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THE SPORTS REPORTS: TIOGA'S AIELLO, HARRINGTON SHARE ALL-REGION 'COACH OF THE YEAR' HONORS; ONE TIOGA COUNTY COACH MAKES THE BAKER'S DOZEN (2023-07-11)

The Sports Reports
Nick Aiello and Kris Harrington have taken their programs to new heights at Tioga, leading the football and wrestling teams, respectively, to multiple state titles. They share The Sports Reports' 2022-23 All-Region “Coach of the Year” honors.

In the fall, Aiello directed the Tigers to their third state title since 2015, capping a 14-0 season — the first time in the State to ever win 14 games. Tioga outscored its opponents by an average of 46.7 to 13.2 on the season.

Aiello also won his 10th Section IV, Class D title in the last 11 postseasons, and the Tigers won thier 10th straight state quarter-final appearance during that stretch.

Tioga rolled over Cambridge-Salem, 63-20, in the state finals to secure its second straight state title.

Aiello is 122-23 for his career, with a 26-2 record in the Section IV playoffs, and a 16-7 mark in the state playoffs.

Over the winter, Harrington kept the Tioga wrestling juggernaut rolling. The Tigers won their sixth consecutive Section IV title, and their fourth straight team title at the New York State Division 2 Championships.

Tioga was 13-0 in duals, and has won 31 in a row. The Tigers won their fourth consecutive Section IV Duals title, and second straight New York State Division 2 Duals title.

The Tigers also advanced eight wrestlers to the state championships, and brought home seven medals, including a pair of state champs, two runners-up, and a third-place finisher— giving them 11 state place-winners, including four state champs, four runners-up, and two third-place finishers in the last two years.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: This was one of the toughest lists imaginable to compile. During the 2022-23 school year, teams in The Sports Reports coverage area won 44 Section IV / District 4 titles, and four state titles. With just 13 coaches making the grade, that leaves a lot of deserving coaches out in the cold, and with a compelling argument to be included.)

(The Sports Reports covers 24 school districts in four counties, and Corning.)

The 2022-23 Baker’s Dozen All-Region “Coaches of the Year”
Nick Aiello, TIoga — football:
See above.

Kris Harrington, Tioga — wrestling: See above.

Jason Chapel, North Penn-Liberty — softball: The North Penn-Liberty softball team posted a historic season, and Jason Chapel was at the helm. In just his second year, Chapel piloted the NP-L squad to a 22-1-1 record, and a berth in the PIAA, Class 3A playoffs.

The Lady Mountaineers scribed an undefeated regular season, an NTL title, and a District 4 Class 3A championship into the record books, and also registered a State playoff win.

Jason Miller, Waverly football: The Wolverines won 10 games in a season for the second year in a row, but more importantly knocked off Chenango Forks to win the Section IV, Class C Championship.

It’s the fourth Section IV title for Miller since 2008, and it was the first time since 1998 that Forks has lost in a Section IV championship game. The Blue Devils were 18-0 in that span.

Des Ford, Tioga volleyball: Ford directed the Lady Tigers to a Section IV, Class D title — her seventh Section IV title since 2009, and ninth of her career.

Tioga was 15-2 in the regular season, with both losses coming in five sets, then went on to win the overall IAC Small School title, the Class D title, and one match in the state playoffs, before falling to defending state champion Mount Academy, which went on to repeat. Tioga finished the season at 19-3.

Ford, who just finished her 37th year at Tioga, has a record of 224-39 since 2009.

Tim Crout, Elmira — boys and girls bowling: Horseheads — volleyball:
Crout guided the Elmira bowling team to the first team state title in any sport in Elmira Express history and only the second in the history of the Elmira school district.

Both the boys and girls teams won the state qualifier to make it to states. Crout became the first Section 4 coach to lead teams to composite state titles and team state titles during their career.

Crout also led the Horseheads volleyball team in the fall, guiding them to the Section IV playoffs.

Ray Lawson,  Corning — cross country, indoor track & field: Lawson guided the Hawks to a second straight state title in cross country this season. Despite the graduation of individual state champion Jack Gregorski, the Hawks returned to States this year and repeated as state champs. The boys also went to Nike Nationals and finished fifth in the nation.

He coached the girls cross country team to a fourth-place finish at States, tied for the best finish in program history.

Lawson also helped coach more than 20 athletes to states in the indoor season, including state champion Gyasi Ruffin (600 meters).

Jeff Limoncelli, Horseheads — baseball, boys basketball: Limoncello led the Horseheads basketball and baseball team to Section IV titles this year.

In a tough Class A, the Blue Raiders topped Johnson City in the the basketball final in a matchup of state-ranked teams. In baseball, they beat STAC champion Union-Endicott in the final.

Horseheads won the division title in baseball, in a division that also featured Class AA champion Elmira.

Mike Johnston, Corning football, boys basketball, softball:
Johnston coached three sports this year, winning Section IV titles in two of the three, and leading the third team to a sectional final.

He guided the football team to a sectional championship, piloted the softball title to a sectional title and helped led the boys basketball team to the Class AA final.

Despite many injuries during the football season, the team won a Section IV championship, and had a regular season win over state runner-up Newburgh.

Nick Vanderpool, Wyalusing, baseball: The Rams had a tough start and finish, but never lost sight of their ultimate goal — a District 4 championship, and they played their best baseball during those three games to to win its first District 4 title in 66 years of existence. The Rams beat South Williamsport, 10-1, in the finals.

Tyler Sechrist, Canton, football: Sechrist led Canton back to the state semifinals, once again winning NTL and District 4 titles, and gave Jersey Shore, a state-ranked Class 4A team, its toughest game of the season until the state playoffs.

In the Class A playoffs, Canton blasted through its first three playoff games, before falling to eventual state champions Steelton-Highspire in a game it led in the fourth quarter.

Alessio De Michele, Owego, boys soccer: The second-year coach took the Indians to their second consecutive Section IV, Class B championship and a No. 11 state ranking. Owego posted a 15-2 record with losses coming against Section IV Class AA champion Corning and Skaneateles. The latter pulled out a 1-0 overtime victory and went on to win its third consecutive state title.

Greg Schweiger, Newark Valley, girls basketball: The Cardinals went 21-1 and won their second consecutive Section IV championship, despite moving up to the Class B ranks. They also repeated as IAC South Large School Division champs, and overall IAC Large School champions for a third straight year. Schweiger recorded his 100th victory at NV (he currently has 112) and the team ended the season with a No. 5 state ranking.
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