Athlete of the Month: Carly Wywoda

By Steve Svetovich

Carly goes Yardy.

That was the case when Holy Cross junior shortstop Carly Wywoda came to bat in the bottom of the eighth of a 7-7 game against the Dunmore Lady Bucks. 

The junior stalwart fouled off the first two pitches and then slugged a deep walk off homer to left center to beat the rival Lady Bucks, 8-7, on Thursday, April 22, in a Lackawanna League Division III contest at a cold, windy Saint Anthony’s Playground, Dunmore. 

It was her second homer of the season. 

With two strikes on her, Carly said she was not looking to hit a homer but made good contact and the ball traveled. 

“I felt really happy to help my team out,” she said. “But I have to admit, it felt really good inside.”

Daughter of Georgann and Pete Wywoda, Carly at press time has three homers and is hitting a robust .520.

She has been a key member of the Holy Cross Lady Crusaders softball team since her freshman year when she hit .368 with five homers.

Carly, 17, has an impressive 3.89 academic average at Holy Cross. Her favorite subject is Spanish.

Carly said she would like to have a dual major in Education and Spanish in college and “definitely” wants to continue her softball career. Carly is unsure where she will attend college.

Joe Ross is her softball coach at Holy Cross. “He teaches me to always keep my head up and keep fighting. Never give up. Even when you make an error or an out, keep your head up.”

The slick fielding, hard hitting shortstop said her parents are a big influence. “My parents teach me to respect everything I have, including the game, people, coaches, teammates. They tell me to never give up on anything.”

Carly is a member of the Foreign Languages Club and Service Club at Holy Cross. She is a member of the National Honor Society. She is a huge fan of Kenny Chesney who she saw in concert and would like to see again.

At press time her team only had two losses. “We do not let up,” she said. “We just keep fighting.”

She talked about what it takes to be a good shortstop in high school softball. 

“You need to have a good attitude and show leadership. You can’t get down or hang your head after a missed play.”

She talked about her future goals. “I want to keep and maintain my academic strengths. I want to do well all around, both on and off the field and outside of school too. I want to learn about different cultures and never stop learning. I want to learn about all different people. I want to become a teacher and continue playing softball in college.” 

Soft spoken and articulate, Carly beamed when asked about her Holy Cross experience. “It has been absolutely amazing,” she said. “The faculty, staff and coaches always put the student first. They really care about the students and it shows. I love it here.” 

Lady Crusaders Win District Title

By Steve Svetovich

Seniors Abbey Lentowski and Emily Ferguson scored 21 and 15 points, respectively, and team leading scorer Kaci Kranson added 17 as the Holy Cross Lady Crusaders defeated Old Forge, 59-38, Friday, March 12, in the Class 2A final to earn the school’s second District 2 title at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Ferguson hit on three-of-five 3-pointers in a district title win that was especially sweet considering she tore her right ACL in the state tournament last March. Her 15 points were a season high.

Lentowski, who added seven rebounds was feeling a sense of revenge stemming from last season’s loss to Old Forge in the final.

Five first quarter steals set the tone for the Lady Crusaders. The steals helped Holy Cross build a nice, early lead. 

Ferguson drilled a 3-pointer near the midway point to put Holy Cross up, 8-4. 

Kranson then scored off Lentowski’s steal and then hauled down a rebound and went the length of the floor for a bucket. 

Lentowski did the same following her steal and the Lady Crusaders had a 14-4 lead.

A tight Holy Cross defense held Old Forge’s Olivia Ciullo to one field goal and four free throws in the first half. Ciullo was held to 13 points, well below her season average, in the contest.

Makayla Parker led Old Forge with 17 points in her final game.

Ferguson got things going in the second quarter by hitting a 3-pointer as part of a 7-0 burst. Lentowski capped off the scoring spree by hitting a long shot at the top of the key.

Old Forge staged a comeback in the second quarter when Parker scored six points and Ciullo added a free throw. 

But Ferguson and Lentowski then came through in the clutch. 

Ferguson hit on two free throws and added a bucket on a baseline drive. 

Lentowski added two more buckets around a Parker drive in the final minute of the half as Holy Cross built a 34-17 halftime lead and never looked back.

The closest Old Forge came in the second half was a 45-34 deficit with 5:42 left in the game.

However, Lentowski, Kranson and Julia Goetz scored the next eight points to seal the win and district title for coach Barry Fitzgerald and the Lady Crusaders.

Kranson, who averaged 21.4 points, added three assists and two blocks. Lentowski, who averaged 18.3 points, had three steals.

Holy Cross advanced into the Class 2A quarterfinals after Linden Hall withdrew due to COVID-19 circumstances within its program.

Holy Cross then lost, 50-47, to Mount Carmel, Friday, March 19, in the PIAA Class 2A quarterfinal at Mount Carmel.

