|VALLEY SPORTS REPORT: ATHENS' COURTNEY REPEATS AS "WRESTLER OF YEAR" — TIOGA'S TAYLOR, WAVERLY'S GATES ALSO EARN "SUPER 7" HONORS (2017-03-24)
Valley Sports Report
THE VALLEY — A year ago, Brian Courtney
made history by beating three defending state champions en route to his
first PIAA state title.
This year, the Athens senior made history
again, albeit on a smaller scale, by becoming his school’s first
two-time state champion, earning him the title of Valley Sports Report “Wrestler of the Year" for the second consecutive year.
will graduate as the most accomplished grappler in Wildcat / Bulldog
history with a 153-6 record, which is an all-time best winning
percentage of 96.22 percent.
Courtney also has an incredible 47-2
record in the postseason and this year became just the third NTL
wrestler to win four North Section, four District 4, and four Northeast
In his four trips to Hershey, he posted a 16-2 record with both losses coming to the eventual state champ.
a freshman, Courtney gave up a four-point move in the opening moments
of his first bout at States in a 7-1 loss to Bethlehem Catholic’s Jake
Riegel. He bounced back to win five straight matches and finish third.
a sophomore, Courtney marched into the finals, but dropped a 3-2
decision to Reynolds’ Cole Matthews. A year later, he avenged that loss
en route to his first title.
In his career, Courtney lost six
matches. Five were to wrestlers with a combined seven PIAA gold medals,
including two-time Class AAA champ Luke Karam of Bethlehem Catholic, and
two-time Class AA champ Max Murin of Central Cambria. (Courtney beat
Murin for his gold medal his junior year.)
This season, Courtney posted a 43-2 record.
A year ago, Tioga’s 285-pounder Stephen Taylor walked off the mat for the final time with a record of 13-26.
year later, the Tiger sophomore finished the season with a 30-11 record
and a third-place finish at the Section IV, Division 2 championships to
earn the 2016-17 “Most Improved Wrestler” award.
Ben Gates decided he’d give wrestling a shot prior to his senior season
— not an easy task for anyone, much less someone who would end up
bouncing back and forth between 182 pounds and 195 pounds, weight
classes usually occupied by experienced wrestlers.
Gates, with a
combination of speed and raw power, posted a solid 17-19 record in his
only varsity season, including 14 wins by fall, to earn the 2016-17 “Newcomer of the Year” award. He was 2-2 at the Section IV, Division 2 championships.
The 2016-17 “All-Valley Wrestling Super 7”:
Brian Courtney, senior, Athens: See above.
John Worthing, sophomore, Tioga:
Worthing, a state runner-up as a freshman, ran roughshod over the
99-pound weight class during the regular season, winning titles at the
Marino Tournament, the Windsor Christmas Tournament, the Peru
Invitational, and the Bradshaw Tournament.
After titles at the
IAC, Class C, and Section IV Championships, Worthing advanced into the
state semis with a 40-0 record, but dropped a 3-1 decision to eventual
state champ Anthony Noto of Honeoye Falls-Lima.
He bounced back with a pair of wins to finish third with a 42-1 record on the season. He is 127-27 in his career.
Kaidon Winters, senior, Athens:
Winters followed up a pair of 30-win season in his sophomore and junior
seasons, with one of the best seasons in school history, posting a 44-4
record and a fifth-place finish at the PIAA Championships.
losses at States came to eventual 152-pound champ Ed Ruth of
Susquehanna Township, who also beat Winters earlier in the season, and
third-place finisher Caleb Clymer of Northwestern Lehigh.
Heading into States, Winters completed the trifecta of winning the North Section, District 4, and Northeast Region titles.
He finished his career with a 120-43 record, which is 10th all-time on the Athens wins list.
A.J. Burkhart, junior, Athens: The
two-time New York State place-winner, and former state champion, more
than held his own in Pa., posting a 38-8 record and earning a trip to
Burkhart won a North Section title, and finished third at
both the District 4 and Northeast Region championships, behind eventual
113-pound state champ Jaret Lane of Southern Columbia, and eventual
PIAA third-place finisher Wyatt Lutz of Montoursville. He posted a 1-2
record at States with his losses coming to the eventual second- and
He is 148-21 in his career at Waverly and Athens.
Lamb, sophomore, Tioga: Lamb followed up a 33-11 freshman season that
ended with a third-place finish at the Section IV Championships with a
trip to the New York State Championships this year.
He was 40-8
on the season with all eight losses coming against state qualifiers,
including three (by a combined five points) to eventual third-place
finisher Cahal Donovan of Phoenix.
After winning IAC and Class C
titles, Lamb upset top-seed Caleb Wiggins of Chenango Valley for the
120-pound title at the Section IV, Division 2 Championships. He was 3-3
in his first trip to States and finished sixth.
