Waverly duo highlights winter's best
Another winter sports season is over with some great performances by athletes throughout the region.
There were state wrestling medalists in Pennsylvania and New York and a state medalist in swimming as well.
There were undefeated seasons, district titles and wins in states. Let's look back on what happened this fall and then hand out some awards to wrap up the best of the season.
For the Towanda Black Knights, the future has looked bright with a talented group of sophomores and juniors in the lineup.
This year, the future came a little early as Towanda won the NTL East title in a playoff with Athens.
Out West the Wellsboro Green Hornets had a season to remember, going undefeated in league play, losing just one game in the regular season, and reaching the District 4, Class AA final.
Before last year the Sullivan County Griffins had never won a PIAA playoff game. This year they won their second in as many years.
Canton had a pair of players, Emmett Watson and Eddie Larcom, pick up their 1,000th career point this year, while Nick Stanton reached the milestone for North Rome Christian this year. It was a banner year for Canton in the win/loss column as well as they reached districts and picked up a huge victory over Athens during the season.
The Troy Trojans dealt with injuries throughout much of the season, but with the return of Jed Wright they stunned Towanda in the season finale, forcing the Black Knights to have to go to a playoff for the league title.
In New York, both Waverly and Notre Dame had injuries of their own to contend with. Waverly went on an eight-game win streak as they got healthy later in the season after the return of players, including Chris Raupers. Notre Dame lost star Tom Agan to an injury in December and came up just short in their quest for IAC and Section IV titles.
At the college level the Mansfield Mountaineers got back to the PSAC playoffs, where they picked up a victory over Bloomsburg in their opener.
On the girls side, the Athens Wildcats brought home their first District 4 title in 10 years, beating Danville for the AAA crown, and they won their first NTL East title in six years.
In New York, the Waverly Wolverines went undefeated during the regular season, capturing the IAC large-school crown behind 1,000 point scorer Sabrina Bowman, while Tioga brought home a small-school championship and Notre Dame, led by Ridgebury's Olivia May, reached the sectional semifinals.
Mollie Robinson became the third player in Sayre history to eclipse 1,000 career points as the Redskins competed with Athens atop the East standings all year, while Lori Horton averaged 16.6 points, 16.4 rebounds and six blocks to lead Williamson to the NTL West title this year.
The Wellsboro Green Hornets reached the District 4 playoffs, where they upset Warrior Run in the opening round, behind the scoring of Mackenzie Marple along with a talented group of young players, led by freshmen Sarah Ingerick and Jada Jackson.
The Northeast Bradford Panthers reached the PIAA playoffs with a third-place finish in District 4, Class A play, led by Angelia Laudermilch, who came over from North Rome and led the NTL East in scoring.
North Rome brought home a league title of their own, thanks to the dominant play of Cristen Mosier, who eclipsed 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in her career this season and led all scorers in the region with an average of 19.1 points a game.
At the college level Tioga graduate Kara McDuffee helped lead St. Lawrence to the NCAA, Division III Championships this year, while Athens grad Taylor Clark was on Hartford as they reached the Division I, America East finals.
Waverly's Ryan Wolcott had one goal in mind this season, win a state championship. While the Waverly junior came up one win short of his goal, he did bring home a state silver medal and finished with a 37-1 record on the year. With another year to go, the three-time state qualifier has another shot to reach the ultimate goal.
In Pennsylvania, Williamson's Billy Barnes and Canton's Garrett Wesneski each brought home state medals this season. Ben Minnich became the first North Penn wrestler to win a match at states and Williamson's Logan Everett and Trevor McWhorter, Wyalusing's Dylan Otis and Collin Edsell and Troy's Ethan Calkins all earned trips to states this season.
The Williamson Warriors captured the NTL title on the mats this season, while the Wyalusing Rams brought home a large-school crown.
In college Ryan Hart became a wrestling All-American for Penn College this season.
