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VALLEY SPORTS REPORT: WAVERLY'S WRIGHT, ATHENS' BRONSON 'RUNNERS OF YEAR;' WAVERLY'S MINAKER, ATHENS' BRONSON EARN OTHER TOP HONORS (2021-07-24)

Valley Sports Report
THE VALLEY — Waverly senior Collin Wright, and Athens sophomore Emma Bronson are the 2020-21 Valley Sports Report Cross Country “Runners of the Year,” while Waverly 8th-grader Harper Minaker is the “Newcomer of the Year,” and Athens’ Mike Bronson is the “Coach of the Year.”

Wright, now a four-time winner of the "Runner of the Year," consistently led the Wolverines in dual meets and invitationals. He finished seventh at the Section IV Championships, which would have earned him a return trip to the New York State Championships. Wright won gold at the IAC Large School Divisional meet, and the overall IAC Championships.

Emma Bronson finished 20th at the District 4, Class AA Championships, running 30 seconds faster than she had the previous meet at the NTL Coaches Invite, which she won. In a normal year, she would have been the first runner to miss out on a trip to States.

Minaker consistently led the Lady Wolverines in dual meets, and invitationals. She finished fourth at the IAC Large School Divisional meet, and fourth at the overall IAC Championships. Minaker finished 15th at the Section IV Championships.

Mike Bronson coached the Wildcat boys to an unbeaten 10-0 record and their second consecutive NTL title. Bronson, along with Scott Riley and Mark Johnson, were named the NTL "Coaching Staff of the Year."

Athens finished fifth at the District 4, Class AA championships, and had three runners that would have normally qualified for the PIAA meet, miss out on qualifying due to new “pandemic rules” put in place to reduce the size of the state field.

2021 All-Valley Boys Cross Country
Wright is joined on the All-Valley boys cross country team by a trio of Athens runners, who all would have qualified for States in a normal years, and one of his teammates.

Collin Wright, senior, Waverly: See above.

Connor Dahl, senior, Athens: Dahl finished fourth at the NTL Coaches Invite. He was 13th at the District 4, Class AA Championships. After finishing third to Kyle Anthony and Matt Gorsline in a season-opening win over Towanda, Dahl finished first for the remainder of the regular season.

Matt Gorsline, junior, Athens: Gorsline finished sixth at the NTL Coaches Invite, and was 18th at the District 4, Class AA meet.

Kyle Anthony, senior, Athens: Anthony was seventh at the NTL Coaches Invite, and was 16th at the District 4, Class AA Championships.

Gorsline and Anthony consistently finished second or third for the Wildcats during the regular season.

Nate Ackley, junior, Waverly:  Ackley, who was consistently the second runner on the Wolverines, finished fourth at the IAC Large School Divisional meet, and  11th at Section IV Championships.

2021 All-Valley Girls Cross Country
Bronson was joined on the All-Valley girls team by three young under classmen, and just one senior — Sayre’s Carrie Claypool, who overcame two major knee surgeries in her high school career to nearly qualify for States.

Emma Bronson, sophomore, Athens: See above.

Carrie Claypool , senior, Sayre:  Claypool finished seventh at the NTL Coaches Invite, and eighth at the District 4, Class A Championships, missing a trip to States by less than 1 second. She led the Lady Redskins in every dual meet this season.

Harper Minaker, 8th-grader, Waverly: See above.

Elizabeth Vaughn, freshman, Waverly: Vaughn, who was the second runner for the Lady Wolverines all season, finished 12th at the IAC Championships, and 17th at the Section IV Championships.

Thea Bentley, freshman, Athens:
Bentley, who consistently finished second for the Lady Wildcats during the regular season, placed eighth at the NTL Coaches Invite, and was 40th at the District 4, Class AA meet.

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IN PHOTO: Waverly senior Collin Wright and Athens sophomore Emma Bronson. … VSR STOCK PHOTOS.

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