of his playing and coaching careers. As a high school football player at Mount Carmel Area, Joe was a letter-winner on MCA's 1970 Southern Division Championship team. As a senior in 1972, Joe was one of the main cogs on the 12-0 Eastern Conference Championship 11. Joe was a starter at offensive guard and linebacker for that Tornado edition that defeated Valley View 20-12 to win it all. Archie would help lead the offense to over 260 yards rushing per game and over 33.5 points scored per game. Joe led the defense with 5 interceptions, while holding the opposition to less than 87 yards per game on the ground. Ahrensfield would win the mike Terry Award and was named to the First team All Anthracite and Susquehanna Valle All Star teams.
Joe also made his presence felt on the hardwood for Mount Carmel Area. He would establish a new single record for rebounds when he pulled down 27 vs Schuylkill Haven in 1973. He helped the 1972 team into District XI playoffs only to come up short in a game with Northampton by a score of 44-72.
Following graduation, Archie later enrolled at Shippensburg University and would letter for all four years as an offensive guard. Jose was part of a rebuilding program at Sip going 2-9, 3-8, and 4-7 under Coach Gene Epley. As a senior under Coach John Marks, The Red Raiders improved to 9-2-1 and would play East Stroudsburg for the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference Title. Since the game ended in a tie, and no rules existed at the time, both schools shared the PSAC title.
Following graduation in 1977, Joe would spend one year At Big Spring Middle School before returning to MCA. He took on a position with Coach Joe Jazz Diminick and would stay on until 1992. In 1993, Arch left with Coach Carm to coach at Cardinal Brennan High School, and from there continued on to Danville from 1995-99. While at Danville, the Ironmen won the Susquehanna Valley Conference Championship in 1998 and 1999 and would compete for District IV AAA championship in 1997, 1998, and 1999.
In 2000, Joe again went with Coach DeFrancesco to Shamokin where he stayed through the 2006 season. .In 2007, Archie returned 'home' to MCA as a freshman line coach and varsity assistant for Coach Mike Brennan. Joe is married to the former Linda Michak, and, they are the parents of a daughter, Kaitlyn, a junior Business Administration major at the University of Pittsburg.
JOSEPH D. WASILEWSKI FEMALE SCHOLAR ATHLETE
Holly Ibanez was this year's runaway choice as the Ed Romance Chapter's Joseph B. Wasilewski Female Scholar Athlete. Ibanez earned the distinction by her performance on the field and in the classroom. Ibanez has helped to establish the girl's soccer program as one of the elite in the region. They have won 70 games over the past four years, including 37 consecutive games at home. The Tornadoes have won two consecutive Schuylkill League Division Titles , as well as, two consecutive Schuylkill League Crowns. She also helped the Lady Tornadoes into State play during her freshman and sophomore seasons. Ibanez finished her career as MCA's all-time leading scorer with 105 goals. She led the Schuylkill League in scoring with 28 goals and 4 assists for a total of 60 points. She is a 2-time Schuylkill League all-star and was the Pottsville Republican Player of the year in 2006 and News-Item Player of the Year in 2007. She was also named the Schuylkill League's All State Player following the 2007 season. Only 60 girls state-wide are fortunate enough to receive this honor. Holly served as a team captain in 2006 and 2007. She has also played Club Soccer with the Bloomsburg Teal Wave and Bloomsburg Tornadoes for 6 years.
Holly also excels on the track, running the 100, 200, 400, 400 meter relay and 1600 meter relay, She has qualified for the state meet in 2006 as a member of the 4 x 100 meter relay team with Hannah Kolody, Elyse Johnson and Alecia Nolter in a best time of 51.3. Ibanez, along with Sarah Novack, Karrisa Tocyloski, and Danielle Lawler sprinted to an excellent 4:13.02 in the 4 x 400 meter relay in the 2007 District IV meet. She has been named a News Item all star.
It is in the class room where Ibanez really stands out. She currently ranks second in a class of 111 with a GPA in the neighborhood of 99.8. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Distinguished Honor Roll, and was the September Merit Award winner. She is also a News Anchor for WKMC TV, and is a News Staff Editor and Tornado Times Editor. She is a member of the Interact Club, Science Club, Spanish Club, SADD, and Future Teachers of America..
