35th Annual Banquet
Bob Chuprinski becomes the latest Red Tornado football player to be inducted into the Ed Romance Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. Bob was an outstanding offensive lineman during Mount Carmel’s “Golden Era” of football from 1966-1974. During that time, MCA won 91 games, while only losing 10 and posting one tie. They also won 5 Southern Division titles and three Eastern Conference Crowns. “Churper” joins 12 other teammates to achieve the honor. During his time with the Red Tornadoes from 1967-69, MCA would win 33 games, while losing 2 by a total of 16 points. They would win the 68 Southern Division Championship before losing to Blakely 13-0 and would be the dominant team in Eastern Pennsylvania by going 12-0 in 1969. They not only won the Southern Division, but proceeded to defeat Valley View 47-6 to win its first Eastern Conference Championship since 1954.
Chuprinski was considered the “doorman” of the 1969 offensive line that paved the way for backs Gary Diminick, Henry Hynoski, and Carm DeFrancesco to run for 3849 yards and 63 touchdowns. They averaged 7.29 yards per carry for the season, 320.7 yards per game and scored 504 points – 42 points per game. The 320 yards per game and 42 points per game are the best ever in the Red Tornadoes 120 year history. Coach Diminick was quoted as saying that “Chuprinski was the best blocking tackle I’ve ever had at Mount Carmel.”
Churp also contributed 48 tackles and 3 fumble recoveries to a defense that allowed 89 points in 12 games, mostly after the games were essentially over. Following the season, Bob was named to the Associated Press all state team and was given honorable mention to the UPI all state team and Pennsylvania Big 33.
Following graduation, Chuprinski would entertain many offers and chose to attend C.W. Post College in New York on a full athletic scholarship where he played freshman football for Coach Dom Anile and was a team co-captain. Chirp then decided to transfer to Temple University where he would join former teammate Henry Hynoski and the Temple Owls. He would remain on scholarship from 1972-1974 along with future pros Hynoski, Joe Klecko and Nick Mike-Meyer. He graduated in 1975 with a BS in Sociology. He later received a Masters in Public Administration (Health Care) from Penn State in 1985. In 1992, Bob moved to Butte, Montana to pursue a health care administrative position and is currently the CEO of the Flathead Orthopedic Center in Kalispell, Montana.
Churpinski and his wife, the former Diane Marcinek of Shamokin, are the proud parents of two children: Patrick, a sophomore at the University of Montana, and Annie, an incoming freshman at the University of Montana.
Wilkes University football experienced one of its’ most successful eras during the early 90’s and Mount Carmel Area’s Jeff Costello was an integral part of that success. In 1993, along with fellow MCA grads, Bob Delbo and Jake Cole, Casty helped the Colonels to a perfect 10-0 season in 1993 and a Middle Atlantic Conference Championship. The undefeated season was the first since 1968 and only the 5th in Wilkes history. Coach Joe DeMelfi and the Colonels advanced into the National Division III playoffs. The following season in 1994, the Colonels tallied a 9 and 2 record, winning the Eastern Atlantic Conference Southern Division Championship.
As a three-year starter at offensive guard, Casty helped pave the way for the Colonels first 1000 yard rusher in Jason Smith. To date, three of the Colonels top ten rushing seasons occurred with Jeff in the offensive line. In 1994, he was a three-time Academic All-MAC performer, as well as, an Academic All American. He graduated in 1995 with Magna Cum Laude accolades and B.S. in Biology.
Casty’s football career began at MCA for Coach Jazz Diminick where he started at guard as a sophomore, at center as a junior, and at center and linebacker as a senior and team co-captain. His 1988 Red Tornadoes went 8-3-1, losing only to AAA State Champion Berwick, AA State Champion Bethlehem Catholic and Southern Division Champion Pottsville. It was the first MCA team to qualify for District play. His 1989 team would lose to eventual State Champion Dunmore by a 14-12 score in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Jeff’s play earned him the Reading Eagle All Anthracite “Lineman of the Year” and Honorable Mention All-State Honors. He was given the Joe Grey Award as MCA’s finest lineman and the Kiwanis Club’s Dr. Joseph Greco Scholar Athlete Award.
