34th Annual Banquet
BLAISE ROBERT ALEXANDER
Most of us hope to make significant accomplishments in our lifetime. Blaise Alexander achieved greatness during a short time with us, and will continue to “give back” for another life to come because of what happened to him. Alexander began his stock car career at the age of 12 in the World Karting Association and was the champion of the East series in Pennsylvania in 1992. After that, he moved on to the Micro-Sprint racing series at tracks in many states including Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York, porting a total of 48 wins in the series. In 1995, Alexander moved from Montoursville to Mooresville, North Carolina to pursue a professional racing career. He competed in 15 ARCA Re-Max Series and then expanded into the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, where he raced at Watkins Glen and Bristol Oval. He would post a top-ten finish in only his second race of the Busch Series at the North Carolina Speedway. His best career finish, however, did not come intil the year 2000 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, racing for Team SABCO.
Blaise initially won Rookie of the Year honors in the ARCA Re-Max Series in 1996 and finished 5th in points. He pulled off a second-place finish at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and two second-place finishes in 1997. He won his first ARCA race in 1998 at Toledo and added a second place finish at Pocono Raceway that same year. He would lead in 18 ARCA races for a grand total of 490 laps with his final win coming July 2001 at Michigan International Speedway.
On October 4, 2001, Blaise participated in the Easy Care 100 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and had been fighting for the lead position with Kerry Earnhardt for most of the race. On lap 63, their cars touched, sending Earnhardt flipping upside-down through the infield while Alexander crashed into the outside retaining wall. His traumatic death, at the age of 25, was the sixth stock car race fatality in two years, and convinced NASCAR to mandate the HANS device for all drivers – head and neck restraint devices to keep drivers safe. Other high profile drivers killed in this period included Adam Petty, Kenny Irwin, Jr, Tony Roper and Dale Earnhardt Sr.
When he arrived in North Carolina, Blaise enjoyed a close relationship with fellow rookie driver and eventual NASCAR superstar, Jimmie Johnson. Although they competed against each other on the track, they totally supported each other off of it. Alexander’s memory has been honored by Johnson in many ways, including dedicating his first Cup win to Alexander during a nationally viewed Victory Lane interview. Johnson continues to support various charity causes and events that Alexander initiated in his hometown in Central Pennsylvania.
After the incident, and at the insistence of the Alexander family, NASCAR also stepped up the testing of soft wall technology, eventually leading to the installation of the SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barrier on all NASCAR oval tracks. This has lead to the saving of many lives on the NASCAR racing circuit.
Blaise is the son of Blaise and the late Ann Sebastian Alexander. He will join his grandfather Aubrey Alexander and Uncle Tom Alexander as inductees into the Ed Romance Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
MICHAEL SONNY BENDETTO
The Intercity Softball League was created in the late 50’s as a way for former great high school and college athletes to participate in sports. The formation of the League did that and much, much more. It became a super competitive showcase for some of the area’s best. The League was dominated by pitching with the likes of Al Bridy, Stabley Poremba, Thomas Hodrick, and Frank Keating. With the mound only 46 feet from the plate, hitting a softball was compared to hitting a 100 mile per hour fastball. With four outfielders in the field in the early days of the league, hits and runs came at a premium. Sonny Benedetto would come along to change all that.
Sonny began his career playing in the Mount Carmel Intercity League with the Cigar Company, Cherneskie’s, Centralia AC and spent some time in the North Branch Hard ball League. His softball days were interrupted with a stint in the Army with the 112th Mechanized Infantry in Munich, Germany in 1962-62. Upon his return, he returned to the diamond with Shuda’s Cafe, which was then a part of the Shamokin Intercity Softball League. Over the next ten years, Sonny would be one of the most dominant hitters the league had ever seen. He was chosen the MVP in 1967, 1971, 1973, and 1974. He won the League Home Run title with 12 homers in 1973, clinching the title with 5 home runs in a twi-night doubleheader against Marina Cafe. He also registered 11 RBI’s and scored 6 runs in that series. Playing for Shuda’s that season, Benedetto collected 23 hits and knocked in 28 runs, leading the Cafemen to an undefeated 34-0 record.
In 1975, Sonny was playing for B & E Body and was named the MVP of the Northumberland County Softball Tournament. That team went on to qualify for the State Championship Tourney in Lancaster, finishing 5th in the state.
Sonny is a 1957 graduate of Kulpmont High School where he played football and basketball for Coach Ed Stavenski. They did not have a baseball program at the time. He worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation as a bridge inspector and retied after 30 years. He and his wife, Phyllis, make their home in Kulpmont and are the proud parents of three children, Michael, Vicky, and Karen.
