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The 2023-24 winter season was once again dominated by wrestling, in particular Tioga’s continued dominance at the state level, but two other teams — Athens boys swimming, and Waverly boys bowling — made another appearance in the Super 7 “Storylines of the Winter.”

I've talked about storylines in the past and how they normally come in one of four realms: the start of a storyline, the continuation of one, the likely culmination of one, or a storyline totally out-of-the-blue.

With any further ado, I give you, from No. 7 to No. 1, the top storylines of the winter:

2023-24 Super 7 Storylines of the Winter
7. Athens boys swimming places second at Districts for second year in a row:
The Wildcats graduated a few key seniors, but had a few key freshmen take their place, and the results were the same — second place, matching last year’s best finish ever.

The Wildcats once again won the 400-meter freestyle relay in school-record time, with two swimmers from last year (juniors Ethan Hicks and Ronel Ankam) and two newcomers (freshmen Eli Hicks and Brayden Pettitt).

Athens improved on last year’s performance, sending three swimmers to States, thanks to Pettitt earning a pair of at-large berths.

The Athens team is loaded with under classmen, so this storylines looks to have a couple more chapters to be written.

6. Waverly’s Johnson brings home silver medal in 55-yard dash: A spring track ace, Johnson turned his attention to indoor track this season, and was one of the fastest young men in New York State from Day 1.

Johnson, who placed fifth in the state in the 200-meter dash last spring, won every race he ran this season until the state finals, where he finished second in the New York State Public High Schools and in the Federation races.

Johnson, who set a school record with a time of 6.41 seconds at the State Qualifier, is a senior, so this storyline, while not totally out of the blue, is a one-and-done.

5. Waverly boys bowling post best-ever finish at States: Despite the fact Owego seemed to have its number all season, Waverly defended its title at the Section IV State Qualifier, and made a return trip to the state championships.

The Wolverines, who had five bowlers average 200 or higher on the season, finished second at States to top last year’s fourth-place finish, as well as their third-place finish in 2011.

With three seniors departing the program, this storyline may have run its course, but this is one of the best programs in the Valley, so a sequel in the near future isn’t out of the question.

4. Waverly’s Troy Beeman is program’s first state champ since 2015: 
Beeman didn’t wrestle a match until Jan. 4, but he put together a 12-3 record, including a third-place finish at the Southern Tier Memorial, and a first-place finish at the STAC Championships heading into the postseason.

Once the Section IV postseason began, Beeman was unbeatable. He won the Qualifier B — registering three falls, then won his first Section IV title, scoring two falls, and a 1-0 win in the finals.

At States, Beeman was 4-0, including a pair of overtime wins, including a 9-4 sudden-victory win over Wilson’s William Wortkoetter in the 285-pound finals.

Beeman is only a sophomore, so this storyline could have a couple sequels.

3. Athens girls wrestling posts impressive season: The Wildcats were 3-1 in Duals, won a team title at the first-ever District 4 Championships, and finished third at the PIAA Central Regionals, qualifying four girls for States.

During the season, Athens won the Williamsport Showcase, and finished second at the Jarvis Tournament, Southern Tier Memorial, and the Coal Cracker.

More importantly, Athens had 18 wrestlers get at least three matches this season, with 15 of them getting at least 10 matches. And, 16 of those 18 will be back next year.

I have a feeling this storyline has many more chapters to be written.

2.  Waverly basketball wins first Section IV title in nearly three decades: Waverly dominated Class B in Section IV this season, posting a 14-0 record, and winning 12 of those games by 14 points or more.

The Wolverines won their three Sectional games by an average of 18.3 points, including a 71-45 win over Lansing in the Class B finals. It was the first title for the program since 1996, and the first for coach Lou Judson in his 21 years on the sidelines.

It also marked the only time Waverly has won Section titles in football and basketball in the same school year.

Waverly graduates five seniors from its rotation, but brings back three players with significant experience, and its JV team won a STAC title. This storyline may have another chapter, but it could be the culmination of this senior group’s quest to be the best. Time will tell.

1. End of an era? Tioga wrestling continues its dominance:
Ten state qualifiers, including six Section IV champions, and all 10 brought home state medals, including a state champ, three runners-up, and three third-place finishers, and two fourth-place finishers. I don’t think you’ll ever see any team duplicate that anytime soon.

TIoga has won seven straight Section IV, Division 2 titles, and five straight team titles at the state championships, as well as five consecutive Section IV, Division 2 Duals titles, and three straight N.Y. State Duals title.

The Tigers graduate seven seniors who combined for 919 career wins, and 17 state medals, including six state titles, four second-place finishes, and one third-place finish, but they also return four under classmen who were state place-finishers this year, including sophomores Jayden Duncanson and Logan Bellis, who have five state medals between them — two second-place and three third-place.

Is the end of the storyline? Some of the majors stars of this storyline will be moving on, but Tioga certainly has other stars ready to step up and keep it going. It will be interesting to watch it develop.

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