Athens' Frank Chen became the first medalist in two decades for the Wildcats, bringing home an eighth-place finish in the 100 fly, while Sayre's Altan Frantz, Towanda's Blake Burlingame and Wellsboro's Bobby Hill all earned spots in states.
In diving, Sayre's Same Shoemake qualified for the finals, taking 12th at states.
In New York, the Waverly Wolverines had a strong year led by John Hallett, who qualified for states in the 50 free and broke the school record in the process. Teammate Josh Mastrantuono turned in one of the best seasons ever by a freshman at Waverly.
In college, Ian Smyth of Troy wrapped up a strong career at Grove City, with teammate Arianna Smyth swimming on the girls team this year.
Tioga's Chris Potucek came so close to making states a year ago only to come up short. This year he finally earned the trip to the state tournament, while Waverly's Conner Joseph had a dominant day at the state qualifier, winning the tournament to earn a trip to states.
The Wolverines won another IAC regular-season and IAC Tournament title, along with a Class B sectional title, while the Tioga boys won a Class C sectional title.
Notre Dame's Alex Sherman rolled an 300 game this year and had an IAC record series, while Potucek shot a 299 game this season.
For the girls Waverly continued their IAC dominance, winning a 12th straight title, while Notre Dame won a Class D sectional title, with Towanda's Cassie Berry rolling an 800 series for the Crusaders this year.
INDOOR TRACK AND FIELD
Both Waverly and Notre Dame had athletes qualify for states this year.
Waverly's Kaylee Uhl and Sam Goble each qualified for states individually and they joined Liaa Carpenter and Lea McMahon to reach states in the 4x400 relay.
Notre Dame's Mary Pelkowski, of Sayre, Brittay and Victoria Schutrum and Deborah Diarrah made states in the 4x200 relay, while Carl Shenn qualified in the long jump.
TOP PERFORMANCE OF THE WINTER
Chen brought home a state medal for the Wildcats.
The Athens junior finished eighth in the 100 fly, becoming the first state medalist for the Wildcats in two decades. He also reached the consolation finals of the 200 backstroke at the state meet.
The Towanda Black Knights captured the NTL East title in dramatic fashion, defeating Athens in a one-game playoff for the title.
With a starting lineup that includes three underclassmen, the Black Knights got production from throughout the lineup to bring home the crown.
AND THE TOP PERFORMANCE
Wolcott went 37-0 heading into the state final, finishing as state runner-up in his junior year for the Wolverines.
A three-time state qualifier for Waverly, he will be looking to eclipse the school wins record next year as he approaches 200 career victories.
Waverly and Notre Dame's relays battled all indoor track season long.
In the end both schools had a relay qualify for the state meet.
Waverly's team of Kaylee Uhl, Liia Carpenter, Sam Goble and Lea McMahon made it in the 4x400 relay, while Notre Dame's Mary Pelkowski, of Sayre, Brittay and Victoria Schutrum and Deborah Diarrah made states in the 4x200 relay.
The Waverly Wolverines went undefeated in the regular season for the first time in 25 years, winning the league title and reached the sectional semifinals.
Led by league player of the year Sabrina Bowman, the Wolverines defeated Sayre to win their Christmas Tournament as part of their unbeaten run.
AND THE TOP PERFORMANCE
The Athens girls won a rematch with Sayre to capture the NTL East crown for the first time in six years, and then they brought home their first district title in a decade, holding off Danville in the Class AAA final.
BOYS' WINTER TOP COACH
Wellsboro went undefeated in NTL West play. The Green Hornets suffered just one loss in the regular season. They reached the district 4 final, where they fell to eventual state quarterfinalist Loyalsock and Wellsboro advanced into state play.
On the year the Green Hornets lost three times, all to state ranked teams, making Todd Outman the second runner-up for top coach of the winter.
Mark Everett helped guide Williamson to an overall NTL wrestling title, going undefeated during NTL action this year.
The Warriors wound up with three state qualifiers this year, including state medalist Billy Barnes.
