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.” 

“Finan” a Way to Make it Happen

By Zach Albert
Dunmorean Intern            

As we continue through the 2020-2021 academic and athletic seasons, we are highlighting the time and effort put in by Dunmore Athletic Director Mark Finan and his teams. 

The completion and success of the 2020 football and 2020 volleyball seasons are examples of accepting the responsibilities involved in keeping everyone as safe as possible while setting a foundation for the winter and spring sports seasons.

With a similar diligence to remaining safe in preparation, the basketball teams are continuing their seasons and are approaching the playoffs. 

When asked about preparation for these athletic and academic seasons, Finan explains: “Summertime is the start; scheduling the junior high and seven varsity sports for the upcoming fall seasons with the unknowns still present was a challenge. We actively communicate with the PIAA and LIAA and take this as seriously as anything you can plan for. 

“Scheduling challenges include ensuring officials, workers, security are all available for the scrimmages, exhibitions before the regular seasons begin. We are thankful the fall seasons went through as smoothly as they did.” 

Following up on that response, we asked about how he responded to the positive COVID-19 result of a member of the boys’ basketball program, and we thank his candidness in his response: 

“First action was to reach out to the member of the program who tested positive, checking on his status. The next was communicating with the COVID-19 Coordinator, and then all staff within the program. Continuing to follow all protocols and advice from the health and sporting organizations as we play the postponed games is key to ensuring we qualify for a league title as safely as we can.” 

We then asked Finan if there were differences in preparation per sport, and his response prompted his questions of how mask mandates will be applied in baseball and softball. 

“For a sport like basketball, where glasses are less likely to fog up with the indoor-controlled conditions, the mask mandate was easier to adjust to. In a sport like baseball or softball, with the ball as dangerous to the human body as it is, it is not as simple to mandate the mask, as it can cause glasses to fog up and compromise the safety of our student athletes, he explains.

“ I am looking forward to having discussions with all entities involved in getting a solution, potentially the Gaiter mask, which is becoming more popular, in place for all to safely enjoy these sports.” 

We then asked about any learning points through the pandemic able to be used moving forward, and before explaining further, he emphatically says “Absolutely.” 

 “The Return to Safe Play Plan continues to be reviewed as we continue towards normalcy. We’ve created great services to the community through a multitude of platforms. First, with the help of Rich Banick, we have launched DHSTV.net, which uses YouTube to host the videos, where we are broadcasting each home game live. 

“We thank Nick Mack of NPF for basketball play-by-play, and statistician Robert (RG4) Grady for streaming our swim team coverage. Social media outlets like Twitter are also used for those not yet familiar with our video streaming service.” 

We asked if there are any other announcements, comments, and Finan did have one: 

 “We are bringing back the Golden Age Pass for all Dunmore citizens 62 years or older, as we want our long-term Bucks at the events and knowing they are appreciated for attending!”

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. My 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.”