LOCAL GYMNASTS on level 9 and 10 include, from left: Adeline Rieder, Mackenzie Black, Calista Marzolino (middle), Grace Amico (top middle), Emma Firmstone (bottom), Julia Firmstone (right middle), Tayler Osterhout (top right).
Gymnasts from the United State Sports Academy, located in Dunmore, have received new awards. Ten-year- old Level 4 gymnast, Maura Michalczyk, recently competed in the Springtime Meltdown and took home first place on Vault, Balance Beam, Floor and All Around.
Level 10 gymnast, 16-year-old Mackenzie Black, had two more winning competitions.The first one was the Heartland Spring Classic where she won first place on Floor, Vault and All Around as well as third place on Balance Beam. Mackenzie and her teammate, Emma Firmstone, both made it to the event finals in which they only take the top six scores of all ages and competed against 59 other level 10 girls. At the event finals, Mackenzie came in first place on Vault, second on Floor, and sixth on Beam.
Mackenzie just competed in the Level 10 State Championship and finished first on Vault and third place All Around. In two weeks she will be competing in Regionals at Virginia Beach.
The academy’s Tumble Team State Champions include: Veronica Matthies and Monica Fonaszewski – Level 5, Leslie Major – Level 6, Madelynn Perfilio -Level 7.
Level 5 girls have been undefeated this season and won the First Place Team Award at States. Cara Martinez became the Level 5 All Around State Champion and finished first on Vault, first on Beam, first on Floor, second on Bars. Luciana Toczdlowski became the Level 5 Floor champion and also came in second place on Beam and second All Around. Camryn Thomas became the Level 5 Bars Champion and tied for second place on Vault and third All Around.
Anna Clifton is Level 8 Vault State Champion. Donna Howell is Level 9 All Around State Champion as well as first place on Bars, third on Vault and first on Beam.
Other champions at States were: Anna Clifton – Level 8 Vault State Champion; Donna Howell – Level 9 All Around State Champion as well as first place on Bars, third on Vault and first on Beam; Emma Firmstone and Mackenzie Black – Level 10 State Champions. Emma came in second place All Around and won first place on Beam (Beam Champion). Mackenzie came in third Place AA and first place on Vault (Vault Champion)
With this year’s mild winter, there is not much snow that needs to melt quickly in order for baseball and softball season to begin. Which is a great outcome for the spring Penn State Worthington athletes practicing for the upcoming season.
While every season is an important one, this one is special. It marks the first time athletes will dig their cleats into the dirt of the newly renovated Matt McGloin Baseball Field and UGI Utilities Softball Field.
The makeover that took place over the past few years was phase one of a three part multi-million dollar campus Athletic Facilities Renovation. Future phases include a campus wellness center, an auxiliary gym, and major improvements to the Multi-Purpose Building such as renovated offices, classrooms, restrooms, shower and locker facilities, and a new gymnasium. This will be the first time the Multi-Purpose Building has seen any work done since it was built in 1968.
For now, however, the baseball and softball fields are a much needed improvement. Before the renovation, the fields were not up to the standards of other local colleges. It was dangerous for athletes to play as there not a lot of dirt and a hard lip. In the outfield, there were many holes and divots. The fields were not regulation size as they were longer and bigger than NCAA rules. There was no scoreboard to keep track of the innings or score. The field lacked bleachers and a concession stand.
Now, there are scoreboards, dugouts, bleachers, a field house, a concession stand, and a sports information center. There are sidewalks to insure safety for those and a new parking lot to accommodate spectators and opponents.
While these fields are state of the art, none of it would have been possible if weren’t for a collective effort from the plethora of donors in the local community and former student athletes. Both fields, along with the scoreboards and dugouts, were named after campus alumni to recognize their generous donations to Penn State Worthington Scranton’s campus.
The softball field was named UGI Utilities to recognize the generous gift from the company. The Matt McGloin Baseball field was dedicated to the West Scranton native and former Nittany Lions quarterback and currently the quarterback for the NFL Oakland Raiders, Matt McGloin.
