|FROM THE PRESS BOX: THE 'SUPER 7 STORYLINES OF THE FALL' (2018-11-29)
I’ve talked about storylines in the past and how they normally come in one of four realms: the start of a storyline, the continuation of one, the likely culmination of one, or a storyline totally out of the blue.
This year’s “Super 7 Storylines of the Fall” is dominated by continuing storylines, but has others sprinkled in.
Without any further ado, I give you, from No. 7 to No. 1, the top storylines of the spring:
Super 7 Storylines of the Fall
7. Waverly boys soccer gets back on the field: After folding the varsity program for the 2017 season due to lack of numbers, Waverly fielded a very young and experienced team in 2018, and posted a 1-11 record.
The Wolverines had just one senior on the roster, and have good numbers at the junior high level. The program is on solid footing, and there appears to be brighter days ahead.
6. First-year coach leads Sayre football to District playoffs: At the tender age of 26, Waverly grad Kevin Gorman took the reigns of a Sayre football program that was 1-9 in 2017.
After a 1-3 start, the Redskins reeled off five wins in their final six games, including their first win over Athens since 2001. The win over Athens also vaulted them into the District 4 playoffs.
With the majority of the team returning, this is a storyline that could be re-visited in 2019.
5. Waverly girls reach third consecutive Section IV title game: The Lady Wolverines put together another great season, and repeated as IAC Large School champions.
Waverly also advanced to its third consecutive Section IV, Class B title game, where it lost to Chenango Forks for the third straight time. For the second time in three years, Forks went on to win a state title.
Waverly graduates five starters, so it will be interesting to see if it can write another chapter in this storyline.
4. Tioga football wins seventh Section IV title in eight years: Under coach Nick Aiello, Tioga has established itself as a Class D state powerhouse. The Tigers have won seven of the last eight Section IV, Class D titles.
Tioga is also 7-0 in the Regional championship game, but are 1-6 in the state semifinals. The one win came en route to a state title in 2015.
The Tigers graduate 10 seniors, including six two-way starters. Tioga will have some holes to fill if it’s to add another chapter to this amazing storyline.
3. Waverly volleyball wins first-ever Section IV title: Kesha Sinsabaugh took over a Waverly volleyball program mired in mediocrity in 2011, and immediately turned them into a playoff program.
The Lady Wolverines lost the Section IV, Class C title match to Susquehanna Valley in 2012. Six years later, Sinsabaugh’s charges avenged that loss and won the program’s first-ever Section IV title.
Waverly graduates a few key seniors. It will be interesting to see if this is a storyline out of the blue, or if the Lady Wolverines can add to this year’s storyline in 2019.
2. Athens girls get over the hump for first District 4 title since 2000: Rich Pitts took over the Athens girls program prior to the 2016 season with the intent of getting the perennial NTL power over the hump in the District 4 playoffs. Athens was 31-5-2 in Pitts’ first two seasons, but both ended in the opening round of the playoffs.
Pitts beefed up the non-league slate in 2018, back-loading his schedule, and it paid dividends. After a 13-3 regular season, the Lady Wildcats knocked off Shikellamy and Mifflinburg to win its first District 4 title since 2000.
Athens graduates four starters, but two of them combined for 65 goals. There is talent returning, but is there enough to write another chapter in this storyline?
1. Athens boys notch first win at State soccer playoffs: The Wildcats got over the hump in 2016 and won the program’s first-ever District 4 title. After a loss in the 2017 title game, they returned this year to win the Class AAA title again.
The Wildcats took the next step this year, winning their first-ever state playoff game to advance to the state quarterfinals.
With nearly everyone returning in 2019, another chapter in this storyline will certainly be written.
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