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  • January 11, 2024
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At a time when Mount Carmel Area wrestling is experiencing anew found notoriety, it seems only fitting that we recognize one of the teams from the Golden Era of MCA wrestling. The 1968-69 team would go on to win the first-ever District IV PIAA Southern Sectional Championship and would retire the Northumberland County Supremacy Championship. While wrestling an independent schedule, the Tornado wrestlers did not win a league title, but would defeat two teams who did win league championships. They defeated Mid State Champion, Line Mountain, 24-23; and Tri-County Champion, North Schuylkill, 26-18, snapping the Spartans 23 dual meet winning streak. They also placed third at the District IV Team Championships with close to 60 teams competing. This team was also a major part of two of the schools longest win streaks: 20 consecutive dual meet wins and 25 consecutive home meet victories. This truly was a team asking to be challenged.

The team was led by Head Coach, Frank Pecaitis and assistant, Joseph Iwanski. The starting line-up usually consisted of Mickey Stello – 95, John Ownes – 103, Robert Hornberger – 112, Robert Howell – 120, Robert Prezlomski – 127, John Cortellini – 133, Joe Lapotsky 138, James Skinner – 145, Mark Sassani – 154, Bob Sacavage – 165, Mike Semicek – 180, and Ed Prezlomski – HWT. Other contributors were Joe Chimmel, Paul Karwacki, Jim Lentini, John Mazur, Joe Meyer, Ron Miller, Ira Wolf, Robert Yastishak, and Greg Shoffler.

It was a team of true technicians, scoring 118 takedowns to their opponents 44 and out-pinned their opposition 38-5. In addition, Bob Sacavage won MCA’s third state championship, winning at 165 lbs. Remember that this was at a time when there was only one class and no wrestle-backs – lose and you were out! Bob also set a national record for the fastest pin in the country – 4 seconds. Sassani registered the only pin in the Sectional Finals and would earn a District IV runner-up trophy. In the Sectionals, Ed Prezlomski was not even seeded and had to wrestle a preliminary round match before eventually winning the championship. Howell, Sassani, and Sacavage were undefeated in dual meets on their way to Sectional Titles. It is without a doubt, a team to be remembered. Those wrestling Tornadoes accomplished a great deal individually, but it was Pecaitis’s TEAM CONCEPT that made this squad so special.

Categories: 2009 Hall of Fame