Dunmorean of the Month: Marina Pegula

Marina Pegula photo

By Steve Svetovich

Dunmore graduate Marina Pegula is playing as much softball as she can while setting sights on a career in pharmacy.

Daughter of Mark and Diane Pegula, Dunmore, Marina is now in her sophomore year as a pre-Allied Health major at Lackawanna College.

She is a starting shortstop on the Lackawanna College softball team.

Marina, 19, played four years of softball at Dunmore a High School. She is a former all-star and started at shortstop for three years at Dunmore. She also played some third base under Dunmore softball coach Ryan Ferguson.

bucksThe scholar-athlete played basketball and volleyball and also was a football cheerleader at Dunmore.

Jeff Pittsman is her softball coach at Lackawanna. “Our team started to click last season,” Marina said. “I’m really looking forward to playing this season.”

She talked about what it takes to be a good shortstop.

“You need to be aware about what is going on during the game on the field at all times,” she said. “You can’t be overwhelmed. You have to stay calm and make the plays come to you. You can’t be psyched out by anything.”

Marina played travel softball from age nine through her sophomore year in high school. “It was a great experience,” she said. “It was great traveling state to state and even to Florida for the championships. I was away playing every weekend in the summer. It is a lot of fun and you learn a lot from the different teams and players.”

Marina said she learned a lot from her travel team coaches and Dunmore coach Ryan Ferguson. “Coach Ferguson taught us to be focused and put forth your best effort out there. The travel team coaches also taught me a lot about the game.”

The 2016 Dunmore graduate said she became interested in pharmacy after shadowing Tom DePietro at DePietro Family Pharmacy in Dunmore.

“He is a friend of my cousin, Jim Dartt. I really enjoyed the experience shadowing him and I was very good in chemistry in high school. So I decided on a pre-pharmacy major with a goal of going to pharmacy school.”

lccMarina had successful first year at Lackawanna doing well academically and hitting .334 while starting every game at shortstop on the softball team.

She hopes to continue her softball career after the coming season. “It will depend on where I go to school in my junior year. If the opportunity presents itself, I definitely want to continue playing.”

Marina talked about her future goals. “Well, my number one goal is to become a pharmacist. I would like to someday open my own pharmacy. I would like to play softball as long as I can in college. I like being a part of the team.”

Marina enjoys listening to music in her spare time. If she could see anyone in concert, she said, it would be the late Michael Jackson.

Her biggest supporters are her parents.

“My parents always tell me to do my best. They tell me to perform up to my capabilities both in academics and softball. They are very supportive, go to all of my softball games and that gives me a very comfortable feeling.”

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Dunmorean of the Month: Mark Rinaldi

rinaldi

IN MEMORIAM: Mark J. Rinaldi, 54, passed away on Monday, July 10, at the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.

By Steve Svetovich

He had a passion for athletics, family and advocating for the Dunmore youth.

That’s what Dunmore athletic director Mark Rinaldi was about.

And the Dunmore community lost him much too soon when he died last month at 54 from an apparent heart attack.

Son of Sylvia Pisa Rinaldi and the late John J. Rinaldi, Mark had a lifelong love of sports. He graduated from Dunmore High School in 1981. He was part of a Big 11 title football team as a wide receiver-defensive back in 1978. He helped Dunmore win its first Lynett Memorial Basketball title in 1980 and Lackawanna League Southern Division title in 1981.

After receiving his B.S. in Education from East Stroudsburg University in 1985, he returned to Dunmore and began a long coaching and teaching career. His mentor was Dunmore legendary basketball coach Jack Kelly.

“He and Jack were very close and remained friends throughout the years,” said Michelle Rinaldi (no relation), Dunmore, whose sons Chris and Corey were Dunmore athletes.

“I know all of the student-athletes loved Mark. He would do anything for them. He was not a guy who smiled a lot. He had a serious look. But he had a reputation of always advocating for the student-athlete. I bet if you asked any student-athlete about him, you would hear nothing but positive stories about him. He was extremely well liked.”

