31st Annual Banquet
Unfortunately, Michael passed away on March 3rd of this year. The Ed Romance Chapter wishes to offer its deepest sympathy to his wife, Bernadette, and son, Michael. Mike will be inducted today, and shall forever be a part of the Class of 2009.
Mike Bergamo established himself as the anchor of one of the best Mount Carmel Area football teams to ever take the field. As the center of the ‘76 edition of the Red Tornadoes, Bergamo helped Big Red to a 10-1 record. Their only loss that season was to the Ernie Haynes-led Pottsville Crimson Tide by a 34-29 score. The game would go down in history as one of the best games ever played at the Silver Bowl. That team also defeated Berwick and avenged losses to Shenandoah and Shikellamy, incurred during the 1975 season. The Tornadoes also ended Shamokin’s bid for a second consecutive Southern Division crown with a 36-6 victory to end the season. After two years as a starter, Bergamo would earn Big 33 honors and become only the 11th MCA player to be recognized by the Big 33. Michael was also named to the News-Item all star team on defense as well as offense. He was named to the All East Central Region team, All Anthracite team, and the Southern Division first team. He was also chosen as the Lineman of the Year by the Susquehanna Valley Conference, and was presented as the Mattucci Award winner as MCA’s outstanding lineman.
Although mainly known for his offensive prowess, Bergamo was fifth on the team with 58 tackles – 47 solo – from his defensive tackle position. Following graduation in 1977, Bergamo accepted a grant in aid to play football for the Aggies of Delaware Valley College. Mike would go on to be one of the first-ever four year starters to ever play at Delaware Valley. After helping the Aggies to reach new heights, Bergy and his team mates were recognized as the Middle Atlantic Conference Champions following the 1980 season. Bergamo would graduate from Delaware Valley in the spring of 1981 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration. Mike last worked for Alltel in Sterling, Virginia, specializing in telecommunications and networking. He and his wife, the fromer Bernadette Hodrick, are the proud parents of one son, Michael Jr., age 10.
Last year, Mount Carmel Area Wrestling welcomed three new member into its 100 win club. The president of that club would be David Fantini, the first ever MCA wrestler to win 100 matches in the course of his career. David would not post that 100th victory during the Southeast Regional Championship in 1990. Dave would proceed to a third place finish at the State Championship Wrestling Tournament and would culminate his career with a 105-17 record. Fantini wrestled from 126 to 140 pounds during his career ad would win 50% of his matches via pin.
In addition to his 3rd place finish in 1990, David also earned a 5th place medal in the 1989 State Tournament. H would win three Schuylkill League Wrestling Championships, to go along with two Southeast Regional Championships. He was recognized as a first team Reading Eagle All Anthracite selection, and was given the D’Angelo Award as MCA’s Outstanding Wrestler. He was also the Lou Grayson Most Valuable Wrestler, as well as, the Mattucci Award winner, given to the most dedicated wrestler. David would take his talents to Wilkes College, a Division I wrestling program at the time.
Fantini began his athletic career at MCA playing football for Coach Jazz Diminick. A four-year letterman, Fantini would use his takedown skills as the second lead tackler in both his junior and senior season. He would register 164 tackles for the Red Tornadoes in being named to the second team by the Reading Eagle. David would garner the Breakfast Club Award as the Tornadoes outstanding player of the week and would win the Mike Terry Award during the 1989 season. David would play on the Eastern Conference Wold Card team in 1986, The District XI Silver Medal team in 1988, and the 1989 Eastern Conference Runner-Up.
During his time at Wilkes, David was a member of Psi Chi National Honor Society in Psychology and Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society in Business Administration. He participated in a graduate assistant program in the Universities’ Nursing program. He receive a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and Masters Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Health Care & Marketing.
