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THE SPORTS REPORTS: TIOGA'S HARRINGTON HEADLINES LIST AS ALL-REGION 'COACH OF THE YEAR' (2022-07-09)

The Sports Reports
Very few coaches will win two state titles in a career,  much less two in the same season, but Tioga wrestling coach Kris Harrington did just that — winning the State Duals, and the team title at the state championships. He is The Sports Reports 2021-22 All-Region “Coach of the Year.

Harrington directed Tioga to a perfect 16-0 duals record, their third straight Section IV Duals title, and the program’s first-ever New York State Duals title.

Tioga also won its fifth consecutive Section IV, Division 2 championship, and third straight New York State Division 2 championship.

The Tigers qualified nine wrestlers for States, and seven of them medaled, including two state champs, two runners-up, and a third-place finisher.

The 2021-22 All-Region “Coaches of the Year”
Kris Harrington, wrestling, Tioga:
See above.

Ray Lawson, cross country / track & field, Corning: Lawson was named the N.Y. State cross country coach of the year after an amazing fall season for the Hawks cross country team.

Lawson led the Corning boys to the state championship, the third state title for the boys in his coaching career. He had individual boys go first and fourth at the state meet. The Corning boys also swept the top five spots at both the STAC Championships and Section 4 Championships. He also guided the Corning girls to a fifth-place finish at States.

Corning had the second best team score in state history at cross country states.

Lawson also led the Hawks in indoor track and field. The Hawks dominated their way to the team title at sectionals, and had a dominant year sending 39 athletes to the indoor track and field state championships.

Nick Aiello, football, Tioga: Aiello directed the Tiger football team to an unbeaten and the second state title in program history

Aiello coached the Tigers to a 12-0 season — the first unbeaten season in his career — and the second state title in his 12 years on the Tioga sidelines.

The Tigers outscored their opponents by an average of 47 to 8.4 points per game, including a 42-6 margin in the three state playoff games.

Aiello has amassed a 108-23 career coaching record,  He has nine Section IV titles titles to his credit, and has a postseason record of 37-9, including a 24-2 mark in the Section IV playoffs.

Mike Johnston Jr., football / boys basketball / softball, Corning: A rare three-sport coach, Johnston Jr. enjoyed success in all three arenas.

On the gridiron, Johnston led the Hawks to a Section 4, Class AA championship, and played in the Regional finals. The Hawks had one of the best defenses in the Section, allowing just 11.1 points a game. Offensively, the team scored 37.7 points a game, second most in Section 4, and ran for 3,695 yards. Over the past three seasons. the Hawks are 22-4.

On the hardwoods, he guided the Hawks to the Section 4 title and a spot in the regional final. Corning lost just one game in the regular season, and reached the STAC final, before beating Elmira in the sectional final.

Johnston Jr. also coached the Corning softball team to their first STAC title after claiming a division title. The Hawks made it to the sectional final.

Williamson Track & Field staff: The Williamson track & field coaching staff — Mark Dexter, Steve Hepfer, Karen Knaus, Aaron Wooster, Dave Slusser, Chris Young, and Jason Hungerford — directed the Warriors to the first NTL title in school history this spring.

A combined effort between Williamson and CV, it is CV’s first league title this century, and their first title as a combined entity, and earns them the title of The Sports Reports’ 2022 All-Region “Coaches of the Spring.”

The Warriors sent five athletes to the PIAA Championships.

Sheila Wesneski, volleyball, Canton:
Coming into the fall, Canton had lost their core players — some of them four-year varsity lettermen — and had to bring role players into starting roles, and JV players into supporting roles.

Wesneski handled it seamlessly, and the newly-constructed Warriors went even further this past season, cementing Wesneski as one of the best volleyball coaches in NTL history.

Tyler Sechrist, football, Canton:
Sechrist finally got the Warriors over the hump in the fall, winning a District 4 title, and a pair of PIAA playoff games to advance to the state semifinals.

The Warriors had a lot of talent, but also carried high expectations, both, from their talent, and from near-misses in the District 4 finals the previous three seasons. The team never showed it, though, blowing through the league, dominating Muncy in the district final, and pulling out two of the most important wins in Canton football history during the state playoffs.

The coaching staff’s ability to get the most out of the team without buckling under the pressure was key to this year’s success.

Greg Schweiger, girls basketball, Newark Valley:
Denied an opportunity to show their talent in the 2020-21 postseason, the Cardinals dominated almost every opponent in 2021-22 as they finished the season as the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class C runner-up.

Schweiger guided Newark Valley to a 24-2 overall record, his losses coming against Class AA Colonie and in the state title game. NV put together a 23-game win streak and won IAC South Large School and overall Large School titles and captured its first Section IV championship.

The Cardinals went 9-1 against opponents from larger classifications and 5-1 against state-ranked foes. They won 22 games by more than 20 points. Each member of Schweiger’s starting five received all-state honors.

Mike Chaffee, 8-man football, SVEC:  The Eagles won 14 consecutive 8-man games in the same calendar year as COVID-19 forced them to play two seasons in 2021.

Chaffee’s charges won a regional championship in November (8-man does not have a state champion), going 9-0, and outscoring their opponents, 516-60. SVEC shared the No. 1 state ranking and had five all-state selections, including the co-player of the year.

The Eagles return to 11-man this fall with a 15-game win streak in the two classifications combined.

Jeff Limoncelli, baseball / boys basketball, Horseheads: Limoncelli led the Blue Raiders to a remarkable season. They traveled to Myrtle Beach, and faced some of the best teams in the state. After returning, they didn’t lose another game until regionals.

After losing the second game of the season to Corning the Blue Raiders didn’t lose another game in Section 4 all season, winning the STAC West Division title, the STAC Championship and the Section 4 Championship.

Limoncelli led the Horseheads boys’ basketball team into the sectional semifinals this season.

Alessio De Michele, boys soccer, Owego: 
The second-year coach directed the Indians to a 12-3-1 record and a berth in the Class B state playoffs. Owego upset Chenango Valley in the Section IV finals, then nearly knocked off defending and eventual state champion Skaneateles before falling in overtime.

Jennifer Newton, volleyball, Wyalusing:
Few teams dealt with injury problems this year as much as the Rams did, but Wyalusing battled through them during the regular season.

They hit their stride by districts, beating a tough Williamson team that had beaten Canton, and then dethroning league powerhouses NPL in an impressive sweep for the district final.

Newton cultivated a deep roster, and pulled all the right strings as the Rams won their first district title this decade.

Jason Miller, football, Waverly:
Miller directed the Wolverines to an historic season - the first time a Waverly team has been 10-0.

Waverly opened the win with a decisive win over Class A East Syracuse-Minoa, then won a division title, and beat Norwich in the Class C semifinals to advance to its first Section IV title game since 2015.

Miller has a career record of 111-70, and three Section IV titles.

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