Ed Romance Chapter 2018 Inductees: Front row, from left, Robert Veach, Ana Ditchey, Mark Zlocki representing father Stanley Zlocki. Back row, from left, Buddy Royer, Nick Sebes, Chapter President Frank Niglio, Jonathan Else.
Award Winners: Front row, from left, Bailey Little, Myia Miriello, Nicole Varano, Maci Mazzatesta. Back row, from left, Larry Czeponis, Evan Salamone, Chapter Scholarship Chairman Jose Gonzalo, Manus McCracken.
Manus McCrackenSpecial Achievement, Jazz Diminick Male Scholar Athlete, Russ and Jo Ann Cesari Scholarship
40th Annual Banquet
Although there have been 321 inductees into the Ed Romance Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, Ana Ditchey becomes only the 17th female to earn the honor. And earn it she did! As a four-year starter for Coach Steve Lapotsky, Ana excelled on the basketball court for MCA, leading them to a third place finish in District IV play in 1999. It was the highest finish for any Lady Tornado team since the 1985 District Championship won by the Fantanarosa-led team. It was also the last team to enter state play until the 2010 team began the current run of 9 consecutive trips. Ditchey became only the 7th player in MCA history to record 1000 points, finishing with 1246 – still good enough for 10th on the all-time list. She also ranks 8th in foul shots made in a season – 103, 7th in a career – 261, and 8th in 3 point goals with 71. She also led the team into District play as a senior co-captain.
In the spring, Ana took her talents to the Silver Bowl with the Lady Tornado track team. She was a 3-time District IV Champion in the javelin and three-time state qualifier. As a sophomore, Ditchey broke the 20 year old javelin record held by Cheryl Kent and then upped the mark to 138’9”. This throw was noted by Track and Field Magazine as the 6th best throw in the country in 1999. Although the individual marks were great, she was proud of the fact that her teams complied a 32-0 record in the Schuylkill League and won the SIAL Championship for four consecutive years from 1997-2000. Ironically, that would be the last undefeated team until 2017 – a team coached by Ditchey herself.
Ana also made a little MCA history as she became the first female golfer in the annals of MCA golf, earning a varsity letter in 1999.
Ditchey recently took over the Lady Tornado track program in 2012. They have continued to get stronger each year, culminating in that undefeated 6-0 team in 2017, winning the Heartland Conference Championship – MCA’s first-ever. During that time she has produced 49 District medalist performances, as well as 14 state qualifiers with 4 District Champions. Her most heralded pupil was Maura Fiamoncini, who won 3 state medals, including 2 state championships in the AA javelin. The 4 x 800 team of Lauren Hause, Marissa Kleman, Jen Bolick and Ali Varano also earned a 7th place medal at the PIAA State Championship with a school record 9:39.8. She is also proud to currently have 6 athletes competing at the college level at Bucknell, Kutztown, Bloomsburg and Susquehanna, while 2 more will be added following the 2018 season. Ditchey has been coaching since 2004 as an assistant with MCA track while previously coaching MCA basketball and volleyball.
Ana received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education in 2004 from Bloomsburg University and added a Master of Science in Instructional Technology in 2007. She has been teaching at MCA for 14 years at Mount Carmel Area Elementary and also serves as a Committee Member for the MCA Think Big Pediatric Dance Marathon. She is the daughter of Tootsie and Bill Ditchey of Mount Carmel.
During its previous Championship runs, the Pittsburg Steelers were led by their “Bus” Jerome Bettis. Mount Carmel Area had its’ own “Bus” during its state championship era – Big Jon Else. Jonathan started 42 consecutive games at center for the Red Tornadoes, winning 39 of them. Along the way MCA picked up two state championships in 1996 and 1998. Big #75 was the man at the point of attack for Big Red, leading the way for MCA backs to gain close to 10,000 yards rushing and another 3500 yards passing while scoring over 180 TD’s and 1335 points. His 1996 team was a perfect 15-0, noted as the first team to win 15 games in a season and had the distinction of never trailing in a game. That team averaged 8.1 yards per rush which is the best ever for an MCA team. The 96 team with 533 points scored and the 98 team with 505 are 2 of the top 3 in MCA history.
Coach Whitey Williams was so confident in Jon that he gave quarterbacks Vic Kornaski and Nick Sebes the greenlight to audible to a QB sneak whenever they felt it was there. In three years, they were never stopped short of first down yardage. Jon was chosen a senior captain of the 98 team after garnering 2nd team all-state honors as a junior – only the 8th underclassman in history to be named to the all-state team. As a senior in ’98, Else was named to the first team all-state lineup by the Associated Press and was named the Lineman of the Year by the Reading Eagle. After mulling over offers from Georgetown, Lycoming, and Susquehanna, Jon chose to stay closer to home and play for MCA’s Frank Sheptock at Wilkes University.
After enrolling at Wilkes, Jon started in 18 games for the Colonels in 1999 and 2000 at the center position. In ’99, the Colonels qualified for the ECAC Southeast Playoffs and registered a 27-6 win over FDU Madison. They also qualified for the 2000 playoffs before losing to Muhlenberg by a 22-26 score. Jonathan then decided to concentrate on golf and lettered for 4 years from 2000-2003, serving as a co-captain for 3 of those years. After graduation Jon, continued to compete in professional bass fishing tournaments and was ranked 9th overall in 2010 in the Eastern Division of the FLW Series. Jon still is the owner/operator of Lone Goose Guide Service where he conducts tours for waterfowl and smallmouth bass on the Susquehanna River.