He now makes his some in Dowingtown, Pa. With his with his wife Cathy, and sons, Nicholas (8), and Zachary (6). He currently works for Phase Forward as a Business Development Manager: Phase Forward is a leading provider of integrated data management solutions for clinical trials and drug safety,
THOMAS J. KONDISKO
Walter Ray Williams, Earl Anthony, Pete Weber, and Don Carter are not just a few names that aren’t easily recognized to the average sports fan. They have all earned millions of dollars as members of the Professional Bowlers Association, and have won numerous PBA titles that have made them the best in their sport. Although Tom Kondisko hasn’t earned the millions, he is recognized as being one of the most outstanding keglers ever to come out of our region. Tom has participated in bowling for 50 years, competing in A.B.C. sanctioned leagues, state tournaments, and tournament bowling on the local level. Your accomplishments mainly go unnoticed except by your fellow bowlers and the American Bowling Congress.
Tom has bowled 9 sanctioned 300 games – to be sanctioned, the lanes have to be certified by the American Bowling Congress. In addition, he has received 8 awards for throwing 11 strikes in a row, and has made the difficult 7-10 split on three different occasions. Kondisko has thrown many 700 series, including a best of 796. He has bowled on the team that had the first 1200 game and 3400 series ever in the Shamokin Bowling Association. In doing this part, Kondisko threw 29 out of a possible 36 strikes, helping his team to that magnificent achievement.
On the strike level, Tom won the Elks State Championship in 1991 at Befdord, and two Moose State Titles in Shampkin in 94 and Lewistown in 2005. He has also won a Multiple State Tournament, including singles, doubles, team, and all-events.
Tom has been able to maintain his success, even though the game has changed over the past 40 years. Lanes have gone from wooden to urethane, while the balls have changed from rubber t0 reactive balls. All of these changes have required the bowler to make adjustments to his game if he wanted to stay competitive. Tom has managed to keep his composite average above 200 in each of the last 20 years.
Tom has also served as the president of the Shamokin Bowling Association for 6 years and has presided over several local tournaments, including the Moose State Tournament. He serves his community as a 40-year member, and past president, of the Mount Carmel Lions Club, an 11 year administrator of the Shamokin Moose Lodge, and as a member of the Elks Lodge and Knights of Columbus.
He is a 1965 graduate of Mahanoy Area High School and is married to his wife, Pauline, for 41 years. He opened K’s Cleaners in Mount Carmel with his brother, John, in 1967.
JAMES “JIM” MONCAVAGE
Mount Carmel Area has played close to 1100 baseball games since 1909, and in that time, there have only been 14 no-hitters thrown by Tornado hurlers. Jim Moncavage is responsible for 2 of those, as well as, 5 one-hitters. To say that he has been one of the best pitchers to ever graduate from MCA would be totally accurate. Moncavage would play for Coach Tufky Andrulevich from 1960-1962 and would throw his first no-no against Kulpmont. In that game, Jim would also strike out 17 batters while walking only one. He would duplicate that performance with his second no-hitter against first place Frackville by a 7-0 score. When not on the mound, Moncavage was either at short stop or behind the plate for teammate Tom Hodrick. Together, they formed one of the best pitching combinations in the area at that time. Jim had numerous multi hit games for the Tornadoes, including 3 hit games versus Frackville, Shenandoah, Ashland, St. Clair and a grand slam against Mahanoy Area. He was named a co-captain in 62 after leading the Tornadoes with a .400 batting average and leading the league in home runs.
Jim would also pitch for the Shenandoah and Shamokin American Legion teams as was selected to play on the All Star team for both squads in 1961 and 1962. He was then drafted by the New York Mets in June of 1962.
After returning home, Jim would continue to play as an outfielder in the Intercity East Pitch Softball League for Shuda Cafe and Faust Cafe. He won numerous batting titles and was fortunate enough to play on a number of teams qualifying for the state championships. One shining moment was when he had 2 grand slams in one inning while playing with Faust Cafe. He was the 1973 MVP for Shuda Cafe, the 1977 MVP for Faust Cafe, and the Intercity League Home Run King in 1978.
Jim was also an outstanding football player for legendary coach Mike Terry at MCA. He was an outstanding punter and hard-nosed halfback, who happened to be on the field at Shamokin when coach Terry died.