According to Penn State Worthington Scranton’s website, Mr. McGloin released a personal statement at last year’s ribbon cutting ceremony about the dedication.
“Having grown up playing baseball, and with baseball being one of my favorite sports, it’s truly an unexpected and terrific honor to have a baseball [field] named after me in the Scranton area,” he said. “I hope the Matt McGloin Baseball Field will inspire future athletes to excel in athletics.”
Many faculty and staff have expressed their feelings toward the three part renovation series. Jeff Mallas, Director of Athletics at Penn State Worthington Scranton, stated the renovation is an asset to the school and athletes, “The renovation is positive for our campus. It helps us and our student athletes.”
Mr. Mallas expressed that once phase two and three of the renovation takes place, the facilities will rival colleges in the area. With a sharper appearance to the campus, it could help to recruit athletes.
Mr. Mallas has high hopes for the fields, “It will be good for the community during the summer for camps, programs, and clinics.”
Assistant softball coach, Mar Tsakonas, has been part of the athletic program since 2009. This spring marks the first time ever that the softball team will be playing at home instead of Sherwood Park located in Dunmore.
“It’s a great opportunity to be playing on our home ground. We now have a place to call home, so there’s a greater pride that comes along with it,” Ms. Tsakonas commented, “Now it allows the softball team to show the campus the hard work they put into their game.”
With the convenience of a home field, it makes it easier on everyone involved. “It’s easier to practice and have a game. Before, we had to schedule all this time just to travel,” Ms. Tsakonas explained, “It puts us on the map now that we have our own facility. It adds a nice aspect to the campus for prospective students thinking about coming here. It also helps with recruiting too.”
While the faculty and staff are excited, so are many of the athletes. A few of the returning baseball and softball players are excited to step onto the field for the first time.
To celebrate the opening of this facility, the baseball and softball teams have been playing double-headers throughout the months of March and April.
The first home game for softball wass a double-header on March 24 against St. Joseph, followed on March 28 when Penn State Worthington Scranton played a double-header against Brandywine. On April 3, PSWS went up against Penn State Hazelton in a double header, and on April 19 is another double-header match against SUNY Delhi beginning at 3 p.m. PSWS plays a double-header against Penn State Beaver at 2 p.m. The final softball home game will take place on April 24, against Penn State Allegheny at noon.
The Northeast Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame inducted 10 local athletes/coaches at its 33rd annual induction ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 4, at the University of Scranton DeNaples Center.
Bob Walsh, president of the Northeastern Chapter, served as chairman and handled arrangements for the event. Jerry Valonis is vice president. Judy Igoe Carr is secretary. Tom “Doc” Dougherty in treasurer.
Gerry Burke and Carr handled the reception. Walsh and Alice Foley handled the tickets for the event. Foley handled the Invocation.
The class of 2015 included Tony Donato, Ed Bugno, Greg Legg, Marty Myers, Heather Raley, James Burock, Wayne Lydon, Cal Urso, Kathleen Klein Prindle and the late Bob Gilbride.
The inductees, including a family member for Gilbride, all made speeches at the podium following a delicious full course prime rib dinner.
Well-known local TV sports broadcaster Sid Michaels served as toastmaster for the event.
“Who can ever forget the Scranton Red Sox, the Scranton Baseball Association, Weston Field, the Scranton Miners at the Catholic Youth Center, the Blakely Bears,” Michaels said. “This area gave birth to and nurtured these athletes.”
Cal Urso, inducted as a baseball coach at Mid Valley High School where he notched 321 wins, thanked former Mid Valley baseball star Jerry Valonis for the nomination. He also thanked the entire Mid Valley School District, including teachers, administration, coaches and players, Jerry Dempsey, his former pitching coach, and the Hall of Fame committee.
Ed Bugno, inducted for his football heroics as a receiver at West Scranton High School where he was All State and at Bloomsburg University where he was PSAC All Conference first team, told a story about his former West Scranton High School football coach Joe DeAntona.