Else earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting in 2003 and a Master of Business Administration in 2005 from Wilkes. He returned to the area following graduation and served as the Vice President and then President of Operations for King Coal Tours from 2005 to 2013. Jon is now an insurance producer with Klebon Insurance Group of Elysburg. He is the son of Kathy and the late Bob Else of Elysburg and currently makes his home in Elysburg with his wife, Diane.
BOB “BUDDY” ROYER
Just as he had done throughout his playing career, Bob “Buddy” Royer has earned his spot in the Ed Romance Chapter Class of 2018. Buddy was recruited out of Mount Carmel High School following his graduation in 1960 by Head Football Coach Earle Edwards to travel south to join the Wolfpack at North Carolina State University. Edwards’s tenure at N.C. State covered the time from 1954 to 1970 and was credited with laying the foundation for future success of the Wolfpack in the very strong Athletic Coast Conference. Buddy Royer was a great part of that foundation. Buddy had completed a very successful freshman year at North Carolina State on a team that was 4-0 and defeated North Carolina, Wake Forest, Duke, and Virginia. He was a starter at Middle Linebacker and Tight End at a time when freshmen were prohibited from playing varsity college athletics.
At the start of his sophomore year during summer workouts, Coach Edwards moved him to center and he found himself on the 5th team looking up. He gradually moved to the 3rd team before the start of the season and insured a place on the travel team. By the third game of the season, Royer had progressed to the starting center position for All American and All Pro quarterback Roman Gabriel. Gabriel later played with the Rams and Eagles in the NFL. At that time, players played two ways, giving Royer the opportunity to play and start at middle linebacker for the next two years. He also played with Joe Scarpati (Eagles and Vikings) and against the famous Leroy Jordan of the Dallas Cowboys, Bob Brown (Eagles and Rams) and Gary Collins (Cleveland). In the year following his time there, the Wolfpack played in the Liberty Bowl which was only the second bowl game in school history. Buddy has great satisfaction in knowing he was an integral part of the Wolfpak’s return to the national stage.
Buddy’s career began with Coach Mike Terry and the Red Tornadoes. He was one of only a few freshmen ever brought up to the varsity in 1956 and would go on to letter and start for three years. He played a number of positions including guard, end, linebacker, halfback and returned kicks. During his junior campaign, the Tornadoes won their first 8 games. Unfortunately one of Shenandoah’s greatest ever teams would have them finish 8-2-1.
Royer also ran track for Coach Gerald Breslin, competing in the 100, 220 and 440 yard runs, as well as, relays, low hurdles and the javelin. He was part of a medal team in District IV in the 4 x 220 with Steve Bolick, Joe Menapace and Fred Hynoski and he also medaled in the javelin.
Royer was only one of only three underclassmen to play Tornado Basketball for Coach Glen Menges in 1959 and he became a senior co-captain in 1960.
Following his stint at NC State, Uncle Sam called and had Buddy serving for 3 years with the US Army. He was part of an MP Unit and served with security at the NATO headquarters in Versailles, France and later served for 16 months in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam, always with Top Security Clearances.
After returning home, Buddy moved to Philadelphia and was a computer programmer for International Union in Center City for more than 13 years. Seeking a change of pace, Royer moved on to Atlantic City with the emergence of the Casino industry. He eventually became a games supervisor at the Claridge Casino and worked for a total of 5 casinos, staying until his retirement at age 65.
He and his wife Jan made their home in the Lindenwold Area of New Jersey and are the parents of two daughters Nicole and Stephanie, as well as three awesome grandchildren Alexis, Anthony and Jason
DR. NICK SEBES
“Superman” – That’s what they called him. No, he wasn’t able to leap tall buildings at a single bound, he wasn’t quite as fast as a speeding bullet. Nick, though, was able to run 9 races over a two-day period to lead his MCA track team to the 1998 PIAA AA State Championship. He medaled in the 100 and 200 meter runs, and anchored the 4 x 400 meter relay team to a new school and regional record 3:23.9 attaining a silver medal finish, allowing the Tornadoes to win the team championship. During his four year track and field career at MCA the Tornadoes won 4 consecutive District IV team titles, while he won 13 individual golds. He would then win back to back PIAA titles in the 400 meters in 1999 and 2000. His times of 10.5(100 meters) 21.7 (200 meters), 48.56 (400 meters), 4 x 100 meter relay (43.3) and 4 x 400 meter relay (3:23.9) still remain as school records 20 years later.
Sebes would once again lead a team to a state title and this time it was as the quarterback for the 1998 edition of the Red Tornado Football Team. For his efforts, he was named the PIAA Small School Player of the Year, as well as, AP First team All-State. He would repeat the all state performance during the 1999 season, helping the Tornadoes to the State Championship game once again. A hand injury, however, prevented him and Big Red from repeating. Nonetheless, Nick was recruited by Stanford Head Coach Tyrone Willingham to play for the Cardinal as a wide receiver. He then participated in Pennsylvania’s Big 33 game in the summer of 2000.
Upon arriving at Stanford, Nick made an immediate impact with the Cardinal, scoring receiving touchdowns in each of his first two collegiate games. His contribution against Notre Dame is fully noted as he is featured early in Alan Grant’s book “Return to Glory” – the story of how the same Willingham would lead the Fighting Irish back to credibility. He went on to earn 3 varsity letters as a Stanford wide receiver and kick returner.