JOSEPH “JOEY” “GERO” GEROLAMI
Joe Gerolami was, without a doubt, one of the most exciting athletes to ever put on cleats for the Tornadoes of Mount Carmel Area High School. You could feel the electricity in the air whenever Joey touched the football. Nothing described it better, when in 1975, the Tornadoes stopped Berwick on the goal line in a tie game late in the 4th quarter. The very next play, Gero blew through the line and was off to the races on a 99 yard scamper to seal the 20-13 win. Gerolami would average over 45 yards per touchdown over the course of his career, including long range kick off returns of 84 and 85 yards vs Tamaqua and North Schuylkill. Joey was named the Mike Terry Award winner during Big Red’s 31-6 win over Shamokin in 1974 and toted the pigskin 10 times for 137 yards.
In his career, Joe would register 2122 all purpose yards and average 8.8 yards each time he touched the football. Joe still shares the best average kick-off return mark at 39.2 for a season with Bob Zavarick and Bob Veach Sr. His career average of 31.7 is second only to Zavarick. His team would go 29-4-1 during his time and would win the Eastern Conference Championship in 1973 with a 12-0 record. Joe saved the best for last when his 7-3 Tornadoes would defeat the already Southern Division Champion Shamokin Indians by a 34-0 score in his final game with Big Red.
It was as a track athlete that Joey utilized his natural speed to his fullest potential. Joey’s four years running for coaches Breslin and Diminick had the Tornadoes going 45-0 in dual meets, extending the Mount Carmel Area streak to 153 over a 33-year period. They would win 4 Schuylkill League titles, 3 League Meet Championships and 1 District title in 1973 to go with 3 second place finishes. Gero would establish a new MCA record in the 100 yard-dash with his blistering 9.6 seconds established in the District IV meet in 1975, defeating defending District Champion Brian Cooper. The 9.6 not only established a new District IV mark, it also tied the region’s all-time mark set by Pottsville’s Johnny Neyer in 1939 at the state meet. Joe would also claim the District 100-yard title in 1976 and would qualify for the state meet in the 100, 220 and as a member of the 880-yard relay team. Joe did come home with a 6th place medal in the 100, losing to Scott Fitzke, a future Penn State receiver. Gerolami was offered a scholarship at Temple University to run track.
Joe and his wide Sabrina have spent a large portion of their lives raising money for the Nicholas Gerolami Memorial Fund. Their son Nick died in an automobile accident in 1998 and they have organized the Nicholas J Gerolami Golf Tournament in his honor. In the 13 years since its inception, the tournament has raised over $100,000 and has given scholarships to Our Lady of Lourdes’ students, as well as, gifts to the Janet Weis Children’s Hospital, Shamokin Area Community Hospital, American Cancer Society, the Shephard’s Table, and many needy children in our area.
Joe and his wife Sabrina live in Paxinos and, in addition to Nicholas, are the proud parents of a daughter Shala. He is the son of Eleanor Gerolami, his “biggest fan”.
LESLEY GILOTTI HENERY
Lesley Gilotti’s athletic career began on the streets of Shady Acres playing basketball with the boys. It would flourish into a brilliant career at Mount Carmel Area, earning letters in four different sports, to starting for the Knights of Beaver College as a freshman, and continuing today as an active competitor in the grueling “Iron Man” competitions.
Lesley was one of three freshman starters for Coach Deb Perles and MCA basketball during the 1989-90 season. She helped the Tornadoes end a 24-game losing streak by winning their opening game in a 58-57 win over Shikellamy. In the team’s second game against Lourdes Regional, Lesley first made people take notice of her skills, scoring 23 points and wouldn’t look back. She helped the Tornadoes win 10 games that season by scoring 322 points and would help the team gain credibility in the always tough Division I of the Schuylkill League.
Gilotti would lead the Tornadoes in scoring in each of her four years with the team and did it consistently with 322, 392, 337, and 437. She would score in the doubles in 76 of her 97 games and scored over 20 on 24 different occasions. She had a high of 32 in a 65-51 win over Shamokin, a game in which team mate Carolyn Darrup registered her 1000th point. She would hit 39 3-point goals during her senior season, leading the Tornadoes to a fine 14-10 record, their first winning season since the 1987 season, before losing to perennial state power Pine Grove in the first round of District XI. Gilotti would finish her career with 1488 points, good enough for fourth on the all-time list behind Maria Fantanarosa, Cheryl Kent, and Carolyn Darrup and would graduate as MCA’s all time leader in 3-pt field goals with 96. Lesley accomplished her feat at a time when MCA had two, 1000 point scorers in Marie McDonald and Darrup, 1000 rebounder Sue Humphrey, and 500 assist guard Jill Gonzalo.
Lesley also excelled as a softball player for head coach Mike Trocki and was an integral part of the Tornadoes only District Championship team in 1992. That team would go 17-4, defeating Pottsville and Minersville – two teams who were the face of post season play at the time. Lesley had 23 hits, 18 RBI’s, 8 extra-base hits and 7 multiple hit games. She also went 2-1 on the mound for the Lady Tornadoes with a 1.24 ERA.
Following graduation, Gilotti would enroll at Beaver College (now Arcadia University) where she would start as a freshman and lead the team with a 15.5 point per game average. Lesley then gave up competitive sports to concentrate on her career in the medical field.