Jeff comes from a long line of Red Tornado stars, with his father Joe and brother Joey, recognized as two of the best linebackers ever to play the position at Mount Carmel Area.
Jeff and his wife Kim have three children, Kaedryn, Jack and Jake and make their home in Annville. Jeff is the President of Costello Realty Inc and Black Diamond Energy Consultants Inc.
LAWRENCE J. CZEPONIS
Larry Czeponis joins two other Mount Carmel Area football linemen as members of the 35th class of the Ed Romance Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. Larry was certainly the biggest with his 6’4” 280 pound frame while playing for the Bison of Bucknell University. Czeponis was a member of the Bison from 1987-90 and worked his way into a starting guard position during his junior and senior seasons. Bucknell football would go 12-9 during Larry’s 2 years as a starter under head coach Lou Maranzano, who succeeded George Landis after his resignation following the 88 season.
Larry was part of a very athletic offensive line that was nicknamed the “Beast” based on their style of physical play. Larry chose to attend Bucknell after having interest from schools such as Rutgers, Duke, Lehigh and William and Mary.
Larry began his playing career at Mount Carmel Area for Head Coach Joe “Jazz” Diminick as a rare 4 year player at the time. Larry was a three-year starter at offensive tackle and two-year starter at defensive tackle for the Red Tornadoes. Larry served as a co-captain of the 1986 team that would win a wild card slot and defeat the 11-0 Valley View Cougars by a 21-14 score. Big Red would eventually lose in the Eastern Conference Championship game to Gary Brown’s Williamsport Millionaires. That 86 team would be the first Tornado squad to play 13 games in a season. Larry was named to the Reading Eagle All Anthracite team following the season. He was also awarded Honorable Mention Associated Press All State following his junior season. MCA football appeared in 4 playoff games during Larry’s career in 1983, 1984 and 1986, after not having achieved that status since 1972.
Larry also participated in track at MCA, qualifying for the District IV championships in both the shot and discus.
Following graduation from Bucknell in 1991, Larry served as a graduate assistant football coach at California University of PA from 1991-93. He coached running backs, tight ends, special teams and helped establish the strength and conditioning programs.
Czeponis completed his MBA at Cal and eventually took a position with Nationwide Insurance, where he works as a Field Casualty Claims Specialist. He also serves as an adjunct professor in the Business/Economics Department at Luzerne County Community College. He and his wife Ann (Polites) make their home in Mount Carmel and are the proud parents of four children, Larry (Bip), 14, Frances (Yummy), 12, Meryl (Bizzy), 9 and Jelena (Jelly), 6.
ALFRED “SAMMY” TEUFEL
Al Tuefel was one of those rare three-sport competitors who would contribute greatly to the success of Mount Carmel High School Athletics back in the late 40’s. That was the time when Bonesey Adams, Dave Ficca, Mike Bernot, and Len Wisnewski received most of the publicity. Al, the last of the Tuefel brothers to compete for Mount Carmel, made a name for himself in football, basketball, and track.
Sammy played for coach Joe Ambrose as a lineman and linebacker in 1946 and helped the Tornadoes to a fine 7-2-3 record. When Mike Terry took over in 1947, Al was a starter at center and at linebacker, complimented by coach Terry as “one of the best linebackers I ever coached.” Al helped the Tornadoes to a terrific 9-3 record in 1947 and would lead the defense to 7 shutouts and only 58 points given up. That Tornado Eleven opened up the season with a 6-0 win over Erie Academy. The victory was the only win in school history over Erie and was the farthest opponent ever on the Tornado schedule. Following the 1947 season, Sammy was named the “Outstanding Defensive Player” in the region.
Al also lettered twice for Coach Tufky Andrulevich’s basketball teams at Mount Carmel in 1947-48. He was an important cog on the 1947 team that would post a 19-4 record – at the time the most wins ever for a Mount Carmel basketball squad. Only 1980 (26), 1995 (21) and 1999 (20) teams had more wins.
Sammy excelled on the track for coach Jerry Breslin as a three-year letterman. All three teams were undefeated in dual meets, with the 1947 and 1948 teams capturing the District IV team championship. Sammy would win the 880-yard run and the mile run District IV Championships in 47 and 48. He was also a part of the mile relay team that competed at the prestigious Penn Relays.