Though it may be hard to believe, Nick saved his best for last as a member of the Stanford men’s track team, earning 4 varsity letters in races from the 100, 200, 400, 4 x 1, 4 x 4 and distance medleys. His name is very noticeable today, as his 4 x 1 times rank 2nd, 4th, 6th and 9th with a best of 38.71, 4 x 4 meter relays still rank 2nd, 6th, 8th and 10th, with a best of 3:07.23, and 200 meter time of 21.4 – good for 5th. His indoor times of 21.58 in the 200 and 46.58 in the 400 still rank 3rd. His indoor 4 x 4 times still appear in 2nd, 3rd, and 6th.
Sebes went on to graduate from Stanford with a BA in Human Biology in 2005 and then earned a Masters from Columbia in 2006. He received his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Michigan in 2011 and did his primary residency at the Crozer Chester Med Center in 2011-12. He followed that up with a residency in dermatology at the University of Michigan, serving as the chief resident in 2013. He is currently a dermatology specialist at Geisinger Health System in Danville. He makes his home in Danville with his wife Carrie and two daughters, Ava and Arbor. He is the son of Francine and the late Albert Sebes of Mount Carmel.
Today, Bobby Veach gets to join his father Robert as a member of the Ed Romance Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, an exclusive fraternity within the Hall. Bobby spent four years with the Leopards of Lafayette College as a safety for Coach Bill Russo. Bobby helped to make history with Lafayette as Russo made his way to the winningest coach in the annals of Lafayette football. Lafayette football has been around since 1882 and Russo managed to win 103 games from 1981-1999. Veach was there as the Leopards won the Patriot League Championship in 1994 and was on the field for great program wins over Harvard, Columbia, Colgate, Bucknell, Cornell, and Holy Cross among others. He earned 3 varsity football monograms as a safety while with the program.
Bobby’s football training began with Coach Jazz Diminick and extended into the Whitey Williams era. Bob played mostly safety and tight end with the Tornadoes and was an integral part of laying the groundwork for the state championship teams to come. He led the 1993 team with 7 interceptions and also chipped in with 6 TD’s on 17 receptions for 309 yards from the tight end spot. He ended with 111 tackles and 9 passes defended. That ’93 team would qualify for the District XI playoffs and ended up losing to Allentown Central Catholic by a 27-6 score. (ACC ended up winning the state AAA Championship with a 47-6 win over Blackhawk). Bobby was named to the Press Enterprise All-Area team and earned the Ed Romance Award at the annual football banquet.
Veach was also a huge part of the history-making boys basketball team at MCA, winning the first-ever District Championship in 1991. As a freshman, Bob was Coach McKay’s defensive specialist and was almost always assigned the opposition’s best player. He was a huge part of what has been recognized as MCA’s most successful era in basketball, qualifying for District play on 3 separate occasions and playing for 2 Championships – winning one. Bob also contributed offensively with 373 points, 91 steals, 111 assists, and 230 rebounds. He was the annual winner of the VFW defensive player award on a number of occasions.
Bob also was a mainstay of MCA track and Coach Mike Woytowich, specializing in the sprints and relays. He and Scott Sebastian, Gary Spears, and Joel Gonzalo were the District XI 4 x 400 meter relay champions in 1993 and just missed the medal stand with a 9th place finish at the PIAA meet. He, Dave Slater, Spears and brother Brett won a 2nd place District medal in 1994 in the 4 x 100.
Bob went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Lafayette in 1998 and a Bachelor of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from MCP Hahnemann in 2001. He is currently a Physician Assistant for Sun Orthopaedic of Evangelical Hospital in Lewisburg. He and his wife Amy make their home in Selinsgrove and are the parents of a daughter Giovanna (8) and son Robert (4).
Stanley was a 1937 graduate of Kulpmont High School and immediately took off for New York City. There he trained as a middle-weight boxer at a time when the sport was booming. Stanley trained and fought in 18 fights with a 13-4-1 record. He did most of his work in the famous Gleason’s Gym in the lower Bronx, the same gym that champions such as Jake LaMotta, Mike Belloise and Phil Terranova blossomed. He worked his way through the ranks and in 1941, found himself in the finals of the prestigious Golden Gloves Championships at Madison Square Garden where he eventually lost to Charles Hayes from Detroit, MI. The Golden Gloves has been an avenue for amateur boxers since 1927. It was through the Golden Gloves that guys like Sugar Ray Robinson, Floyd Patterson, Jose Torres, Emile Griffith, and Riddick Bowe found their way to national prominence.
Stanley continued to box as a member of the Army Air Corps during World War II. He was stationed at Laughlin Air Base as a technical sergeant in the advanced test flight program. He was the middleweight boxing champ at both Laughlin Air Base and Clark Air Base in the Philippines. Following WW II, Stanley utilized the GI Bill to attend Alliance College in Cambridge Springs and eventually completed his Bachelor of Arts in political science at Penn State University in 1950.
He then matriculated to Catholic University Law School and graduated in 1953 after being selected to the university Law Review. Upon graduation, Stanley returned to Northumberland County and entered into the law practice of long-time attorney Carl Rice Sr. In 1955, Zlocki opened his own law practice focusing on estate planning and general law until retiring in 2003.
During his 50 year career, Stanley was influential in the civic development of his community. He served as the solicitor for the Mount Carmel Area School District and was instrumental in leading them through the process of building the current Junior-Senior High School in 1977.
He was also very active in Kulpmont as the attorney for St. Casimir’s Parish, the American Legion and the Kulpmont Knights of Columbus. He was married for 60 years to the former Norma Petrucelli at the time of his death in 2009. Stan is the father to three sons, Matthew, Michael, and Chris.
