|VALLEY SPORTS REPORT: ATHENS' LEZAK EARNS 'COACH OF THE FALL' HONORS (2018-11-30)
Valley Sports Report
THE VALLEY — Longtime boys soccer coach Jake Lezak has built the Athens program into one of the best in the bi-state area, directing the Wildcats to their second District 4 titles in three years to earn Valley Sports Report’s 2018 “Coach of the Fall” honors.
Lezak has led the Wildcats to three consecutive District 4, Class AAA championships games. After winning its second D4 title this fall, Athens went on to win the program’s first-ever state playoff game to advance to the state quarterfinals.
In the last three years, Lezak’s Wildcats are 53-6-3.
The remainder of the Super 7 Coaches of the Fall are:
Kevin Gorman, football, Sayre: Gorman took over a Sayre program that was 1-9 in 2017, and engineered a five-game turn-around, ending the regular season with a 6-4 record.
After a 1-3 start, the Redskins won five of their last six games, including a regular-season ending win over Athens — the first since 2001 — in the Rusty Rail game, which vaulted them into a postseason berth. Sayre’s season came to an end with a 19-7 loss at Muncy in the District 4, Class A semifinals.
Nick Aiello, football, Tioga: After a 1-2 start to the season, Aiello directed the Tigers to their seventh Section IV title in eight years with seven consecutive wins for an 8-2 record entering the state playoffs.
Tioga improved to 7-0 in Regional championship games to advance to the state semifinals, where it lost to eventual state champion Clymer / Sherman / Panama.
Kesha Sinsabaugh, volleyball, Waverly: Sinsabaugh took over a Waverly program mired in mediocrity prior to the 2011 season, and led them to an 8-8 record and a postseason appearance in her first season. In her second year, the Lady Wolverines advanced to the Section IV Class C finals, where it came up short against Susquehanna Valley.
It took six years, but Sinsabaugh got the Lady Wolverines back to the Class C finals this season, and avenged that loss to Susquehanna Valley for the program’s first-ever Section IV title.
Rich Pitts, girls soccer, Athens: Pitts compiled a 31-5-2 record in his first two years at Athens, but two of those losses were in the opening round of the District 4 playoffs.
After beefing up the non-league schedule, Pitts and his Lady Wildcats got over than hump this season, winning the program’s first District 4 title since 2000. Athens finished the season at 15-4 and won its seventh consecutive NTL title.
Tara Hogan, girls soccer, Waverly: Hogan directed the Lady Wolverines to their third consecutive Section IV, Class B championship game, where it lost for the third consecutive year to powerhouse Chenango Forks, which went on to win its second state title in three years.
Waverly has compiled a record of 46-8 in the last three years under Hogan, and won its first two overall IAC Large School titles the last two years as well.
Jason Miller, football, Waverly: Miller led Waverly to its sixth Section IV championship game in 11 seasons in 2018 after winning another division title.
Miller, who coached Waverly to Section IV titles in 2008, 2011, and 2015, currently has a 96-58 record at his alma mater.
IN PHOTO: Athens coach Jake Lezak.
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