Following graduation, Sammy enlisted in the Navy where he was a Navy Cook. His tour lasted four years and ended up at the Philadelphia Naval Yard where he met the love of his life Carol Ritchie. He and Carol had 5 children, Bruce, Jim, Ron, Terri, and Tom, all of whom were involved in athletics. Sam volunteered much of his time at the Essington Swim Club. He worked at Westinghouse in Essington for 39 years and also worked as a bus driver for the Interboro School District until retiring in 1989. Today, Sam spends his time cooking and spends summer in Sea Isle, New Jersey.
In the fall of 1988 when Mike was approached by the Mount Carmel Area administration and the athletic office about the head coaching position with the girls/softball team, he was rather hesitant about the task. After conferring with outgoing coach Bruce Wanzie and longtime, legendary assistant coach Ed “Tay” Taylor, he decided to accept the challenge of guiding the MCA Lady Tornadoes. He began his career in 1989 leading the Tornadoes in the always tough Division I of the Schuylkill League. After that first season, Mike and “Tay” re-established the JV program and 2 years later in 1991 had the team in the District XI playoffs, laying the groundwork to what would become a banner year. The 1992 season would prove to be the finest season in the history of the girl’s Softball program. That team moved to its new field at the high school complex and put up numbers and achievements that would have yet to be matched. It would include the team’s first victory over North Schuylkill and a tense 2-1 win over Pottsville that ended the Tide’s 58 game winning streak. The team posted a 14-2 regular season mark and then recorded 4 victories in the District XI tournament, including a 4-3 semi-final win over former state champion Northern Lehigh and a 4-0 district championship win over perennial power Minersville.
Mike would go on to lead the Lady Tornado softball program for 21 years, finally retiring at the conclusion of the 2009 season. He coached over 300 girls during his tenure and traveled to and made many friends against all of the Schuylkill League teams and some new teams in the Heartland Conference.
Trocki was named the Schuylkill League Coach of the Year in 1992 and had 4 of his players named First Team League All-Stars. He was also selected by the news media as the region’s Coach of the Year on 2 occasions and had the honor of seeing his 1992 District XI Championship team honored by the Ed Romance Hall of Fame in 2012.
He is a 1969 grad of Mount Carmel Area and a 1972 grad of Kutztown State College where he earned a BS degree in Secondary Ed with a concentration in languages.
Mike lives in Mount Carmel with his wife Linda. They are the proud parents of three children; Eric, who passed away in July of 2010, Jeff and his wife Nicki, and Stacy, who is married to Greg Fenix. They have 6 grandchildren.
Mike always had a simple coaching philosophy no matter what sport he was coaching – to provide leadership and lend stability. He always wanted his teams to practice hard, play hard, and ultimately to have fun. He always told his players to carry the three D’s with them ti every game: Diligence, Dedication, and Determination, something Mike certainly carried in the way he has lived hi life.
Bob Witowski joins his brother Joseph (1993) and brother-in-law Stave Zarlinski (1984) as an inductee into the Ed Romance Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. His induction has been long overdue, especially considering hid many accomplishments for Kulpmont High School basketball.
Bob was a three-year starer for Coach Ed Stavenski’s Wildcats, playing in the old Keystone League. Even though his teams were only 27-27 over his three years, Bob did as much as anyone could to allow them to be successful. The 1958-59 team managed a nice 11-7 regular season record, eventually losing to a great Shamokin team by a 60-58 score in the Keystone League playoffs.
Witowski finished his career with 875 points and established himself as the all-time leading scorer, surpassing Joe Hanlon’s 727 from 1949-51. In 1957-58, Bob led all area scorers with a 17.3 point average. As a sophomore, Bob set a new point record for sophomores at Kulpmont, surpassing Kayo Poniatowski’s record from 1936. He also established a new free throw record by making 84 percent of his attempts, besting brother Joe’s 68 percent in 1953. His efforts earned him Associated Press and United Press International All State Honorable Mention following the 58-59 season.