The competitive fire began to burn once again for Lesley when she began to compete in triathlons on a dare. She progressed to where she would compete in the Ford Ironman in Florida in 2009, which is a 2.4 mile ocean swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run. In 2010, she competed in the Lake Placid Ironman and plans to return in July of this year. She has competed in numerous triathlons for all lengths including sprint, Olympic, and half marathons.
Lesley would earn a Bachelor of Science from Thomas Jefferson University’s Valedictory Program in 1997. She would ass a Masters of Science in Nursing from Temple University and graduate from Pennsylvania Hospital of Nurse Anesthesia in 2000. She is currently chief nurse anesthetist of Union Deposit Anesthesia in Harrisburg and moonlights as a staff nurse anesthetist at Pinnacle Health Community Campus. She is married to Justin Henery and makes her home in Harrisburg. Lesley is the duaghter of Beverly and Morris Gilotti of Shady Acres.
Len Wasileski has achieved excellence on the playing fields and in the classroom at Mount Carmel Area High School. In addition to earning 9 varsity letters in his time at MCA, Len was also the valedictorian of the class of 1972. This was at a time when the local school graduated well over 200 students each year.
Wasileski would achieve tremendous success as a Cross-country runner for legendary coach Gerald Breslin. During the 1970 and 1971 seasons, MCA would register a terrific 38-10 record that culminated in the team winning the Susquehanna Valley League Championship in 1971. The harriers would also register a runner-up finish at the District IV Championship meet in ‘71. Wasileski would qualify to compete in the State Championship meet following the season.
Len also participated in MCA basketball for Coach Scott Gross and was able to earn three varsity letters for the Tornadoes. Along with Walt Madalis, Hank Szymanski, and Albert Klokis, Len would lead the Tornadoes to their first winning season since 1967 with a fine 12-10 record in the always tough Schuylkill League. That team would establish a new modern day record for points scored in their 116-81 victory over Minersville. They would also establish marks for the most points scored in a quarter – 41 and in a half – 68 and the most field goals scored in a game with 47. Len was able to connect on 98 of 137 foul shots during the 71-72 season, and that was the 4th most ever at MCA up to that date. His 14 foul conversions in a game vs Shenandoah was the fourth best at that time. By virtue of their fine play, the Tornadoes qualified for the District XI tournament, only to lose to Northampton in the opening round. Despite the defeat, the District playoff appearance was the first Tornado Five since the 1939-40 season. The Torndoes averaged 71.7 points per game, the best production since the 1967 season. For his efforts, Len was named the MVP of Tornado basketball by his coaches.
In the spring, Len turned his attention to the cinders as a middle-distance runner for Coach Breslin. Len participated in the 880-yard run, the mile run, and was a member of the 2-mile relay team. The 2-mile relay team established a new school record at 8:21.7 – because of the conversion to meters, this record still stands today. Other members of that team were Walt Madalis, Rich Ferri, and Jeff Yoder. Len achieved a 5th place finish in the mile, a 3rd place medal in the 880 and 2-mile relay at the District IV meet and was able to represent MCA at the State Championship Meet in the 880 in 1972.
Wasileski returned to track in 1997 as an assistant to J. Kevin Jones with the girls track program at Southern Columbia High School. His responsibilities included the sprinters, mid-distance and distance runners. Some of their runners were the most successful in Southern history, evidenced by the 4 x 800 meter relay team medaling at states in 1999 and 2000. Hillary Roth would add her name to that list by medaling in the 1600 in 2004. Cynthia Adams qualified for states from 2007-2010 at the 800 meters.
Len is married to Anita Arthur Wasileski and has two daughters, Lura Wasileski Good and Kristen Wasileski Diehl. Len attended Bucknell University from 1972-74 and graduated Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Physical Therapy.
SUSAN HUMPHREY YUCHA
To establish yourself as the first person to achieve a milestone in athletics is always something special. To stand alone as the only athlete in a 40-year period to accomplish a particular feat is truly extraordinary. That is exactly where Sue Humphrey Yucha stands as a Mount Carmel Area girls’ basketball standout. Sue is the only Lady Tornado to go over 1000 rebounds during her illustrious career as the center for MCA basketball. Her total of 1134 was achieved during a four-year career from 1986-87 through 89-90.
Under Coach Deb Oerles, Sue was a four-year started for the Lady Tornadoes. As a freshman, she helped lead the team to its 6th consecutive District IV playoff berth, which included victories over Shamokin, Lourdes, Southern and Williamsport before losing to Towanda in the District IV playoffs on a buzzer-beater. As a sophomore, Sue would establish a new single game record with her 24 rebound performance in a 51-49 victory over arch rival Shamokin. That win was also significant in that it was Coach Perles’s 100th win as the coach of the Lady Tornadoes.
