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THE FINAL WORD: PUTTING A BOW ON AN ALMOST NORMAL 2021 SPRING SEASON (2021-08-14)

The spring season was not normal, but it was as close as the 2020-21 high school sports calendar would offer.

Student-athletes in Pennsylvania had a full season, and postseason, although some of the fields were pared down due to Covid concerns.

New York’s spring season started on May 1, due to the fall season being crammed in between the winter and spring seasons. There were no state playoffs, but Section IV did host a pared down postseason.

With the 2020 spring season wiped out by the Covid crackdown, the return of baseball, and track & field, as well as golf was especially welcomed.

The Sayre baseball team continued to write an epic story, winning its third District 4 title in four seasons. With seven starters returning, the Redskins may add another chapter in 2022.

Waverly and Athens both advanced to the semifinals of their respective postseason playoffs, while Tioga narrowly narrowly missed out against a rugged schedule.

One of the highlights of the spring was the return of the annual “Battle at the Border,” hosted by Waverly and Tioga. All four teams went 1-1.

In the opening games, Sayre rolled over Tioga, and Athens topped Waverly.

In the afternoon contests, Tioga knocked off Athens, while Waverly junior Caden Hollywood tossed a gem to lead the Wolverines to a win over Sayre — the Redskins’ only loss of the regular season.

All four teams bring back a ton of talent, so the 2022 edition should be very entertaining. The season as a whole as well.

On the softball diamonds, Athens and Tioga both reached the semifinals of their postseason playoffs. Both teams lose key seniors (Harley Sullivan, Audrey Hatch, and Mallory Mummert from Athens; and Kindra Wessels and Olivia Ayres from Tioga), but both teams return enough to be very competitive in 2022.

Waverly battled through the season, but came through in a must-win game against Owego to qualify for the Section IV playoffs. The Lady Wolverines lost to Windsor in the quarterfinals, but the victory over Owego was a good character win for the host of players returning in 2022.

Sayre struggled to a 1-16 mark, but had a bunch of freshmen and sophomores see a lot of playing time. Maybe 2021 is the season we’ll look back on and say, “that’s the year things started to turn around for the Lady Redskin program.”

Athens senior Asher Ellis was the star of the track & field season, winning a pair of District 4 gold medals to qualify for States in the discus and javelin. He won a bronze medal in the shot put, narrowly missing out on a third event at the PIAA Championships.

The stars of the season on the girls side were Tioga’s Julia Walsh, and Athens’ Mya Thompson and Emma Bronson, but the most inspirational story of the spring continued to be penned by Sayre senior Carrie Claypool.

Claypool has overcome two ACL surgeries, and continues to shine on the track. She will continue her career at Mansfield University.

On the New York links (the NTL season is in the fall), a young Tioga team posted a 7-3 record, including a 5-1 divisional mark that was good enough for a share of the division title. Freshmen Tyler Roe and Jake Sickler were 2-3 on the team for most of the season, and should keep the Tigers very competitive the next three years.

The end of every season marks the end of careers in those sports.

There were a handful of seniors that shined this spring, but the large majority of standouts were underclassmen.

If things continue to move forward, and spring of 2022 is “normal,” it should be a lot of fun.

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