Steve Borgia Named Scholar-Athlete of Year by LIAA

Steve BorgiaBy Steve Svetovich

Dunmore High School graduating senior Steve Borgia is the male recipient of the Lackawanna Interscholastic Athletic Association (LIAA) scholar-athlete of the year award. 

“This is a great honor that goes far beyond athletics,” the Dunmore quarterback said. “This is about my teachers, coaches, teammates and my parents. They all took part in it. Everyone in Dunmore High School is a part of this. I could not have received this award without all of these great people who took part in it.”

Son of Steve and Terry Borgia, Dunmore, the scholar-athlete was a key member of Dunmore’s football, baseball and basketball teams. 

He was quarterback and defensive back on the football team, center fielder on the baseball team and a guard on the basketball team. Steve had a 3.8 academic average at Dunmore. He said his best subject is math and will study architectural engineering at Penn State University in the fall. 

He simply excelled on the football team earning first team all-star selections on offense and defense and first team All-Region for defense as a sophomore, first-team all-star for defense as a junior and first-team All-Region for defense and first-team All-State on offense as a senior. 

The senior stalwart passed for 1,294 yards this past season under Dunmore football coach Kevin McHale. He combined for over 20 touchdowns passing or running. 

His career totals include 2.007 passing yards, 21 touchdown passes, 1,110 rushing yards for 16 touchdowns, 368 receiving yards for four touchdowns, four touchdowns returning punts and kicks and eight interceptions as a defensive back. 

Football was more than his forte as he demonstrated versatility from numerous positions on the field.

He talked about what it takes to excel as a high school quarterback. “You need to know what is going on in your surroundings and how to read defenses. It really slows the game down. It makes the game a lot easier.”

Steve said he has spent time fishing, golfing and working during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I missed baseball,” he said. “It was not a good feeling to not have a baseball season.”

The three-sport standout said he has learned a lot from his parents. 

“They teach me to express myself in a good manner on the field and in the classroom and be appreciative to those around me.”

Confident and team-oriented, the talented senior said he owes a lot to Dunmore football coach Kevin McHale. “I learned perseverance from him. He teaches you to persevere and never give up. It kept us in a lot of games and won some games for us.”

Steve said he enjoys listening to music and is a big fan of country singer Chris Stapleton.

He credits his high grade point average in school to learning how to manage time. “When you are playing a lot of sports,” he said, “managing your time for the classroom is so important. It sets you up in the classroom.”

Steve said he is looking forward to studying at Penn State and becoming an engineer. 

He leaves Dunmore High School with great memories.

“Dunmore was awesome,” he said. “I had so many great mentors. The teachers and coaches set us up for success both for high school and after graduation. There are so many great people in the Dunmore community.” 

Mia Chiaro Named Scholar-Athlete of the Year by LIAA

Mia Chiaro2By Steve Svetovich

Dunmore High School graduating senior Mia Chiaro is the recipient of the Lackawanna Interscholastic Athletic Association (LIAA) female scholar-athlete of the year award.

“I was really excited when I heard about this,” Mia said. “It was a big moment for me and everyone else because of all the disappointments we had in sports this year due to COVID-19. It was nice to be recognized for something after going through all of that.”

Daughter of Alyssa and Nick Chiaro, Dunmore, the scholar-athlete was a key participant at Dunmore for soccer, swimming and track and field. She was also a football cheerleader. She had a 3.8 grade point average, including a 99 average in her final two quarters.

Mia was first-team all-star for track and field in her sophomore and junior years. She was a first-team all-star for soccer once and second-team twice. 

She ran the 100 meter and 300 meter hurdles and participated in the 4 by 1 and 4 by 4 for the Dunmore track and field team.

She credits her swimming coach John Andreoli for being a strong mentor. “He really cares about us,” Mia said. “He inspired us to be better. He had a talk with us that really gave us confidence and got us motivated. We became highly competitive and we kept improving to become an excellent swimming team. We had a great team bond. I will never forget the lessons learned and the spirit of our team.”

Mia, well spoken and articulate, said she will attend the University of Pittsburgh and study political science in the fall. She wants to attend law school in the future.

