Athlete of the Month: Mason Maciejewski

Athlete of the Month - Mason Maciejewski pic 2By Steve Svetovich

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dunmore Bucks do not open their football season until Oct. 3, but senior all-star lineman Mason Maciejewski is more than ready.

“His work ethic is always outstanding,” said Dunmore football coach Kevin McHale.

A Lackawanna League all-star as a junior from the center position on offense, Mason is also a stalwart as a defensive tackle for the Bucks.

Son of Scott and Stephanie Maciejewski, his sister Moriah, 24, was a three-year starter and three-time all-star on the Dunmore Lady Bucks basketball team. She was twice All Regional and once All-State. She is a graduate of  Newmann College where she received a bachelor of science degree. in accounting.

With sports in his blood, Mason chose football and is now entering his fourth season as a key member of the Dunmore Bucks football team.

He is undecided where he will attend college or what he will choose as his field of study, but is certain he wants to play football on the Division I or II level.

Mason is an honor student with a 3.2 academic average at Dunmore. His best subject is history.

He enjoys listening to music in his spare time and his favorite musical artist is Travis Scott.

Well-spoken and polite, Mason talked about what it takes to excel as a lineman in high school football. “You need to work very hard in the weight room,” he said. “Never slack. You also need to learn all of the techniques from the coaches. And work hard all the time.”

Mason said he cannot thank his parents enough for everything he learned from them. “I thank them a lot. I can’t even begin to say everything they have done for me. It is so much.”

He is quick to praise Dunmore coach McHale. “He taught me so much about techniques. He knows a lot about linemen and teaching the right techniques. He taught me a lot even when he was an assistant coach under Jack Henzes.”

The hard working senior lineman said the Dunmore Bucks football team will once again be very good and compete at a high level despite a possible shortened season due to the pandemic. Athlete of the MOnth - Mason Maciejewski“The goal is a state championship,” he said. “That is always the goal here.”

Always striving, Mason has kept busy during the pandemic.

“I’ve been working out, running, going over plays, and talking football with my teammates,” he said. “Football practice has been going well and we can’t wait for our first game on Oct. 3.” 

Confident and self assured within himself, but not cocky, Mason talked about his future goals on a personal level. “I want to always work very hard and never slack. I want to be the best person I could be. And I want to always have goals. 

Mason summed up his experience at Dunmore in a few words that tell it all. “I love it. There is absolutely no better place.”

Ruggiero Earns Comeback Athlete of Year

Co Athlete Frank RuggerioBy Steve Svetovich

Frank Ruggiero, a Dunmore senior this coming year, earned Comeback Athlete of Year honors through the Lehigh Valley Health Network.

Son of Vito and Chrissy Ruggiero, Dunmore, the three-sport athlete suffered injuries in a quad and motor vehicle accident March 30, 2019. A quad the teen was driving was hit by a truck in the mishap. 

A sophomore at the time, Frank was and still is a member of the Dunmore baseball, basketball and golf teams.

He underwent many weeks of intensive rehab following the accident in which he suffered multiple injuries and needed a bowel reconstruction. 

“But I always moved forward,” he said. “There was never a doubt in my mind I would be playing all three sports again at Dunmore.

“I suffered a brain bleed and concussion, but I was back on the baseball field for two games that very same year. I had a few hits my first game back and it felt good to be back playing second base and shortstop.”

Co Athlete Frank Ruggerio 3Frank is a guard on the Dunmore basketball team and came back as a junior to average over nine points a game and play a key role as a starter. 

He was looking forward to playing baseball as a junior and then the COVID-19 pandemic struck. “It was tough not being able to play baseball this year,” he said. “We were all looking forward to it. I wanted to play with my senior friends one last time. We wanted to win for the seniors.”

The talented, hard working soon to be senior came back strong in golf too. He was a first-team all-star and lost only one match.