Manus McCracken has had a breakout year as a linebacker for the Mount Carmel Area Red Tornado football team. As a result he has been named to a number of Pennsylvania All-State football teams. McCracken has distinguished himself as only the 10th player to record over 100 tackles in back to back seasons by racking up 77 solo and 56 assisted tackles for a total of 133 – 22 of them for loss. The 133 stops rank as the 9th best season ever at MCA. He also added 7 QB sacks, 2 passes defended, 1 fumble recovery, 1 QB hurry and 1 blocked kick. He also had 7 games with 10 or more tackles with a high of 20 tackles against Danville. For these efforts and more he was named to the PA Sportswriters AA all-state team as a first team linebacker. He was also recognized by Eastern PA Football as a first team backer and recently was named to the Pennsylvania Football News with a spot on the second team. Additionally WNEP has honored him as a member of their Dream Team.
Manus ended his career with a total of 332 tackles – 35 for loss – The 332 ranks as the 7th best total ever at MCA. He has been recognized as the Kiwanis Award recipient, the Bob Pizzoli Award, and has been a two-time Breakfast/Supper Club Award winner as the team’s outstanding defensive player. His plans are to attend an Ivy or Patriot League school to major in Mathematics or Engineering.
NICOEL LYNN VARANO
The Romance Chapter generally recognizes athletes who have hit the 1000 point plateau or earned all-state in their sport. Nicole Varano has accomplished the first and has earned the second- twice! Nicole surpassed the 1000 mark on the basketball court last year and has since also surpassed the 1700 point milestone on the way to becoming MCA girls second leading scorer behind only Maria Fantanarosa. Varano has distinguished herself on the hardwood being recognized and named to the Pennsylvania 3rd team all-state in 2017. Nicole has helped her team to 2 District IV Championships in 2016 and 2017. She has proven to be an all-around player by placing herself as the 2nd leading foul shooter in history, the career leader in steals with over 450 and is in the top 5 in rebounding with over 950. She was also named the News-Item and Sunbury Daily Item player of the year in 2017.
On the soccer field, Nicole recently became the girls’ all-time leading scorer with 111 goals during her four-year career, even though she spent part of one season in goal. She was the three-year captain and PHAC 1st Team All-Star all four years. She was the News-Item Player of the Year in 2016 and 2017 and was named to the Pennsylvania All State Soccer Team in 2017. She is the first and only female ever at MCA to be named all-state in two sports.
Varano is also an excellent track athlete at MCA and now has 5 District IV medals to her credit. Her District IV second place finishes in the 110 Meter Hurdles and 300 Meter Hurdles qualified her for the PIAA State Meet at Shippensburg as a junior. We look forward to this spring’s track and field season with her senior season on the horizon.
1998 AA STATE CHAMPIONSHIP TRACK TEAM
Dream it – they did! Expect it – not so much! After looking at the seed positions for the 1998 State Championship Meet, Coach Al Yackenchick and his team felt really good about their prospects as they made their way down Route 81 to Shippensburg. The Tornadoes had just come off of a win in the District IV Championship Meet - their second consecutive district championship and 24th overall. (The Red Tornadoes would also win District Titles in 1999 and 2000 to give MCA 26 overall titles). The Tornadoes were paced in the District Meet by their star, Nick Sebes, who won the 100 and 200 meter runs with a District record 10.7 and 21.9 and anchored the 4 x 100 meter relay team of Jon Veach, John Kalinoski, and Pete Avellino to a 43.5 and did the same for the 4 x 400 meter relay team of Bryan Dettrey, Jed Gonzalo, and Matt Montgomery with a new District Record time of 3:24.1 to win the meet by an 82-80 score over Central Columbia ( The 3:24.1 was never recognized by District IV due to a clerical error and would still be the District record today). Additionally Pete Drey won gold in the 1600 (4:24.1) and Jay Malakoski in the shot (52’11”). Jake Shellhammer and Matt VanDoren also scored points, enabling the victory.
At the state meet, the Tornadoes were once again led by Sebes, who earned a silver in the 200, 8th place finish in the 100 and a silver medal in the 4 x 400 MR with Dettrey, Gonzalo, and Montgomery setting a new Regional record of 3:23.9. Drey was 4th in the 1600, as was Jay Malakoski in the shot put. The 27 points allowed the Tornadoes to tie Fort LeBoeuf for the team title. It was the first and only state championship in the storied MCA track program.
The 1998 team dominated its competition with a perfect 9-0 record in dual meets and capped the season off with a 1st place finish in the Schuylkill League meet. The Tornado thin clads were also victorious in the Purple and White Relays, Mount Carmel Invitational, and Williamsport Coaches Invitational. Their only blemish was a second place finish to AAA Selinsgrove in the MCA Breslin Relays. Records established during the ’98 season were: 100 meter dash – Sebes – 10.5, 200 meter dash – Sebes – 21.7, 4 x 100 meter relay – Sebes, Veach, Kalinoski, Avellino – 43.3, 4 x 400 meter realy – Sebes, Montgomery, Gonzalo, Dettrey – 3:23.9, 1600 meter – Drey – 4:22.4. Al Yackenchick spent three years at the helm and he would leave following the ’98 campaign with a 24-6 record. Coach Yak and the 1998 team set the gold standard for MCA track and field.
