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  • January 12, 2024
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Dream it – they did! Expect it – not so much! After looking at the seed positions for the 1998 State Championship Meet, Coach Al Yackenchick and his team felt really good about their prospects as they made their way down Route 81 to Shippensburg. The Tornadoes had just come off of a win in the District IV Championship Meet – their second consecutive district championship and 24th overall. (The Red Tornadoes would also win District Titles in 1999 and 2000 to give MCA 26 overall titles). The Tornadoes were paced in the District Meet by their star, Nick Sebes, who won the 100 and 200 meter runs with a District record 10.7 and 21.9 and anchored the 4 x 100 meter relay team of Jon Veach, John Kalinoski, and Pete Avellino to a 43.5 and did the same for the 4 x 400 meter relay team of Bryan Dettrey, Jed Gonzalo, and Matt Montgomery with a new District Record time of 3:24.1 to win the meet by an 82-80 score over Central Columbia ( The 3:24.1 was never recognized by District IV due to a clerical error and would still be the District record today). Additionally Pete Drey won gold in the 1600 (4:24.1) and Jay Malakoski in the shot (52’11”). Jake Shellhammer and Matt VanDoren also scored points, enabling the victory.

At the state meet, the Tornadoes were once again led by Sebes, who earned a silver in the 200, 8th place finish in the 100 and a silver medal in the 4 x 400 MR with Dettrey, Gonzalo, and Montgomery setting a new Regional record of 3:23.9. Drey was 4th in the 1600, as was Jay Malakoski in the shot put. The 27 points allowed the Tornadoes to tie Fort LeBoeuf for the team title. It was the first and only state championship in the storied MCA track program.

The 1998 team dominated its competition with a perfect 9-0 record in dual meets and capped the season off with a 1st place finish in the Schuylkill League meet. The Tornado thin clads were also victorious in the Purple and White Relays, Mount Carmel Invitational, and Williamsport Coaches Invitational. Their only blemish was a second place finish to AAA Selinsgrove in the MCA Breslin Relays. Records established during the ’98 season were: 100 meter dash – Sebes – 10.5, 200 meter dash – Sebes – 21.7, 4 x 100 meter relay – Sebes, Veach, Kalinoski, Avellino – 43.3, 4 x 400 meter realy – Sebes, Montgomery, Gonzalo, Dettrey – 3:23.9, 1600 meter – Drey – 4:22.4. Al Yackenchick spent three years at the helm and he would leave following the ’98 campaign with a 24-6 record. Coach Yak and the 1998 team set the gold standard for MCA track and field.

Categories: 2018 Hall of Fame