In her junior season, following the loss of teammates Shannon Guinan, Kim Little, and Peg Scicchitano, the girls would suffer through a 0-24 season in 1988-89. As she entered her senior season, Sue qould become the ultimate leader and “mother hen” with 3 freshman starters in Lesley Gilotti, Marie McDonald, and Jill Gonzalo. She would lead that team to 10 wins in the always tough Division I of the Schuylkill League, which included perennial powers, North Schuylkill, Pine Grove, Pottsville, and Blue Mountain. The girls did earn great wins over Lourdes, Shamokin, Tamaqua and Southern, a game in which Sue ended her career with a fantastic 23 point, 30 rebound performance to cement her status as one of the greats in girls basketball history. Sue would be named to the Christmas Tournament all-star team at Willamsport and was given the VFW’s Auxiliary Award as the team’s Most Valuable Player for the second time. In addition to leading the team in rebounds and blocks, Sue also scored 12.3 points per game, scoring over 900 in her career. It was her leadership that season that would go a long way in making girls basketball competitive once again.
Sue also lettered for four years in track and field, throwing the shot, discus, and javelin, qualifying for District IV competition in the javelin during the 1990 track season. For all of her efforts at MCA, Sue was given the Babe Ruth Foundation Award as the school’s outstanding female athlete during her graduation ceremonies in 1990.
Sue had been employed by Shamokin Area Community Hospital for 19 years and, following the merger, currently works as a Patient Access Representative for Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community Hospital. Susan lives in Shamokin with her husband, Mike, and their two children, Mariah and Michael Jr. She is the daughter of Michael and Charmaine Humphrey and the granddaughter of Sandra Popson.
JOSEPH “JAZZ” DIMINICK MALE SCHOLAR ATHLETE
This year’s Joseph Jazz Diminick Scholar is Cody Shistack. Cody certainly fits within the blue print established by previous winners of the award. Cody has excelled on the playing fields for Mount Carmel Area and is currently ranked #3 in his graduating class and also the highest ranking male. Shustack has made his biggest impression as a football player for the Red Tornadoes. He has been a four-year letter winner for the Tornadoes and has been tutored by 3 coaches; Mike Brennan, Bob Chesney, and Carmen DeFrancesco. Cody became a starter at linebacker as a sophomore and has lead the team in tackles for three consecutive years. He has registered over 100 in each of those years and recently completed his career with 358, fifth all time in MCA history. He has registered over 10 tackles in 7 of our 14 games in 2011 and has recovered 5 enemy fumbles to tie the all time season record.
Cody was also the starting fullback for the Tornadoes and was able to go over the century mark on 5 occasions, highlighted with a terrific 31 carry 202 yard performance in a 33-24 win over Central Columbia. Against West Perry, Cody toted the football 7 times for 124 yards for a 17.71 yard average. He finished the season with 1092 yards on 143 carries for a 7.64 yard average. He added 12 receptions for 165 yards and would tie Meyrick Lamb for the team lead with 188 points scored. He and Lamb would both amass 1000 yards, becoming the first set of backs to accomplish the feat since Henry Hynoski and Carm DeFrancesco did it in 1970. He was part of 2 District Championship teams in 2008 and 2011 and one Eastern Conference Crown in 2009. For his efforts, Cody was named to the WNEP TV Dream Team. He was also recognized as their Scholar Athlete. In addition to serving as the captain for the “11” edition of the Red Tornadoes, Cody has also lettered in baseball for 3 years and is one of the leading hitters for the MCA nine.
As a student, Cody was recently inducted into the SAT 700 Club at MCA for achieving a 760 on the Math portion. He has been a four-year member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Club, Chemistry Club, and Future Teachers of America. Cody has served as a volunteer for four years for the Relay for Life, the Special Olympics, and the Dance for Hope. Shustack was recognized as the Elks Student of the Month for March, 2011 and was named the Ed Romance Chapter’s Athlete of the Month for September 2011. Cody was also an integral part of the MCA team competing in the Mathematics Competition at Lock Haven that placed third.
Cody plans to continue his playing career at a four year institution and major in engineering. He is the son of Erika and John Shustack of Kulpmont.
JOSEPH D. WASILEWSKI FEMALE SCHOLAR ATHLETE
The competition for this year’s female scholar athlete was probably the stiffest that it has been in a number of years. At least 5 girls were considered to be outstanding athletically and academically. In the end, it was Heather Bolick who had the greatest body of work and is this year’s Joseph D. Wasilewski Female Scholar Athlete. Heather was a four year letter winner in three different sports for a total of 12 varsity letters. As a defender for Coaches Rich Miller and Chris Kozlowski, Bolick helped the Lady Tornadoes through one of the most successful periods in soccer history. The girls qualified for District IV competition in each of her years, capped by the first-ever State Tournament victory in school history during her senior year. The girls would win 48 games during her 4 years with the team. Bolick served as a team captain and earned Heartland Conference honors and News Item all area honors as a senior.