1998 MCA STATE CHAMPIONSHIP FOOTBALL TEAM
The road to the ’98 State Championship had begun on a cold and snowy day in November of 1997 as the Red Tornadoes lost the District Championship to South Williamsport by a 14-6 score. Right there on the muddy turf of the Silver Bowl where they vowed to never feel that way again. They knew what it would take – a total commitment from each member including freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, the coaches, the administration, and support staff. They were never arrogant about it. Each and every one of them just knew. Hard work, family attitude, and their desire would get them there.
Big Red opened the season with a 35-0 white-wash over Tamaqua, followed by a 35-6 drubbing of Panther Valley. Mike Sinkovich established a new career record for PAT’s in this game by going 5 of 5. Jon Veach had the 4th best game in MCA history, running for 240 yards in the 21-7 win in the Southern rivalry game. The defense came up big with a school record 9 sacks against Shamokin, holding the Indians to -8 yards rushing in the close 21-7 win. Steve Sinkovich and Dan Dowkus had 2.5 sacks each with Jay Malakoski adding 1.5. Even though MCA speedster Nick Sebes ran back a kickoff for 93 yards. Allentown Central Catholic –the eventual AAA State Champion - scored in the 4th quarter for an 18-15 win over the locals. Malakoski, Steve Sinko, and Parisella paced the defense with 13, 11, and 11 tackles each. The Tornadoes regained their winning ways on the road with a 28-0 blanking of Marion Catholic. Veach ran for 178 yards in this one with Sinkovich establishing a new school record making his 19th consecutive PAT. It would take 20 fourth-quarter points for MCA to get past North Schuylkill by a 27-12 score with Veach again leading the way with 229 yards.
Then came one of the all-time classics as MCA eventually won a shoot-out with the Bartosic - Bowman Shikellamy Braves by a 42-38 score. Veach and Sebes ran for 194 and 165 yards respectively while the Braves threw for 456 yards and 6 touchdowns – the most ever against an MCA team. Their 488 total yards also established a new standard against MCA. Malakoski would establish a new MCA record for career sacks with 26.5, adding 2.5 against the Rams of Wyalusing. MCA then established a new mark with 537 yards of total offense in a 48-7 win over Selinsgrove. Sebes would run for 114 and throw for 120 with Josh Parisella grabbing 7 passes for 91 yards and 2 scores.
Big Red opened District IV play with an easy 48-12 win over Line Mountain, followed by a convincing 31-3 win over Hughesville in the Championship game. Steve Sinko with 13 and Jeff Evans with 10 paced the Tornado D. Veach (128), Sebes (124), and Al Bailey (108) registered the trifecta as all gained over 100 yards in a 47-6 smashing of Wyoming Area at our home away from home Shamokin. In an encore meeting with Marion Catholic, Big Red prevailed by a 30-0 score with Sebes running for 105 and scoring 4 TD’s. Terry Meyer registered 12 tackles with Malakoski and Chris Cuff grabbing 2.5 sacks.
Next would be the trip down 81 for our first visit to Hershey, but looming was Shady Side Academy and their 7 Division one prospects. Veach and Sebes scored 2 touchdowns, with Al Bailey adding one, all on the ground. Then Aaron Zeigler took an onside kick attempt 50 yards for another TD and the rout finished by a 44-7 score.
The team would score 505 points and only gave up 122, while registering 5201 yards of total offense. Sinkovich (128), Meyer (116) and Malakoski (105) would pace the defense with Malakoski (14) and Cuff (13.5) the sack leaders. Nick Chesney grabbed 9 INT’s. The 553 yards given up rushing ranks as the fewest ever given up in a season, regardless of number of games. Chesney, Sebes, Veach, Malakoski, Steve and Mike Sinkovich, Jon Else, and Chris Cuff would earn all-state honors. And at the end of the day and the 1998 Tornadoes football season the Big Red would fulfill their promise to each other as the 1998 PIAA State Champions.
ED ROMANCE CHAPTER SCHOLARSHIP
Bailey Little is the first-ever recipient of the newly announced Ed Romance Chapter Scholarship. Because of the overwhelming generosity of our alumni and chapter members, the chapter has decided to give the award to those who have continued to contribute to MCA Athletics and carry themselves with a certain Tornado Pride. Baily Little is that athlete.
Bailey is a four-year letter winner for MCA basketball and Coach Lisa Varano. Her tremendous development during her freshman season allowed Bailey to be added to the varsity roster as playoffs approached. After that, she never looked back, becoming a starter midway through her sophomore season. She willingly accepted the point guard role on the team even though she had never played the position before .She worked tremendously hard at making herself the best she could be. Bailey has helped the girls to three District Championships in 2016, 2017 and 2018, and a third place finish in 2015. Her quickness on offense causes problems for opposing defenses, while she is very active on defensive end. Coach Varano said “She is a total team player and a fierce competitor who works extremely hard at all she does. Her athleticism has been a huge asset on both the offensive and defensive ends.” She serves as one of the team captains as a senior, averaging 8 points and 3 assists per game.
Bailey is also a four-year letter winner in girls track with Coach Ana Ditchey. She has participated in a variety of events including the 100M, 200M, 400M, 4 x 100 , 4 x 400, long jump, and javelin. She has qualified for the District meet for three years with bests of 12.9 in the 100, 27.7 in the 200, 16 feet in the long jump and 109’ in the javelin. Her contributions were huge in MCA’s winning the Girls’ Division Championship in 2017 with an undefeated 6-0 record. Little has also lettered for three years with MCA soccer where her speed helped navigate the field for Coach Rich Miller.
