Athlete of the Month: Mason Maciejewski

Athlete of the Month - Mason Maciejewski pic 2By Steve Svetovich

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dunmore Bucks do not open their football season until Oct. 3, but senior all-star lineman Mason Maciejewski is more than ready.

“His work ethic is always outstanding,” said Dunmore football coach Kevin McHale.

A Lackawanna League all-star as a junior from the center position on offense, Mason is also a stalwart as a defensive tackle for the Bucks.

Son of Scott and Stephanie Maciejewski, his sister Moriah, 24, was a three-year starter and three-time all-star on the Dunmore Lady Bucks basketball team. She was twice All Regional and once All-State. She is a graduate of  Newmann College where she received a bachelor of science degree. in accounting.

With sports in his blood, Mason chose football and is now entering his fourth season as a key member of the Dunmore Bucks football team.

He is undecided where he will attend college or what he will choose as his field of study, but is certain he wants to play football on the Division I or II level.

Mason is an honor student with a 3.2 academic average at Dunmore. His best subject is history.

He enjoys listening to music in his spare time and his favorite musical artist is Travis Scott.

Well-spoken and polite, Mason talked about what it takes to excel as a lineman in high school football. “You need to work very hard in the weight room,” he said. “Never slack. You also need to learn all of the techniques from the coaches. And work hard all the time.”

Mason said he cannot thank his parents enough for everything he learned from them. “I thank them a lot. I can’t even begin to say everything they have done for me. It is so much.”

He is quick to praise Dunmore coach McHale. “He taught me so much about techniques. He knows a lot about linemen and teaching the right techniques. He taught me a lot even when he was an assistant coach under Jack Henzes.”

The hard working senior lineman said the Dunmore Bucks football team will once again be very good and compete at a high level despite a possible shortened season due to the pandemic. Athlete of the MOnth - Mason Maciejewski“The goal is a state championship,” he said. “That is always the goal here.”

Always striving, Mason has kept busy during the pandemic.

“I’ve been working out, running, going over plays, and talking football with my teammates,” he said. “Football practice has been going well and we can’t wait for our first game on Oct. 3.” 

Confident and self assured within himself, but not cocky, Mason talked about his future goals on a personal level. “I want to always work very hard and never slack. I want to be the best person I could be. And I want to always have goals. 

Mason summed up his experience at Dunmore in a few words that tell it all. “I love it. There is absolutely no better place.”

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.”

Athlete of the Month: Karl Kincel

By Steve SvetovichAthlete of the Month Karl Kincel athlete

The Dunmore Bucks football team lost its first two games this season, but one of the positives has been the performance of junior linebacker-fullback Karl Kincel. 

Kincel is leading the Bucks in tackles at press time and rushed for 56 yards on nine carries in his team’s 30-17 loss to Mid Valley in the second game of the season.

Son of Karl, Sr., and Danielle Kincel, the hard-nosed junior has been a member of the Dunmore football team for the past three years. He is a member of the track and field team where he performs the 100, 200 and 4 by 1. He is a guard on the Dunmore basketball team. 

He is a member of the Spanish Club, Engineering Club and has an impressive 96 academic average. His best subject is Math.

The scholar-athlete said his parents are always very positive influences.

“My parents teach me to keep a level head and always be humble.”

He said new Dunmore head football coach Kevin McHale has been a strong influence.

“Coach McHale tells us we have to work hard for anything we get. Nothing comes easy.”

The junior stalwart said retired Dunmore football coach Jack Henzes visited the team before its first two games. “It was awesome to see him. He looked great. It’s nice to see he is there for our players.”

Henzes coached Karl in his freshman season.

Karl said he would like to study engineering in college and would like to attend Penn State or Temple University.

“My future goal would be to study engineering in college and possibly play college football. I want to graduate and possibly become an engineer.”

Karl said he enjoys listening to hip hop and rap music in his spare time and would like to see Little Baby, Drake, or Meek Mill in concert. 

He talked about what it takes to excel at the linebacker and fullback positions in high school football. 

“To be a good linebacker, ” he said, “you need to have good instincts and be able to read the ball.

“To be a good fullback, you need to be hard nosed and willing to take a hit. You need to be able to make a good block too.”

Intelligent and thoughtful, he talked about the team goals. “First, we want to rebound from our first two losses. We want to work hard in practice and then go out there and beat Carbondale.

“Our goal for the season is to go out and win a state championship.”

He praised Dunmore High School. “Dunmore has been great to me. They teach you to be a leader and a good person. Dunmore has done a lot of great things for me. It has been an awesome experience.”