On the hardwood, Bo was the point guard for 4 years in undoubtedly the most successful era in girls basketball history. As a sophomore, Heather would lead the Tornadoes to a third place finish in District IV play. As a junior, the girls continued right where they left off, posting only the second District IV Championship in girls history. During the past season, the girls would go through the regular season with a 22-0 record before entering District IV play. They would win MCA’s second consecutive District IV championship in their 63-36 win over Wyalusing. Heather’s ball handling skills are thought second-to-none by those who have seen her play. Additionally, she has registered over 800 points in her career, including 90 three-point goals. Chants of “MVP” were consistently heard from the MCA students during the District IV Championship run, recognizing her irreplaceable value to the team. Her consistent play helped the Tornadoes win 77 games during her 4-year career and 41 out of the last 43 games played. She was recognized with a second team spot by the Heartland Conference.
As a track athlete, Heather has established a new school record in the javelin with a throw of 128’4 and won the District IV title in 2011. She was named to the Heartland Conference First Team as a sophomore and junior and was recognized by the Press Enterprise and News Item all area teams. She becomes only the second female in MCA history to participate at the state level in three different sports.
Heather has done equally well in the classroom, where she has been a Distinguished Honor Student for 4 years and is currently a member of the National Honor Society and Athletic Honor Society. A reflection of her commitment and dedication in all that she does, Heather has had perfect attendance during all four high school years. Bolick has also been involved in the Interact Club, SADD, Pep Club, Future Teachers of America, Spanish Club and is a Peer Mediator.
Heather has also given back to her community as a volunteer for American Cancer Society, Relay for Life, Toys for Tots, American Heart Association Hoops for Heart, S.P.C.A. Drive, School Clothes Collection, Breast Cancer Awareness, Interact Food/Supplies Collection for PA flood victims and as a Red Cross Volunteer for PA flood victims. Heather is a member of Divine Redeemer Church and is the daughter of Sue and Frank Bolick of Kulpmont. Heather plans to attend a 4-year university to major in Exercise Science/Physical Therapy and would like tyo continue her participation in track.
SAINT PAULINE VISINTAINER SCHOLARSHIP
RACHEL M. DAVIS
This year’s recipient of the St. Pauline Visintainer Scholarship is Rachel M. Davis, a senior at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional High School.
Rachel attended St. Monica Catholic School in Sunbury from Pre-school through eighth grade. She was able to continue her Catholic education by attending Lourdes Regional.
Davis is a four-year letter winner for the Lourdes Red Raider Volleyball team under head coach Sara Shroyer. They participated in the Twin Valley Conference.
As a student athlete, Rachel was able to successfully balance her time as an athlete and student, well enough to rank #1 in her class. Rachel has maintained distinguished honors during all four years at Lourdes.
Rachel is involved in many community, school, and church activities. She is the President of the Respect Life Club, Vice-president of the National Honor Society, and President of the French Club. She is also a member of the French National Honor Society, Students against Destructive Decisions, Girls Action League and the Ski Club. She is also a very active volunteer with ARC Susquehanna Valley.
Rachel also finds time to be actively involved with her church Youth Group and participates as a lector and altar server. She had the wonderful opportunity during the summer of 2011 to attend the World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain, participating in activities with Pope Benedict XVI. Along with her father, Annie Self, and Elizabeth Korbich, Rachel presented Our Lady of Lourdes with a framed photograph of the grotto at Lourdes, France.
Rachel resides in Sunbury with her parents Kerry and Judy Davis, and her brother Kristopher, a senior at Lock Haven University. She is the granddaughter of Frank Sam Chesney and the late Theresa Pupo Chesney of Kulpmont. Davis plans to continue her education and major in Speech and Language Pathology at either Misercordia University or Duquesne.
JAMES M. BACH SCHOLAR ATHLETE
The 2012 recipient of the James M. Bach Scholar Athlete Award is Molly Loftus. Molly is currently a senior at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional High School, where she has been a member of the volleyball and basketball teams. She has served as the captain for both sports during her senior season.
Molly has been a member of the varsity cheerleading squad for four years and was recently voted this year’s Homecoming Queen.
Molly’s hard work and superb play has helped the volleyball team to the District playoffs in each of the last three years. She has been named to the Schuylkill League All-League First Team for the past two years, the Twin Valley Conference First Team for the past three years, and has led the Twin Valley Conference in “Spikes” and “Total Put Aways” for two consecutive years. The 2011 Volleyball season saw Loftus selected as the Schuylkill League, Division II, Player of the Year. On September 26, 2011, Molly established a new record for Most Career Kills at Lourdes Regional.
In addition to volleyball, Molly has been a member of the Lady Red Raiders basketball team throughout her years in high school. The Raiders have captured the District IV Single A Championship for 4 consecutive years, and did it this year with a big win over an undefeated Line Mountain team. This year, Molly led the Red Raiders as they captured the Knights of Columbus Championship and was the tournament MVP.
