The Tunkhannock Kiwanis got a preview at Shadowbrook last Monday (Nov. 19) of some of the winter sports coming up at Tunkhannock Area.
Kiwanian Bob Parkison, who organizes the event, said the tradition of honoring the youths began about 10 years ago when his grandchildren wore Tiger uniforms.
Following a guided prayer by Parkison for the athletes and their coaches, Tunkhannock Kiwanis President Tim Michaels took to the podium.
“This is a great experience, a chance to introduce the kids of our community to the Kiwanis Club. We have served Tunkhannock for over 70 years, through multiple programs. We are a local service club-made up of all volunteers- that return all profits back into our community,” Michaels said.
“We provide funding where the government and other service organizations might fall short. Everyone in this room has either-or known someone who has- benefited from the Kiwanis club,” he added.
He continued to speak of the projects the local chapter has participated, including Christmas in our Hometown, Halloween parade, Easter Egg hunt, after school programs, food banks, soup kitchen, and a gun raffle, all the while easing the student-athletes into the meeting.
Four winter Tigers teams were represented-boys and girls swimming and diving and boys and girls basketball.
Michaels said part of the mission of the group included making the student athletes comfortable speaking in front of large groups and began the main draw of the evening by inviting the teams to the podium one by one.
Tori King, head girls’ swimming coach, kicked off the coaches’ portion by discussing last season.
“We were a small team with a small roster, but we held our own. We are working on drills and techniques right now, and getting ready for the future,” she said.
King brought along seniors Taylor Lynn, Melody Traver, and Alexandra Rought.
All were united on the team goal of getting to districts.
She was followed by her counterpart, boys’ head swim coach Tim Mislevy.
Mislevy spoke about the team’s run last year, which was better than expected, and included a 9-0 undefeated regular season and Wyoming Valley Conference division championship. The Tigers ended the season with a stunning one-point win over Dallas. And though they fell to the Mountaineers in districts, Tunkhannock sent representatives to states.
It was the second time in school history that the team had an undefeated season.
Mislevy spoke of the swimmers he brought with him: seniors Dylan Mislevy, Dyllan Henning, AJ Hodge, and junior Mike Astegher, saying how excited they all are to start the season.
The boys echoed the girls ‘sentiments, hoping to send as many members of the team to districts and eventually states.
Henning said his individual goals include getting through the season without any breaks or sprains.
Hodge offered one of the more individual commentaries of the evening, offering his personal goal as training to get into shape for his commitment to join the U.S. Coast Guard. His team goal centered on, “being determined and disciplined to help fill the trophy case.”
Next to the podium was the boys’ basketball team. Head coach Spencer Lunger brought six players with him, his starters and sixth man. He talked about how it was hard to win every game, every night in the WVC, and how the orange and black hoopers lost three of their five starters.
“We have the potential to do good things and are making each other better,” said Lunger.
All the team representatives cited the early first round playoff exit last season as their motivation for this season.
Individually, each boy had his goals in sight. From Eric Bennett’s hope to stay healthy, to Avery Billings goal to be more aggressive to Jack Chilson’s leadership drive, the Tigers seem focused on the end game.
Through the course of the discussion, it was revealed that senior guard Tyler Faux has a goal of adding his name to the 1,000 point scoring list at Tunkhannock High School. He is around 200 points away.
Finally, the Lady Tigers basketball team approached the podium, with senior Rebecca Avery adding, “They saved the best for last.”
The theme for the girls team this season, according to head coach Amanda Golden, is teamwork and togetherness. While the four seniors who accompanied their coach also want to improve on the aspects of the game they can control-shooting, leadership, and quick releases- the emphasis will be on the intangibles like camaraderie.
Avery also added that one of the girls’ goals this season is to have a better record than the boys.
Lunger said of the evening, “This is a great way to show our athletes how valued they are. It is an honor to be invited here, and give our input for this season.”
Coach Mislevy added that he felt it was an honor to be invited every year.
Melody Traver commented that she was enjoying being able to meet, chat, and bond with the other fall athletes, while Henning was enjoying the food.
Overall, the mood continued to be social and after all the cake plates and coffee cups were cleared, the athletes and their coaches thanked the civic organization for the opportunity to share the excitement of the winter season.