A math teacher, Rinaldi served as a volunteer coach for Dunmore’s Eastern Football Conference Class A title team. He served for several years as an assistant football coach.

bucksA tireless worker dedicated to his craft, he became Dunmore’s head basketball coach in 1998-99 succeeding his mentor Jack Kelly. He was previously the assistant under Kelly.

He led Dunmore to a 93-63 record, including three Lynett titles, in six seasons.

During his time at Dunmore, he also served as junior varsity baseball coach and junior varsity track and field coach.

He became the Dunmore High School athletic director after the 2009-10 scholastic year. Again, he succeeded his mentor Jack Kelly.

And in that role, he did everything he could for the student-athlete. No problem was too big to solve.

Very generous with his time, he served over the years as an official clock operator at local football games, as site manager for state playoff events and as a high school and college official.

He made various contributions to the Lackawanna Interscholastic Athletic Association and also at the District 2 and PIAA levels. He was past president of the Lackawanna Football Conference, member of the District 2 committee and was chairperson of soccer and lacrosse.

Rinaldi was a strong family man who closely followed the academic and athletic careers of his two sons, John and Mark. John, a three-sport athlete at Dunmore, recently graduated from Binghamton University where he was a key member of the basketball team. Mark, a senior at Dunmore, is an all-star in soccer, football, basketball and track and field.

Rinaldi served Dunmore High School for over 30 years as a teacher, coach and administrator. He was dedicated to Dunmore.

His beloved wife, the former Annie Hubshman, also survives.

Dunmorean of the Month: Gary Duncan

Dunmorean of the Month - Gary DuncanBy: Steve Svetovich

For its “Good Works,” the Lackawanna County Commissioners presented Gary Duncan, chairman of the Dunmore Neighborhood Watch program, with a certificate of recognition last month.

The “Good Works” of the Dunmore Neighborhood Crime Watch program serves its community with a dual purpose – safety and education.

Duncan said the organization reports crimes, blight and dangerous areas, which while also alerting residents and watchdogs, tries to be cognizant of abandoned vehicles, vacant homes, graffitti and vandalism.

The group, which meets the third Monday of every month at 7 p.m. In the community room of the Dunmore Community Center, 1414 Monroe Avenue, works in tandem with the Dunmore police department.

Lackawanna County Commissioners Jerry Notarianni, Patrick O’Malley and Laureen A. Cummings presented Duncan with the certificate of recognition.

“I was pleasantly surprised,” Duncan said during an interview with The Dunmorean. “I certainly did not know this was coming. I sincerely appreciated that they took the time to acknowledge our contributions to the Dunmore community.”

Duncan, a Dunmore resident for the past 20 years and an occupational therapist for

Dunmorean of the Month - Neighborhood Watch

Dunmore Neighborhood Watch serves its community with a dual purpose – safety and education. For its “Good Works,” the Lackawanna County Commissioners presented its chairman, Gary Duncan with a certificate of recognition.

Traditional Home Health, Dunmore, established the Dunmore Neighborhood Watch group in 2013. About 30-40 residents attend each monthly meeting. Lackawanna County  Commissioner Laureen Cummings attended the most recent meeting.

“Members of the Dunmore police department, the Lackawanna County Probation and Parole office and Lackawanna County District Attorney’s office have attended every meeting,” Duncan said.

“Our goal is to have a city wide group crime watch, or a summit crime watch right at the Dunmore Community Center. We would like to have all the neighborhood crime watch groups meet for a summit right here in Dunmore. We think that can happen.”

Duncan said there will be a community neighborhood walk June 11 in Dunmore. The group will meet and walk in the neighborhood of Larch Street and Adams Avenue and New York Street in the area of Nina’s Pizza and Restaurant.

“Our motto with the Dunmore Neighborhood Watch,” said Duncan, “is you do have a voice. All our welcome.”

Duncan said he is proud that “all members of our police department have been at every single meeting.”

The energized and enthusiastic Duncan said the group has utilized a host of prominent speakers during its monthly meetings. “And we will continue to do so.”