Molly also exceeds in the classroom, where she has been a member of the National Honor Society for four years. She is a Student Ambassador, a class officer and student council officer. She is a member of the Girl’s Action League, Students Against Destructive Decisions, Respect Life Club, Yearbook Committee, French Club, Pep Club, and has appeared in the school musical. She volunteers as an instructor at the annual Lourdes Cheerleading Camp and basketball camp. Molly is also a Relay for Life participant and an active member of Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish.
Molly is the daughter of Sharon and Jack Loftus of Mount Carmel and has plans to major in Physical Therapy at either The University of Scranton, Misercordia University, Lebanon Valley College, Arcadia University and Mount Aloysius College.
RUSS AND JO ANN CESARI SCHOLASHIP
Lucas Amarose was recently named the first-ever recipient of the Russ and Jo Ann Cesari Scholarship. The Cesari’s are 1962 graduates of Mount Carmel Catholic High School, where Russ excelled at football for the Rams. The award goes to an interior lineman who plans to continue his education and football playing career in college.
Lucas first earned a starting position with the Red Tornadoes during the pre-season of the 2010 season. The 6’0 280 lb tackle would hold down the right tackle position for the nest two years. The most amazing part is that he did it with a severe shoulder injury sustained at the end of doubles in 2010. He had to persevere through a tremendous amount of pain in order to be productive. It took yards and yards of tape by the Star Physical Therapy group to keep Lucas on the field in 2010. His play would help the Tornadoes and Coach Carmen DeFrancesco to a fine 8-4 season and a spot in the District IV semi-finals.
As a senior, Lucas again manned the right tackle spot and helped the Tornadoes run for 3179 yards; a number that ranks as the 7th best rushing season in MCA history. He often lead the way for Myerick Lamb and Cody Shustack, who became the first set of running backs since 1970 to rush for over 1000 yards in a season. The 2011 Tornadoes rushed for over 200 yards in 10 of their games and went over the 300 yard mark against West Perry and Montoursville. Only 5 Tornado elevens would score more than the 38 TD’s rushing in 2011. The 5.7 yards per rush ranks 12th out of 50 modern era teams.
Lucas helped the Tornadoes win the Heartland Conference Division II Title and their 8th District Championship in a 28-0 shutout over the Bloomsburg Panthers. Amarose was also on the field when the Tornadoes recorded their 800th career victory in the 35-14 win over the Shikellamy Braves. Lucas was given the Star Physical Therapy Comeback Player Award after the 2010 season and the Mattucci Chef’s Award following the 2011 campaign. His shoulder injury precluded his playing basketball and baseball, but he plans to return to the baseball diamond this spring.
Lucas is also very active at MCA as a member of the Interact Club, Science Club, Chemistry Club, and the Tech Ed Club. He has given back to his community as a volunteer for the Relay for Life since fourth grade. He has also participated and worked at the Nate’s Mates Tournament since 7th grade. Luke is an active worker for the Divine Redeemer Church Picnic and has taken part in the Oak Street Clean-Up and Special Olympics along with his Red Tornado teammates.
Lucas is the son of Ed and Lisa Amarose of Atlas and plans to play for Mount Carmel graduate Frank Sheptock and the Wilkes Colonels in the fall. He will major in criminal justice.
Ranotta Ahrensfield has recently joined he ranks of MCA girls basketball players who have netted over 1000 points during her career. Ahrensfield achieved the mark in a career-high 31 point effort in a win over Lewisburg 81-44. She becomes only the 9th female in MCA history to surpass this mark, joining teammate Kim Andruscavage. Notta has helped restore the MCA program to prominence ever since she emerged as a freshman starter during the 2008-09 season, a season in which the girls would go 11-11 and qualify for District play for the first time since 2000. During her sophomore year, the MCA girls would improve to 17-10 overall and a third place finish in District IV, qualifying for their first state playoff game since 1998. She would average 11.9 points per game and was named to the second team of the Heartland Conference.
As a junior, Ahrensfield would help lead the Tornadoes to a terrific 22-4 record and their first District IV championship since the 1985 Maria Fantanarosa-led team. The girls would post a 14-game win streak along the way before losing in the state quarter finals to Mid Valley. The 2011-12 season saw the Tornadoes go 22-0 during the regular season and the number 1 seed in District IV. In the opening round of District IV play against Lewisburg, Ranotta moved past Shannon Guinan’s 1181 points into 7th place on the all time list at MCA with 1182 points. The girls went on to win their second consecutive District IV Championship in a 63-36 win over Wyalusing. Ranotta would finish her career with a terrific 22 point effort in the Eastern semi-final loss to York Catholic and concluded her career with 1255 points (6th all time). Ahrensfield was named to the first team by the Heartland Conference.
Ranotta was also recognized as the News-Item Soccer All-Area Player of the Year by virtue of her 29 goals and career total of 99 – second only to Holly Ibanez (2006-07). She has been chosen the Athlete of the Month for January by the Ed Romance Chapter. Ranotta is the daughter of Mike and Tammy Ahrensfield of Mount Carmel.
