Diane Scarfalloto: a conversation with Honesdale High’s Athletic Director

By TED WADDELL
Posted 1/30/20

Diane Scarfalloto is passionate about high school sports.

She graduated from Honesdale High School as a three-sport sport athlete in 1992. After graduating from the “Home of the …

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Diane Scarfalloto: a conversation with Honesdale High’s Athletic Director

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Diane Scarfalloto is passionate about high school sports.

She graduated from Honesdale High School as a three-sport sport athlete in 1992. After graduating from the “Home of the Hornets” in 1992, she continued her education at East Stroudsburg University before being hired by the Western Wayne School District.

In the wake of serving in administrative positions, Scarfalloto was selected as the athletic director and director of career pathways at the local high school.

Now in her fourth year as head of the athletic department in a high school with a student population of approximately 800 in grades nine to 12, she is a strong believer in giving the scholar-athletes under her wing the opportunity to play as many sports as they desire, much as she did while attending her alma mater.

During her high school career, Scarfalloto played varsity field hockey, softball and girls’ basketball, noting of the game of hoops, “I did pretty well. I was the third all-time scorer at Honesdale High, and we went to the state playoffs every year I played.

“It was the heyday of Honesdale girls’ basketball until the group of girls from 2015 went through,” she recalled. While in high school, she added, she posted a total of 1,334 points.

The other day, Scarfalloto was back on the court she once played on as a small forward, power forward and center, watching a girls’ varsity game between the Lady Hornets and the Lady Trojans of North Pocono High School.

Above it all hangs a colorful banner proudly listing the names of Honesdale’s girls’ basketball 1,000-point club: Maggie Meagher 1986-90 (1,515 points), Heidi Robbins 1982-86 (1,388), Diane Scarfalloto, nee Schwartz 1988-92 (1,334), Katie Miller 2011-15 (1,303), Elizabeth Barton 1993-97 (1,237), Katie DeGraw 2005-09 (1,092), Robin Avery 1989-93 (1,021) and Mary Martin 2009-13 (1,002).

While this sports scribbler is fairly familiar with the high school sports structure in Sullivan County, NY, how sports are governed on the other side of the Upper Delaware River in Wayne County is a whole new ball game. Scarfalloto offered a thumbnail sketch of how things are set up.

In the Empire State, high school athletics are governed by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYPHSAA), and in our neck of the woods, the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) and the Mid-Hudson Athletic Association (MHAL). Honesdale High School is under the umbrella of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) and the Wayne Highland School District comes under the jurisdiction of the Division II of the Lackawanna League Interscholastic Association (LIAA) and the Wyoming Valley Conference (WVC).

Scarfalloto noted that Division II is comprised of 50-some schools “in a very large area…”

Asked who she considers Honesdale’s main basketball competition, Scarfalloto said it was most likely the Wallenpaupack and Wayne school districts, making up what she called “the three ‘W’s,” including her home district of Wayne Highlands.

“We always love our rival schools. The neat thing is, we see their kids as neighbors with our kids, and even though it’s a rivalry, it’s good for competition,” she said. “It’s tough on the courts or the fields when they’re playing against each other, but they’re friends… It’s a good friendly rivalry.

“Anytime you can beat one of those schools, it’s like you’ve made your season, any time you can show you’re the best in a particular sport,” she said.

According to Scarfalloto, Honesdale’s main adversary in field hockey is Delaware Valley High School in Milford, PA.

“We’re constantly battling for playoff spots,” she said, noting that Honesdale’s field hockey coach Rebecca Maliejewski leads her team “in one of the toughest leagues in the country. It’s a very prestigious field hockey area.”

The varsity wrestling program is also noteworthy at Honesdale High and is coached by Ryan Chulada and Joe Armone. In his high school career on the mats as a Hornet grappler, Armone posted 113 wins from 1997-01.

“Ryan comes from a long line of wrestling coaches. His father Rick was a coach, so it’s a long-lasting tradition in Honesdale wrestling,” said Scarfalloto.

“I watch them practice and they are the toughest practices I’ve ever seen,” she added. “These kids would walk through a wall for those coaches, and do anything they ask, and they keep coming back for more.”

Asked what high school student-athletes gain from participating in sports, Scarfalloto responded, “They learn leadership skills, time management, responsibility… being healthy in their minds as well as their bodies, making long-lasting relationships with their teammates and coaches.

As an advocate of multi-sport athletes, she explained, with “more kids taking the road to specialize in just one sport,” she believes they might be pushing themselves or being persuaded by others, to forgo the multi-sport challenges in favor of hoping for full-ride scholarships that are awarded to only a select few.

In the fall at the start of the school year, Honesdale offers boys’ and girls’ cross-country, soccer for both genders, field hockey, football backed up by a cheerleading squad, golf and girls’ tennis; in the winter, it’s wrestling supported by a cheerleading team, plus boys’ and girls’ basketball; in the spring, students can participate in boys’ and girls’ track, boys tennis, baseball, or softball.

“I remember going from sport to sport, giving you that little break to really miss it when the season returns,” Scarfalloto said before returning to the gym. “I want these kids to experience as many of these sports as they want to, and to be able to thrive and succeed in the future.”

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