By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
Looking at her achievements over the past year, you could say Mount Carmel junior Ali Varano got better with time.
She was named a Daily Item second-team all-star soccer player in the fall. That was followed by a first-team honor in the winter for her skill on the hardwood. Then came the female Track Athlete of the Year award just a month ago.
So perhaps it's no surprise that after a stellar junior year where she excelled in three different sports, Varano, daughter of Mount Carmel coaches Rob and Lisa Varano, was recognized once again, this time as The Daily Item's 2013 Female Athlete of the Year.
"I was really excited (when I received the news). I'm very honored," the junior Red Tornado said. "It was definitely a surprise. A lot of people I compete against (are worthy, too). There's a lot of good athletes out there."
The Athletes of the Year are determined by a vote of The Daily Item sports department. Other area athletes who received votes include: Warrior Run basketball and softball star Tay Parker; Selinsgrove shot put gold medalist and field hockey goalie Courtney McCartney; Shikellamy cross country state medalist and track athlete Treicy Cedeno; Warrior Run basketball and track standout Steph Shamburg; Mifflinburg state swimming champion Adriana Grabski; Southern Columbia basketball and softball star Mallory Tomaschik; and Greenwood field hockey and softball standout Katie Osborne.
This marks the first year an athlete from Mount Carmel -- male or female -- earned the honor since The Daily Item first awarded it in 2005.
Varano didn't simply just play three sports; she was phenomenal in each one.
"I think that all goes into her work ethic. She's not one to sit still -- she never was, even as a kid. When she's not doing something, she's going out for a run. (If) we lose a basketball game, she comes home at 11 and she's out running in the roads because she's wired and upset. That's just her," Mount Carmel girls basketball coach Lisa Varano said. "We've been fortunate in Mount Carmel (in athletics). She's been lucky she's been part of a good program (in soccer). Same goes with basketball, but a long basketball season means there's no time between that and track and I think if she didn't have that personality that she was constantly on the move, it might wear on somebody. But she can't sit still. That's always been her."