Moncavage is a veteran of the US Army where he served in 1967-1968. He was an engeineer assigned to Special Forces during the Vietnam TET Offensive when he was wounded in action and received the coveted Purple Heart.
Jim was employed with PPL for 30 years and is now retired and living in Elysburg. He has been married for 34 years to the former Janet Shinskie, and has two children: Michael of Conshohocken and Jamie Lyn of Pittsburgh.
Mike Mychak is a 1966 graduate of Mount Carmel Area High School and competed in both basketball and track and field for the Red Tornadoes. He was elected captain of both sports as a senior and led the thinclads in scoring in both his junior and senior seasons.
Mychak first set the MCA record in the 180 yard low hurdles as a sophomore and bettered that mark as a senior, while setting the Southern Conference Meet record and winning the District IV Gold medal in the record time of 20.4 at Williamsport. This was at a time when all schools ran in the same division – no AA or AAA, and ran on cinder tracks. His best time of 20.2 equaled the all-time regional record as noted in the Reading Eagle. In competitions from 1964-1966. Mike earned ribbons in three different events in Southern Conference meets, including the 120 highs, 180 lows, and the triple jump. Mike also earned 7 medals in District IV competition in 4 different events including the high jump. Entering the state meet, Mychak was undefeated in the 180 lows. Unfortunately, his block slipped, leaving him face down on the track. He still managed to get up and run a 20.8: however leaving him out of the money.
Following graduation, Mychak chose to attend Dickinson College over the University of Pennsylvania to continue his running career. Mike ran for the Red Devils for 4 years, leading the team in scoring as a freshman. During the course of his career, Mychak would compete in 7 different events, including the 100 yard dash, high jump, triple jump, long jump, high hurdles, intermediate hurdles, and 4 x 100 relay.
While at MCA, Mike also participated in basketball for Coach Bob Varano. He was a two-year starter as a 6 foot center, leading the team in rebounding for 2 years and averaging a shade under 13 points per game. The 1966 team would win 8 consecutive games on the way to a fine 13-9 record and would average 72.1 points per game, just behind the 78.2 PPG of the 1965 team. The 1965-66 Tornado five is particularly notable, in that, it featured 3 all state players – Joe Buchinski, Greg Doviak, and Frank Niglio. Unfortunately for Coach Varano, they were all state in football! Today, Mychak will join Buchinski, Doviak, Niglio, and Varano as members of the Ed Romance Chapter of the Penna Sports Hall of Fame.
Mike graduated in 1970 with a Degree in history from Dickinson and in 1973 with his Juris Doctorate, also from Dickinson. He has been a Magisterial District Court Justice in Mount Carmel since 1973. He and his wife, Joyce, are parents of four children, Adam, Ashley, Nathan, and Colin.
Joe Palovick has always epitomized the meaning of a true scholar athlete. Even while participating in three varsity sports, Joe managed to graduate as Mount Carmel Area’s Valedictorian in 1985. As a collegian, Palovick would earn a Bachelor of Science in Engineering with Distinction in 1990 from prestigious Swarthmore College. He would also graduate from the University of Pennsylvania with a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering in 1992. Swarthmore is the home of 5 Nobel Prize winners, presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, author James Michener, Eugene Lang, founder of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Robert Maxwell, for whom the Maxwell Award is named.
Joey began his athletic career as a three-year starter at linebacker for coach Jazz Diminick. His teams would go 23-11 from 1983-85. Both the 83 and 84 teams would earn wildcard spots in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, but would end up on the short end in games with North Pocono, 0-13, and Wyoming Area, 3-9. As a co-captain of the 85 team, Palovick would lead the squad in tackles with 87, while being named a first team linebacker by the Susquehanna Conference and to a second team spot by the Reading Eagle. Joey was a two-time Big 33 nominee and would be given the Bobby Pizzoli Award and Len Eshmont Award, as well as, the Brian Piccolo Award by the Mount Carmel-Shamokin Unico. Joe’s 255 career tackles was the 4th best career total in MCA history at the time of graduation. He also chipped in with 8.5 QB sacks, 4 fumble recoveries and 8 TD’s while playing for Big Red. Palovick was also named the Ed Romance Chapter’s 8th scholar athlete in 1986.
