HS SPORTS: Romanowski, Granko win scholarships as LIAA scholar-athletes of the year

The Lackawanna Interscholastic Athletic Association honored two standout scholar-athletes Wednesday morning at the annual breakfast celebration at the Montdale Country Club.

Western Wayne senior Emily Romanowski and Old Forge senior Joe Granko earned of the $1,000 scholarship awards, and each school had a female and a male recognized by the organization.

This year, the LIAA dedicated the event to the late Ann Marie Simons, who died in April after a short and courageous battle with cancer. As Wallenpaupack’s athletic director, she worked tirelessly to support and organize the event, and to spotlight the academic and athletic achievements of students.

Ann Marie’s husband Bob Simons, who is the longtime Hall of Fame golf coach at Wallenpaupack; daughter, Bridget Donovan; mother, Jean Gilhool; sister, Christine Collins; and brother, Joe Gilhool, the athletic director at Montrose; attended the ceremony. Bridget served as guest speaker.

Romanowski returned to athletics after suffering a torn ACL. She had an all-star season in girls volleyball, led Western Wayne’s girls basketball team and earned the Lackawanna League Division II Coaches’ Player of the Year honor this past winter.

Romanowski is also a member of the softball team and has a batting average of .450 with 18 hits, 16 runs, five RBIs, five doubles, two triples and a home run, and as a pitcher, has a 2-0 record with 15 strikeouts.

“This really means a lot to me because I missed a whole year, and that was very tough and mentally exhausting with my school and athletics,” Romanowski said. “I put in a lot of work recovering from my injury, and all of the work has really paid off for me. I was excited because there were a lot of great student-athletes there, and it was a great surprise.”

Granko is a three-sport star at Old Forge, excelling at football, basketball and baseball. He made the Lackawanna Football Conference Division III Coaches All-Star first-team at linebacker and was an honorable mention selection at tight end. He led the Blue Devils with 103 total tackles, 17 tackles for loss, five forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries, and added 15 receptions for 236 yards and four touchdowns.

He also contributed to the basketball team, and this spring has a batting average of .390 with 16 hits, six runs and 13 RBIs for the Blue Devils’ baseball team.

“This means a lot to me,” said Granko, who plans to attend either the University of Scranton or Marywood University. “I put in a lot of work in the classroom and in competing in my sports. I got a lot of support from my parents (Andrea Granko and Joe Granko) and sister (Brooke). It is special and a really exciting moment for me and my family.”

2023-24 LIAA Scholar-Athletes

Abington Heights: Emma Horsley and Ryan Nealon

Blue Ridge: Libby Zick and Connor Cranage

Carbondale Area: Megan Cosklo and Robbie Waters

Delaware Valley: Nicole Musselwhite and Jacob Albaugh

Dunmore: Maura Michalczyk and Dominic DeSando

Elk Lake: Mackenzie Strohl and Isaac Gesford

Forest City: Sarah Spinelli and Brandon Non

Holy Cross: Abby Thompson and Ben Mulvey

Honesdale: Elyse Montgomery and Bryce Dressler

Lackawanna Trail: Mikayla Measley and Stephen Jervis

Lakeland: Abigail Davis and Ethan Depoti

Mid Valley: Carolyn Chakiris and Erald Zyberaj

Montrose: Daegan Giannone and Nate Sinkovich

Mountain View: Lillian Sedlak and Riley Jagger

North Pocono: Gwen Powell and Matthew Seidita

Old Forge: Talia Piragas and Joe Granko

Riverside: Emma Byrne and Zachary Chilek

Scranton: Kennedy Bittenbender and Javon James

Scranton Prep: Tessa Mangan and Ethan Borick

Susquehanna: Paytyn Sellitto and Jackson Maby

Valley View: Emma Miller and Mason Peters

Wallenpaupack: Erika Badner and Benjamin Ostroski

West Scranton: Celia Emiliani and Colby Celuck

Western Wayne: Emily Romanowski and Adrian Agnello