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The Sports Reports
Winning a state title is not an easy chore. Waverly’s Jason Miller, who just wrapped up his 21st season as head coach, brought home that elusive state title to his alma mater in 2023, and is The Sports ReportsCoach of the Fall.”

The Wolverines finished 13-1 on the season (the most wins in a single season in school history) — their only loss coming to Class D state champ Tioga in overtime — and played its best football in the postseason, beating perennial power Chenango Forks in the Section IV, Class C championship game for the second year in a row.

The Wolverines averaged 44.4 points per game in their five postseason games, and beat their three foes in the state playoffs by an average of 45.7 to 11.3.

In the last three seasons, Waverly is 33-4 with two Section IV titles, and one runner-up finish. Miller has five Section IV titles in his career, and has a record of 134-74.

The 2023 Baker’s Dozen “Coaches of the Fall.”
Jason Miller, Waverly football:
See above.

Nick Aiello, Tioga football: It seems a bit odd that a coach coming off his third straight title would be second on the list, but Tioga’s Nick Aiello is kind of a victim of his own success.

Tioga went 14-0, is currently riding a 41-game win streak, and only had one game decided by less than 28 points. The Tigers outscored their five postseason opponents by an average of 60 to 13.

Aiello now has 11 Section IV titles, four state titles, and a career record 136-23 in 14 seasons. He has a 28-2 record in Section IV playoffs, and a 19-7 mark in the state playoffs.

Pam Quinlan, Candor volleyball:
Led the Coyotes to the IAC Small School championship, to the Section IV Class D championship, and to the NYSPHSAA Class D semifinals. Candor posted a 16-3 overall record, with two of its losses to state qualifiers, including the Class D champion.

Vanessa Perez, Northeast Bradford volleyball: Perez’s rebuild of NEB volleyball reached its zenith this past year with NTL and District 4 titles. They had high expectations going into this season, and exceeded them in every way possible.

Adam Russell, Northeast Bradford cross country:
NEB cross-country was a dominant as ever, sweeping the NTL and both claiming district titles as they etched their seasons into the thick book of Panther running excellence, all behind Russell and his staff’s coaching.

Danielle Dille and Jennifer Leonberger, Elmira volleyball: Dille and Leonberger led lead Elmira to a historic season. The Express won their first-ever Section IV title after reaching their first-ever sectional final.

Laurel Neira, Owego girls soccer: Neira led the team to the Section IV Class A championship, upsetting top-seeded Maine-Endwell in the finals. Lost to eventual state champion Rye in the  first round of the state tournament.

Abbey Manning, Owego volleyball: In her second season, she led the River Hawks to a16-3 record, and STAC and Section IV Class A championships. Owego upset top-seeded Maine-Endwell in the sectional finals.

Rich Rogers, Wyalusing football:
Few teams had a turnaround in one season like the Rams did, going from a 2-win team to 6-4, while being competitive in a couple of their losses. They got the Bronze Helmet back, a trophy many probably felt would be in Towanda for a while.

Lee Spencer, Horseheads, girls’ soccer: Spencer guided the Blue Raiders to their first division title in 13 years. Led Horseheads to the STAC final and sectional semifinal.

Jimmy Smith, Troy football: Few teams were as dominant as Troy was this year. Despite injuries the Trojan coaching staff made sure the team didn’t skip a beat as they went undefeated in the regular season, and reached the district final, where it took now seven-time defending state champion Southern Columbia to the limit in a 14-0 loss.

Ray Lawson, Corning, cross country: Lawson guided the Corning girls’ cross country team to STAC and Section IV titles and to the state championships. He also guided the boys to a STAC title and a runner-up finish at sectionals with four boys qualifying for States.

Jimmy McCauley, Elmira football: After dealing with injuries throughout the season, the Express were able to put things together later in the season and turn in a dominant run in the postseason to claim a sectional title. 

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