During one of his first attempts at the sport of track and field, Marc Anthony Minichello heard a compliment from a competitor.
“He said, ‘Oh my God, wow, that’s great’,” Minichello remembers. “That made me feel so good on the inside. That was something that motivated me. I wanted more people to say ‘Oooh and ahhh’.“
By the time he was finished, Minichello had the whole state of Pennsylvania in awe.
The Wyoming Area senior, who only turned to track and field when a shoulder injury wouldn’t allow him to play baseball, became the first Warriors athlete to win a state championship when he captured the PIAA Class 3A javelin throw, the crowning achievement in a season that made Minichello the Times Leader Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
His wow factor was off the charts.
Minichello finished second at the prestigious Penn relays, at the stadium where he’ll be throwing javelin next year for the University of Pennsylvania. He not only won the District 2 Class 3A championship he and his late father, Marc E. Minichello, dreamed about, Marc Anthony set a new district record while doing it.
Then he awed the Wyoming Area community by going where no track and field athlete from the school had gone before — to the very top of the state podium.
He believes one wouldn’t have happened without the other.
“I think they all were important,” Minichello said. “They kind of went in chronological order of importance, at the time.”
The Penn Relays came first, as Minichello finished second with a then career-best throw of 202-2. He topped that by almost two feet in the district record performance that set the stage for the state title.
MORE BOYS TRACK AND FIELD
Pittston Area’s Jason Mills was named Coach of the Year and more Greater Pittston athletes were recognized on the Times Leader’s all-star team.
Seniors Nick Barbieri (110-meter high hurdles), Phil Cocco (shot put), Walter Coles (discus) all were named to the first team after helping Pittston Area to the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 title and a fourth-place finish in the District 2 Class 3A championships.
The second team included Wyoming Area’s Kayne Burton in the 100-meter dash and Pittston Area’s Jake Rutkowski in the shot put.
Others from the Greater Pittston recognized as the Times Leader announced its all-star teams were:
GIRLS TRACK AND FIELD
Pittston Area placed senior pole vaulter Abby Norwillo, sophomore 800-meter runner Nicole Zambetti and freshman 100 hurdler Giavanna Innamorati made the first team along with Wyoming Area senior high jumper Shelby Stackhouse.
The second team included Pittston Area seniors Ashton Ashby, in the high jump, and Charity McLeod, in the 400 dash, and Wyoming Area junior shot putter Madelyn Resciniti.
Pittston Area junior third baseman Joe Stella was one of 18 players from around the WVC recognized on the Times Leader all-star team.
The University of Maine recruit batted .467.
Wyoming Area placed senior defenders Bella Waltz and Hannah Hinkle, sophomore midfielder Cassidy Orzel and freshman attacker Emma Kelleher on the second team.
PAUL SOKOLOSKI, DAVE ROSENGRANT and TOM ROBINSON contributed to this report.
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