|VALLEY SPORTS REPORT: ATHENS' GAMBRELL HEADLINES SUPER 7 AS 2016-17 "FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR" (2017-06-20)
Valley Sports Report
THE VALLEY — A standout in three sports, Athens junior Breanna Gambrell won two more PIAA gold medals, and another state silver medal this spring to lock up the 2016-17 Valley Sports Report “Female Athlete of the Year.”
Gambrell won her third state title in the long jump at Shippensburg in late May, and also broke through for her first gold medal in the triple jump. A year after not qualifying for the finals of the 100-yard dash, she won her second career silver medal in the event.
Gambrell, who now has seven PIAA medals, set school records this season in the long jump (20-feet, 8 1/2-inches, which is also an unofficial state record), triple jump (38-feet, 8 4/3-inches), and 100-yard dash (11.96 seconds).
She also set District 4 records in the long jump (19-feet, 10 3/4-inches) and the 100-meter dash (12.11 seconds).
Gambrell was a first-team all-NTL selection on defense, as well as VSR’s “Defensive Player of the Year” in the fall for the league champion Lady Wildcats soccer team. She is also a two-time all-state defender.
Gambrell was also a first-team all-NTL Large School selection on the hardwoods this winter. She averaged 11 points, a team-high 8 rebounds per game, 2.2 steals and 1 assist per game.
She was a VSR “Super 7” selection in all three sports, and was the “Track & Field Athlete of the Year.”
(NOTE: Three-sport athletes are given preference over one- and two-sport athletes.)
“2016-17 Super 7 Female Athletes of the Year”
Breana Gambrell, junior, Athens: See above.
Emily Lunger, junior, Athens: Lunger was a very productive performer in three sports for the Lady Wildcats this year.
In the fall, she scored 22 goals and had 21 assists, which both ranked second in the Valley, for the Lady Wildcat soccer team.
Lunger led Athens on the hardwoods with 15.5 points per game and shot a team-best 71 percent from the free-throw line. She also averaged 3.7 rebounds, 2.4 steals, and 2.1 assists per game.
In the spring, Lunger qualified for the PIAA Track & Field Championships in four events, eventually winning a sixth-place medal in the 200-meter dash, and a bronze medal as the anchor leg in the 1,600-meter relay.
She was a VSR “Super 7” selection in all three sports.
Elle Nittinger, junior, Waverly: Nittinger was a three-sport standout for the Lady Wolverines, but especially shined on the hardwoods.
The VSR “Basketball Player of the Year,” Nittinger averaged a Valley-high 19.4 points per game, as well as 6.7 rebounds, 3.7 steals, and 2.7 assists per game. She also connected on 38 3-pointers in the 2016-17 season, and scored her 1,000th career point.
Nittinger was also the IAC South Large School Division co-MVP, and was named 8th-team all-state.
In the fall, Nittinger was a second-team all-IAC Large School selection. She scored 10 goals and had three assists.
In the spring, NIttinger won a gold medal at the IAC Championships in the discus, and was fourth at the Section IV meet. She won a silver medal in the 800-meter run at the Class B championships, and was 10th at the Section IV meet.
She was a “Super 7” selection in basketball and track & field.
Molly Ball, senior, Sayre: Ball won a District 4 medal in three sports during the 2016-17 school year.
In the fall, Ball led the Lady Redskins to their first-ever appearance in a District 4 volleyball championship game. She led the Lady Redskins with 362 kills and 78 service aces. She also had 191 service points, 164 digs, 10 setter assists, and eight blocks.
This winter, Ball was a first-team all-NTL Small School all-star and a key contributor in Sayre’s first-ever District 4 girls basketball championship team, which also recorded the program’s first-ever win in the state playoffs.
She averaged 9.3 points, a team-high 6.9 rebounds, and 1.9 steals per game. She also had 25 assists and 24 blocked shots in 27 games. Ball finished her career with 558 rebounds — fourth all-time at Sayre.
This spring, Ball won a seventh-place medal in the discus at the District 4, Class AA Track & Field Championships.
She was a VSR All-Valley volleyball selection, and a “Super 7” pick for basketball.
Shailei Kraft, senior, Waverly: Kraft was a three-sport standout for the Lady Wolverines, but shined brightest on the softball this spring and was the VSR “Softball Player of the Year.”
Kraft, a slick-fielding shortstop with a cannon of an arm, did not commit an error in 48 defensive chances this season. She hit an astounding .689 on the season with 42 hits in 61 at-bats, including 19 extra-base hits. She had 13 doubles, and five triples, 34 RBI and 36 runs scored, and struck out just three times in 68 plate appearances.
During her five-year varsity career, Kraft hit .498 with 137 hits in 275 at-bats, including 39 doubles, 12 triples, and five home runs. She also had 105 RBI, and scored 120 runs.
In the fall, Kraft led the Lady Wolverines with 126 kills and was second on the team with 11 blocks. She also had 44 points, 12 aces, and 46 digs. She was a second-team all-IAC volleyball selection.
Kraft was a physical presence in the low-post and a strong defender for the Lady Wolverines on the hardwoods this winter.
Ariana Gambrell, sophomore, Athens: Ariana Gambrell was a three-sport standout for the Lady Wildcats.
She was a first-team all-NTL soccer player in the fall. She scored four goals and had one assist.
This winter, Ariana Gambrell was a second-team NTL Large School pick. She averaged 8.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.6 steals and 2.3 assists per game.
This spring, Ariana Gambrell, who set a school record in the 100-meter hurdles at the NTL Championships, earned a bronze medal at the PIAA Track & Field Championships as the lead leg in the 1,600-meter dash.
Ariana Gambrell was all-Valley soccer selection and a “Super 7” pick in track & field.
Sarah Hollenbeck, senior, Tioga: Hollenbeck was a three-sport IAC all-star for the Lady Tigers this year.
This spring, Hollenbeck was an “All-Valley” selection in softball. A dynamic fielder and the “Defensive Player of the Year,” she hit .484 with 31 hits, including five doubles and two home runs. She had 16 RBI, 16 runs scored, and five stolen bases.
On the hardwoods, Hollenbeck was a first-team all-IAC Small School selection. She led the Lady Tigers in scoring at 9.1 points per game and assists with 2.5 per game, and also led the team with 23 3-pointers and at 75 percent from the free-throw line.
In the fall, Hollenbeck was a second-team all-IAC Small School selection. She played half the year in the goal for the Lady Tigers, then shifted to the midfield.
IN PHOTO: Athens’ Breana Gambrell.
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