He told how, as a player for West, he called a timeout following an interception against North Pocono. It was late in the game and West had the game in hand. DeAntona holding a locker room meeting the following day with the team watching film. DeAntona, he said, stopped the film following the interception, turned out the lights and asked who called the timeout. Bugno admitted it was him.
DeAntona responded, “There is no reason to humiliate an opponent. We don’t do that here at West.” Bugno said it was a lesson he learned and carried with him for the rest of his life. DeAntona was present in the audience during his speech.
“What an honor it is to be mentioned with all these fellow inductees,” Bugno tearfully said. “I want to thank my wife who never missed a game of mine since we began dating in 1975. It is an honor to spend this night with my wife and children and my high school coach Joe DeAntona who is here tonight.”
James Burok, who had a 21-0 pitching record for Valley View High School and was a four-year starter for Old Dominion before being drafted by the Cleveland Indians and Colorado Rockies, was inducted for baseball.
“I lost my grandmother a couple of years ago. She was my biggest fan,” said Burok. “She cut my name out of the newspaper every time my name was in there and she made it to every game I played. I want to thank my dad who never told me no. He worked 2 a.m. to 11 a.m. and was there at noon to pitch to me.”
Anthony Donato, an All-State wide receiver at Dunmore High School who spent five years as an assistant coach at Dunmore and 13 years as an assistant at North Pocono before leading Abington to its first Big 11 title, was selected for football/track/coach.
Donato recognized his wife and mother, high school and college coaches and Ed Bugno who he worked with.
Robert “Coach” Gilbride.
The late Bob Gilbride, who coached basketball at Holy Rosary High School and baseball and basketball at Scranton Central High School and won titles in parts of four decades, was represented by his granddaughter.
“My grandfather said he never expected perfection, but he expected hard work.”
The late Gilbride, who accrued 483 wins before his retirement from Scranton High, refused induction while he was living.
Greg Legg, who has spent 33 years in the Philadelphia Phillies organization as a player, coach and manager, and is the only Scranton Wilkes-Barre Red Barons player to have his number (14) retired, was inducted for baseball.
“I am so honored to be a part of this group,” he said. “Baseball and sports have given me so much. I don’t work for a living. The toughest part is traveling and being away from my family and friends. We were treated like kings in Northeast PA. There are so many in this game who have influenced me.”
Heather Gallagher Raley, a record holder in seven of 10 swimming events at West Scranton High School and an All-American swimmer at Gettysburg, was inducted for swimming. She thanked Frank McGuire, her first swimming coach. She thanked her husband and daughter who she called “my biggest little fan.”
Kathleen Klein Prindle, a four-year swimming letterman at Scranton Prep who assisted in preparing eight athletes in the 2008 Beijing Games resulting in two Olympic medals, was selected for coach/swimming.
Prindle, who has trained elite swimmers from 17 countries for Olympic Games, spoke of being inspired by her grandmother, Hall of Fame inductee Julie Holleran Igoe.
“Tonight is a moment in time. Looking back, it is also important to look forward and keep our focus in the community on sports and youth participation in sports, said Prindle. “I look to the future of this sport as we do everything we can to protect it. I believe we live in a peaceful and better world through the Olympic ideal.”
Wayne Lydon, who was an All State outfielder, defensive player of the year and All State safety and District track winner at Valley View High School, was selected for baseball/football/track.
Lydon, who was drafted by the New York Mets, stole 595 bases in 13 years in the minor leagues and Independent Leagues and was named Baseball America’s best base runner three times, joked that his speech would be as short as his call up to the Mets which lasted but a few hours.
Marty Myers, a sports reporter/editor for the Wayne Independent for 10 years and the Scranton Times for over 20 years, received the Service Award. Myers, the PIAA District 2 McGladrie award winner for contributions to high school athletics through journalism.
“I thank my mom and dad and wife Barbara of 32 years. They were always there to support me,” said Meyers. “When I was two hours away from home covering a very important girls’ softball game, my wife was home taking care of the house and my family. She was always behind me.