Valley Sports Report
THE VALLEY - Crowned New York State champs just 15 minutes apart, Tioga's Brady and John Worthing become the first duo to share Valley Sports Report "Wrestler of the Year" honors.
Brady Worthing, a junior, posted a 40-4 record this season, while senior John Worthing was 39-3.
Brady Worthing avenged a loss in last year's 126-pound state finals with a 7-3 win over two-time state champion Trent Svingala, who had won 128 consecutive matches. Brady Worthing went on to win the 132-pound state title with a 5-1 decision over Victor Perlleshi.
John Worthing avenged a loss in this year's Section IV finals with a 3-0 win over BGAH's Brody Oleksak in the state semifinals. He went on to win the 138-pound title with a 4-2 decision over Zach Braddell.
John Worthing, who has committed to wrestle at Division I Clarion University, will graduate with a 206-32 record and three top-three state place-finishes, while Brady Worthing is now 131-33 with two top-two state place-finishes.
The Worthings and seniors Austin Lamb and Stephen Taylor, who both finished fourth at States, led the Tigers to a team title at the New York State Division II Championships, putting the finishing touches on a tremendous season.
Tioga also won its third consecutive Section IV, Division II title, and advanced to the semifinals of the New York State Division II Duals for the second year in a row to earn Kris Harrington 2018-19 "Coach of the Year" honors.
Freshman Gavin Bradley, the 2018-19 "Newcomer of the Year," put together one of the best freshman seasons in the history of the storied Athens program, posting a 34-12 record and a sixth-place finish in the 106-pound weight class at the PIAA Class AA Championships. He became just the second Athens freshman to win a state medal.
Bradley finished second at the North Section Tournament, District 4 Championships, and the PIAA Northeast Regionals - losing in the finals at all three to eventual state champion Sheldon Seymour of Troy.
As a sophomore, Athens' Keegan Braund posted a 12-16 record. This season, Braund finished with a 24-15 mark and is the 2018-19 "Most Improved Wrestler." Braund finished fourth at the North Section Tournament to advance to the District 4 Championships
The 2018-19 Wrestling Super 7:
John Worthing, senior, Tioga: See above.
Brady Worthing, junior, Tioga: See above.
David Galasso, senior, Athens: Galasso capped a stellar career at Athens with a 38-7 record and a fourth-place finish at 170 pounds at the PIAA Class AA Championships. His final win at States was also the 100th win of his career.
Galasso won the North Section Tournament and the PIAA Northeast Regionals, sandwiched around a second-place finish at the District 4 Championships.
Austin Lamb, senior, Tioga: Lamb put the finishing touches on a brilliant career with his third state medal, a fourth-place finish at 145 pounds. He finished sixth at States as a sophomore, and fifth as a junior.
Lamb also won his second Section IV title, and his first title at the rugged Windsor Christmas Tournament. He finished his senior season with a 45-3 record, and a 206-47 career mark.
Stephen Taylor, senior, Tioga: Taylor finished off a stellar career with his second state medal - a fourth-place finish at the New York State Championships. He was sixth as a junior.
Taylor had a 33-8 record this season, with five of his eight losses coming to the three wrestlers who finished ahead of him at States. Taylor finished his career with a 112-59 record.
Gavin Bradley, freshman, Athens: See above.
Ethan Stotler, junior, Waverly: Stotler capped an impressive junior season with a 36-6 record, including his 100th win in the opening weekend, and a second-place finish at 145 pounds at the Section IV, Division II Championships. He narrowly missed a trip to States, earning the fifth wildcard spot (first alternate) - the top four are invited to Albany.
Two of Stotler's losses came at the hands of Tioga's Austin Lamb. After his first loss to Lamb on Jan. 18, Stotler went 15-1 the remainder of the season, including 13 pins. He also avenged a 5-3 loss to Towanda standout Preston Rogers at the Windsor Tournament with an 8-3 win over Rogers. His career record is 134-52.
The Second Seven
Gianni Silvestri, 7th-grader, Tioga: Only a 7th-grader, Silvestri more than held his own this season, piling up a 27-16 record. He finished second at the Section IV, Division II Qualifier A, and second at the Section IV Division II Championships.
Zac Warner, junior, Tioga: After a 5-4 start this season, Warner finished his senior season with a 31-8 mark. His career record was 88-56. Warner, who went 3-0 at the New York State Duals, won the Section IV, Division II Qualifier A, and finished third at the Section IV, Division II Championships.
