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VALLEY SPORTS REPORT: WAVERLY'S BURKHART EARNS "WRESTLER OF THE YEAR" HONORS — SAYRE'S NORDIN TOP NEWCOMER (4 PHOTOS) (2015-03-13)

By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
THE VALLEY —  A year after barely missing out on a wild card invite to States, Waverly freshman A.J. Burkhart stormed through the postseason and claimed gold at the New York State Division 2 championships to earn Valley Sports Report’s 2014-15 “Wrestler of the Year.

After posting a 29-2 regular-season record — with both losses coming at the rugged Eastern States Classic, Burkhart finished second at the IAC Championships, dropping a 7-1 decision to Newark Valley 99-pounder Bennie Baker, who later won the Section IV, Division 1 title and placed at States.

Burkhart then cruised through the Section IV, Class B and Section IV Championships with a 6-0 record, including two falls and two technical falls.

At States, Burkhart beat Warsaw’s Sam Wolf, 9-0, in the opening round, then edged Pearl River’s Sean McGarvey, 4-3, in the quarterfinals.

In the semis, Burkhart avenged a loss from Eastern States Classic with a 4-3 “ultimate-rideout” win over Pal-Mac’s Drew Schafer. In the finals, he topped Schuylerville’s Orion Anderson, 3-0.

Burkhart finished the season with a 41-3 record with 10 pin falls and five technical falls. He is 75-8 in his two-year varsity career.

Sayre freshman Nate Nordin posted a 20-8 record on the season and finished third at the North Section Tournament to advance to the District 4 Championships. He is the 2014-15 “Newcomer of the Year.

Nordin also won an individual title at the Mike Watson Tournament earlier this season.

The 2014-15 Wrestling “All-Valley Super 7” is as follows:

A.J. Burkhart, freshman, Waverly:
See above.

Brian Courtney, sophomore, Athens: Courtney fell one point shy of a 120-pound PIAA, Class AA title.

He finished the season at 35-1 with titles at the North Section Tournaments and the District 4 and Northeast Region Championships.

He is 69-2 on his career with both losses coming to state champions. He was third at 106 pounds in the PIAA in 2013.

Jesse Manuel, junior, Tioga: In his second trip to the New York State Championships, Manuel made his way to the podium with a fifth-place finish at 138 pounds to end his junior season with a 38-6 record.

Manuel won an IAC title, finished second at the Class C Championships and third at the Section IV Championships.

John Worthing, 8th-grader, Tioga: In a breakout season, Worthing finished with a 36-7 record.

He finished third at 99 pounds the IAC Championships — behind a pair of state place-winners in Newark Valley’s Bennie Baker and Waverly’s A.J. Burkhart, won Class C gold and finished fifth at the Section IV Championships.

Roger Horton, junior, Athens: Roger Horton finished the season with a 33-7 record with an appearance at the PIAA Northeast Regionals.

He finished second at 220 pounds at the North Section Tournament and third at the District 4 Championships to advance to regionals, where he went 1-2.

Kaidon Winters, sophomore, Athens: Winters proved to be one of most improved wrestlers in the Valley this year, finishing the season with a 31-12 record and a trip to the PIAA Northeast Regionals.

He was second at 126 pounds at the North Section Tournament and fifth at the District 4 Championships to earn a trip to regionals, where he went 1-2.

Brock Horton, sophomore, Athens: Brock Horton wrapped up a strong sophomore season with a 29-7 record.

He was second at 113 pounds at the North Section Tournament and turned in a 2-2 mark at the District 4 Championships.

“The Second 7”
Kacey Madigan, senior, Waverly:
Madigan finished his senior season with a 24-12 record at 145 pounds. He was second at IACs, second at Class B, and fifth at the Section IV Championships.

J.P. Harbst, senior, Sayre:
Harbst finished up his career with the Redskins with a 21-14 record at 160 pounds. He was fourth in North Section Tournament, and went 1-2 at the District 4 Championships.

Gage Cannavino, sophomore, Athens: Another one of the most improved wrestlers in the Valley, Cannavino posted a 26-11 record at 132. He was  third at North Section and went 1-2 at districts.

Joey Peters, senior, Waverly: Peters capped his Wolverine career with a 30-20 record at 160 pounds. He was third at IACs, fourth at Class B and sixth at sectionals.

Cody Cain, senior, Athens: Cain put the final touches on his Wildcat career with a 24-9 senior season at 170 pounds. He was third at North Section and finished his career with an appearance at districts.

John Noe, senior, Tioga: Noe saved his best for last, posting a 30-17 record at 132 pounds during his senior season. He was second at IACs and Class C and fifth at sectionals.

Nate Nordin, freshman, Sayre: See above.

Wrestlers to Watch in 2015-16
Nate Bradley, freshman, Athens:
Bradley finished a strong freshman season at 138 pounds with a 24-12 record, a third-place finish at the North Section Tournament and an appearance at districts.

Austin Lamb, 8th-grader, Tioga: Another Valley wrestler to be considered one of the most improved this season, Lamb was 26-17, including a stellar postseason. He placed second at 106 pounds at IACs, won the Class C Championships and finished fourth at the Section IV Championships.

Ethan Stotler, 7th-grader, Waverly: Stotler posted an impressive 16-11 in his first varsity season as a 7th-grader at 99 pounds.

Nate Garrity, 8th-grader, Sayre: Due to limited numbers in the Sayre program, Garrity will have ample opportunity to shine next year and I don’t think he’ll disappoint.

Chris Horton, freshman, Athens: Chris Horton had a solid freshman season with a 16-20 record in a loaded 106-pound weight class in District 4. With the talent in the Athens wrestling room, Horton should enjoy a much better sophomore season.

Matt Ingrassia, sophomore, Sayre:
Yet another Valley wrestler to be considered one of the most improved this season, Ingrassia post a 14-13 record during the regular season before losing both his 145-pound bouts at the North Section Tournament.

Owen Maryott, freshman, Waverly: Maryott more than held his own in the 220-pound weight class during his freshman season, posting a 7-8 record.

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