Bob also played football for Coach Stavenski as a quarterback, tackle and safety. Following graduation, Bob would play at Independence Community College in Independence, Kansas and played on the Kansas Junior College Champions. He then went on to play at Yankton College on a team good enough to earn a spot in the NAIA National Championship Tournament in Kansas Citry. Bob earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Yankton and a Masters of Science Degree from Iowa State University.
Witowski has worked at the University of Northern Iowa, the Iowa Communications Network, Carroll Community School District as an Economics and Government teacher and has also coached basketball and football.
As an educator, his areas of study and experience have been diversified to include many facets in research planning, promoting new programs, developing and implementing curriculum materials, coordinating and directing in-service workshops, and designing and analyzing survey questions.
Bob is the proud father of three daughters; Susan Hansen, Jill Witowski-DeLio, and Amy Robert. Bob and his wife Sherry make their home in Ames, Iowa.
JOSEPH “JAZZ” DIMINICK MALE SCHOLAR ATHLETE
Over his four-year career at Mount Carmel Area High School, Rob Varano has built a strong resume that has earned him the Jazz Diminick Male Scholar Athlete for 2013. He is a three sport student athlete who has participated in football, basketball, and track and field. Robert has excelled at a number of positions for Coach Carmen DeFrancesco’s Red Tornadoes. He has played quarterback, wide receiver, safety and punter. During the 2012 season, Robert smashed a 46 year old receiving record with his 6 catch, 227 yard performance in the win over North Schuylkill. The old record was held by Dabby Niglio in that famous 178 yard performance vs Carlisle in 1966. Only four players in MCA history had more receptions in a season than Rob’s 46 during 2012. Rob also averaged 37.4 yards per punt and was named to the First Team of the Pennsylvania Football News AA All State team for his efforts. He was also named to the Heartland Conference, Daily Item, News-Item, and Press Enterprise all star teams. Robert also earned the Chapter’s Athlete of the Month Award for October.
On the hardwood, Rob helped the basketball team back into the District playoff picture for the first time in 4 years. Rob served as co-captain and is a three-year letterman. In tack and field, Rob is a three-year District qualifier in the javelin. He added the pole vault to his resume in 2012. He jumped 13’6” in 2012 and won the silver medal at the District IV meet. This qualified him for the PIAA state meet where he finished tied for 11th place in the state. Following the season, he was named to the Heartland Conference II First Team.
Rob currently serves as the president of the senior class and was also a member of Student Council. He is currently enrolled in the Advanced College Experience (ACE) program at Bloomsburg University, where he attends class full-time. He also has completed classes as part of the Young Scholar Program at Luzerne County Community College. He was a member of the MCA Odyssey of the Mind Team that advanced to the World’s level of competition in his junior year. He is a National Honor Society member and currently ranks 5th in his class. He is also a 6-year member of the MCA marching band and Symphonic band as a trumpeter.
Outside of school, Robert is active in Hope Community Church where he serves as the video coordinator. In the fall of 2012, he will attend a four-year college to major in Business/Pre Law. He is the son of Lisa and Rob Varano.
JOSEPH D. WASILEWSKI FEMALE SCHOLAR ATHLETE
Cathy Fletcher, a senior student at Mount Carmel Area Jr/Sr High School has been named the Joseph D. Wasilewski Female Scholar Athlete for 2013. She is the daughter of Michael and Susan Fletcher of Kulpmont. A four year varsity letter winner, she has participated in cross country, swimming, and track and field. To date, she has earned 10 varsity letters. She has traveled each year to the district level of competition in all three sports. Cathy has served as captain of the Cross Country team for coach Ben McConnell and has been recognized as a First Team All Star for the Heartland Conference during her junior and senior years. She earned an 11th place finish in 2011 and a 12th place spot in 2012 at the District IV Track Meet.
In addition to cross country, she has been awarded the “second in points earned” and “first in points earned” awards among female swimmers at MCA for coach John Backes. Cathy has earned points at the District IV Championship meet in the 100 free, 200 free and 200 meter freestyle relay. Cathy also participated in Powder Puff Football during her junior and senior years, serving as captain her senior year.
