Valley Sports Report
THE VALLEY — It was another historic season for the Tioga wrestling program — another Section IV, Division 2 championship, another Section IV Duals title, and another team title at the New York State Division 2 Championships — resulting in Kris Harrington repeating as the Valley Sports Report “Coach of the Year.”
Harrington took over one of the best programs in Section IV prior to the 2016-17 season. In his four seasons, he has turned the Tigers into the premier program in Section IV.
Tioga won its fourth consecutive Section IV, Division 2 title, edging out preseason favorite Windsor by 1.5 points.
The Tigers also won their second straight Section IV Duals title. They have represented Section IV in all three years of the newly-minted New York State Duals, qualifying for the inaugural tourney as a wildcard.
Tioga advanced six wrestlers to the New York State Division 2 Championships, with five reaching the podium to earn the Tigers their second straight team title in Albany. It marked the second time in three years, Tioga has sent six wrestlers to States.
In Harrington’s four years, Tioga has had 18 state qualifiers, including 11 Section IV champions. The Tigers have had 13 state medalists, including three state champions, two runners-up, and a third-place finisher.
The remainder of the "All-Valley Super 7 Coaches of the Year" are:
Nick Aiello, football, Tioga: Despite preseason predictions that Walton was the team to beat, Nick Aiello guided Tioga to its third consecutive Section IV, Class D football title, and was named the 2019 Valley Sports Report’s “Coach of the Fall.”
Aiello, who has eight Section IV titles and one state title under his belt in the last nine years, led the Tigers to an 8-0 regular-season mark, including a hard-fought season-opening, 23-20, win over Walton.
In the postseason, the Tigers rolled over Delhi, then beat Walton again, this time in a 44-36 shootout, in the Class D title game.
Tioga made it 8-for-8 under Aiello in the state quarterfinals with a convincing win over Frankfort-Schuyler, then dropped a heart-breaking, 28-27, decision to defending state champion Clymer / Sherman / Panama in the semifinals. CSP went on to win another state title with a 47-6 win over Moriah.
The Tigers were 11-1 this season, running Aiello’s record to 91-22 in his first 10 years on the sidelines. He has a 22-2 record in Section IV playoffs, and is 10-7 in the state playoffs.
Rich Pitts, girls soccer, Athens: In his four years at Athens, Pitts has taken the girls soccer program to the next level.
Not only has Athens continued its success in the NTL, with four more league titles under Pitts, but the Lady Wildcats have won back-to-back District 4 titles for the first time in school history. He is 61-11-4 in his time at Athens.
This season, Pitts guided the Lady Wildcats to a 15-3-2, including a 10-0-1 record in the NTL.
Brian Miller, girls basketball, Athens: Miller, who made his bones at Waverly with defensive pressure and an up-tempo offensive game, has shifted his philosophy to match his talent at Athens, and the results speak for themselves.
Using solid half-court defense and a patient offense, the Lady Wildcats put together a 22-6 record that included a division title, an NTL Showdown title, a second-place finish in the District 4 Championships, and a trip to the PIAA, Class AAAA playoffs.
The 2019-20 Lady Wildcats under Miller were truly a team that, as a whole, was greater than the sum of its parts.
Dave Mastrantuono, boys swimming, Waverly: Mastrantuono directed Waverly to its third consecutive unbeaten regular season and its fourth consecutive IAC Championships title. Waverly is currently riding a 43-meet win streak.
A year after winning a Section IV, Class C title, the Wolverines bumped up to the rugged Class B ranks and posted an impressive third-place finish.
Jake Lezak, boys soccer, Athens: Lezak has built the Wildcats into a boys soccer powerhouse, not only in the NTL, but in District 4.
Lezak, who now has 234 career wins, guided the Wildcats to their sixth straight league title, and to their fourth consecutive appearance in the District 4, Class AAA championship game. The Wildcats are currently riding a 35-match league win streak, and have played 64 league games without a loss.
This year, Athens posted a 15-4 record under Lezak, including an 11-0 mark in the NTL.
Kesha Sinsabaugh, volleyball, Waverly: Sinsabaugh, who led Waverly to its first-ever Section IV title last year, led the Lady Wolverines from the sixth seed to the Class B title game this season.
The final dual-match win of her career came in the Class B quarterfinals against third-seed Lansing — it was the 100th victory of her career.
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