He is 115-38 in his career.
Nate Bradley, junior, Athens: Bradley followed up his first trip to States, with a 33-11 junior season and a return trip to Hershey.
finished second at the North Section, but avenged his loss to
Wyalusing’s Ed Mapes the following week. He was also second at the
District 4 and Northeast Region Championships. His losses at Districts
and Regionals were to eventual PIAA fifth-place finisher freshman Gaige
Garcia of Southern Columbia.
He was 1-2 in his second trip to States with his losses to the eventual second- and eighth-place finishers.
Bradley is 79-35 on his career.
Gage Cannavino, senior Athens:
Cannavino ended his stellar career in disappointing fashion when his
bid for a return trip to Hershey foiled by the flu and a fifth-place
finish at Regionals.
Cannavino won a North Section title, then wrestled back after losing in the quarterfinals at Districts for a third-place finish.
He was 34-9 this season and finishes his career with a 118-44 record, which ranks 11th all-time on the Athens wins list.
“The Second Seven”
Brady Worthing, freshman, Tioga:
Brady Worthing finished the season with a 32-11 record and a
fourth-place finish at Sectionals, with both losses coming at the hands
of Chenango Valley’s Nathan Lehr by scores of 4-2 and 3-2.
Worthing finished second at IACs, but avenged his loss to teammate Jacob
Welch in the finals later in the postseason. He finished second at
Class C, losing to state qualifier Brody Oleksak of BGAH in the finals.
Chris Horton, junior, Athens: Chris Horton won 30 matches for the second season in a row, finishing with a 31-10 record.
won his second North Section title, then finished second at Districts,
losing to eventual PIAA state runner-up Cole Rhone of Benton in the
finals. He finished sixth at Regionals.
Stephen Taylor, sophomore, Tioga: See above.
Max Johnson, junior, Tioga: Johnson nearly doubled his win total from his sophomore season, improving from 16-14 to this year’s 30-17 mark.
finished third at IACs, and second at the Class C Championships — with
both losses coming at the hands of SVEC’s Grady Alpert. He was fourth at
the Section IV, Division 2 Championships, losing to state qualifier
Cole Rifanburg in the semifinals, then again to Alpert in the
Matt Ingrassia, senior, Sayre:
Ingrassia improved every year he was in the room at Sayre, increasing
his win totals from 11 to 14 to 18, then 28 in his senior season.
finished second at North Section, losing to eventual state champ
Creighton Edsell in the finals, then saw his career end with a
sixth-place finish at Districts.
Brock Horton, senior, Athens: Brock Horton was a model of consistency for the Wildcats, winning 30, 29, 27 and 28 matches in his four varsity seasons.
won his second North Section title, but then saw his career end with a
sixth-place finish at Districts in a tough 126-pound weight class. At
Districts, he drew eventual PIAA fourth-place finisher Brian Earlston of
Line Mountain in the quarterfinals.
Ethan Stotler, freshman, Waverly: Stotler followed up his 23-8 freshman season with a 28-13 mark this year.
finished second at IACs, losing to Tioga’s Austin Lamb in the finals,
then was third at the Class B Championships, and fourth at Section IV
Wrestlers to Watch in 2017-18:
David Galasso, sophomore, Athens: He was 13-7 this season with a couple key wins for the Wildcats before an injury ended his season prior to the postseason.
Dawson Leiser, freshman, Athens: Leiser posted a 7-6 record at 220 pounds before injuries derailed his first varsity season.
Mason Welch, 7th-grade, Tioga: Mason
Welch had a solid season at 13-13. The key for him will be finding a
spot in the line-up, and hoping some of his teammates put on some weight
before next winter.
Emmett Wood, 7th-grade, Tioga: After a
rough start, Wood finished the season strong and posted a 16-25 record,
the majority of his matches coming against older wrestlers in the 138-
and 145-pound weight classes. He could come on very quickly for the
Kaden Rude, sophomore, Athens: Injuries sidelined
Rude for the majority of his sophomore season. A healthy return would be
a big boost to a Wildcat team losing several key seniors.
Colby Sindoni, junior, Waverly:
After a late season transfer from Sayre to Waverly, Sindoni posted a
10-7 record, including a third-place finish at the Class B Championships
and a sixth-place finish at the Section IV Championships.
Jalen McCarty, sophomore, Waverly:
If he returns to the program, McCarty, who was 15-7 as an 8th-grader,
and Stotler would form quite a 1-2 punch in the bottom of the Waverly
Bailey Porch, 8th-grade, Tioga: A successful junior high wrestler, Porch could be another piece at the bottom of a stacked Tiger line-up next season.
Garrett Skeens, 7th-grader, Waverly: If
he can get to the lower limit for 99 pounds, Skeens could be another
interesting piece for the lower portion of the Wolverines line-up, which
is taking shape nicely.
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