Athlete of the Month: Mia Galella

By Steve Svetovich

Holy Cross first baseman-outfielder Mia Galella just finished a stalwart freshman year, but is already honing her softball skills in a travel league throughout the country.

Daughter of Tom and Michelle Galella, Mia, 15, plays travel softball for the Virginia Glory National Mertz Bronowicz league.

She was playing in a tournament in Colorado when contacted for this interview.

Mia will also travel to Georgia, California, and Virginia to play in softball tournaments this summer.

“It’s nice,” she said. “You get to meet a lot of people, travel, and see a lot of things while playing softball. My parents drive me around and get to see me play.”

Mia noted that the Colorado high altitude makes breathing initially more difficult, but the softball travels a bit further when she connects.

Mia has been playing in travel softball leagues since she was eight.

Mia batted .544, with nine homers, a .606 on base percentage, seven stolen bases, 24 runs, 31 hits, 38 RBIs, five doubles and a 1.105 slugging percentage. She did not make an error in the field.

The talented scholar-athlete has a 4.0 academic average. Her best academic subject is math. Mia is a member of the TRU Club and will be a sophomore student council representative next school year at Holy Cross.

She is thinking about studying early childhood education and wants to play Division I softball in college.

“I am thinking about becoming a teacher.”

With an impressive nine homers as a freshman, she talked about her power. “I was born naturally strong, so that helps,” she said. “I do a lot of training work. I try to build up my lower legs to generate more power.”

Mia talked about what it takes to be a good first baseman. “You need to be able to stop the ball from getting away from you. And you need to be able to tell your teammates where they need to be after a hit ball.”

Mia has learned a lot from her parents. “They teach me to be humble and not take anything for granted. They tell me to keep working hard, because someone can be right there to take your spot.”

Holy Cross veteran softball coach Joe Ross is also a strong mentor and influence. “He tells us not to let the moment get to you. Stay in the moment. Live in the moment.”

Named to the first-team all-district team, Mia said she likes listening to music and would like to see pop artist Dua Lipa in concert.

She talked about her future goals. “I want to continue my years here at Holy Cross, play Division I softball in college and then pursue my dream job. Right now I just love playing softball.”

Athlete of the Month: Lilly Reilly

By Steve Svetovich

Lilly Reilly is a classic example of a student-athlete who uses perseverance to excel in the classroom and on the field.

Daughter of Brian and Alyson Reilly, Dunmore, Lilly has a perfect 4.0 academic grade point average at Scranton Prep.

She is the captain of the Scranton Prep soccer team and has been the team’s leading scorer for the past two seasons. 

A four-year member of the soccer team, Lilly,18, is also a four-year member of the Prep Lacrosse team. Lilly is also a member of the Spanish Club, the Climate Change Awareness Club, and the Model U.N. Club at Prep.

A striker on the soccer team, she has seven goals and six assists this season. As a junior, she had 10 goals and eight assists in leading Prep to a 9-3 record before losing to Dallas in the district quarterfinals. Prep is 7-6 this season entering soccer playoff action. 

Articulate and well-spoken, Lilly talked about what it takes to be a good striker in high school soccer. “You need to be a very good overall player,” she said. “You can’t just be focused on scoring. You need to make passes and defend.”

The Dunmore resident was a soccer all-star as a sophomore and was nominated to play in a soccer all-star game for seniors this season. 

Her soccer coach at Scranton Prep is Douglas Kneiser. 

The talented senior, whose best academic subject is science, said she has learned a lot from her soccer coach.

“He taught us that hard work beats talent,” she said. “The other team might be more skilled, but the hardest working team will come out on top. And we have seen this actually happen a number of times this year.”

Lilly’s dad is a Dunmore graduate. Her mom graduated from Scranton Central. She has learned plenty from her parents. “My dad and mom are both hard workers,” she said. “They both grew up with single parents. They both started from the bottom and worked their way up.”