Bailey has been very active at MCA, especially as a Thing Big Student Leader for three years. The group is responsible for raising over $42,000 in 2017 for pediatric cancer. She was also involved with the painting of street signs in Mount Carmel as part of her Senior Project with many of her classmates. She also has volunteered her time at the MCA Youth Track Camp for the last four years and was definitely one of the favorites of many youth campers. Little has also been an altar server at the Church of the Holy Angels in Kulpmont for 12 years.
She is the daughter of Guidyne and Scott Little of Kulpmont and has been accepted to Penn State, where she will focus on a Physical Therapy degree.
ED ROMANCE CHAPTER ALUMNI SCHOLARSHIP
This year’s first-ever Romance Chapter Alumni Scholarship winner is Maci Mazzatesta. The scholarship came about through the generosity of the alumni members of the hall in an effort to recognize those student athletes who, through their achievements, continue to bring recognition to the Mount Carmel Area School District.
Mazzatesta was a unanimous choice for the honor.
Maci has distinguished herself as a track athlete as well as a soccer standout. She has started every varsity game with MCA soccer since stepping onto the field as a freshman. She has been a staple at both the Center Mid and Outside Mid positions while playing both the forward and defensive position on an as needed basis. She was also the Tornadoes primary option for Corner and Penalty kicks. She has even managed to score 9 goals and has 17 assists in her career and has been named to the Pennsylvania Heartland Conference Second team for 3 consecutive years, as well as, the News Item All Area team for 3 years. Maci has also performed with the NSSC U19 Strikers and was a member of the EPYSA Indoor State Cup Champions in 2016. Her aggressive style of play and her “team above all” attitude helped her to be named a team captain in 2017. She has committed to playing soccer at the Division II level at for the Raiders of Shippensburg University.
As a track athlete, Maci has been a stalwart for the bulk of her career at MCA. She has participated in events including the 400M, 800M, 1600M, 300 IM, 4 x 400 M, 4 x 800M, high jump and pole vault before settling in to the 800m, 1600M, and 4 x 400 meter relay. She has earned 4 District IV medals, including a 3rd in the 1600M as a sophomore and a silver medal in 2017 in the 1600m, which qualified her for the state championship meet at Shippensburg. Earlier in the season, she established a new MCA record in the 1600M, breaking the previous mark by 7 seconds while posting a 5:11.81. Maci was PHAC Champion in the 1600M as a junior and helped the team to the Division III Championship. She has been recognized as a News Item all-star for 3 years. She has also competed as a member of the 4 x 400M relay at the prestigious Penn Relays for three years.
Academically, Maci is a member of the National Honor Society, National Athletic Honor Society, and is a 2017 School Board Merit Award winner. She has been a Think Big Student Leader, an Ambassador for Morgan Danielle Photography, a member of the yearbook staff, and was chosen as the 2017 Homecoming Queen. Maci is the daughter of Patti and Tony Mazzatesta of Kulpmont and will attend Shippensburg as a part of the Exploratory Studies Program.
JOSEPH “JAZZ” DIMINICK MALE SCHOLAR ATHLETE
Jazz Diminick would have been excited to have Manus McCracken be the recipient of his male scholar athlete award. Manus has worked very hard to become the player that he is. Some may say Manus is a tad undersized, a step slow, and maybe not quite as strong as those around him. What does set him apart is his burning desire to be the best. He has focused on his lateral speed and has become a true student of the game. Manus has started 35 games at the linebacker position and has posted double digit tackles in 16 of them, with a best of 20 in the game with the Danville Ironmen. He has come up huge in the biggest of games, having 10 or more tackles twice against Southern, Selinsgrove, Loyalsock, South Williamsport and North Schuylkill.
McCracken led the 2017 Tornadoes with 133 tackles, 77 of them solo. The 77 solo tackles represent the most ever by a Red Tornado. He surpassed Vince Yasenchak’s 76 in 1999 and Steve Matura’s 75 in 2002, both accomplished in 15 game seasons. The 133 tackles ranks as the 9th best season ever at MCA making him only the 10th MCA player to record 100 tackles in 2 seasons. Manus’s career total now stands at 332 tackles (7th all-time) with 35 for loss. He has also added 9 QB sacks, 3 Passes defended, 3 fumble recoveries and 5 QB hurries. In addition, he was the fullback who helped pave the way for MCA to run for 3000 yards in 2017.
For his efforts, Manus has been named to the PA Sportswriters AA First Team as a linebacker, Eastern PA Football AA 1st team linebacker, Pennsylvania Football News AA 2nd team linebacker. He capped it off by being named to the WNEP TV 16 Dream Team.
McCracken has also earned four letters wrestling with the Tornado Matmen and has been a part of MCA Track and Field. McCracken culminated his wrestling career by qualifying for the PIAA State Championships at 195lb. Manus is currently ranked 3rd in his class and has a 1480 in his SAT’s. He still finds time to volunteer in his church as an altar server and at the local food pantry, moving food goods and with distribution. He has also worked transforming the Mount Carmel Public Library Reading Garden into a beautiful and thriving flower garden for the citizens of Mount Carmel. Helping his community is important to him now and is part of his plans going forward. Manus plans to attend an Ivy League or Patriot League school to major in mathematics or engineering. He is the son of Vivian and Casey McCracken of Mount Carmel.