Cathy currently serves as vice president of the senior class and participates in the Advanced College Experience (ACE) program at Bloomsburg University. She has participated in Odyssey of the Mind, a worldwide creative problem solving competition, for three of her high school years. Her team made it to the World’s level of competition during her sophomore and junior years. Cathy has participated in the Young Scholar Program at Luzerne County Community College, and has taken college courses at MCA and the Shamokin LCCC campus. She is a member of the SAT 1300 club, a National Honor Society member, and is a consistent Distinguished Honors student. She participates in the Developmental Studies Program at Mt. Carmel Area and is currently ranked 3rd in her class.
Outside of school, Cathy is an alter server at Holy Angels Church in Kulpmont. She also serves as a volunteer each year at Holy Angels’ annual church picnic. During July, 2012, she attended the University of Pittsburgh’s Health Career Scholars Academy, an advanced summer program focused on providing student learning opportunities in various health fields. As her senior project, Cathy has collected, sorted, labeled, and data-based over 500 books in support of the Kulpmont Lending Library. Over the past three summers, she has worked at Knoebel’s Amusement Park. In the fall of 2013, Cathy will attend a four-year college to major in Biomedical or Mechanical Engineering.
SAINT PAULINE VISINTAINER SCHOLARSHIP
It should come as no surprise that this year’s St. Pauline Visintainer Scholar Athlete is Eric Joraskie, senior student-athlete from Mount Carmel Area High School. Eric’s total accomplishments on the athletic fields, in the classroom, and in his church enabled him to earn the award.
Joraskie has certainly distinguished himself as a three-year player for Coach Carmen DeFrancesco’s Mount Carmel Area Red Tornadoes. He established himself as one of the most dominant players in our region and the state of Pennsylvania. Eric’s play helped the Tornadoes into the District IV playoffs three times, winning the District IV Championship in 2011. He totaled 184 tackles, including 59 for loss during his career as a defensive tackle and registered 18 quarterback sacks for 124 yards lost – good for 7th place on MCA’s all-time list. His play allowed him to be a two-time Associated Press first team selection in 2011 and 2012. He is only the 7th player in MCA history to be so honored. He also became MCA’s 22nd Big 33 player since its inception in 1957. He will play in this year’s game in Hershey in June. Eric was also tabbed to play in the 3rd annual Chesapeake Bowl in Landover, Maryland, but declined due to game restrictions. In addition to being named to every local all-star team, Joraskie was also named to the prestigious WNEP-TV Dream Team.
After being recruited by schools such as the University of Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Maryland, West Virginia and many others, Eric has decided to accept a scholarship to play for Coach Pat Fitzgerald at Northwest University in Evanston, Illinois.
Eric also participates for MCA track in both the shot and discus, where he has was a District medalist in 2012. Suprisingly for someone 6’4” and 260 lbs, Eric was quite the swimmer as a freshman and sophomore and was a District IV qualifier in the butterfly.
Eric has also been a distinguished honor roll student and is a National Honor Society member. He is very involved with the WKMC TV studio and is a member of the Spanish Club. Eric has the lead roll of Jesus in Godspell and will assume the roll of Danny Zuko in this year’s MCA production of Grease. Joraskie is also a member and altar server at Grace Lutheran Church in Shamokin.
Eric is one of 4 Joraskie brothers, who have played for the Red Tornadoes; Bill, a student at Carnegie Mellon, Adam, a student at Bucknell University, and Austin, currently a sophomore at MCA. He is the son of Nancy and William Joraskie and the grandson of Marie and William Joraskie and Dorothy and the late Harry Przekop.
JAMES M. BACH SCHOLAR ATHLETE
The 2013 recipient of the James M. Bach Scholar Athlete Award is Tyler Holleran, a son of Dennis and Kathy Holleran of Kulpmont. Tyler is a senior student-athlete at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional High School where he has been a member of the football, basketball and baseball teams. For the past two years, he has been an integral part of the varsity football and track and field teams at Mount Carmel Area through the very successful cooperative sports programs.
As a freshman and sophomore, Ty played football at Our Lady of Lourdes under Head Coach Mike Klembara and was an important member of the 2009 All-American Football Conference Championship team.