Dunmorean of the Month - Duncan Family

The Duncan Family shown from left: Lynne, Annie, Gary and Claire.

Duncan, a graduate of Misericordia University, and his wife Lynne, a speech therapist at Allied Services, also volunteer for various community organizations. The couple are proud parents of two daughters: Claire, 19, a sophomore in the English honors program at Immaculata University, and Annie, 23, who last month received a B.A. in Fine Arts from Marywood University.

“We will continue to work hard with the Dunmore Neighborhood Watch program to make the borough safe and to educate our residents. We encourage all to attend our monthly meeting.”

Dunmorean of the Month: Kayleigh Semion

 

kayleighBy Steve Svetovich

Dunmore High School graduate Kayleigh Semion could have played Division II or III college basketball just about wherever she wanted, but her dream was to go to Penn State.

When she enrolled at Penn State she thought her basketball career could be over, but it wasn’t. Now the 2015 Times-Tribune Player of Year is really living her dream.

She is a key member of the Penn State University women’s club basketball team.

And while it is not Division I varsity level, this team plays a brand of highly competitive basketball with six to eight tournaments throughout the year. The team practices at least two hours three nights per week.

Daughter of Sherry Nicolais and step-daughter of Mark Nicolais, Kayleigh, 20, is a sophomore Kinesiology major with aspirations to eventually become a physical therapist.

An All Regional and second team All State point guard at Dunmore in her senior season, she had opportunities to play division II or III college basketball, but her dream was to attend Penn State.

Then the opportunity came to tryout for the club basketball team. The tryout was competitive and intense, but Kayleigh, a sophomore at Penn State, made the roster. Now she gets to attend Penn State and play basketball.

With over 1,200 career points at Dunmore, she quickly became a key member of the club basketball team. She averaged 14.0 points, 5.0 assists and 4.0 steals per game in her senior season at Dunmore and is playing that same type of game for the Penn State club team. She averaged 8.0 points and 4.5 assists mostly coming off the bench for the club team this season.

She helped her Penn State club team place in third place in the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association Championship tournament last month at Ohio State University. Her team beat Virginia Tech, Ohio University and the University of Connecticut, but lost to Air Force. She came off the bench to score 13 points against Virginia Tech.

Kayleigh was named to the All-Tournament team following the Regional Championship Tournament at Boston University earlier this year. Her Penn State club team won that tournament.

“It is very competitive basketball,” she said. ” It is on the level of division II or III college basketball. We practice hard and get to go away to games. We get to practice all the time. The games are highly competitive. The players love to compete. It is a terrific experience. And it is great representing Penn State.”

Breana Toro, former Lackawanna League all-star from Abington Heights, is a member of her club team.

Two of the girls on the club team were promoted to the Penn State varsity roster after injuries to players last season. Most of the girls on the club team attend the varsity games.

And Kayleigh is even a manager for the Penn a State varsity team.

“I will do anything I can to stay in the game,” she said. “I love basketball.”

The scholar-athlete has an impressive 3.8 grade point average at Penn State. She takes a lot of what Dunmore coach Ben O’Brien instilled in her. “He taught me about work ethic . He is really into what he does as a coach. He really helped me as a basketball player.”

Kayleigh also ran track at Dunmore and was a twirler.

She and her two sisters Brittany and Meredith learned twirling from her mom, a prominent twirling instructor in Dunmore.

“My mom always teaches me to go after whatever I want in life 110 percent at a time. She tells me to go after it full speed.”

Personable and full of life, Kayleigh knows she is living her dream at Penn State. “I love it here,” she said. “I always dreamed of going here. I look around and here I am. I love the atmosphere here. And I still get to play basketball.”

Kayleigh said she likes listening to music in her spare time. She would like to see Ed Sheeran in concert.

And while she continues to do what she loves at her dream college, Kayleigh thinks of her future. “I want to get into a physical therapy school after graduation. It is highly competitive, but I want to become a physical therapist.”

And competition seems to be something Kayleigh Semion thrives on.