Following graduation, Joe took his talents to Division III Swarthmore College to play for coach Fran Meagher. He became a three-year letter winner and started for 2 years as a linebacker for the Garnet Tide, ranking in the top 3 in tackles in each of his starting campaigns. The Tide participated in the Centennial Conference against the likes of Gettysburg, Franklin and Marshall, John Hopkins, and Ursinas. Unfortunately, after Joe’s graduation in 1990, Swarthmore would experience a decline and experience a 28 game losing streak in the late 90’s, leading to the program being dropped after the 2000 season after 122 years.
Joe now makes his home in Moorestown, NJ with his wife Lisa; two sons Anthony, Nicholas, and daughter Gina. He is employed by Formation, Inc as a Principal Engineer and serves as the statistician for the Moorestown High School football team.
ROSEANN (RAWA) BOBER
In the mid 70’s Mount Carmel Area’s Al Santos, and his newly formed girls track team was struggling to find its own identity. What he needed was a star to make people take notice. He found more than one – Cheryl Kent, Michelle Whyne, Maria Molesevich, Michelle Zublick – just to name a few. But none of them were bigger than Roseann Rawa. Rose would eventually go on to be a three-time state qualifier and would garner 8 District IV medals, including 6 Gold. Coach Santos’s teams would win 4 consecutive District IV Championships from 1974 thru 1977 with Rawa contributing greatly.
Rose would win District IV championships as a sophomore in the 880 yard dash and 880 Meley relay in school and district record times. She would also hold school records in the 440 yard dash, 660 yard dash, and mile relay while in 10th grade. As a junior, she would repeat in the 880 (2:24.5) and medley relay (1:56.0) and add the mile run (5:27), establishing new records in each. She would add the mile run championship and a silver in the 880 and bronze in the medley as a senior. Rawa and teammates, Maria Molesevich, Ann Mariano, and Michelle Whyne, established an Emory Relays Record at Lehigh in the Mile Relay (4:16.4) and the Indoor Mile Relay record at the University of Pittsburgh (4:21.1).
Mount Carmel Area track at the time took on all comers. They competed at the Meet of Champions at East Stroudsburg, the Chester High Relays, the Pocono Mountain Invitational, the Carlisle Invitational and meets with track powerhouses State College, Harrisburg High, Garden Spot, and Easton. In local action, the Tornadoettes established a new team record in scoring 117 points against outmanned Schuylkill Haven and just missed a rare shutout in a 113-1 victory over Central Columbia.
Following graduation in 1977, Rawa would run with the prestigious Philadelphia Track Club (Philadelphia Hawks). She anchored the 880 medley relay at the Penn Relays in 1981. She would then graduate from the York Hospital School of Radiologic Technology with an Associate of Science Degree in 1983. She would also graduate from Real Estate School of New Jersey and Christina Medical Center School of Ultrasonography. She has served as a coach with the South Jersey Youth Soccer Association and is a Vice President for the Municipal Alliance for prevention of substance abuse.
She currently resides in Woodstown, NY with her husband Mitchell and two sons, Craig, 20 and Ryan, 18, both students at Penn State University.
Vince Rawa, Mount Carmel Area’s talented halfback and punter, surprised everyone back in 1974 by accepting a two-year baseball scholarship from the Pittsburgh Pirates to attend Central Arizona College in Coolidge, Arizona. Pirate scout Paul Bordi said Rawa was selected because of his terrific potential as an outfielder. Rawa’s status at Central Arizona was that of a “blue chipper”, meaning that he could be signed by any major league club at any time. Central played a year round schedule against the likes of the University of Arizona, University of Wyoming, Arizona State and Northwest Missouri State University.
