Kaci Kranson of Holy Cross Named Female Athlete of Year

Kaci Kranson, Times-Tribune female Athlete of the Year, poses with Brandon Reed who was named Male Athlete of the Year.

By Steve Svetovich

Kaci Kranson, a junior basketball and softball player at Holy Cross, was named female Athlete of the Year last month by the Times-Tribune.

Brandon Reed of Riverside was named male Athlete of the Year. 

Both were honored last month at a dinner and ceremony at the Theater at North. A total of 35 student-athletes, who were chosen as Athlete of the Week and 23 athletes who were Times-Tribune Performers of the Year, were also honored.

It marked the 71st Times-Tribune and ESPN Radio Annual Athlete of the Week ceremony.

Kaci averaged 21.5 points per game for the Holy Cross Lady Crusaders basketball team. She has 1,225 career points at Holy Cross. She is closing in on the school record heading into her senior season.

She batted .485 with 12 homers, four doubles, three triples and 28 RBIs for the Holy Cross softball team.

“When I heard my name being recognized as female Athlete of the Year, well I was in complete shock,” Kaci said to The Dunmorean. “When they announced my name it was definitely one of the best moments in my life. It was very special having my two high school coaches support me. I am honored.”

Kaci’s softball coach at Holy Cross is Joe Ross. Her basketball coach is the veteran Barry Fitzgerald.

The hard working junior, who aspires to become a physical therapist, was a first-team, all-state selection for basketball this past season.

She was second in the Lackawanna League in homers to Maranda Runco of Mid Valley who had 19 this past year.

A point guard on the Holy Cross basketball team, Kaci had multiple 30-point plus games as she led her team to a District 2 basketball title and a close run at the state championship. 

She helped lead the Holy Cross softball team to the District 2 Class 2A championship, a 2-1 loss to Elk Lake. 

Not just a hard hitter on the softball diamond, Kaci also shows great athleticism, speed and range in the outfield catching every ball in sight.

She is considered a strong Division 1 college candidate for both basketball and softball. 

Known for her character and team play, she has a strong knowledge of both sports.

Driven to success, Kaci also excels in the classroom and is currently spending her time working out with a cast due to a broken wrist she suffered  making a dive in the outfield in the district title softball loss to Elk Lake. 

She is driven to be the best despite a quiet demeanor and often deflecting credit to her teammates.

“This really is a great honor,” she said. “I had great support.” 

Athlete of the Month: David Day

By Steve Svetovich

David Day finished off his Dunmore High School career as class valedictorian.

So what does he do for an encore?

He gets picked as a Lackawanna League Tennis Coaches first-team all-star for Class 2A as a No. 1 singles player.

Well versed and well spoken, David played four sports at Dunmore. 

Besides being the No. 1 singles player on the tennis team, he was a wide receiver for the football team one year, participated in swimming for two years and goal keeper for the soccer team three years. He was a Lackawanna League Soccer Coaches first-team all-star as a goalkeeper in his junior year.

Son of Bobby and Karen Day, he credits his parents for the work ethic he learned. “My parents taught me the value of hard work. It is what drives you to do well in life and succeed.”

David is a driven young man who likes to keep busy. He was a member of the Spanish Club, Engineering Club, Earth Club and Service Club at Dunmore. He was Dunmore student body president and yearbook staff editor. He was president of the National Honor Society. The scholar-athlete finished with a 3.8 academic grade point average as class valedictorian.

David will study astrophysics at the University of Florida in the fall. 

He talked about what it takes to excel as a high school tennis performer. “You need determination,” he said. “You can’t get down on yourself. You need to be consistent. A lot of it is mental.”

He praised Dunmore tennis coach Chris Phillips, the Lackawanna League coach of the year. “Coach Phillips told us that with the right mind set, anyone can play tennis. With hard work and the right mind set, anyone can do what they want.”

David said he likes listening to rap music in his spare time. He would like to see rapper Notorious B.I.G. in concert.

He talked about his future goals. “I would eventually like to earn a Ph.D in astrophysics,” he said. “I want to get into independent research. Hopefully, I will have a family and live a very normal life.”

David said he may play recreational tennis or bowling at the University of Florida. 

A four-year member of the Dunmore Bucks tennis team, the intellectual athlete said he thoroughly enjoyed his experience at Dunmore High School. “Everyone at Dunmore is very caring and welcoming. Everyone at Dunmore wants to see you do your best and succeed. The teachers, coaches, students and administrators all want to see that. It’s a very caring atmosphere.” 

Aquino Named First Team Track All-Star in Hurdles 

By Steve Svetovich

Dunmore graduating senior Dylan Aquino knows that practice and perfecting the right technique leads to excellence as a track and field hurdler.

And last month the talented recent Dunmore graduate was rewarded for his hard work when named Lackawanna Track Conference Coaches Division III-IV first-team all-star for the hurdle.

Son of Jessica and Ivan Aquino, Dylan was also named the Dunmore track and field team MVP for his efforts in the hurdle. 

Dylan, 18, was a four-year member of the Dunmore Bucks football team where he overcame some adversity that could have affected his track and field performance. He suffered a torn labrum to the shoulder as a sophomore and a pulled hamstring as a senior. 

Still, he fought hard to rehab from the injuries to compete on both the Dunmore football and track and field teams. He was a wide receiver and defensive back on the Dunmore football team under coach Kevin McHale. He had one interception. 

He injured his right hamstring again during Dunmore’s first track and field meet this past season, but was able to bounce back strong.

Dylan graduated last month with a 3.1 academic average at Dunmore High School. He was a member of the Spanish Club and the Earth Club.

He was a second-team Lackawanna Football Conference Coaches all-star as a defensive back for football.

He will attend Wilkes College where he will play football in the fall. 

Mike DeSando was his track and field coach at Dunmore. “He was great,” Dylan said. “He taught me absolutely everything I know about track.”

The track and field hurdler said he owes a lot to his parents. “They always tell me to never give up. They tell me to out work everyone else. Work harder than anyone no matter what you are doing.”

Dylan talked about what it takes to excel as a hurdler in high school track and field. “Technique is everything,” he said. “Once you get that down, then you have it. Keep practicing the right technique.”

Dylan said he enjoyed his years at Dunmore despite the transitions students were forced to make due to COVID-19. “My time at Dunmore was more than interesting,” he said. “I enjoyed my years at Dunmore, but we had to make a lot of transitions due to COVID. There were all different kinds of transitions, but I made it through them okay. I missed going to class and missed my friends at times. It was tough in that respect.”

The talented hurdler said he will study exercise science at Wilkes College. He hopes to eventually become a physical therapist. His best academic subject is chemistry. 

Dylan enjoys listening to music in his spare time and would like to see Juice World, a rapper, in concert.

He plans on working at a job and training in his spare time for football this summer. He wants to play safety for the Wilkes football team. 

He said Dunmore football coach Kevin McHale was a big influence. “You learn a lot about discipline from coach McHale,” he said. “That is the very first thing he teaches.”

Dylan said he also had the privilege of meeting former Dunmore football coach Jack Henzes before he retired.

The polite and hard-working Dunmore graduate  talked about his future goals. “Well, eventually I want to become a physical therapist and possibly open and run a gym. I would love to do that. I am also looking forward to playing football at Wilkes. I can’t wait for that. I know it takes seven years to become a physical therapist, so I want to do well academically in college.”