During the past two seasons, Holleran played for MCA’s Red Tornadoes under the direction of Coach Carmen DeFrancesco. Tyler contributed greatly on special teams or the Big Red and also saw plenty of playing time in the defensive secondary at cornerback. He received the Ed Romance Award following the season recognizing him as MCA’s Most Improved Senior football player. Tyler helped the Tornadoes to a District IV Championship in 2011 and a District IV silver medal in 2012.
In addition to football, he has been a guard for coach Pete Long’s Red Raider basketball team. His hard work and determination has helped the Red Raiders secure a spot in the District IV Single A playoffs. He has also contributed to Red Raider baseball for Coach Dave Olsheski’s Red Raider baseball team as a catcher and second baseman. His athletic versatility became apparent as he has run track for Coach Mike Farronato and Tornado track team.
In addition to athletics, Tyler is an exemplary student who has maintained honors status throughout his high school career. He serves as the treasurer of the National Honor Society and is a member of the Spanish Honor Society. He is also involved as a Student Ambassador, Student Council Vice-President, Boys Service Club, Respect Life Club, Students Against Destructive Decisions and is active with the Prom Committee. He has volunteered his time for Children’s Miracle Network and Manna for the Many. He is an active member of Holy Angels Parish, where he has been an altar server for 10 years and assisted with various parish fund raising projects. In addition, he has been bestowed the 2nd Degree from the Knights of Columbus. Tyler is employed at Walmart Pharmacy, Elysburg Gun Club, and Knoebel’s Amusement Resort.
Following graduation, Tyler plans to attend Wilkes University School of Pharmacy to pursue a doctorate in pharmacy.
RUSS AND JO ANN CESARI SCHOLARSHIP
“Ivy Leaguer!” That term simply describes this year’s Cesari Scholarship winner. Tyler has the look, the athletic ability, and most importantly, the academic wherewithal to attend an Ivy League School. He has earned an athletic scholarship to Columbia University in New York City and will enroll in the fall.
Tyler has been a three-year letterman for Coach Carm and the Red Tornadoes of Mount Carmel Area. He has started at tight end for two seasons and has been very productive as one in four catches has resulted in a touchdown. His terrific blocking also enabled the Tornadoes to run for more than 200 yards per game and score 38 rushing touchdowns. Only 8 Tornado teams have ever rushed for more TD’s. He also contributed 72 tackles – 17 for loss – from his defensive end position. Tyler has been an integral part of the Tornadoes having appeared in the District IV playoffs for three consecutive seasons; winning the Championship in 2011 and finishing as the runner-up in 2012. He was selected a co-captain by his teammates for the 2012 season. Tyler was named to the Heartland Conference and Sunbury Daily Item all star teams following the 2012 season. He was also the recipient of the Joseph F. Greco Scholar Athlete Award presented by the Greco Family. Tyler was recruited by Coach Pete Mangurian to play outside linebacker for the Lions. He also received walk-on offers from Richmond, Delaware and Lafayette.
Kwiatkowski has also been a three-year member of John Lazicki’s basketball team at MCA and has served as a captain for two years. He helped the Tornadoes to a fine 14-10 record and a spot in District IV play for the first time in 3 years. He also throws the discus and javelin for the Tornado track and field contingent.
Tyler is a member of the National Honor Society and the prestigious 700 club. He is currently ranked 4th in his class and is a member of the Interact Club, Spanish Club, Future Teachers of America and the Chemistry Club. In his spare time, he has volunteered for Relay for Life, Nate’s Mates, and the Special Olympics. He is also a member of Our Lady’s Parish in Mount Carmel and has been an Altar Server for 10 years.
Tyler is the son of Kevin and Cheryl Kwiatkowski of Mount Carmel.
Eric Joraskie has certainly done more than his share in bringing national recognition to the Mount Carmel Area School District and community. Eric recently became the 42nd player in MCA history to be named First Team All State by the Associated Press. He also becomes only the seventh player in history to be a two-time First Team All State selection.
Joraskie burst onto the scene as a sophomore for Coach Carmen DeFrancesco as a defensive tackle and dominated the position for the next three years. He amassed a total of 184 tackles, including 59 for loss during his career. He was also credited with 18 QB sacks for 124 yards lost, placing him 7th on the all-time list. He would also register 30 quarterback hurries as the dominate defensive player that he was.
