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.” 

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.” 

Athlete of the Month: Moriah Murray

By Steve Svetovich

Dunmore junior Moriah Murray scored her 1,000th career point and three weeks later led her team to another Lackawanna League Division III title.

And then COVID-19 placed a pause in the fate of the Dunmore girls basketball program in the hands of District administrators. 

At press time, a total of three Dunmore girls players tested positive for COVID and because of the timing and state mandated quarentine protocols, the earliest the Lady Bucks can return to action is Friday, March 5. The team is currently seeded second in the Class 4A playoffs, but the dates initially posted by District 2 call for that bracket to begin play Thursday, March 4. 

Eight other Lsckawanna League teams are also on pause due to COVID protocols.

Daughter of Joe Murray and Lynn Plotkin, Moriah said she and her teammates remain prepared, focused and ready for the district playoffs. 

“We are on pause now with nine teams affected due to COVID,” she said. “We won the league title and we’ve been practicing hard. We will be ready for everything. We can’t wait to get going again. We will take it game by game.”

Moriah hit five 3-pointers and scored 21 points as No. 2 Dunmore clinched the Lackawanna League Division III title with a 71-35 win over No. 6 Old Forge Wednesday, February 24. Ciera Toomey added 17 points and Cadence Lewis added 10 points for the Lady Bucks. 

Three weeks prior, Moriah reached a personal milestone scoring her 1,000th career point in a 71-45 win over Holy Cross Wednesday, February 3. The junior standout reached the milestone on a 3-pointer in the third quarter. Moriah scored 15 points in her milestone game. Toomey led the Lady Bucks with 19 points. Anna Talutto added 18.

The Lady Bucks are 16-1 under veteran coach Ben O’Brien going into playoff action.

Moriah took a pause to reflect on her 1,000th point. “It was kinda crazy,” she said.

“You don’t think about the points, but rather about your teammates and coaches who put you in a position to accomplish something like that.┬áMy heart stopped when the buzzer sounded… It was just such a great feeling.”

Moriah has a 92 academic average. Her best academic subject is math. She committed to play college basketball at Drexel University in Philadelphia. She will play there with Riverside standout basketball player Kylie Lavelle, another junior and 1,000-point scorer who is a good friend.

“I am undecided on a major, but I am looking forward to playing basketball with Kylie at Drexel. She is a very good friend. We played in AAU leagues together over the years. I am looking forward to the type of intensity of basketball at that level.”

Moriah has learned a lot about the game of basketball from her dad. She started at a young age playing in AAU leagues. She said her parents always taught her to “be myself.”

Confident and articulate, Moriah said her Lady Bucks team has a simple goal. “Get into the districts and win the district playoffs. Then win the state playoffs. We were on our way last year when COVID struck. We feel there is a need to finish off a goal. And we are ready for it. We want a state championship. We don’t want to come up short for any reason. We’ll go game to game until we reach our goal.” 

“I am not even thinking about college now. I am excited about that down the road. But right now I am focusing on Dunmore and our team.”

The junior scholar-athlete is a member of the French Club and TACT at Dunmore. She is also a key member of the Lady Bucks softball team as a shortstop and pitcher.

Moriah started playing in AAU leagues at age seven, “It was such a great experience,” she said. “I picked up so many skills and moves from the other girls in the AAU  leagues.” 

Moriah said she loves Dunmore and her friends and teammates. “I just love the whole Dunmore experience,” she said. “I love the whole town of Dunmore. It is such a small borough. Everyone is so close, especially our basketball team. We have been together through thick and thin.”