Holly plans to attend the Florida Institute of Technology in Melboune, Florida to major in engineering and to play women's soccer. She is the daughter of David Fetter and Marcy and Kevin Kelly.
JOSEPH “JAZZ” DIMINICK MALE SCHOLAR ATHLETE
WALTER “WALLY” WATKINS
This year's Joseph Jazz Diminick Male Scholar Athlete is a prime example of perseverance in trying to find your niche, Wally Watkins has participated in 6 varsity sports during his career as a Mount Carmel Area student athlete. As he grew up, everyone was sure that he would become a high school baseball player. But soon after his freshman season, Wally turned to track and found the place where he would have the most success. As an 800 meter runner, Watkins would run to a 4th place finish in the District IV meet in 2007. He, along with, Mike Fletcher, Andrew Graeger, and Matt Kozloski, would finish 2nd at the Distict IV meet in the 4 x 800 meter relay in a time of 8:14.79. At the state meet, the same foursome ran an 8:10.64 in the preliminaries, qualifying for the state finals, but would finish out of the money for the 2nd consecutive year with a 12th place finish. The 8:10.64 ranks in the top 3 all-time at Mount Carmel Area.
Wally would be chosen captain of the Cross Country team in 2007 and would be recognized as a Divison II all-star. Also a three-year letter-winner in soccer, Wally would be recognized as the Schuylkill County Scholar Athlete in 2007. Wally jumped into the pool for Coach John Backes.during his 9th, 10th, and 11th years. He, along with, Bill Joraskie, Colin Menapace, and Dan Betz would be the only swimmers on the MCA boys team, but would do enough to finish 6th at the League Meet as a team. The quartet would place 5th in the free relay and 6th in the medley relay. The same group would come up with a 7th place finish at the District IV meet in the 200 freestyle relay in the time of 1:45.96, and an 8th place finish in the Medley relay in 2:03.40.
Watkins has also managed to rank 9th in his class of 111 with a 98.6 GPA and over 1450 on his SAT's. He is a member of both the 700 and 1300 Clubs at MCA. He has been chosen as Class President as freshman, sophomore, and junior; and Student Council president in his junior and senior years. He has been involved with Odyssey of the Mind, winning the state championship with his team as a sophomore. He is involved in many community service organizations, especially with Relay for Life. He has also managed to work at Wal Mart and Lazarski's.. Walter is the son of Amy Watkins and Walter Watkins and plans on continuing his education at Bucknell Univeristy to major in history and economics, and eventually attend Law School.
JAMES M. BACH SCHOLAR ATHLETE
The first-ever recipient of the James M. Bach Scholar Athlete Award is Chris Johnson. Chris is a senior at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional High School and has been a four-year standout in basketball, football, and baseball. Johnson's hard work and determination has allowed him to become a four-year starter for Coach Pete Long's Red Raider basketball team as a point guard and shooting guard. Chris has consistently been among the region's top scorers and has been named to the News-Item All Area team as a first team guard. Chris's play has helped the Raiders to a third place finish in District IV Playoffs in 2005 and 2006 and eventually into the state playoffs. Johnson's leadership helped the Raiders win the Division III crown of the Schuylkill League in 2008 with a 17-7 regular season record. The Raiders took North Schuylkill, the Div II champions to the buzzer before losing by a 28-34 score in the Schuylkill League semi finals. The Raiders would eventually lose the District IV Championship game to North Penn with Chris leading the way with 11 points. They would finish at 19-10 with Johnson averaging 10.9 pts per game.
In addition to basketball, Chris also takes to the gridiron for Coach Mike Klembara and the Red Raider football team. He was a three-year starter at linebacker and wide receiver. He has been an area leader in receptions and has paced the Raiders from the defensive side of the ball. He was named to the first team of the All-American Football Conference as a wide receiver and linebacker following the 2007 season..
