Wasilewski, Yucha named to Romance Hall of Fame
(The Ed Romance Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame will conduct induction ceremonies March 24. Each day this week, biographies of those being honored will appear in The News-Item.)
LEONARD J. WASILESKI
Len Wasileski achieved excellence on the playing fields and in the classroom at Mount Carmel Area High School.
In addition to earning nine varsity letters, he was also the valedictorian of the class of 1972.
Wasileski achieved success as a cross-country runner for coach Gerald Breslin. During the 1970 and 1971 seasons when the team registered a 38-10 record that culminated in the winning the Susquehanna Valley League Championship in 1971.
Wasileski also participated in basketball for coach Scott Gross, earning three varsity letters for the Tornadoes. By virtue of their fine play, the Tornadoes qualified for the District 11 tournament, only to lose to Northampton in the opening round.
For his efforts, Wasileski was named the MVP of Tornado basketball by his coaches.
In the spring, he turned his attention to the cinders as a middle-distance runner for the track team. Wasileski participated in the 880-yard run, the mile run, and was a member of the 2-mile relay team. The 2-mile relay team established a new school record at 8:21.7. Because of the conversion to meters, this record still stands today. Other members of that team were Walt Madalis, Rich Ferri, and Jeff Yoder. Wasileski achieved a fifth-place finish in the mile, a third-place medal in the 880 and 2-mile relay at the District 4 meet and was able to represent Mount Carmel Area at the state championship meet in the 880 in 1972.
Wasileski returned to track in 1997 as an assistant to J. Kevin Jones with the girls track program at Southern Columbia High School.
His responsibilities included the sprinters, mid-distance and distance runners. Some of their runners were the most successful in Southern history, evidenced by the 3200 meter relay team medaling at states in 1999 and 2000. Hillary Roth added her name to that list by medaling in the 1600 in 2004. Cynthia Adams qualified for states from 2007-2010 at the 800 meters.
Wasileski is married to Anita Arthur Wasileski and has two daughters, Lura Wasileski Good and Kristen Wasileski Diehl. He attended Bucknell University from 1972-74 and graduated Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Physical Therapy.
SUSAN HUMPHREY YUCHA
Susan Humphry Yucha is the only girls basketball player to surpass 1,000 rebounds during her career at Mount Carmel Area. Her total of 1,134 was achieved during a four-year career from 1986-87 through 89-90.
Under Coach Deb Perles, she was a four-year starter. As a freshman, she helped lead the team to its sixth consecutive District 4 playoff berth. As a sophomore, she established a new single game record with a 24-rebound performance in a 51-49 victory over arch rival Shamokin.
During her junior season, following the loss of teammates Shannon Guinan, Kim Little, Mary and Peg Scicchitano, the girls suffered through an 0-24 season.
As she entered her senior season, Yucha became the ultimate leader with three freshman starters in Lesley Gilotti, Marie McDonald, and Jill Gonzalo. She led that team to 10 wins in Division I of the Schuylkill League.
The had quality wins over Lourdes, Shamokin, Tamaqua and Southern, a game during which she ended her career with a 23-point, 30-rebound performance. She was named to the Christmas Tournament all-star team at Williamsport and was given the VFW's Auxiliary Award as the team's Most Valuable Player for the second time. In addition to leading the team in rebounds and blocks, she also scored 12.3 points per game, scoring more than 900 during her career..
Yucha also lettered for four years in track and field, throwing the shot, discus, and javelin, qualifying for District 4 competition in the javelin during the 1990 season.
Yucha was given the Babe Ruth Foundation Award as the school's outstanding female athlete during her graduation ceremonies in 1990.
She had been employed by Shamokin Area Community Hospital for 19 years and, following the merger, currently works as a Patient Access Representative for Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community Hospital. She lives in Shamokin with her husband, Mike, and their two children, Mariah and Michael Jr. She is the daughter of Michael and Charmaine Humphrey and the granddaughter of Sandra Popson.