Hall to honor trio of MCA scholar athletes
(Editor's Note: The Ed Romance Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame will hold its annual induction ceremonies during a banquet, March 23 at 2 p.m. at the Brady Fire Co. banquet hall. This is the fourth in a series of honoree biographies that will be published daily leading up to the event.)
Cathy Fletcher, a senior student at Mount Carmel Area Jr./Sr. High School, has been named the Joseph D. Wasilewski Female Scholar Athlete for 2013.
She is the daughter of Michael and Susan Fletcher of Kulpmont. A four-year varsity letter winner, she has participated in cross country, swimming, and track and field. She has earned 10 varsity letters, competing each year at the district level in all three sports. Fletcher has served as the captain of the cross country team for coach Ben McConnell and has been recognized as a first-team all-star in the Heartland Conference during her junior and senior years.
In swimming, she has been second and first in scoring for female swimmers for coach John Backes. Fletcher has earned points at the District 4 championship meet in the 100 and 200 freestyles and 200 meter freestyle relay.
Fletcher currently serves as vice president of the senior class and participates in the Advanced College Experience (ACE) program at Bloomsburg University. She has participated in Odyssey of the Mind for three years. Her team made it to the world's level of competition during her sophomore and junior years.
Fletcher has participated in the Young Scholar program at Luzerne County Community College, and has taken college courses at Luzerne County Community College. She is a member of the SAT 1300 club, National Honor Society and is a consistent Distinguished Honors student. She participates in the developmental studies program
at Mount Carmel Area and is currently ranked third in her class.
Outside of school, Fletcher is an altar server at Holy Angels Church in Kulpmont.
She also serves as a volunteer each year at Holy Angels' annual church picnic. Last summer she attended the University of Pittsburgh's Health Career Scholars Academy, an advanced summer program focused on providing student learning opportunities in various health fields.
As her senior project, Fletcher has collected, sorted, labeled, and put into a database over 500 books in support of the Kulpmont Lending Library. She has worked at Knoebel's Amusement Park. Fletcher will attend a four-year college to major in biomedical or mechanical engineering.
Over his four-year career at Mount Carmel Area High School, Rob Varano has built a strong resume that has earned him the Jazz Diminick Male Scholar Athlete for 2013. He is a three-sport student athlete who has participated in football, basketball and track and field.
Varano has excelled at a number of positions for coach Carmen DeFrancesco's Red Tornadoes. He has played quarterback, wide receiver, safety and punter. During the 2012 season, he smashed a 46- year old receiving record with his 227-yard performance in the win over North Schuylkill. The old record was held by Frank Niglio against Carlisle in 1966.
Only four players in MCA history had more receptions in a season than Varano's 46 during 2012. He also averaged 37.4 yards per punt and was named to the First Team of the Pennsylvania Football News AA All-State team for his efforts. He was also named to the Heartland Conference, Daily Item, News-Item and Press Enterprise all-star teams. Varano also earned the Chapter's Athlete of the Month Award for October.
Varano helped the basketball team into the district playoff picture for the first time in four years. He served as co-captain and is a three-year letterman. In track and field, he is a three-year district qualifier in the javelin. He added the pole vault to his resume in 2012 and vaulted 13'6" to win the silver medal at the district meet, qualifying him for the PIAA state meet, where he finished tiefor 11th in the state. Following the season, he was named to the Heartland Conference Division II first team.
Varano currently serves as the president of the senior class and was also a member of the student council. He is currently enrolled in the Advanced College Experience (ACE) program at Bloomsburg University, where he attends class full-time.
He also has completed classes as part of the Young Scholar Program at Luzerne Count Community College. He was a member of the MCA Odyssey of the Mind Team that advanced to the world's level of competition in his junior year. He is a National Honor Society member and currently ranks fifth in his class. He is also a six-year member of the MCA marching band and symphonic band as a trumpeter.
Outside of school, Varano is active in Hope Community Church, where he serves as the video coordinator. In the fall of 2012, he will attend a four-year college to major in business/pre-law. He is the son of Lisa and Rob Varano.
This year's St. Pauline Visintainer Scholar Athlete is Eric Joraskie.
Joraskie's total accomplishments on the athletic fields, in the classroom, and in his church enabled him to earn the award.
He has distinguished himself as a three-year player for coach Carmen DeFrancesco's football team. Joraskie's play helped the Tornadoes into the District 4 playoffs three times, winning the championship in 2011. He totaled 184 tackles, including 59 for loss, during his career as a defensive tackle and registered 18 quarterback sacks for 124 yards lost.
He was a two-time Associated Press first-team all-statselection in 2011 and 2012. He is only the seventh player in MCA history to be so honored. He also became MCA's 22nd Big 33 player since the game's inception in 1957.
He will play in this year's game in Hershey in June. Eric was also tabbed to play in the 3rd annual Chesapeake Bowl in Landover, Md., but declined due to game restrictions.
Joraskie has accepted a scholarship to play for Coach Pat Fitzgerald at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.
He also competes for MCA track in both the shot and discus, in which he was a district medalist in 2012. Joraskie was also a swimmer as a freshman and sophomore and was a district qualifier in the butterfly.
Joraskie has also been a distinguished honor roll student and is a National Honor Society member. He is very involved with the WKMV-TV studio and is a member of the Spanish Club. He has played the lead role of Jesus in Godspell and played the role of Danny Zuko in this year's production of Grease. Joraskie is also a member and altar server at Grace Lutheran Church in Shamokin.
Joraskie is one of four Joraskie brothers, who have played for the Red Tornadoes - Bill, a student at Carnegie Mellon, Adam, a student at Bucknell, and Austin, a sophomore at MCA. He is a son of Nancy and William Joraskie and a grandson of Marie and William Joraskie and Dorothy and the late Harry Przekop.