Looking back at a magical fall sports season
The fall sports season is in the books, but while the games are over, the accomplishments by teams in the area won't soon be forgotten.
From the Northeast Bradford Panthers winning a state title in boys' cross country, to the Williamson Warriors reaching a state final in volleyball, it was a season that will go down as one of the best in the area's history.
Let's recap a little bit what happened this fall and then hand out some awards to wrap up the best achievements of the season.
The Northeast Bradford Panthers were dominant all season long, winning the NTL title, the District 4 title, then the PIAA, Class A title.
For the Panthers it was the first state title, in any sport, in the school's history.
But, it wasn't just the teams that had big success this year, as seven area boys and four area girls brought home state medals this year.
That included four top five finishes at states, Northeast Bradford's Curt Jewett and Sam Williams, Towanda's Aaron Vaoloroso and on the girls' side Casey Norton of Troy.
And, the success wasn't limited just to the NTL, as Tioga's Brenden Walker earned a trip to states in New York.
The cross country success even continued to the college ranks where Troy's Lauren Norton and Towanda's Joel Christian each ran at nationals in Division III and Mansfield University's Jess Scordino was an All-American in Division II.
Even just outside the region the success was great for cross country as the Elk Lake girls won a state title, and Luke Jones of Elk Lake had a runner-up finish on the boys' side.
The Williamson Warriors became the first NTL West team to ever reach a state final.
They went undefeated heading into the state final, never even losing more than one game in any match, before falling to Clarion in the state final.
The Warriors weren't the only team having a big year this season as the Troy Trojans won the NTL East title during the year and the Wellsboro Green Hornets captured the District 4, Class AA title.
In New York, the Waverly Wolverines won their first IAC title in over two decades and reached a sectional final, while Tioga won the Section IV, Class D title this season.
For the second straight year the Tioga Tigers reached the New York State final four, falling by a single point to eventual state champion Randolph.
While the Waverly Wolverines didn't get back to the final four like they were the previous season, they did go undefeated in the regular season and made it to the section final, falling in overtime to Chenango Forks.
In Pennsylvania, the Athens Wildcats won the NTL large-school title and reached the district semifinals, while the Troy Trojans were able to earn a spot in districts this season.
The Northeast Bradford boys' soccer team went undefeated to capture their first NTL East title, while the Athens' girls won the NTL girls' title.
Northern Potter captured the NTL West boys' title this year, while the Troy boys suffered just one league loss, by a goal to Northeast Bradford, on the year.
In the postseason, Northeast Bradford reached the district semifinals on the boys side, while the Liberty boys won their opening district game. The Mansfield and Athens girls each won a game in the district playoffs this season, while in New York Waverly won their opening sectional game.
Individually, Lila Carpenter of Waverly went over 50 career goals and became Waverly's all-time leading scorer, while Sayre's Mikala McNamara and Athens' Kirsten Colegrove each went over 50 career goals. Troy's Shane Miller went over 50 career assists on the boys side, Seth Murrelle of Sayre set the school career assists record and Isaiah McPherson of Northeast Bradford went over 50 career goals this year.
The Wellsboro Green Hornets captured the NTL title, going undefeated on the season for golf. In tennis Bucktail brought home an NTL title.
Athens' Zach Sitzman had a dominant freshman year, finishing seventh at the district meet. Nick Cevete of CV was 10th at the district meet this year.
In New York, for swimming Taylor Nelson of Waverly won the Class C sectional title in the 100 free this year and she joined Daylen Smith, Maria Sisto and Sam Goble to win the class title in the 400 free relay.
Now let's hand out some awards.
PERFORMANCE OF THE FALL
SECOND RUNNER-UP: The Tioga Tigers getting back to the state final four for a second-straight year.
Tioga lost state player of the year Cody Bennett to graduation, but they didn't miss a beat, winning their second straight Section IV, Class D title.
The Tigers faced the eventual state champion in the state semifinals for the second straight year, losing by one point to Randolph.
FIRST RUNNER-UP: The Williamson Warriors accomplished something that had never been done before in NTL West history, reaching the state final. A year after they fell in the state quarterfinals, the Warriors came back this year hoping to make it even further and they accomplished their goal. Not only did Williamson reach the state final, they did it in style, never losing until the final.
AND THE TOP PERFORMANCE: Two years ago the Northeast Bradford Panthers had a chance to win a state title and just missed out on achieving their dream. This year, they were not going to settle for anything less than state gold. The Panthers not only captured the first PIAA, Class A title with the new classifications, they did it in convincing fashion leaving all their competitors far behind them.
GIRLS' COACH OF THE FALL:
SECOND RUNNER-UP: Duane Hafer, Athens girls' soccer: The Wildcats won the NTL title, they won a first round game in the District 4, Class AAA playoffs and they lost just two times all season long.