Rawa was first scouted by the Pirates as a high school baseball player for coach Ed Wojciechowski. The fact that the Tornadoes were 16-45 during Rawa’s career, makes it even more impressive that he caught the eye of Major League baseball. Vince’s home run giving MCA a 4-3 win over a talented Shenandoah team in 1974 and his 3 RBI’s in a big win over a good Tamaqua team in 73 were two games that got him noticed. Vince would hit .380 over the length of his career and registered 21 home runs. Rawa also honed his skills playing Legion baseball for coach Ed Hennessey and his M.A.C.K. American Legion team. He was the Tri-County home run and RBI leader following the 74 season. Vince was given tryouts for the Pirates in Philadelphia, Toronto in San Antonio, and the New York Mets in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Baseball wasn’t Rawa’s only choice as he was also awarded a football scholarship to C.W. Post in Long Island, N.Y. following his stellar career with the Diminick-led Red Tornadoes. Vince was starting halfback during the Tornadoes 24-0 perfect seasons in 1972 and 1973. Big Red would go on to win two consecutive Eastern Conference Crowns with Vince running for over 1200 yards and 21 TD’s. Vince blasted out of the gate with 2-100 yard games in contests with Panther Valley and Tamaqua and was the leader in MCA’s 14-0 win over Our Lady of Lourdes. Rawa scored two rushing TD’s in that first-ever game with the Red Raiders on his way to honorable mention all-state. Rawa would also have an 85 yard kick-off return and served as the Tornado punter with 50 and 52 yard punts during his career. He was also honored as the Bobby Pizzoli Award winner following the 73 season. His high school exploits found him being named the Babe Ruth Award winner for the class of 1974.
Vince has owned his own business, Tasty Baking Compnay, for 18 years and serves the entire local area. He and his wife, Lisa, live in Trevorton and are the parents of 7 children: Jenna, Vincent, Meredythe, Victoria, Ania, Claudia, and Alexia.
Greg Sacavage grew up surrounded by sports excellence. His father, Charles, was an outstanding football, wrestling, and track star while attending Mount Carmel High School. Greg, along with his brothers Charles and Robert, had the privilege of joining Charles, Sr as one of only a few MCA graduates to participate in collegiate wrestling, where the family is well recognized. There has been a Sacavage, either participating, coaching, officiating or administering the sport of wrestling since 1934. Today, Greg has the distinct honor of joining his father and brothers as members of the Ed Romance Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
Greg was a four-year letter winner as an MCA wrestler and has the distinction of adding his name to Edwin Rakocy (38) and John Zukowski (41) as the only juniors to serve as a wrestling captain up to 1978. Sac would go on to win two District IV Silver Medals at the time when it was one and done. Greg would win 20 matches as a junior, equaling the mark established by his brother Bob, and would finish his career with 57 victories, good enough for third place on the all-time list at the time. Following graduation, Greg would wrestle at Bloomsburg University, a Division One wrestling power.
Sacavage was also an outstanding football player for Coach Jazz Diminick, excelling at the linebacker position. He was recognized by numerous media for post season honors, as well as, honorable mention all-state. This was at a time when there was only on all state team, making honorable mention as prestigious as being named to a team today.
Upon completing his collegiate career, Greg became the head wrestling coach at Blue Mountain High School, where he took the first Bluer Mountain wrestler to the state wrestling tournament. He later moved on to the Head Junior High and Assistant Coach position for the Shamokin Wrestling program. He would garnish two Junior High Schuylkill League championships, and assisted the legendary Paul Stehman to two varsity Schuylkill League crowns.
He returned home to MCA in 1999 as an administrator, holding the position of Head Teacher, Interim Principal, Head Junior High Principal, and most recently being named Director of Athletics. He has been on the ground level of the development of the Pennsylvania Heartland Conference and currently sits on the Executive Committee. Greg has also been on the journalistic end of sports, writing stories for local newspapers, and as a commentator for both wrestling and football.