Johnson has been a starter for the Raider baseball team since his freshman year and has won the award for highest batting average for two consecutive seasons,
In addition to his success in the athletic area, Chris currently ranks #1 in his class of 50 at Our Lady Of Lourdes Regional High School. He is a member of the National Honor Society and has been an active part of Student Council throughout his high school career. He also takes part in the Respect for Life Club, Students Against Destructive Decisions, the Business Club, Boys Service Club, as well as, many others. He is also an active member of Divine Redeemer Parish in Mount Carmel.
Chris is the son of Ed and Colleen Johnson of Wilburton and plans to attend Penn State University to begin pursuit of a medical degree with an emphasis in anesthesiology.
SAINT PAULINE VISINTAINER SCHOLARSHIP
JAMES S. LESKO
The first-ever recipient of the St. Pauline Visintainer Scholarship is James Lesko.
Jimmy has earned the honor by exhibiting the qualities set forth by the scholarship committee. He has participated in athletics during his four years at MCA, and has set himself apart by showing strong Christian Leadership and by participating in some type of church-related activity. Lesko is a senior student-athlete at Mount Carmel Area and currently ranks in the top 10 of his class. He actively pursues the AP courses offered at the school and will have earned 12 college credits before his graduation in June. His current 4.0 GPA has placed him on the Distinguished Honor Roll throughout his time in high school and is a member of the Junior and Senior National Honor Societies. He has been chosen to receive the Junior High Pride Award in both 7th and 8th grade and has been named the Rotary Student of the Month for January.
Lesko was chosen as a sophomore to attend a National Youth Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C. That experience gave him the opportunity to prove too himself and his peers that he could - and would - become a leader in whatever path he chose to pursue.
Jimmy is currently vice-president of Student Council and has been a writer for "Tornado Times" for 3 years. He is an anchor for WKMC in the morning and is a co-anchor of "The Red Zone", MCA's newest addition to WKMC's line-up. He has earned two state championships in the Odyssey of the Mind on the state level and was a finalist in the world competition.
James has served as an altar server at Divine Redeemer Church since 6th grade and is a Divine Redeemer picnic volunteer. He has helped to serve dinners at Divine Redeemer during lent and also volunteers as a St Pauline Visintainer picnic worker.
As an athlete Jim has been a four-year member of the MCA baseball team and will serve as a captain for the 2008 season. His speed and quickness have made him one of the best outfielders in the Schuylkill League. His two spectacular defensive plays in a game against Tamaqua last season helped to preserve Ty Klusman's no hitter. He also helps out as an assistant in the Mt Carmel Area Junior Baseball League.
Jimmy resides in Kulpmont with his parents Corrine and James Lesko and will continue his education at Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Maryland to major in philosophy with the hope of becoming an attorney.
Up until 2007, Mount Carmel Area had only had 4 athletes who had achieved 100 wins in their varsity wrestling careers. They were Mike Garcia at 140-9, Eric Lupatsky at 122-24, David Evans at 112-23, and David Fantini at 105-17. MCA has added three more grapplers to that special club, all under the tutelage of head coach Randy Reidler.
Josh was the first to surpass the mark in 2007 with his win in the 2007 Northeast Regionals vs Ryan Burns. Malick would go on to a 39-4 record in 2007 and earn an 8th place finish at 112 lbs. at the PIAA State Championship meet. Malick was also a 7th place finisher at the PIAA meet in 2006 at 103 lbs. Josh is one of only nine 4-time Schuylkill League Champions and is a two-time Sectional Champion. His consistency is evidenced by his 27-6 record as a freshman, 37-5 as a sophomore, 39-4 as a junior and entered State competition with a 36-2 record this year .He went on to win the Sectional title,repeat as a District IV Champion, and would earn his first ever Regional Championship. After winning his preliminary match at Hershey, Josh lost to Aaron Schopp in the 1/4 finals and would finish his career with a loss in 2nd round consolations. Josh ended his career at 140-19 - the 140 wins matching those of Mike Garcia as the most ever at MCA.
Josh is the son of Donald and Patti Malick and will be attending Clarion University to major in radiology.
