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FROM THE PRESS BOX: WAVERLY SPRINTERS HEADLINE SUPER 7 'STORYLINES OF THE SPRING' (2024-06-15)

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.

This year, the "Super 7 Storylines of the Spring" offer up a variety of those storylines.

Without any further ado, I give you, from No. 7 to No. 1, the "Super 7 storylines" of the spring:

7. Sayre softball takes another step forward: After winning two games last year, the Redskins softball team won five this year, and while that doesn’t sound like much this is a program that hasn’t won more than six games in a season in more than two decades.

If the coaching staff returns, all the underclassmen from this year’s team return, and they get two or three girls up from the junior high team to contribute, theres no reason this storyline can’t continue next year.

6. Waverly flag football makes impressive debut: Coaches David Shaw and Peyton Miller were starting from scratch, and despite being a couple years behind most of Section IV on the flag football gridiron, Waverly battled its way into the Section IV Championship game in its inaugural season.

The Wolverines lose a talented group of seniors, but have a good group returning next year, and will likely add to their numbers. I’m fairly certain this is just the beginning of a long-term storyline.

5. Young Tioga, Athens softball teams make deep postseason runs:
I’m not sure anyone expected Tioga to reach the Section IV, Class C championship game, or Athens to reach the District 4, Class 3A semifinals.

Both teams are extremely young, and only lose one or two seniors. I think you could both these teams write a few more chapters to their respective stories over the next few years.

4. Tioga golf wins second Section IV title in program history:
This storyline flew under the radar a bit, but the Tigers, who finished third in 2022, and second in 2023 in Class D, won the Section IV, Class C title this year — just the second Section IV title in program history.

With three of their top four golfers graduating, it’s doubtful this storyline continues.

3. Waverly’s Pipher, Tomasso end six-year varsity baseball careers: It’s not often you see someone start a varsity team sport in 7th-grade, but when Kyle McDuffee started two — Jay Pipher and Joey Tomasso — in the spring of 2019, it certainly raised some eyebrows.

Six seasons later, Pipher and Tomasso graduate with 100-plus base hits apiece, and two trips to the Section IV championship game.

The final chapter has been written. Now, we can just hope for a sequel with different characters.

2. Athens’ Bronson finally gets her PIAA medal:
After three trips to the PIAA Cross Country Championships, junior Sara Bronson made her second trip to Shippensburg and won her first state medal, placing fourth in the 1,600-meter run.

Bronson has already had an incredible career, and there’s one more chapter to be written in 2025.

1. Johnson and Waverly relay bring home three gold medals:
Last year, the Waverly sprinters broke records left-and-right, and two seniors — Kayleb Bechy and Jerrell Sackett — graduates, leaving me to write "It will be tough for this storyline to continue with the graduation of Bechy and Sackett, but we could see an individual sprint record or two fall next year."

Well, Ralph Johnson did break Bechy’s record of 10.79 in the 100-meter dash, eventually lowering it to 10.65 seconds. He also lowered his own school record in the 200-meter dash from 21.95 seconds to 21.52.

After a heart-breaking DQ for a false start in the 100 finals at States, Johnson re-regrouped and won the NYSPHSAA gold in the 200, and the Federation gold as well.

Johnson teamed with senior Micah Chandler, who also qualified for States in the 100 and 200, and juniors Kolsen Keathley and Xavier Watson — both transfers from Athens — to put a new 400-meter relay team together this season.

The foursome was unbeaten until finishing second to Horseheads at the STAC Championships, and the State Qualifier. At States, while they didn’t run as fast of a time as last year’s relay, the quartet won a NYSPHSAA gold medal, and was fourth in the Federation race.

With the loss of Johnson and Chandler to graduation, this storyline may have come to a conclusion, but you never know.

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