JOSEPH D. WASILEWSKI FEMALE SCHOLAR ATHLETE
Chrissy Candelora is this year’s unanimous choice as the Joseph D. Wasilewski Female Scholar Athlete, recognized by the Ed Romance Lower Anthracite Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. Candelora’s number one ranking out of 128 students in the Class of 2009 at Mount Carmel Area has earned her this honor. Candelora currently serves as the president of the National Honor Society and Secretary of Student Government at MCA. She has been named a Rotary Student of the Month, as well as, the School Board Merit Award Recipient in March, 2008. She has taken over the presidency of the Interact Club and the Science Club. She is involved with the Science Olympiad, the Iditarod, and the Northumberland County Envirothon. Candelora earned a Second Place finish at the Science Olympiad Northeast Region as a freshman in 2006 in Water Quality and Genetics. As a sophomore, she earned a first place finish in Ecology: repeating the award as a junior in 2008.
Candelora also participates in Spanish Club, S.A.D.D., peer mediation, and S.O.D.A clubs at MCA.
Candelora is also very active with the MCA Band, serving as the Vice-President of the Marching, Symphonic, and Jazz Bands. Chrissy has been chosen to represent MCA as a PMEA District 8 Band participant in 2007, 2008 and 2009. She has also been a Susquehanna Honors Band Participant in 2008 and 2009. She has also been a member of the MCA Operetta and Pit Orchestras.
Athletically, Chrissy has played basketball since elementary school, earning a varsity letter as a member of the MCA Lady Tornado basketball team as a junior while playing the forward position. It was her hustle and determination that earned her considerable playing time for coach Mark Moyer. As a senior, Candelora turned to Coach Tina McClay and the Lady Volleyball team. While not successful record-wise, the team became more competitive each week and finished the season with 2 victories.
Candelora is the daughter of Anthony and Diane Candelora of Mount Carmel, and is planning to continue her education at the University of Pittsburgh, Albright, USP, or Lebanon Valley College. She plans to major in biology with the hopes of continuing on to dental school.
JOSEPH “JAZZ” DIMINICK MALE SCHOLAR ATHLETE
Colin Menapace has taken his place as this year’s Jazz Diminick Male Scholar Athlete the good old-fashioned way. He earned it! Menapace began his athletic career as one of the 11 freshmen to make his way on to the varsity football team four years ago. A broken collar bone prevented him from playing that year, as most of the others gained valuable experience. Colin continued to work in the weight room and found himself on the field as a sophomore and a starter at tight end as a junior. Colin also began to kick during his junior season and became quite proficient by the end of the year. Because of his hard work in the off-season, Colin became one of the leading kickers in the area, making 64 of 69 PAT attempts. The 64 points established a new MCA record, surpassing the 50 by Mike Sinkovich in 1998. He also established a new season record with 64 points via kicking; and also finished the season with 34 consecutive extra points, surpassing the old record of 25 by Matt Kufta. He also contributed 7.5 sacks and 21 tackles from his defensive end spot, and 10 receptions for 168 yards at tight end. His efforts earned him spots on the Heartland Conference All Star team, as well as, Press Enterprise, Sunbury Daily Item, and District IV all star births. Colin was the recipient of the first-ever Glenn Bonsey Adams Award at the football banquet, as well as, the Joseph F. Greco Scholar Athlete Award.
Menapace also lettered as a varsity swimmer in his freshman and sophomore seasons, establishing school records in the 100 butterfly, 200 free-style relay and 400 free-style relay as the team anchor. Colin is also a four-year letter winner in track, participating in the hurdle and field events.
Menapace currently ranks second in his class and is a member of the National Honor Society, Masque and Gavel, Quill and Scroll, and the Athletic Honor Society. He was named Rotary Student of the Month for October, and the Ed Romance Chapter Athlete of the Month for September. He has also been voted “Most Likely to Succeed” by his classmates. Colin is also a member of the prestigious 700 and 1300 clubs for SAT excellence.
Colin can also be found as an anchor of WKMC TV in the morning and a co-anchor of MCA’s sports show, the Red Zone. He has participated in the school musical for 4 years and is a three-year member of Student Council, serving as President as a freshman and secretary ad a junior. Latin Club, TECH club, Interact club and chorus keep him busy, as does being an Altar Server at Divine Redeemer Church.