FIRST RUNNER-UP: Leo Harris, Towanda girls' cross country: The Black Knights captured the NTL regular-season cross country title, defeating eventual District 4, Class A champion Wellsboro on their home course to win the title. Towanda also had a state medalist this year in Destiny Foster.
COACH OF THE FALL: Mark Klemick, Williamson volleyball: The accomplishment speaks for itself, reaching a state final and losing just one time, in the state final, on the season.
BOYS' COACH OF THE FALL:
SECOND RUNNER-UP: Neal Snyder, NEB boys' soccer: The Panthers were undefeated during the regular season, they won their first ever NTL East title, they reached the district semifinals, falling one goal short of states and a district final in overtime.
FIRST RUNNER-UP: Jason Miller, Waverly football: The Wolverines went undefeated in the regular season, including wins over NTL large-school champion Athens and Section IV, Class D champion, and state-final four participant Tioga. The Wolverines reached the sectional final, falling in overtime to Chenango Forks.
COACH OF THE FALL: Mike Murphy, NEB cross country: Winning a state title, three state medalists, including two in the top four, you can't get much better than that as a coach.
GIRLS' NEWCOMER OF THE FALL:
SECOND RUNNER-UP: Erin Fagan, Waverly volleyball: There were a lot of new faces for the Waverly Wolverines this year and many of them had an impact. But, Fagan was a first-team all-region selection and she helped guide the Wolverines to their first IAC title in over 20 years, including a pair of wins over Tioga this year and a victory over Edison.
FIRST RUNNER-UP: Simone Lichty, Mansfield cross country: Last year Lichty made a name for herself in track and field. This year, the junior gave cross country a try and she was an all-star and a district medalist for the Tigers.
NEWCOMER OF THE FALL: Lydia Werner, NEB cross country: As an eighth-grader a year ago Werner was undefeated in dual meets, rarely being challenged and she set the course record in the junior high NTL meet. This year, she had the same success at the varsity level, earning a state medal as a freshman for the Panthers.
BOYS' NEWCOMER OF THE FALL:
SECOND RUNNER-UP: Zach Sitzman, Athens golf and Jesse Manuel, Tioga football: As a freshman Sitzman was the top finisher among local golfers at districts, finishing seventh, and he was a first-team all-star. Manuel finished with 1,535 yard rushing in his freshman year for Tioga, helping the Tigers reach the state final four.
FIRST RUNNER-UP: Levi Upham, NEB cross country: Helped Northeast Bradford to a PIAA, Class A state championship, finishing with a top 65 finish at the state meet.
NEWCOMER OF THE FALL: Towanda's Noah Huff was thrust into the starting quarterback job for the Towanda Black Knights in the first game of the season when senior Trey Sites went down with an injury. The sophomore went on to rush for 990 yards on the year and throw for 430 yards for Towanda.
BOYS' ATHLETE OF THE FALL:
SECOND RUNNER-UP: Colton Snyder, NEB: The Northeast Bradford senior led the Panthers to their first NTL East title and to a trip to the district semifinals. The Panthers lost in overtime in the district semis, but they reached overtime after Snyder's goal late in the second half tied the game. Snyder was the All-Region player of the year for the second straight year.
FIRST RUNNER-UP: Tyler Spires, Tioga: He was one of the best defensive players in the region and offensively he ran for over 1,900 yards to help lead the Tioga Tigers to the New York State, Class D state final four.
ATHLETE OF THE FALL: Curt Jewett and Sam Williams, NEB: Trying to pick one over the other is nearly impossible. Jewett was the district champion, Williams finished a spot higher at states. Both ran nearly side-by-side throughout the season, helping to guide the Panthers to the state title and they are the co-top athletes of the fall.
GIRLS' ATHLETE OF THE FALL:
SECOND RUNNER-UP: Kirsten Colegrove, Athens: The Wildcats junior was the All-Region player of the year, after setting a single-season record for Athens with 40 goals, and also leading the region in assists, while also setting a single-game scoring record of seven goals for the Wildcats, while leading Athens to the NTL title.
FIRST RUNNER-UP: Casey Norton, Troy: The Trojans senior earned her fourth straight trip to states, but it's how she finished the year that was especially impressive. Norton won her first district title and at the PIAA, Class A race she earned a third-place finish.
ATHLETE OF THE FALL: Kim Daugherty, Williamson: Daugherty was the most dominant player on the most dominant volleyball team in the area. She helped lead the Warriors to the PIAA, Class A final, proving to be a mismatch for other teams. In the first two rounds of states alone the senior had 53 kills. She was the All-Region player of the year.