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VALLEY SPORTS REPORT: ATHENS' BRONSON HEADLINES SUPER 7 AS 2023-24 'GIRLS ATHLETE OF THE YEAR' (2024-06-22)

Valley Sports Report
THE VALLEY - Athens junior Sara Bronson qualified for States in two different seasons, earning a State medal in the Spring. She is the 2023-24 Valley Sports ReportGirls Athlete of the Year.

Bronson qualified for the PIAA Cross Country Championships for the third consecutive year with an 8th-place finish at the District 4, Class AA Championships.

Bronson finished 15th in a field of 284 runners in the A-1 Small School race in a time of 19:29.6 at the rugged McQuaid Invitational. She also finished third at the Owego Invite, and third at NTL Coaches Invite.

Bronson finished 56th at the PIAA Championships, and cut a minute off her time from her sophomore season.

Bronson’s accomplishments were made even more impressive by the fact she missed the first two weeks of the season after having surgery late in the summer.

This spring, Bronson won the 800-meter run at the NTL Championships, and was second in the and 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs.

Bronson earned four medals at the District 4, Class AA Championships. She punched her ticket to States with a second-place finish in the 3,200-meter run, and a fourth-place finish in the 1,600-meter run. She narrowly missed States with a fifth-place finish in the 800-meter run.

At States, Bronson finished fourth in the 1,600-meter run in a school-record time of 5:03.53, and finished 10th in the 3,200 in a time of 11:19.16.

Bronson also ran the Athens 3,200-meter relay team that finished fourth at the PIAA Championships. The relay finished second at the District 4 Championships, clocking in more than 25 1/2 seconds faster than its seed time.

During the winter, Bronson battled injuries, but she contributed 5.3 points, 5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.7 steals per game in 12 games.

(NOTE: These awards are designed to honor three-sport athletes, but two-sport athletes will occasionally make the list, and on a very rare occasion a one-sport athlete might be included.)

The 2023-24 All-Valley Super 7 “Girls Athletes of the Year”
Sara Bronson, junior, Athens:
See above.

Addy Wheeler, junior, Athens: Wheeler is a consummate team player, and excelled in three sports.

On the pitch, Wheeler, highly-skilled and unselfish to a fault, had six goals, and five assists.

Wheeler, a superb defender and excellent all-around player, averaged 11.5 points, 5 rebounds, 5 steals, 2.8 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game. She also knocked down 23 3-pointers on the season.

This spring, Wheeler was a points-winner in the hurdles, and on the 1,600-meter relay.

RaeAnne Feeko, sophomore, Tioga: Feeko made her bones on the softball diamond as VSR “Player of the Year,” and her impact as a first-year player on the volleyball and basketball hardwoods made her the VSR “Newcomer of the Year.”

On the diamonds, Feeko, a very good defensive shortstop, hit a whopping .608 on the season, including a stretch in which she recorded base hits in 14 consecutive at-bats.

Feeko had 45 hits in 74 at-bats with 11 doubles, four triples, five homes runs, 37 RBI, 48 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases. She also walked 15 times and was hit by four pitches for a .688 on-base percentage, to go along with a 1.068 slugging percentage for a 1.756 OPS.

In the pitcher’s circle, Feeko was 6-0 with a 2.45 ERA. She allowed 14 hits in 34 2/3 innings, while striking out 61 and walking 31. Opponents hit .122 against her.

A dynamic athlete, and all-around player on the volleyball court, Feeko, who saw limited action in the postseason as a freshman, recorded 148 service points, 212 setter assists, 163 digs, 29 kills and eight blocks.

Feeko, a very good defender on the basketball hardwoods, averaged 6.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 2.1 steals, and knocked down 10 3-pointers in 16 games.

Abby Burgess, sophomore, Athens:
Burgess made her mark on the Athens track & field program as a freshman … she also made big impacts in cross country and basketball this year.

This spring, Burgess was a consistent triple- and quad-winner for the Wildcats during the regular season She won the 100 and 200 at the NTL Championships, and was third in the 400. She also ran on the first-place 1,600-meter relay team.

Burgess went on to win silver medals in 100 and 200 at the District 4 Championships.

In the fall, Burgess finished 14th at NTL Coaches Cross Country Invite, and was 43rd at District 4 Championships.

This winter, Burgess, a top-notch defender and excellent ball-handler, averaged 6.7 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 1.3 assists. She also made 21 3-pointers on the season.

Paige Robinson, senior, Waverly: A constant whir of motion and effort, Robinson made the most of her considerable athleticism in three sports.

In the fall, Robinson was the VSR “Defensive Player of the Year” on the pitch, and had one goal and one assist.

She was also the “Defensive Player of the Year” on the hoop hardwoods. She averaged 2.4 steals, and 2.7 deflections per game, to go along with 7.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game.

This spring, Robinson piloted the Wolverines to an 8-2-3 record in their inaugural season on the gridiron.

Robinson completed 57.1 percent of her passes (133 out of 233 passes) for 1,429 yards, and 21 TDs, with 10 interceptions. She also rushed the ball for 1,341 yards and 16 TDs on 153 carries.

Ashlen Croft, senior, Waverly:
Croft was a consistent presence on three playoff teams — volleyball, basketball, flag football — during her senior season.

In the fall, Croft,  a force at the net, registered 140 kills and 12 blocks, to go along with 72 digs, and 25 service aces.

On the hoop hardwoods, Croft got better and better each year of her varsity career. She averaged 5.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.7 deflections, and 1 assist per game.

On the gridiron, Croft hauled in 42 receptions for 516 yards, and eight TDs, including two games with 100 or more receiving yards. She also had four interceptions, including a pair of pick-6 — one for 55 and the other for 72 yards.

Mira Kittle, junior, Waverly: Kittle has been a record-setting machine in the pool for the Wolverines, but this year she pulled double-duty in the spring on the track & field, and flag football gridiron.

This fall, Kittle started the season by breaking her own record in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 24.45 seconds. In her penultimate swim of the season, the 50 free preliminaries at the State meet, she finished with the second-fastest time, lowering her school record to 23.54 seconds.

Kittle also lowered her own school records in the 100-yard freestyle, and the 100-yard backstroke, and swam on the record-setting 200-yard medley, and 200-yard freestyle relays. She also broke several pool records throughout Section IV.

Kittle swam in three events at States this season, and brought home a 9th-place medal in the 50-yard freestyle.

This spring, Kittle was a consistent point-winner in the 100-meter hurdles and the pole vault.

She also led Waverly’s defense in “flag pulls” on its way to the Section IV title game in the program’s inaugural season.

Honorable Mention:
Waverly’s Mackenzie LaForest, Sayre’s Abbie McGaughey, Tioga’s McKenzie Williams, and Athens’ Ashlyn VanFleet.

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