Colin is the son of Dr. Mike and Missy Menapace, Mount Carmel; and now has the unenviable task of choosing between the University of Michigan, Georgia Tech University, Purdue University, and the University of Pittsburgh, to pursue an engineering degree. Colin joins his sister Maura (2002) as Romance Chapter Scholar Athletes.
SAINT PAULINE VISINTAINER SCHOLARSHIP
Eric Jepko of Mount Carmel has been named the second-ever recipient of the Saint Pauline Visintainer Scholarship award by the Bob Greco family. Eric is a senior at Mount Carmel Area High School and has qualified for the award by participating in athletics, by participating in activities that benefit his community, and by showing strong Christian Leadership and participating in some type of church related activity.
Eric has been a four-year member of the Mount Carmel Area football team and was a part of the 7th District Championship in school history in 2008. Eric was a wide receiver, and, although he didn’t play as much as he would have liked, was a very important part of the success of the Red Tornadoes. His dedication was evident in the he never missed a practice and was committed to the weight room. It was truly refreshing to find an athlete that did put his team first.
Jepko also enjoys being a part of the Interact Club at MCA. He felt that it allowed him to help those less fortunate and was very glad to be able to make someone else smile. He was involved with the food drive at Thanksgiving and helped to collect toys for the needy children at Christmas. He also was very active in collecting food for the animals at the Hillside SPCA.
Eric was also a very active participant in a project with the Mount Carmel Area Rotary Club in the downtown tree-planting project on Oak Street in October. Eric, very enthusiastically and with the help of some of his teammates, showed up early on a Saturday morning after a game, and helped with the planting of 22 new tress to help beautify the downtown.
As a member of Divine Redeemer Church in Mount Carmel, Eric has helped on many occasions with the parish picnics and festivals. He has also been very involved with the Relay for Life and is committed to remembering those who have lost their battles with cancer. He and his family have called on Mother Pauline for help when his sister was battling her own cancer when she was only four years old. His sister, Jessica, is now 22 years old and doing very well. Eric believes totally in the powers of Mother Pauline and her spiritual connections to the world, and is especially grateful for the gift she has given to his own family.
Eric plans to attend the Pennsylvania College of Technology to major in HVAC. He is the son of Kathy and David Jepko of Mount Carmel.
Mike Brennan recently ended his nine-year stint as head football coach at Mount Carmel Area High School by winning his 3rd District IV Championship and MCA’s 7th. Big Red would also win the Inaugural championship of the new Heartland Conference. He led the Tornadoes to a fine 13-1 record, eventually losing to Lancaster Catholic in the Eastern semi-final. The 2008 Red Tornadoes would establish a new season record for points scored with 539 and would be one of only 6 teams in MCA’s 116 year history to win 13 games.
Brennan would win 84 games at MCA, good enough for 3rd place behind Jazz Diminick and Mike Terry. He was named the AP Small School Coach of the Year following the 2000 season, as well as, then AA Coach of the Year by the Pennsylvania Football Coaches Association in 2000 and 2002. He has served as an assistant for the PA Big 33 game in 2006 and was an assistant in the PA East-West all-star in 2005. Michael is a 1993 graduate of Temple University with a BS Degree in Health Education. Mike will now move on to Blue Mountain High School where we wish him the best of luck – as long as he is not playing the Red Tornadoes.
Chris Steck has recently been named the 38th first team all-star player in Mount Carmel Area’s 116 year storied history. Steck has anchored the Red Tornado offensive line for the last four seasons from his center position. He has started every game in his high school career (46) joining Mike Higgins, Joe Costello, and Jon Veach as other modern era players to accomplish the fete. Chris was also named to a first team slot by the Pennsylvania Football News and was named by WNEP TV 16 to its annual Dream Team. Chris also found himself as a first team selection to all-star teams named by the Reading Eagle, Sunbury Daily Item, Bloomsburg Press Enterprise, News-Item, and the Heartland Conference.