Caden Bellis, 7th-grader, Tioga: Just a 7th-grader, Bellis piled up a 27-10 record, racking up second-place finishes at the Marino Invitational, Dave Buck Memorial, STWOA Holiday Classic, and the Bradshaw Invitational. He won the Section IV, Division II Qualifier A, and finished fourth at the Section IV, Division II Championships.
Garrett Skeens, freshman, Waverly: Skeens, who was 28-17 overall, wrestled between 138 and 126 to start the season, but once he settled into the 120-pound weight class he went 20-5. He finished second at the Section IV, Division II Qualifier B, and third at the Section IV, Division II Championships. His career record is 50-28.
Emmett Wood, freshman, Tioga: Hampered by injuries throughout the season, Wood put together a 24-8 record, finishing second at the Section IV, Division II Qualifier A, and third at the Section IV, Division II Championships. His career record is 77-47.
Mason Welch, freshman, Tioga: Welch put together a strong freshman season with a 33-14 record, including a second-place finish at the Section IV, Division II Qualifier A, and a third-place finish at the Section IV, Division II Championships. His career record is 80-41.
David MacWhinnie, junior, Tioga: Hampered by injuries, MacWhinnie posted a 23-8 record, finishing second at the Section IV, Division II Qualifier A, and third at the Section IV, Division II Championships. His career record is 101-46.
Wrestlers to Watch in 2019-20:
Any of the underclassmen mentioned above, as well as those like Waverly junior Rylan LaForest (25-13), Athens freshmen Karter Rude (20-13), Kaden Setzer (19-14), Athens sophomore Zach Stafursky (18-13), and Athens junior Alex West (20-17), who had breakout seasons in 2018-19 are wrestlers to keep an eye on in 2019-20, but there are more.
When you see a few of these wrestler's records, keep in mind that Tioga's John Worthing was 10-13 as a 7th-grader, then 35-6 as an 8th-grader, and 35-5 and state runner-up as a freshman.
Jacob Bennett, freshman, Sayre: The biggest you are as a freshman, the more difficult it is. Bennett posted a 9-14 record and finished fourth at the North Section Tournament, qualifying for Districts. He could make a big jump next year with a year of experience under his belt.
Justin Hopkins, freshman, Tioga: Hopkins won some big matches for the Tigers this season en route to a 14-14 record at 120 pounds. He finished fourth at the Section IV, Qualifier A, and sixth at the Section IV, Division II Championships. In that wrestling room, Hopkins should keep improving.
Nikolas Polzella, freshman, Sayre: Polzella was one of the bright spots on a young Sayre team, posting a 16-11 record, including a 2-2 mark at the North Section Tournament. His star should continue to rise next year.
Dom Wood, junior, Tioga: A basketball player until this year, Dom Wood posted a 12-22 record, and could be poised to make a big jump next year.
Austin Kimble, sophomore, Waverly: Very athletic, Kimble posted an 18-22 record, improving from 12-27 as a freshman. Don't be surprised if the improvement accelerates next season.
Trevor Meyers, sophomore, Waverly: Meyers is another Waverly wrestler who posted a big improvement over last year. He was 17-21 this season after a 9-17 freshman mark. Again, don't be surprised if that type of improvement continues in 2019-20.
Ben Pernaselli, sophomore, Athens: Wrestling at 195 pounds in your first varsity season is not an easy task. Pernaselli finished 15-14 on the season, and was fourth at North Section Tournament to qualify for Districts. He could have a breakout season in 2019-20.
Gage Tedesco, 8th-grader, Waverly: Again, wrestling at 182 pounds in your first varsity season is not easy - as an 8th-grader it's impressive to post an 8-11 mark, but that's what Tedesco did. It's even more impressive considering he played modified basketball, then switched to wrestling during the Christmas holiday. Keep your eye on him next year.
Jordan Goodrich, sophomore, Sayre: An inexperienced wrestler at 182 pounds, Goodrich put together a nice season with a 13-12 record. He's another one to keep an eye on next year.
Dylan Comstock, junior, Athens: Another wrestler who enjoyed a good initial varsity season at an upper weight, Comstock posted a 15-14 record at 195 pounds.
IN PHOTO: Tioga's John Worthing (left) and Brady Worthing.
PAST "Wrestler of the Year" winners:
2009-10 - David White, Athens
2010-11 - Derak Heyman, Tioga
2011-12 - Nick Talcott, Tioga
2012-13 - Ryan Wolcott, Waverly
2013-14 - Ryan Wolcott, Waverly
2014-15 - A.J Burkhart, Waverly
2015-16 - Brian Courtney, Athens
2016-17 - Brian Courtney, Athens
2017-18 - A.J. Burkhart, Athens
2018-19 - John Worthing, Tioga / Brady Worthing, Tioga.
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