WEST PITTSTON — Marc Anthony Minichello had just gotten his wisdom teeth out and was in a lot of pain. But, he wasn’t going to miss sharing a special moment with residents of his hometown.
“I think I was in a little more pain than I expected,” he said. “But, it’s not bad enough that I wouldn’t be able to come in and spend a little time with West Pittston.”
Minichello, 18, and former West Pittston resident Ann Romanowski, 24, were both honored by borough mayor Tom Blaskiewicz at a recent council meeting for their athletic achievements.
Minichello was Wyoming Area High School’s first state gold medalist at the PIAA Track and Field Championships this past spring in the javelin throw, while Romanowski will be inducted into the Luzerne County Sports Hall of Fame Aug. 12.
“Academically, they’re both smart, bright individuals,” Blaskiewicz said. “Their accomplishments on the sports level — a state title and Hall of Fame honor — there aren’t many that can say that. Being residents of West Pittston, I’m always trying to promote the positivity of our community.”
For Minichello, being honored in front of his hometown residents was humbling.
“It’s an extremely humbling honor because one thing that I strive for is to always make my hometown proud because those are the people that will always have my back,” he said. “I know that if something is ever to go wrong the (borough) of West Pittston will always be behind me. For them to honor me is something that makes me so speechless.”
The state champion is taking his talents to the University of Pennsylvania this fall where he hopes to continue his success.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the place that track and field will take me,” he said. “If I continue to do well, the places that I’ll have the opportunity to see are supposed to be breathtaking and, hopefully, I’ll have the opportunity to travel all across the country, and maybe even oversees at some point.”
Romanowski currently resides in Philadelphia and made the drive to her former hometown to receive her honor from Blaskiewicz.
“I love my family and this is such a special honor,” she said. “It’s an easy drive.”
Romanowski was a standout athlete at Wyoming Seminary where she played basketball, field hockey and lacrosse.
She continued her academic and athletic careers at Villanova where she played field hockey and was a starter her freshman year and a co-captain her senior year.
She graduated in 2016 and recently finished a nursing program.
Not only will Romanowski be inducted into the Luzerne County Sports Hall of Fame, she will be the youngest inductee.
“When I was writing my speech, I was thinking if there are any young athletes there to keep doing it because it is really special,” she said. “Sports teach you a lot when you grow up.”
To come back to West Pittston and be honored by her old hometown was a heart-warming experience for Romanowski.
“West Pittston has my heart,” she said. “When I’m asked where my favorite place is, I always say it’s West Pittston. My whole family is here; I grew up here and this is where I learned to play sports. My roots are here.”