“I want to become a lawyer and possibly become a politician in the future,” she said. “I hope to play some club soccer at Pitt.” 

Mia enjoys listening to music and is a big fan of Kanye West. 

Mia Chiaro1As a three-sport athlete and cheerleader, she proved to be highly versatile. “I like to be involved and active,” she said. “So that is a no brainer for me. I like being a part of something special. And as most know, being a part of any sport at Dunmore usually results in something special. The coaches here teach you so much about sports and life. And the teammates you have result in lifetime friendships. You develop a great bond with your teammates.”

Mia said she gets her competitive spirit from her parents.

“My parents always tell me nothing gets handed to you. You need to work hard to develop a competitive work ethic.”

The aspiring law student and politician lit up when speaking of her experience at Dunmore High School. “You get a lot of opportunities to express yourself and get involved at Dunmore,” she said. “You develop lifelong friendships and you are a part of something special. All of the sports you participate in at Dunmore are special. 

“Our coaches and teachers at Dunmore teach us to be competitive on and off the field and in life. And this all translates to life as you transition beyond high school. It is such a great experience at Dunmore.”

Athlete of the Month: Leahy O’Conner

Athlete of the Month - Leahy O'Connor2By Steve Svetovich

Leahy O’Connor knows how to seize an opportunity. Take his experience at Holy Cross High School, for instance. Leahy enjoyed Holy Cross to the fullest.

Son of James and April O’Connor, Leahy, 18, was a four-year member of both the baseball and basketball teams at Holy Cross. When he wasn’t practicing or playing a game, Leahy concentrated on academics and will graduate with a highly impressive 3.9 grade point average.

Leahy will attend college at the University of Pittsburgh where he will study pre-law in the fall.

“I have been looking at the University of Pittsburgh for a long time,” he said. “My dad and my aunt both went to colleges in Pittsburgh. I have been to Pittsburgh a lot and love the city. I am really looking forward to it.”

The scholar-athlete learned his work ethic from his parents. “My parents taught me the value of hard work and about how to overcome failure in order to succeed,” Leahy said.

Leahy was named honorable mention as a junior and was selected first-team all-league as a senior for basketball. 

Athlete of the Month LeahyHe averaged 12.5 points per game as a small forward this past year for the Crusaders under veteran basketball coach Al Callejas.

He scored 650 career points at Holy Cross.

A superb center fielder on the baseball team, he batted .273 as a junior. He was disappointed over the cancellation of his senior baseball season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was devastating not to play baseball,” he said. “We thought our team would strongly compete for the league and district title and even go further. It was tough not to be able to play as a senior.”

The hard working senior said he learned a lot from Holy Cross basketball coach Al Callejas. “He teaches you how to overcome difficulty. And that is how you become a success.”

Leahy also enjoyed playing for Holy Cross veteran baseball coach Sandy Menichetti. “He is a lot of fun to play for. He teaches us how to enjoy what we are doing while still working hard. He wants us to have fun, but still give our best effort.”

Leahy said his best academic subject is English. He is a member of Student Council, the National Honor Society and the History Club at Holy Cross.

He is very proud of the Holy Cross basketball team’s achievements this past year in winning the league and district titles and advancing to the second round in the state playoffs.

“Our hard work really paid off,” he said. “We worked hard the entire summer to get ready for the season. We were in the gym 10 months of the year working extremely hard. Our team success is really special because we put in the effort and it paid off.”

Leahy, who is a huge fan of the late Tom Petty, said he loved his four years at Holy Cross.

“It was just a great experience,” he said. “The atmosphere is the best. Everybody accepted me there. Seniors became friends with me when I was a freshman there. Likewise, I made sure to make friends with the freshmen when I was a senior. 

“That is the kind of school it is. It is close knit.”

And Leahy is not the kind of a young man who sits still. He is keeping busy during the COVID-19 pandemic studying and working. He works at a gas station in Archbald and does some landscaping work at Marywood University. 

“I’m trying to save some money for college,” he said. “I’m looking forward to Pittsburgh.”