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THE SPORTS REPORTS: WAVERLY'S VanHOUTEN TOPS BAKER'S DOZEN AS ALL-REGION BOYS 'NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR' (2023-07-11)

The Sports Reports
Junior Jake VanHouten started — and excelled — in three sports, and helped his Waverly teams to a Section IV title on the gridiron, and IAC Championships on the diamond, and the hardwoods. He is The Sports Reports 2022-23 All-Region “Boys Newcomer of the Year.”

On the gridiron, VanHouten, a 6-4 junior, made an impact on both sides of the ball for the Wolverines.

Offensively, VanHouten had 34 receptions for 473 yards, and three TDs in 11 games. On defense, VanHouten had 38 tackles, including 15 solo stops, from his defensive back position. He also had a team-best three interceptions.

During the winter, VanHouten was a force on both ends of the basketball court. He averaged 9.7 points and 9.7 rebounds per game, and led the team in blocked shots. He also shot 51.9 percent from the field.

On the diamond, VanHouten hit .364 (20 hits in 55 ABs) in his first varsity season, had a .444 on-base percentage, and a .954 OPS. He had four doubles, two triples, 12 RBI, 22 runs scored, and six stolen bases.

Three- and two-sports athletes are given precedence in the yearly award, but a one-sport athlete can post a good enough season to force his way on to the list.

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

The Sports Reports 2022-23 All-Region “Boys Newcomers of the Year”
Jake VanHouten, junior, Waverly — football, basketball, baseball:
See above.

Matthias Welles, 8th-grader, Waverly — football, wrestling, baseball: Welles made a major impact in three sports in his first year at Waverly.

During the winter, Welles worked his way into the Waverly wrestling lineup at the outset of the season, and put together a 29-12 campaign. Welles won an IAC title, finished second at the Section IV, B Qualifier, and was second at the Section IV, Division 2 Championships after upsetting state-ranked Hunter Page of Oxford-Greene in the semifinals. He was 1-2 at States.

This spring, Welles hit .367 (22 hits in 60 ABs), had a .465 on-base percentage,  and a 1.009 OPS. He had one double, three home runs, 24 RBI, 16 runs scored, and one stolen base.

On the gridiron, Welles saw regular action at defensive end for the Wolverines as an 8th-grader, registering 36 tackles, including seven solo stops.

Cooper Robinson, freshman, Athens — football, wrestling:
Robinson battled injuries late in the wrestling season, and still finished his initial varsity campaign with a 28-12 record. He finished third at the North Section championships, and seventh at the District 4 Championships.

A hard-nosed player, Robinson registered 42 tackles and five pass break-ups in his first varsity season on the gridiron. Offensively, he ran the ball 20 times for 62 yards, and one TD.

He was unable to play baseball in the spring due to an injury.

Marco Quiros, sophomore, Sayre — wrestling, track & field; Athens — soccer:
Quiros made a big splash this spring for the Sayre track team, and also was a big contributor in the fall on the Athens soccer team.

Quiros, who missed more than three weeks of the track season due to an injury, hit full speed quickly upon his return for the Redskins, and had several top-three finishes. He finished third in the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the NTL Championships, and was sixth in the 400-meter dash. He medaled with an eighth-place finish in the 100-meter dash at the District 4 Class AA Championships, was ninth in the 200 — missing out on a medal by 0.003 seconds, and was 13th in the 400-meter dash.

A fiery player with good foot skills on the pitch, Quiros made an impact in his first year with the Wildcats. He had six goals and one assist.

Quiros also wrestled for the Redskins, posting a 1-6 record.

Mason Smith, freshman, Troy — football and baseball:
On the gridiron, Smith rushed for 251 yards, and one TD, and also registered 53 tackles, and two interceptions.

On the baseball diamond, Smith hit .391 average with seven RBI, and 19 runs scored in a season limited to 17 games due to injury.

Garrett Godfrey, sophomore, Tioga — football, baseball, wrestling:
Godfrey was a major cog in the trenches for the Tigers on their run to a state title, and was also a big contributor on the diamond this spring.

A starter on the offensive line, Godfrey shined on the defensive front, where he did a good job occupying blockers, allowing the linebackers to make plays. He had 40 tackles on the season, including nine solo stops.

On the baseball diamond,  Godfrey hit .288 (17 hits in 59 ABs) with three doubles, nine RBI, and 15 runs scored. He also pitched in four games, posting a 2-0 record with a 1.40 ERA, and 12 strikeouts in 10 innings.

Godfrey played JV basketball as a freshman, but switched to wrestling this year. He went 4-9 in his first year on the mats.

Micah Hays, sophomore, Horseheads — baseball:
Hays posted a 4-0 record with a 0.87 ERA for the Section IV champion Blue Raiders, and allowed just 20 hits in 40 2/3 innings,  while striking out 47. He threw a two-hit shutout to beat Section IV, Class AA champ Elmira during the regular season, and tossed 5 2/3 innings of shutout ball in the Section IV semifinals in a game Horseheads won 1-0 in extra innings.

At the plate, Hays hit .270 with four doubles 12 runs scored, and 13 RBI.

Frankie D’angelo, 7th-grader, Elmira — bowling: D’Angelo averaged 194 this year, and he came up huge in the state tournament, striking out in the 10th of the final game to help Elmira clinch the state title.

The Express won the first state title in any sport in Elmira Express history and only the second in the history of the Elmira School District, the first being Southside bowling.

Brayden Miller, sophomore, Northeast Bradford — basketball and track & field: A first-year starter on the hardwoods, Miller averaged 10 points per game. He came on strong in the second half of the year, scoring a career-high 35 points against Sayre.

In the spring, Miller was a District 4 qualifier in the 800-meter run.

Rian Eberly, sophomore, Canton — football, track & field: Eberly started on the offensive line for a Canton team that won an NTL title, a District 4 title, and advanced to the state semifinals.

This spring, Eberly had a career-best throw to medal in the shot put at the District 4 Championships.

James Freeman, sophomore, Corning — football: Freeman rushed for 140 yards, and also caught a TD pass in the Section IV finals.

Freeman ran for 570 yards on the year and had eight catches. He was the second-leading tackler on the team with 73 tackles. He came up big in big spots, with 13 tackles in the sectional final and 12 tackles against Cicero-North Syracuse in the regional final.

Jeremiah Parker, freshman, Notre Dame — basketball: Parker averaged 20 points per game in his first season for the Crusaders. He was one of the best scorers in the region despite teams keying on him defensively.

Jadon Heidl, junior Candor — basketball: The junior averaged 17.5 points per game, knocking down 66 3-pointers, and also averaged 3.1 offensive rebounds. He played a key role on defense as well, averaging 3.3 boards and 2.2 steals, as the Indians posted a 15-7 record.
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