Early in her senior season, Kim joined the ranks of Maria Fantanarosa, Cheryl Kent, Carolyn Darrup, Lesley Gilotti, Ana Ditchey, Shannon Guinan, and Tiff O’Krongolis as 1000-point scorers for MCA girls basketball. Andruscavage surpassed the mark in a win over Central Columbia on the opposition court. Kim burst onto the scene as a freshman starter and helped the Lady Tornadoes to the District playoffs for the first time since 2000. Throughout her career, her versatile play at the 1, 2, and 3 guard positions has enabled the Tornadoes to match up in many different ways against opposition defenses. In her junior season in 2011, she was a major contributor to MCA’s first District Championship since 1985. The 14-game win streak in 2011 was the longest in modern-day history until they broke that mark in 2012, finishing the regular season at 22-0. The 77 career wins compiled during her four years is the most in any four-year period in girls history since the 1984-87 seasons (69). Kin surpassed Ana Ditchey’s 1246 career points in the District IV opener and finished her career with 1339 points, good enough for 5th place on the all-time MCA list. Andruscavage would hit on 92 three-point goals in her career, good enough for 2nd place all-time. Kim and the Tornadoes went on to win their second consecutive District IV title in the win over Wyalusing and would win 41 out of her last 43 games at MCA. She was named to first team by the Heartland Conference.
Kim was named to the Area All Star Soccer team and was recognized for her outstanding defensive play during the Tornadoes state playoff run. Kim was chosen as the Athlete of the Month for December by the Ed Romance Chapter. Kim is the daughter of Lori and Wayne Andruscavage of Mount Carmel and plans to continue playing basketball in college.
Doyle Dietz is a 1964 graduate of Danville High, where he participated in basketball, baseball and track. His football career was ended prematurely following an injury in his freshman year. His other extra-curricular activities included working for the school yearbook and newspaper, which sparked an interest in journalism.
His plans to be a history teacher and baseball coach and attend Bloomsburg State were cut short by a military commitment. During active duty, he played for the military post softball team at Fort Jackson, S.C. While finishing his military obligation with the U.S. Army Reserve 814th Supply Company in Bloomsburg, he enrolled in the Triangle Shoe Company Management Training Program in Wilkes-Barre and became a roving store manager, working in Norwalk, CT., Long Branch and Hammonton, N.J. and Jersey Shore and Lansford.
Dietz began covering high school football games as a stringer for the Tamaqua Courier in 1968, becoming sports editor and general assignment reporter for the newspaper in 1969. In 1970, he accepted the position as Tamaqua bureau chief for the Pottsville Republican newspaper, and in 1971 was appointed assistant sports editor at the Republican. In 1976, he joined the sports staff of the Reading Eagle, where he covered various professional, college, and high school sports, including the Lower Anthracite Region sports editor and outdoors editor.
Upon retiring from the Eagle in 2005, Dietz accepted the position as outdoors editor of the Pottsville Republican Herald and Shamokin News-Item. In addition, he contributes to several state and national outdoors magazines and is host of the weekly radio program “Experience The Outdoors” on WMGH 105.5-FM and WLSH 1410-AM.
A proponent of high school football, Dietz continues to cover games for the Republican Herald and News-Item, as well as Bloomsburg University football. He is also the public relations director for the Schuylkill County Football Coaches Association. His affiliation with the 2 newspapers has allowed him to keep alive his streak of covering at least one Mount Carmel football game every year since 1978. he believes his career came full circle when the first championship game he covered had a fullback in the game named Henry Hynoski and the last championship he covered had a running back named Henry Hynoski.
Dietz and his wife of 43 years, Betty, a Danville High grad and retired school teacher, enjoy the New York Football Giants, the New York Yankees, hunting, fishing, attending plays and concerts. They especially like the Allman Brothers Band, Bob Dylan and the Flatlanders. They live in Deer Lake with their Labrador retrievers Coleman and Dingus.
Brett Prezkop has steadily and quietly established himself as only the 11th wrestler in MCA history to surpass the 100-win mark. He joins Mike Garcia (140), Josh Malick (140), James Haynes (137), Dylan Hornberger (130), Eric Lapotsky (122), Nick Dusendshine (121), Dave Evans (112), Shane Wondoloski (110), Randy Elliott (109), and Dave Fantini (105). He is also the captain of the 2012 wrestling team at MCA.
Brett’s record demonstrates his consistency throughout his career: 21-15 as a freshman, 30-10 as a sophomore, 30-8 as a junior, and 22-1 in 2011-2012. He was a Sectional runner-up and District qualifier as a sophomore and junior. Brett was ranked #12 in the state of Pennsylvania at the end of 2010-2011. He entered the District IV Southern Sectional Tournament as the Number One seed and would go on to pin both of his opponents to win his first Southern Sectional Championship at 170 pounds. Brett finished in second place at the District IV meet and the Northeast Regional meet and entered the state tournament with a 28-3 record. Prezkop would become the first MCA wrestler to medal at states since 2008 after earning an 8th place medal at the tournament and finishing the season at 30-6 and 111-39 for his career.
