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The Sports Reports
Seniors graduate every year and need to be replaced the following year, it’s the nature of the beast for high school. And, every season, athletes step up in their respective sports. This fall, Canton junior Ben Fitch was one of those athletes, and he is The Sports Reports 2023 Boys “Newcomer of the Fall.”

Fitch, who saw mop-up duty as a sophomore, took over the starting QB role for the Warriors this season, and led them to an 8-2 regular season.

He completed 55.9 percent (71 of 127) for 1,279 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions. He also ran for a team-high 700 yards and nine touchdowns on 124 carries.

Fitch was Canton’s one constant throughout an injury-plagued season.

The 2023 Baker’s Dozen Boys “Newcomers of the Fall.”
Ben Fitch, junior, Canton football:
See above.

Graham Wanck, freshman, Athens cross country: Wanck let everyone know he would be a factor this year by winning the junior high race last year at the prestigious McQuaid Invitational. He finished ninth (in a field of 369 runners) this year in the A-1 Small School race at McQuaid, clocking in with a  time of 16:13.

Wanck won the McDaniel-Baxter Invite, and finished second at the Owego Invite, and the Forbes Invite. He finish third at the NTL Coaches Invite, and 13th at District 4 Championships, before capping off the season with a 53rd-place finish at the PIAA Championships.

Dominic Cardinale, junior, Horseheads football: Cardinale completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,117 yards, 11 TDs, and five interceptions for the Blue Raiders. He also rushed for 97 yards, and two scores.

Joseph Palladino, junior, Owego football: A former soccer player, Palladino rushed for 336 yards, and four TDs on 75 carries, and caught 32 passes for 249 yards. He also returned six kicks for an average of 23.5 yards. Defensively, he recorded 47 tackles, and had two interceptions, and one forced fumble.

Connor Davidson, freshman, Athens football:
Davidson was an impact player on both sides of the ball for the Wildcats. completed 42.1 percent (72 of 171) of his passes for 841 yards, and 11 TDs, with six interceptions. He rushed for 512 yards, and four TDs on 143 carries. He also had two receptions for 17 yards. Defensively, Davidson had 61 tackles, including 26 solo stops, and two tackles-for-loss.

Dave Hess, freshman, Cowanesque Valley football:
An athletic and versatile newcomer, Hess rushed for 550 yards, and five TDs, and had 13 catches for 300 yards, and three TDs.

Taylor Freelove, sophomore, Corning, boys soccer: Freelove played a key role in Corning’s run to a Section IV title. He had 11 goals and eight assists on the season.

Eli Hicks, freshman, Athens golf:
Hicks finished fourth in the NTL with an 82.4 scoring average in his first varsity season on the links. He finished third at the District 4, Class 3A Championships, losing out in a playoff to his teammate Evan Cooper for the final spot at States.

Javan Belokur, sophomore, Owego cross country:
Ran four JV meets, but worked his way into the varsity lineup and placed seventh at the Section IV Class B championship to become a state qualifier.

Ben Shaw, freshman, Waverly football: A high-energy sideline-to-sideline defender at inside linebacker, Shaw led the Wolverines with 101 tackles, including 38 solo stops. He also had three fumble recoveries. Offensively, Shaw completed 10 of 13 passes for 106 yards, and three TDs, and rushed 12 times for 53 yards.

Graham Welles, freshman, Towanda golf:  Welles was an NTL all-star, and qualified for district play with his average, a rarity for freshmen in the sport of golf. He was eighth in the NTL with an 88.27 scoring average.

Luke Kreger, sophomore, North Penn-Mansfield:
Kreger made things happen after the catch. He 28 grabs for 539 yards, and seven TDs.

Charlie Warner, sophomore, Corning, boys soccer:
Warner had a knack for getting the ball where it needed to be, and was a big part in Corning’s run to a Section IV title. He had four goals and 10 assists this season.

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