Eric also showed his versatility this past season as he also lined up at tight end and full back for the Red Tornadoes. He helped his team into the District IV playoffs in all three of his seasons, winning the gold medal in 2011 and the silver in 2012.
Joraskie was also named the Joe Grey Award winner as the “Outstanding Lineman” for the Tornadoes in each of his three seasons. He has also been named the Chapter’s Athlete of the Month for August. He was selected to the Pennsylvania Big 33 Team and will play in the game in June of 2013. After weighing a number of Division I offers from schools such as Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Maryland, Eric has signed a letter of intent to attend and play for the Northwestern University Wildcats.
Christina Perles will become the 10th name on the list of Lady Tornado Basketball players who have surpassed the 1000-point plateau. Her journey to the mark was different than most as she played her first three seasons for the Lourdes Regional Red Raiders. While there, Christina totaled 979 points in helping the Red Raiders to three consecutive District IV Single A Championships.
Before the start of the 2012 school year, Perles transferred to Mount Carmel Area where she surpassed the 1000-point mark in fer first game for the Tornadoes, scoring 22 points in MCA’s 65-40 victory over Sunbury Christian. She has led the Tornadoes in scoring during the 2012-13 season on the way to a fine 19-3 regular season record. The girls also nabbed their third consecutive Heartland Division II Championship and the top seed in District IV play. Christina’s monster 21-point game led the Tornadoes to a 66-43 victory over Southern for its third consecutive District Title. Perles also accomplished the rare fete of winning District Championships at two different schools. She has averaged 17 points per game and is shooting close to 80% from the free-throw line. Her career total of more than 1400 points ranks 5th all-time on MCA’s list. Her play on the court led her to being named the Chapter’s Athlete of the Month for December. Christina was also selected as the 2012-13 Pre-Season Player of the Year by the Daily Item and received the Black Diamond Discovery Award as a freshman.
Christina is the daughter of Deb and Rick Perles of Kulpmont and is planning to continue her playing career at a four-year college.
Nearly 55 years after he began an era in local music that remains unmatched today, Paul Semicek is still earning accolades for his inspiration and dedication to making music relevant to so many local students. Today’s recognition comes from a very unlikely source – the Ed Romance Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. He is being recognized for bringing so much attention to the Mount Carmel Area School District and this section of Pennsylvania.
A native of Mount Carmel, Paul’s career began at age 13 playing the trumpet in pick-up bands and orchestras. His tremendous talent earned him a scholarship to Susquehanna University. He was drafted into the army, where he spent two years touring Europe with the U.S. Army 3rd Armored Division Band, which was George Patton’s Division.
After his military service and graduation from Susquehanna, Paul began teaching at Mount Carmel High School in 1958. Bringing the drum corps style to his marching band (the first in the country to do so), he would change the name of the band to the “Mounties.” In 1964, the Mounties became the first American band to play at a Canadian Football League game.
In 1963 Semicek began the “Festival of Stars” drum corps show. It attracted top drum corps to the area and brought along a host of famous musical guests to perform with the Mounties. They included Gene Krupa, trumpeter Maynard Ferguson, Tonight Show band leader “Doc” Severinsen, Tommy Newsome, Ed Shaughnessey, and others including Miss America and Miss Pennsylvania.
In 1976, Semicek moved on to Danville, where the Festival would continue. Combined, both bands would appear at over 110 NFL games, the Prekaness in Maryland, and at the final career game of international soccer star, Pele and the Chicago Bear’s legend Brian Piccolo. His bands also made appearances at major league baseball games, including the Phillies, Pirates, Yankees and Orioles.
For all of his accomplishments, in 2011, he was honored with his induction into the Pennsylvania Drum Corps Associates Hall of Fame. Some have estimated that, in his career, Paul’s bands performed for more than 1 million spectators. Ed Romance, the founder of the local hall of fame once said: “Paul Semicek is an outstanding individual, a person who excels in creating musical extravaganzas with young people. He is a man with dedication and desire that matches or exceeds the best sposrts coaches in the entire region.”
Paul continues to write and arrange music from his home in Kulpmont. He is the father of three daughters; Lynne Zsido, Leslie Savage, and Lisa Jaschick.