JOSEPH D. WASILEWSKI FEMALE SCHOLAR ATHLETE
NICOLE LYNN VARANO
It seems as though Nicole Varano has been leading MCA Girls teams to victories forever. It is even more difficult to fathom that her career at MCA is almost over. She has certainly positioned herself as one of the greatest female athletes ever to wear the Red and White. Being named all state in basketball and soccer and participating at the state championships in track certainly has set her apart. Varano is a four-year letter winner and three-year captain of MCA Soccer and recently completed her career as the all-time leading scorer with 111 goals. She was a PHAC 1st team all-star for 4 years and was named the News-Item Player of the Year in 2016 and 2017. She culminated her career by being named to the PA All-State Soccer team in 2017.
Varano also led the MCA Girls Basketball Program to 3 District IV Championships in 2016, 2017, and 2018 while serving as team captain for 3 years. She will conclude her playing career at MCA, under Head Coach Lisa Varano, as the second leading scorer in history with over 1700 points behind only MCA legend Maria Fantanarosa. She will also finish with over 400 foul shots made, 450 steals and recently surpassed the 1000 total for rebounds, becoming only the 2nd player in history to pass the milestone. She was the News-Item Player of the Year in 2017 and the Sunbury Daily Item Player of the Year in 2017. Nicole then became only the 4th MCA player in history to be named to PA All-State Basketball with a 3rd team berth in 2017.
Varano also now owns 5 District IV medals in track and field. She has a 4th place finish in the 4 x 400M as a freshman, 3rd place in the 300M Hurdles and 7th place finish in the Triple Jump as a sophomore and 2 Second Place finishes in the 300IM and 100M Hurdles as a junior. She is the current MCA record holder in the 100M Hurdles with a 15.62. Nicole has twice been named the News Item Athlete of the Year following the 2016 and 2017 school years.
Varano is currently ranked 2nd in her class and is a member of the National Honor Society, National Athletic Honor Society, and has been a School Board Merit Award Winner. She has served as her class Vice President for 4 years and is involved with the Bloomsburg ACE Program and has found time to volunteer as a Student Leader for Think Big for three years, working to support Pediatric Cancer patients.
Nicole is planning to attend Bloomsburg University School of Nursing while continuing to play soccer for Coach Matt Haney and the Huskies. She is the daughter of Lisa and Rob Varano
BOB GRECO FAMILY ST. PAULINE SCHOLARSHIP
MYIA MARIE MIRIELLO
The Bob Greco Family St. Pauline Scholar for 2018 is MCA Senior Myia Miriello. She was chosen because of her extraordinary service to her school, community, and church. Myia is an active attendee at The Church of the Holy Angels in Kulpmont. Here under the direction of Father Andrew Stahmer, she is involved with the annual picnic and also volunteers at the annual Thanksgiving Dinner for those alone or underprivileged. At Mount Carmel Area High School Myia is involved with The Buddy Bag Project. The Buddy Bags are given out to those children who are in danger of not having enough meals to see them through the weekend. Myia helps to fill the bags, hand them out, and then repeats these duties the following weekend. She has also helped with the collection, sorting, tagging, and handing out of Christmas gifts for the needy over the Christmas holidays.
Myia is also a Student Leader for MCA’s Think Big program. This amazing program raises money for pediatric cancer in conjunction with Geisinger’s Janet Weis Children’s Hospital. Myia also spent some time with Ben McFadden’s Eagle Scout/Senor Project to repaint the street signs in Mount Carmel Borough.
Athletically, Myia has lettered for four years with MCA Girls’ Basketball. She has been the starter in the middle for the past two seasons and was a huge part of the District Championship teams in 2016, 2017 and now in 2018. Myia is the type of player that doesn’t necessarily show up in the stat sheet, but is always making the big rebound or big bucket when it is needed the most. Coach Varano said that “Myia is the type of player every coach wants on their team. She is one of the hardest working players I have ever coached. She is the perfect example of a team player who is a star in her role.” She was recently featured in an article in the Williamsport Sun Gazette after posting a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds in a game allowing MCA to clinch its 8th Heartland Conference Championship and Coach Varano’s 200th win. Miriello has also been a four-year starter for Lady Tornado Soccer as a defender and earned an honorable mention spot on the News-Item All Area Soccer team. She has also earned two varsity letters with the Tornado Track and Field squad.
Myia is a member of the National Honor Society, National Athletic Honor Society, and has been named an Elks Student of the Month, as well as, a Rotary Student of the Month. She also serves as the Class of 2018’s Treasurer. Her plans are to attend either Bloomsburg or Kutztown University to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice and possibly become an FBI Profiler. She is the daughter of Marci and Joe Miriello of Marion Heights.
JAMES M. BACH SCHOLAR AWARD
The 2018 recipient of the James M. Bach Scholar Award is Lawrence (Larry) Czeponis of Mount Carmel. Larry is a senior at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional High School where he has been an integral member of Red Raider Basketball for the past four years. He currently serves as a senior co-captain. His hard work and determination as a player has helped the Raiders secure spots in the past District IV Single A playoffs. He and teammate Thomas Schultz have given the Raiders a dominating presence inside. Larry and the Red Raiders were able to win the District IV A Championship in 2018 and went all the way to the state championship game before settling for the silver in a loss to Kennedy Catholic by a score of 78 – 36.
As a freshman and sophomore, Larry participated with the Raider golf team and Red Tornado track and field team through the schools cooperative sports agreement.
In addition to athletics, Larry is an exemplary student and has maintained honors status throughout his high school academic career. He serves as the Secretary for the National Honor Society and is the Vice-President of Student Council. He is also a member of the French Honor Society. He also participates in many extracurricular activities including the Science/Math Club, School Ambassadors, Respect Life Club and Students Against Destructive Decisions. He has already completed numerous college courses through the Early College Program at Luzerne County Community College.