James picked up his 100th win at the Biglerville Duals on 1/4/2008. James has placed 6th at the PIAA meet in 2006 and 5th in 2007, He is a three-time SIAL Champion, a two-time Sectional Champion, and the District IV Champion in 2007. James went 16-1 as a freshman wrestling at Pottsville, went 34-10 as a sophomore at MCA and 39-4 in his junior year. James has wrestled his matches at 189 - 215 and some at heavyweight. Haynes would earn his third consecutive Sectional title, his second consecutive District IV Championship. And also win his first Regional Championship at 215 lbs. He entered the state tourney with a 44-2 mark. James won his preliminary match and then went on to pin one of the pre tournament favorites, Justin Peterson, in the 1/4 finals. Haynes would lose his semi final bout, but came back to win a third place medal. He finished at 48-3 - the most wins ever in a season at MCA and 137-18 for his career. James is the son of Ernie Haynes and at this point is undecided as to his college selection.
Randy began wrestling at 135 lbs as a freshman and would go 21-10 in helping the Red Tornadoes back to respectability. He would win his 100th match in fine fashion at the state team championship preliminary match, helping his team advance to the state tournament at Hershey. Randy would improve to 28-11 as a sophomore at 145 and to 21-8 as a junior. He would become a three-time 2nd place winner in the SIAL Championships, as well as, a 3-time District IV qualifier and 2-time Northeast Regional qualifier. Randy entered the Sectionals as the top seed at 152 with a 34 - 7 record. He would earn a second place finish at Sectionals, as well as a sixth place finish at Districts. He would finish the season with a 39-10 mark and a 109-39 career record. He is the son of Lori and Steve Kaminski and Randy Elliott, and will be looking to further his education at a trade school to major in welding.
1978 SCHUYLKILL LEAGUE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM
After winning the North Schuylkill League Championship in 1965, MCA baseball suffered through 9 consecutive losing seasons. In 1975, Coach Ed Kaczmarek took over the reigns and immediately led the Tornadoes to an 8-8 mark in his first season. That was only the beginning as Big Red would go 13 - 5 in 1976 and 12 - 7 in 1977 and win two Northern Division titles, only to lose the championship series to Pottsville and Blue Mountain respectively. As the 1978 edition took to the field, they vowed to take it the distance. It would all come down to game three in a best of three series with Saint Clair, when the Tornadoes sneaked a run across in the 7th inning to give MCA a 3-2 victory and the Schuylkill League Championship.
Years later, baseball fans would remember that team as being Bob Zavarick and John Andrade's team, but it was much more than that. It was Joe Zavarick and Bob McAndrew, who had a 6-0 records as a pitchers and Greg Filohoski, who would cross the plate with the winning run in the championship game. It was Ron Basso, who bunted to advance Filo into scoring position for Andrade's game-winning hit. Mark Koveleski, Bob Murray, and Basso, formed as good an outfield as there was in the league. First baseman John Hancock produced three-hit games against North Schuylkill and Mahanoy Area. Filohoski and back-up Gary Marinelli held down the third base spot. Catcher Kevin Kwiatkowski was the leader from behind the plate, while Mcandrew, Joe Zavarick, and Mark Zosh handled much of the pitching duties. Rob Gergen, Ed Diminick, Ed Skonecki, Dave Hodrick, and Bob Sedor also chipped in with timely performances off the bench.
It was Bob Zavarick, however, who came in to pitch in the sixth inning of the championship game to shut down the St Clair offense, after only pitching six innings in relief during the season. And, it was Andrade who had the game winning hit. Together, they formed the best second base-shortstop combo in the league at that time. They both proved their worth with full-ride scholarships to the University of Maryland and Towsend State University.
The 1978 team caused writer Ronnie Christ of the Harrisburg Patriot News to proclaim that "baseball had replaced track and field as the premier sport at Mount Carmel Area." Their 17 wins in 1978 were the most in school history at the time, while their 42 wins in the three year period from 1976-78 was the most ever until teams from 1987-89 won 44. The '78 team has set the bar for all future baseball teams at MCA, and, until someone wins another championship, will stand alone at the top of the ladder.