He felt honored, but not too surprised receiving the Comeback Athlete of Year award. “It felt great, but I knew I was coming back because I love sports. There was no doubt in my mind. It was an honor, but I knew I would be coming back.

“Coming back is the big thing. Getting the award is just a bonus.”

Frank is an honors student with a 90 academic average at Dunmore. His best academic subject is math. 

Due to his great love and pursuit of athletics, Frank said he does not have a lot of time for music but does like Travis Scott. 

He gets a lot of his work ethic from his parents.

Co Athlete Frank Ruggiero 4“They teach me to always move forward and work hard. Hard work earns you success. They also teach me about respect. Be respectful of others.” 

He worked extremely hard during his rehab trying to get back on the baseball field.

“I had no choice, but to work hard. I could not wait to come back…I knew I would never stop playing.”

Frank said he can’t wait for his senior year.

“I want to take in every moment. I feel great over a year after the accident. I want to go as far as I can. I will never stop. I am going to savor the moments. Everything will be that much sweeter.”

Dunmore Scholar-Athlete Lauren Grippi Chasing Star at Penn State

Lauren Grippi icc 2

Dunmore tennis MVP Lauren Grippi, center, is shown with her coaches Jenny Ondeck and Jenna Urban.

By Steve Svetovich

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lauren Grippi had to wait until mid-July to graduate, and saw her graduating senior activities cancelled, but the humble, polite scholar-athlete took it all in stride.

“I felt like we missed out on a lot of fun senior activities like awards and class night,” she said. “but everyone was in the same predicament. We were all in the same boat, so how can you complain?” 

Lauren said she worked out, did school work and prepared for the college application process during her time off due to the pandemic. She will most likely study psychology while attending Penn State in the fall. 

Daughter of Shannon and Rich Grippi, Lauren had an impressive 3.6 academic average at Dunmore High School. She was a member of the National Honor Society and MVP and co-captain of the tennis team. She was Spanish Club recording secretary and a member of show choir, drama club and chorus. She was president of SADD, wrote for the school newspaper and was a football cheerleader for four years. Her favorite academic subject is English. 

Lauren, in her courteous nature, said she was honored to receive the team MVP award for tennis. “I felt honored and very happy when I heard about it,” she said. “Tennis takes a lot of determination and you can’t give up. You have to practice very hard.”

The talented and always busy Dunmore graduate said her parents taught her to work hard to achieve goals in life. “My parents taught me about a good work ethic and to always try my best at anything I do.

“My parents are always there for me. They also taught me to treat people right.”

Lauren said her Dunmore tennis coaches, Jenny Ondeck and Jenna Urban, taught her similar values. “Try my best and never give up. Work hard all the time. Keep your head up.”  

Lauren comes from a very talented and hard working family. Her dad is a retired Pennsylvania State Policeman. Her mom is a local dental hygienist. Her late grandfather Doug Miele was a veteran and Scranton Tribune newspaper editor. Her late great-grandfather Tony Miele played baseball, spent numerous years as a volunteer baseball coach and is a member of the Northeastern Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. Her brother Richie Grippi, 21, was an all-star baseball shortstop at Dunmore and is a junior at Penn State. 

Lauren said her goals in the immediate future are to pursue a psychology degree at Penn State, graduate, get a good job and eventually pursue an advanced degree and become a counselor. 

“I like to help people and listen when someone has a problem,” she said. “I like to help out with a person’s problem. That’s why I think counseling would be a good field for me.”

The soft-spoken tennis stalwart said she enjoys listening to country music in her spare time. Luke Combs is her favorite country artist.

Lauren said she enjoys being involved in a lot of school activities, but still kept her grades in the mid 90s. “I always got my school work done before practice,” she said. “I set time aside to study.” 

Kind, considerate and hard-working, Lauren will now chase her star at Penn State, but she will never forget Dunmore High School.

“I felt a part of a family at Dunmore,” she said. “I was welcomed by teachers and classmates throughout all my years at Dunmore. It is really a very close knit community. It will always be a part of me.”