Humble and polite, Lilly said she is not sure where she will attend college. She has applied to about 15 colleges so far. “I’m not sure where I want to go yet,” she said, “but I want to go to college in the South. I want to study pre-dentistry and eventually become an orthodontist. 

“I am thinking about playing club sports in college.”

The scholar-athlete said she enjoys listening to music. She and her mom saw Taylor Swift in concert. “She was great and I would love to see her in concert again,” she said.

Lilly talked about what it takes to excel in both academics and sports at Scranton Prep. “You need to put in the work and study very hard,” she said. “And don’t slack. Never slack. Someone told me that. And it is the truth. That is the key to being successful.”

Lilly is a hard worker, but is also enjoying the ride. She has thrived at Scranton Prep. “It’s been a great experience,” she said. “COVID took our sophomore and junior years in the classroom away, but we are glad to be back in person. Prep handled the pandemic very well.

“There is a lot of school spirit now that we are back. We all appreciate being back in the classroom.”

Defense is Name of Game for Dunmore Senior Joey Marzzacco

By Steve Svetovich

Dunmore senior defensive end Joey Marzzacco takes pride in his game, but being a good teammate is his biggest asset.

“He’s just a great kid and a very good teammate,” said Dunmore head football coach Kevin McHale after the Bucks 17-8 win over Carbondale Area in a Lackawanna Football Conference Division III game at Dunmore’s Veterans Memorial Stadium on Friday, Oct. 1.

The Bucks ran the ball 51 times using a ball control offense and tight defense to seal the win.

Son of Jennifer and Joe Marzzacco, Joey had eight tackles from his defensive end position. 

Dunmore’s scores came on a 20-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Thomas Bowen to Brayden Reuther, a one-yard touchdown sneak by Bowen and a 37-yard Max Hunt field goal. Hunt also kicked two extra points.

Nico Ruggerio, who also had an interception, led Dunmore with 67 yards on nine carries. Ruggerio rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries in Dunmore’s 34-0 win over Riverside Friday, September 24. 

Dunmore is now 3-2 (2-0 in Division III).

“We are really happy with these last few wins,” said Marzzacco. “We started the year rough, but things are coming together now. We are coming together as a team. We are starting to play teams our own size. We are feeling pretty good about ourselves right now.”

The senior defensive stalwart is a three-year member of Dunmore’s football team. He also has been a member of Dunmore’s track and field team for three years. He runs the 400 and throws the javelin.

The senior scholar-athlete has a 3.1 grade point average and is a member of TACT, the Art Club and the French Club.

His best subject is history and he is an aspiring teacher. “I would like to study Education in college and eventually become a high school history teacher and football coach,” he said.

An honor student at Dunmore, he is leaning towards studying Education at East Stroudsburg, Wilkes, or Bloomsburg Universities. 

Joey enjoys listening to music in his spare time and would like to see Kanye West in concert.

The hard-working senior talked about what it takes to excel at the defensive end position. 

“It takes a lot of hard work,” he said. “You need to have a big year in the weight room. You need to stay home. You need to know your assignments.”

He has learned a lot from coach McHale. “He teaches us to be a class act. Pick your teammates up. Don’t argue with officials.”

Joey said his parents teach him similar values.

“They tell me to always be respectful. They tell me to always give 100 percent no matter what you choose to do.”

Joey said he and his teammates are excited about the strides the team is making. “It feels like we are really playing together now. The defense is clicking and the offensive line is coming along very well.”

Joey said the team goal is to win its eighth consecutive district title and then go as far as possible towards a state championship.

He talked about his future goals. “I want to get a college degree and become a high school history teacher and coach football. I might play football in college. We will see.”

Team-oriented and humble, Joey said his dad has always been his biggest mentor. “My dad taught me all about football. He got me into it. He was a running back for Carbondale Area.”

Joey is enjoying his Dunmore experience. “I love it here at Dunmore High School,” he said. “Because of COVID, my last full year in school was my freshman year. I am glad to be back with my friends as a senior this year. I want to enjoy every minute of it.”