Brett was also an outstanding defensive end for the Red Tornado football squad, a team that won the Heartland Conference and District 4 Championship this year. He lead the team in sacks with 10.5 and was third in tackles with 87. He was named to the News-Item, Daily Item and Press Enterprise All Star teams. He has been recognized as the Ed Romance Chapter Athlete of the Month for March. Brett is the son of Robin and Harry Przekop.
Cody Shustack is being recognized for his being the 42nd player in MCA history to be named to the Associated Press First Team All State football team as a linebacker. Cody lead the Red Tornadoes in tackles with 118 during the District Championship run in 2011. He would join only a handful of players to record over 100 tackles for 3 consecutive seasons. He finished with 358 career tackles, placing him 5th on the all time list behind Steve Matzura, Vince Yasenchak, Joey Costello and Mike Diminick.
Cody would also distinguish himself running the football, going over 1000 yards during the 2011 season rushing for 1092 yards and a 7.6 yard average. Cody and fellow running back Meyrick Lamb were the first set of backs since 1970 to go over the 1000 yard mark in the same season. They are only the fourth set of backs in MCA history to accomplish the fete.
Cody was a four-year member of Red Tornado football that would go 41-11 during his time with the team. He would also be a part of 2 District Championship teams in 2008 and 2011, one Eastern Conference Championship squad in 2009, and a District semi finalist in 2010. Cody is the son of Erika and John Shustack of Kulpmont.
1992 DISTRICT XI SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM
As head coach Mike Trocki took his team into the 1992 season, expectations were higher than they had been in a while. The Lady Tornadoes were coming off a 13-8 season that saw them enter District playoffs for the first time since 1989. Add 8 returning starters to that mix and anyone would feel good about their prospects. No one could have imagined what was about to take place as the Tornadoes would go on to post a terrific 17-4 record on their way to the first – and only – District XI Softball Championship in school history.
The season started out inauspiciously as 1-1 after being shut out and no hit by Pottsville’s Andrea Smith. The girls would go on to win 11 consecutive games over the next five weeks, making local softball enthusiasts to take a serious look at the Tornadoes. The Tornadoes would post 7 shutouts during the season, while scoring 129 runs and surrendering only 49. One of the highlights would come in week nine in the match-up with the Crimson Tide. The girls would not only defeat Pottsville by a 2-1 margin, but would stop Smith’s scoreless inning streak ay 55. She had not given up a run in her 8 previous starts to start the season and had established a Schuylkill County record at the time. It also marked the first loss over 57 games and 5 years in Division I of the Schuylkill League for the Crimson Tide. The Tornadoes were paced by their own “ace” Liz Griscavage as she threw a 3 hitter. Griscavage would post a 15-3 record, 1.22 ERA, and have 18 complete games. Lesley Gilotti went 2-1 with a 1.24 ERA. The Tornadoes were paced by Kelly Klusman with a .435 average, Tara Kimsal ay .417 and Jill Gonzalo with a .333. Klusman would lead the team in hits wirh 30, followed by Kimsal with 25 and Gilotti and Amy Kalbarchick with 8. Kristi Tocyloski would lead the team in stolen bases with 10, while Kalbarchick would knock in 21 runs and Heidi Bressi 19. The team would hit .300 with 173 hits and would have a defensive average of .935, lead by Kalbarchick with 1.000 – no errors behind the plate.
The post season would present a few obstacles as the Tornadoes defeated Weatherly by a 7-0 score and would be taken to the limit by Pine Grove in a 11-10 win. The Tornadoes next game would be with District XI’s top seeded North Lehigh. NL’s coach, Dennis Hock openly stated in an interview “I’m that confident about our next game, that I’m thinking about Minersville. That’s how much confidence I have about this club, ince I was around our 1988 state championship team, and this team has much the same qualities.” The Tornadoes would make him pay as they came from behind to defeat the Bulldogs on Heidi Bressi’s game-winning single. That moved the Tornadoes into the District final with Minersville. The Battlin Miners were the 2-time defending District Champions and had 9 District Championships under their belt. Griscavage would pitch a 2-hit shutout in the 4-0 win for the Lady Tornadoes’ first-ever Softball District Championship. In the State quarter final, the Tornadoes would lokse a 2-1, 10-inning ballgame with Birdsboro’s Daniel Boone. The loss would not take away from the accomplishment of the ‘92 team and making them the best girl’s softball team in school history with the banner to prove it. The line-up with defensive specialist Stacy Trocki in right and Natalie Mychal as the DH was loaded from top to bottom. Following the season, Klusman, Kalbarchick, Griscavage and Kimsal would be named Schuylkill League All Stars, while Trocki was anmed the 1992 Schuylkill League Coach of the Year.