As a team co-captain, Chris would lead the Tornadoes to 13 consecutive wins before losing to Lancaster Catholic in the Eastern semi final. The team would average over 360 yards per game in offense and would establish a new school record for points scored with 539. He also contributed 68 tackles – 18 for loss – from his defensive tackle position, as well as, 7 quarterback sacks. Chris is the son of Karen and Mark Steck, Mount Carmel, and will continue his football career at Bloomsburg University.
Marcus Wasilewski has been named the second team quarterback on the AA All State football team by the Associated Press. He was also recognized by the Pennsylvania Football News as the third team quarterback and was named to the WNEP TV 16 Dream Team. Marcus completed his career as MCA’s all time leader with 408 completions and 64 touchdown passes. He also finished his playing days with 23 consecutive 100 yard games and 36 – 100 yard games in his 41 career starts. He also registered 9 – 200 yard games, 14 consecutive games throwing a touchdown pass, and 28 touchdown passes during the 2008 season – all new school records. Washy would also establish new marks with only 1 interception per 40.5 attempts during the ‘08 season and 1 per 24.3 attempts during the course of his career. His 6,145 passing yards ranks second only to David Shinskie’s 6,334. Marcus is one of only 7 underclassmen in the 166 years of MCA football history to serve as a co captain as a junior. As a senior co-captain, Marcus led the Tornadoes to 13 consecutive wins and its 7th District Championship before losing to Lancaster Catholic in the Eastern semi-final. Marcus will represent Mount Carmel Area well, when he takes his talents to University of Maine on a football scholarship. He is the son of Lisa and Mark Wasilewski.
1968-69 MOUNT CARMEL AREA WRESTLING TEAM
At a time when Mount Carmel Area wrestling is experiencing anew found notoriety, it seems only fitting that we recognize one of the teams from the Golden Era of MCA wrestling. The 1968-69 team would go on to win the first-ever District IV PIAA Southern Sectional Championship and would retire the Northumberland County Supremacy Championship. While wrestling an independent schedule, the Tornado wrestlers did not win a league title, but would defeat two teams who did win league championships. They defeated Mid State Champion, Line Mountain, 24-23; and Tri-County Champion, North Schuylkill, 26-18, snapping the Spartans 23 dual meet winning streak. They also placed third at the District IV Team Championships with close to 60 teams competing. This team was also a major part of two of the schools longest win streaks: 20 consecutive dual meet wins and 25 consecutive home meet victories. This truly was a team asking to be challenged.
The team was led by Head Coach, Frank Pecaitis and assistant, Joseph Iwanski. The starting line-up usually consisted of Mickey Stello – 95, John Ownes – 103, Robert Hornberger – 112, Robert Howell – 120, Robert Prezlomski – 127, John Cortellini – 133, Joe Lapotsky 138, James Skinner – 145, Mark Sassani – 154, Bob Sacavage – 165, Mike Semicek – 180, and Ed Prezlomski – HWT. Other contributors were Joe Chimmel, Paul Karwacki, Jim Lentini, John Mazur, Joe Meyer, Ron Miller, Ira Wolf, Robert Yastishak, and Greg Shoffler.
It was a team of true technicians, scoring 118 takedowns to their opponents 44 and out-pinned their opposition 38-5. In addition, Bob Sacavage won MCA’s third state championship, winning at 165 lbs. Remember that this was at a time when there was only one class and no wrestle-backs – lose and you were out! Bob also set a national record for the fastest pin in the country – 4 seconds. Sassani registered the only pin in the Sectional Finals and would earn a District IV runner-up trophy. In the Sectionals, Ed Prezlomski was not even seeded and had to wrestle a preliminary round match before eventually winning the championship. Howell, Sassani, and Sacavage were undefeated in dual meets on their way to Sectional Titles. It is without a doubt, a team to be remembered. Those wrestling Tornadoes accomplished a great deal individually, but it was Pecaitis’s TEAM CONCEPT that made this squad so special.