Mount Carmel all-state center Dani Rae Renno scored four points in the final 47.8 seconds and forced a turnover with seven seconds left to help the Red Tornadoes edge Holy Cross.

Holy Cross had staged a dramatic comeback after trailing, 41-31.

Kranson, who led all scorers with 22 points, hit a 3-pointer to start a 12-0 Holy Cross run giving the Lady Crusaders a 43-41 lead with 2:11 left in the contest. Kranson hit two free throws to give Holy Cross the lead. Lentowski hit a clutch 3-pointer and Caitlyn Bestrycki hit a big shot in the 12-0 run.

Renno then tied the game with a put back.

Then Lentowski hit a huge 3-pointer and the Lady Crusaders had the lead back with 1:46 left.

Renno scored on a layup. Mount Carmel regained possession after a ball was ruled out of bounds by Holy Cross. Renno missed a shot, but was fouled when she went for the rebound. She hit two foul shots to give her team a 49-47 lead with 29.1 seconds left.

A play was set up for Kranson, but as she drove, Renno tried to cut her off. Kranson was knocked off balance and she was called for traveling.

A Mount Carmel free throw made it 50-47 with 4.8 seconds left.

Kranson then drove the length of the floor, but missed a 25-footer to end the contest as Mount Carnel (17-5) advanced.

Lentowski scored 10 points for Holy Cross in the loss. Sophomore Krista Carachilo added six points on two first quarter 3-pointers which helped the Lady Crusaders build an early 15-9 lead.

Kranson had 10 rebounds and two blocks for Holy Cross (12-5) in the loss. 

Athlete of the Month: Maddie Healey

By Steve Svetovich

Work harder than your competition. 

That is how you become an All Regional swimmer three years in a row.

Dunmore senior swimmer Maddie Healey is that swimmer. 

Daughter of Georgia and Joseph Healey, Dunmore, Maddie, 17, had the top qualifying time in the 100-yard backstroke with her school record (58.58) and seeded fourth in the 200 free (2:02:14), but could not compete in the post season due to a shutdown of athletics at school because of COVID-19. 

Maddie was expected to compete at a high level in districts and state competition, so the shutdown was a disappointment. 

However, she was honored with her third consecutive All Regional selection. 

She will attend Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York in the fall on a scholarship. She will study chemistry and be a member of the swimming team at Marist College.

“I’m excited about it,” Maddie said. “I am excited to see what the next four years will bring. I will see if all of my hard work pays off.

“I can’t wait to be a part of the swimming team there. Chemistry is a broad major. I am not sure what I will eventually do with it, but it is a strong academic major and it will provide me with a range of decisions.”

Well spoken and personable, Maddie has a 3.65 grade point average at Dunmore. Not surprisingly, her best and favorite academic subject is chemistry. She is a member of the National Honor Society. 

Maddie said her parents teach her a lot. “They teach me to always work very hard and respect my elders.”

The senior stalwart swimmer said she likes listening to music in her spare time and would like to see Post Malone in concert.

She talked about what it takes to be a good swimmer.

“It takes a lot of hard work. There is a lot of talent out there, but you need to put in the work and out work the competition. 

“You need to work harder than anyone else.”

Maddie is a four-year member of the Dunmore swimming team. She has been swimming competitively since age 11 in the Dunmore Middle School. She is also a member of the Dunmore cross country team. She has been participating in cross country since seventh grade and was named “Runner of the Year” at Dunmore the past four years.

She was named MVP of the Dunmore swimming team the past three years.

Maddie this past February scored the 1,000th point of her career as a swimmer. With a time of 58.58 seconds, she broke the school backstroke record set by Coleen Brown in 2019. The previous record was 01.01.03. 

“It was an incredible feeling,” she said. 

Maddie said she and her teammates were heartbroken when a COVID-19 outbreak cancelled Dunmore’s post season.,”All of our hard work was just taken away from us. We were all heartbroken. We were so much looking forward to it.”

Last year the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the state playoffs for Dunmore. Maddie had placed fourth in the 200 freestyle and third in the 500 freestyle in districts as a junior.

Her swimming coach at Dunmore is John Andreoli. “He teaches us a lot of life lessons,” Maddie said. “He tells us to always be there for each other and the team is most important.”

The articulate, hard working senior talked about what it takes to excel as a swimmer.

“You need to dedicate yourself to swimming and put in the time. You need to work hard in and out of the pool. You need to work on both your training and diet. Diet and eating the right food is a big factor. Plus your training out of the pool is a big aspect of it.”

Maddie talked about her Dunmore experience. “Well, due to the COVID pandemic the past year and a half is not what I expected. None of us did. But it has been a great four years to be a part of Dunmore High School and the swimming team. Dunmore is a great school. We are all obviously disappointed in not being able to compete in the post season. I am looking forward to attending Marist in the fall.”