Czeponis was recently nominated by the faculty to be a Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce Young American. This program recognizes outstanding accomplishments of twelfth grade students regarding academic and extracurricular activities at participating regional high schools.
Lawrence has been appointed to the Opioid Awareness Coalition allowing him the opportunity to address many of the concerns of the current opioid abuse epidemic. He also volunteers with Mount Carmel Downtown, Inc. in cleaning up and planting flowers and trees in his home community.
Larry is a member of Divine Redeemer Church where he serves as an Extraordinary Minister and also assists with parish fund raising. He was selected to receive the Saints Cyril and Methodius Servant Leadership Award, given to distinguished high school students, who have demonstrated superior attributes both academically and athletically, as well as, volunteer in their parish and community.
Larry is currently employed at Boyer’s Market in Mount Carmel. He plans to continue his education at a four-year college or university to major in political science and pre-law. He is the son of Lawrence and Ann Czeponis of Mount Carmel.
MIKE MYCHAK TORNADO HERITAGE AWARD
MCA Senior Evan Salamone has distinguished himself as an athlete for the last four years as one of the finest young golfers to ever play in our area. In 2017, he paced the Red Raider golf team from Our Lady of Lourdes Regional to the District IV team championship. Evan plays with OLOL through their co-operative agreement with Mount Carmel Area High School along with teammates, Selina Albert, Ryan Ciocco, Walter Kalinoski, Brock Evert, Thomas Schultz, Garrett Timco, and Zack Thomas. Evan led the team, coached by Ryan Felty, to the Schuylkill League Team Championship in 2017. The team would go 42-2 over four years with both losses coming at the hands of Blue Mountain. OLOL was the Schuylkill League runner-up on two other occasions.
Individually, Salamone is a 4-time winner of the Schuylkill League Scoring Title, a two-time District IV Scoring Titleist, and he also posted a 73.2 career scoring average. He was named the News-Item Golfer of the Year for all 4 years after going undefeated for all four years of his career. He has registered a low score of 67 (-6) and averaged 71 at his home course at Indian Hills. In 2017, Salamone lost a sudden death playoff for the District IV Championship, but qualified for PIAA Eastern Regional Championships. He is a Harry Hammond Invitational Top Ten finisher and a 4-time Philly Jr. PGA Tour Medalist. He also participated in tournaments at the Chapel Hill Golf Club, Skippack GC, Lebanon Country Club and the State College Series.
Salamone is also a four-year contributor to MCA Basketball and MCA baseball. He has worked his way up to the sixth man position on the court and has made key buckets in a number of close games for the Red Tornadoes and Coach John Lazicki. Evan’s attitude is greatly responsible for his earning this award as he feels that “whatever your role is in anything, be the best you can be. From being a 4 year captain to a reserve outfielder, do the best you can in your role and have fun.” Evan truly represents his school and community in the best light possible.
Evan plans to attend either Coastal Carolina, Penn State or California of PA to continue playing golf and pursue a degree in Professional Golf Management. He is the son of Roxanne Yurkiewicz and Ernie Salamone.
RUSS AND LO ANN CESARI SCHOLARSHIP
In what is certainly a first for the Romance Chapter, Manus McCracken has distinguished himself as the first Mount Carmel Area athlete to be awarded two of our scholarships, adding the Russ and Jo Ann Cesari Award. It was his superior efforts in the classroom that propelled him to the Cesari Scholarship. Manus has started 35 games at the linebacker position for Red Tornado football and has posted double digit tackles in 16 of them. His best effort was the 20 tackles in the games against the Danville Ironmen. He has come up big in the biggest of games, having 10 or more tackles twice against Southern, Selinsgrove, Loyalsock, South Williamsport and North Schuylkill.
McCracken led the 2017 Tornadoes with 133 tackles, 77 of them solo. The 77 solo tackles represent the most ever by a Red Tornado, surpassing Vince Yasenchak’s 76 in 1999 and Steve Matura’s 75 in 2002, both accomplished in 15 game seasons. The 133 tackles ranks as the 9th best season ever at MCA making him only the 10th MCA player to record 100 tackles in 2 seasons. Manus’s career total now stands at 332 tackles (7th all-time) with 35 for loss. He has also added 9 QB sacks, 3 Passes defended, 3 fumble recoveries and 5 QB hurries. In addition, he was the fullback who helped pave the way MCA to run for 3000 yards in 2017.
For his efforts, Manus was named to the PA Sportswriters AA First Team as a linebacker, Easter PA Football AA 1st team linebacker, Pennsylvania Football News AA 2nd team linebacker, and capped it off by being named to WNEP TV 16 Dream Team.
McCracken has also earned four letters with the Tornado Matmen and Coach Steve Pesarchick. He has managed to post over 35 wins during his senior campaign and recently earned a hard-fought third place finish in the Southern Sectional Tournament. He followed that up with a 4th place finish in Northeast Regionals, qualifying him to wrestle at the PIAA Championships at Hershey. Manus has also participated as a member of MCA track and field.
Manus is currently ranked 3rd in his class and has a 1480 in his SAT’s. He still finds time to volunteer in his church as an altar server and at the local food pantry, moving food goods and with distribution. He has also worked transforming the Mount Carmel Public Library Reading Garden into a beautiful and thriving flower garden for the citizens of Mount Carmel. Helping his community is important to him now and is part of his plans going further. Manus plans to attend an Ivy League or Patriot League school to major in mathematics or engineering. He is the son of Vivian and Casey McCracken of Mount Carmel.