COACH OF THE WINTER Towanda brought home the NTL East title despite a young lineup that was loaded with sophomores and juniors.
Coach Ryan Napp helped guide the Black Knights to the crown. After falling to Athens in the first meeting of the season Towanda won the rematch and then topped the Wildcats again in a playoff for the league title.
GIRLS' WINTER TOP COACH
Pete Girolamo led the Waverly Wolverines to another IAC title. Despite sitting in third place in the standings entering the final match, the Wolverines swept Notre Dame and came home with their 12th straight title. Girolamo also guided the Waverly boys to the IAC regular season and tournament title, along with a Section IV, Class B crown.
Brian Miller guided Waverly to its first undefeated regular season in 25 years, rolling to the IAC title. Waverly advanced to the section IV, Class B final, before falling to eventual state semifinalist Oneonta.
COACH OF THE WINTER
Kelly Burkhart led Athens to the District 4, Class AAA title as well as to an NTL East crown.
It was the first district title for Athens in a decade and first NTL title in six years.
GIRLS' TOP NEWCOMER
Towanda's Courtney Locke and Athens' Courtney Dukes each had strong seasons in the pool for their teams this year.
The two each qualified for districts, each had one of the top times in the region in an event this year, and shared All-Region newcomer of the year honors.
Liberty's Chelsea Repard was a starter for Liberty this year, ranking as one of the team's leading scorers all season long.
The freshman was also the JV leading scorer, playing nearly every minute of two games each night.
NEWCOMER OF THE WINTER
Sam Goble ran for Waverly during the outdoor season last year, but this was her first indoor season for the Wolverines.
While Goble was strong all year, she took her performance to a new level at the state qualifier, running her best time of her life to qualify for states. She also earned a spot in states as part of Waverly's 4x400 relay.
BOYS' TOP NEWCOMER
Athens' Bryan Solomon was among the NTL's top swimmers this year.
The freshman was The All-Region newcomer of the year, and a district qualifier for the Wildcats during his first varsity season.
Wellsboro's Kieron Smethers helped guide Wellsboro to an undefeated NTL West season and a trip to the District 4 finals. Smethers was a dominant force in the paint during his sophomore year for the Green Hornets.
NEWCOMER OF THE WINTER
Wyalusing's Collin Edsell was a state qualifier in his freshman year, coming just one win short of bringing home a state medal.
Edsell was 34-7 on the year and finished third at both districts and regionals for the Rams.
GIRLS' TOP WINTER ATHLETE
Williamson's Lori Horton averaged 16.6 points and 16.4 rebounds, along with six blocked shots per game to help lead the Warriors to an NTL West title this year.
After helping Williamson reach a state final in volleyball, Horton continued her dominant play in the winter as Williamson reached district play.
Sayre's Katherine Porter earned her third trip to states in three years for the Redskins.
The Redskins junior swam in the 100 fly at the PIAA Championships and was the All-Region swimmer of the year.
TOP ATHLETE OF THE WINTER
Sabrina Bowman led Waverly to an unbeaten regular season, a trip to the sectional semifinals and was the IAC and All-Region player of the year for basketball.
Bowman also eclipsed 1,000 career points during her senior season for the Wolverines.
BOYS' TOP WINTER ATHLETE
Jordan Jackson was the All-Region player of the year in guiding Wellsboro to an NTL West title and a spot in the district finals.
The Green Hornets senior, who will run track and cross country at Bucknell next year, was the catalyst for the Green Hornets offense all season long.
Chen brought home a state medal to Athens, breaking school records in multiple events this year for the Wildcats.
It was the first state medal in two decades for Athens and Chen was a state qualifier in two events this year.
TOP WINTER ATHLETE
Wolcott was a state-runner up, undefeated heading into the state final and won 37 matches this year.
Next up for the three-time state qualifier for Waverly is the school's win record at Waverly, he is 27 victories away, and 200 victories, which he is 31 wins from.