|VALLEY SPORTS REPORT: WAVERLY'S BURKHART LEADS "SUPER 7" AS "MALE ATHLETE OF THE WINTER" (2015-03-15)
By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
THE VALLEY — It was quite a winter sports season for the boys, with seven qualifying for States in their respective sports. When it was all said and done, A.J. Burkhart’s star shined most brightly, earning him the 2014-15 Valley Sports Report “Male Athlete of the Winter.”
Burkhart became the first wrestler from a Valley school to win a state title as a freshman and the
first wrestler from the Valley to win a state title since 1985 when South Waverly’s Darryl Page won 91-pound gold for Notre Dame.
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 99-pound title and was runner-up 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. He was also named the Valley Sports Report "Wrestler of the Year."
The 2014-15 Valley Sports Report “All-Valley Super 7 Male Athletes of the Winter” are:
A.J. Burkhart, freshman, Waverly: See above.
Brian Courtney, sophomore, Athens: Courtney fell one point shy of a 120-pound PIAA, Class AA title, dropping a 3-2 decision to Reynolds freshman Cole Matthews.
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 Championships in 2013.
Jesse Manuel, junior, Tioga: In his second trip to the New York State Wrestling 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.
Mason Beard, senior, Waverly: Beard, who was named Valley Sports Report’s “Bowler of the Year” for the second straight year, placed fifth at the New York State Championships, improving on 34th-place finish as a junior.
Beard, who led the IAC and all of Section IV with 228.62 average as a junior saw his average drop to 215.88 this year — good for third in the IAC.
Beard did roll a 300 game again this year in league bowling and rolled a 750 high series, which was third-highest on the season.
Once the postseason began, Beard kicked it into high gear. He finished sixth at the IAC Championships, then won a silver medal at the Class B Championships, before winning gold at the Section IV State Qualifier.
Josh Mastrantuono, junior, Waverly: Mastrantuono, who was the Valley Sports Report “Swimmer of the Year,” qualified for the New York State Championships in three events and turned in a record-setting performance at the IAC Championships, while also winning two golds medals at the Section IV, Class C meet.
After a dominating regular season, Mastrantuono was a triple-winner at the IAC meet, including a new school and new Waverly pool record in the 50-yard freestyle. He also set a new IAC Championship record in the 100-yard breaststroke.
At the Section IV, Class C meet, Mastrantuono won two gold medals. He swam a personal-best 48.42 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle and also won the 100-yard breaststroke. He was also part of a second-place relay in 400-yard free relay and was on the third-place in 200-yard medley medley
At States, Mastrantuono was 29th in 100-yard breaststroke and 36th in 50-yard freestyle. He also qualified for States in the 100-yard freestyle.
Tyler Solomon, senior, Athens: Solomon qualified for the PIAA Championships, finishing 21st in the 100-yard breaststroke, swimming a personal-best time in the process.
Solomon was a triple-winner at the NTL meet. He was part of the winning 200-yard medley and 200-yard freestyle relays and won the 100-yard breaststroke. He was second in the 200-yard IM.
At the District 4 Championships, Solomon finished third in the 100-yard breaststroke and later earned a wild card berth to the PIAA meet. He was part of the second-place 200-yard medley and 200-yard freestyle relays and was also on the third-place 400-yard freestyle relay.
Brandon Fauver, senior, Athens: Fauver, who was Valley Sports Report’s boys basketball “Player of the Year,” will leave Athens as a 1,000-point scorer.
A deadly 3-point shooter throughout his career, Fauver became more adept each of his four varsity seasons taking the ball to the hole and pulling up for mid-range jumpers. While he could hurt you in any number of ways on the offensive end, he was a sound defender as well.
Fauver averaged 17 points, 3 steals, 3 rebounds and 3 assists per game, while knocking down 40 3-pointers on the season.
Newcomer of the Winter: Sayre freshman Caleb McClelland medalled at the District 4 Championships, placing fifth in the 500-yard freestyle and also finished 15th in the 100-yard backstroke.
McClelland was also a double-winner at the NTL meet. He won the 500-yard freestyle and was on the winning 400-yard freestyle relay.
Team of the Winter: The Waverly boys bowling team won another IAC Large School Division crown 59.5-4.5 win-los record. The Wolverines then won the IAC Championship tournament, finished second at Class B, second at State Qualifier and sent two bowlers on to the state tournament.
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