SAYRE - Senior Katie Hurley and sophomore Nick Sweet were named Fall Athletes of the Season at the fall awards assembly held recently at Sayre High School.

The two athletes, both members of the school's cross country team, were nominated by their coaches and selected by the combined fall sports coaching staff. The award recognizes leadership, athletic ability, sportsmanship and effort.

Also earning recognition for fall sports were senior Kyle Post (football), senior Kyle Lake (soccer), and senior Ben Northrup (golf).

For the girls, senior Tia Archer was nominated for volleyball, Mikala McNamara was named for soccer and Krista Ammerman was nominated for cheering.

In his nomination for Hurley, Coach Randy Felt praised her leadership as a key part of the success of the team. Hurley was a co-captain of the team and was the team's number one runner in each of their meets this season.

"Katie made great strides this season showing much improvement over last year," said Felt. "She put in an intense summer running program that had her well-prepared for the fall season. Coming off a trip to states last year, that really put the pressure on Katie to prove that she could continue that success."

Felt said the senior runner kept improving throughout the season. One of the highlights was winning the Valley meet against Waverly and Athens.

"Not only did she win the race, but led her team to their sixth straight Valley Meet title," he added. Hurley also placed sixth at the NTL Coaches Invitational.

At the District 4 championships, Sayre moved from Class A to Class AA and encountered some tougher competition, Felt said.

"Katie showed her toughness by clawing her way to a 12th place finish and qualifying for the PIAA state championships in Hershey," Felt said.

Felt said Hurley has been an inspiration to the team throughout her career.

"She is a real competitor who doesn't like to lose and will do whatever it takes to win," he said.

"Her never-say-die attitude is what makes her such a special athlete. She has been a great role model, supporter, encourager and motivator for the younger girls on the team as well."

In nominating Sweet for the boys' award, coach Randy Felt said the Sayre sophomore missed states last year by two places. This year, the school also moved up from Class A to Class AA.

"He found out quickly that the level of talent in the league and district was very tough this season," Felt said. "He did not let that intimidate him as he went out and beat many of the league's top runners."

Felt said Sweet showed improvement throughout the season and ended up the team's number one runner.

He was instrumental in the team's win in the Valley Meet, their fourth straight title. He also helped lead his team to second place finishes at the Bear Mountain and Wyalusing invitational meets, Felt said.

Sweet was ranked in the top ten of the NTL, earned a berth in the District 4 championships where he placed fourth and qualified for the state meet in Hershey.

Sweet became the first sophomore in school history to qualify for states, Felt said.

Sweet's work ethic and quiet leadership were positive examples to his teammates and to younger runners in junior high, Felt said.

"Nick has a lot of natural ability, when taken together with his hard work, makes him one of the best in the state," said Felt. "He has a bright future ahead of him."