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Page 2 | All-Leader Fall-Stars | December 19, 2011

The Rams’ top man Jackson named Player of the Year in boys soccer BY BOB BENZ

After capturing its fifth straight sectional championship and nearly qualifying for the state final four, Bath Haverling once again boasted the area’s most successful boys soccer team. So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the Rams led the way with three first-team selections on 2011 All-Leader boys soccer team, including Player of the Year Michael Jackson.

Joining Jackson on the stacked first team were teammates Trevor Lang and Jeff McKinley, along with eight more of the area’s premiere players. The following is the 2011 AllLeader boys soccer team, as assembled by The Leader sports staff in conjunction with area coaches.

lineup, Boor remained the calming presence that enabled the Blue Raiders to remain competitive every time they took the field. A four-year starter in goal at Horseheads, Boor garnered STAC West/Metro all-conference honors, beating out his contemporaries from conference powers Ithaca, Vestal and Union-Endicott. IAN BOOR Boor recorded five shutouts in 2011 and finished the season with Horseheads, goalie, Sr. 125 saves. And when injuries struck the Blue In the face of multiple injuries that ravaged Horseheads’ defensive Raiders, Boor stepped up as both a


December 19, 2011 | All-Leader Fall-Stars | Page3 those defenders that goes into the crowd and comes out with the ball.” Gunn also played a major role in getting the Wildcats started on offense. “Once he got it, he distributed it quite well and our offense started quickly,” Baker said. “His tackling ability was number one. He had a knack for coming up with the ball.”

MICHAEL JACKSON Bath Haverling, midfield, Sr.

With a need to inject some more scoring punch, Bath coach Matt Hill moved Jackson from center defender – where he played as a sophomore and junior – to center midfielder as a senior. Anyone familiar with Jackson’s tremendous skills and athleticism can probably guess how that turned out. Jackson proved a dynamic force on offense for the Rams, where he tied for the team lead with 10 goals and eight assists. A first-team LCAA Division I allstar and member of the Section


Corning’s Jeff Kahlmeyer was a rock on the defensive end for Corning this season. goalie and a team leader. “It was extremely difficult when we had two healthy defenders for a span of three games,” Horseheads coach Curt Grottenthaler said. “He was actually back there being a coach all season long as well, with midfielders and players who aren’t used to playing defense in front of him all season long.” Boor’s athleticism kept Horseheads in games that may have gotten out of hand with an ordinary goalie in place. “Just as an athlete, he kept us in a couple games this year that we easily could have lost in regulation,” Grottenthaler said. “And a big part of keeping those teams out of the goal during regulation was Ian’s work ethic. He had an ability to make some stellar saves in goal.”

CARTER GUNN Jasper-Troupsburg, defender, Jr.

The Jasper-Troupsburg Wildcats gave up just seven goals in 2011 and posted 11 shutouts on the season. And while J-T goalie Cameron Groff justifiably gets a lot of credit for the Wildcats’ defensive success, Gunn played an integral role in making sure Groff wasn’t all that busy during many of those shutouts. Gunn enjoyed an outstanding season and was named the SCAA Division II Player of the Year for his role in making life so miserable for most players trying to pressure the J-T goal. “He was the anchor of our team,” J-T coach Herb Baker said. “We gave up seven goals on the year and he was one of the main reasons. He’s one of

V, Class B all-tournament team, Jackson’s personal crowning achievement came after being named first team all-state among players from small schools, which includes Classes B, C and D. “This year, we needed a little more scoring and we needed some help in the midfield up front, so he moved up there and he did a great job and adapted well to the position,” Hill said. The Rams enjoyed the luxury of knowing that by putting the ball anywhere near Jackson, good things were often bound to happen. “He’s great in the air,” Hill said. “He’s going to be the fastest kid out there. He can win any 50-50 ball, so he just helped control the middle of the field for us. He could win any ball that was placed any place close to him. He’s just a great athlete.” As the primary driving force behind Bath’s run to a fifth consecutive Section V title, Jackson was named The Leader’s Player of the Year in boys soccer for 2011.

JEFF KAHLMEYER Corning, defender, Jr.

What’s not to like about a soccer defender whose defining characteristic is as someone who rarely, if ever, makes a mistake on the field? “Every coach comes to me and says that the thing they respect the most about Jeff is that he’s going to make very few errors in the back, which is key,” Corning coach Chad Freelove said. “He’s consistently solid all the time.” A STAC all-conference selection, Kahlmeyer made a habit of neutralizing opposing offensive players simply by playing sound, mistake-free defense on a consistent basis. Although Kahlmeyer certainly possesses the skills to make things happen on offense, Freelove didn’t see any reason to tinker with such a reliable force on defense. “He’s such a smart technical player,” Freelove said. “He knows where to be, he knows when to be there and he has great passing ability coming out

Page 4 | All-Leader Fall-Stars | December 19, 2011 of the back. He distributes the ball very well. He came to us as a defender and he helped us for so long on defense, it’s hard to take him out of there.” Kahlmeyer did score one goal – on a free kick against Owego – and also distributed one assist.

H UNTER K AYSA Horseheads, defender, Sr.

When it came to STAC allconference voting, Kaysa’s versatility somehow proved to be a liability. While Grottenthaler had hoped to put Kaysa’s tremendous skills to use as a striker, injuries forced the Blue Raiders’ talented senior to play wherever he was needed. At the start of the season, Kaysa was penciled in as a starter at striker, but only played three games there. He played seven games at defense and played the last six games at midfield. Through it all, Kaysa still managed to score two goals and dish out five assists. But playing multiple positions hurt Kaysa in all-conference voting. He did earn all-division honors in the STAC West. “It kills me, he’s my best player and wasn’t named all-conference,” Grottenthaler said. “His

best asset hurt him.” Although circumstance did not allow Kaysa the opportunity to score with great frequency, he still made a substantial impact for the Blue Raiders, regardless of where he was stationed on the field. “No matter where I put him on the field this year, he was a player that the other team had to gameplan against,” Grottenthaler said. “Technically, on the field, he always had the vision of play two to three plays ahead of time both on offense and defense. It just allowed him to slow the play of the game down and be able to control the pace of the game.”

finals three times since 1997. “Their keeper (Lang) was the best I’ve seen in three, four years,” Pfohl told the Buffalo News. Lang capped off a brilliant high school career by posting 12 shutouts in 2011. He allowed just 11 goals in 20 games and was an LCAA Division I first team all-star. In addition, Lang was named the Section V, Class B tournament MVP and most recently, was named second team allstate among players from small schools, which includes Classes B, C and D. Had the contest against Akron gone to a shootout, the outcome could have been very different as Lang boasted a 3-0 career record in shootouts. “He was a just a great shot stopper,” Bath head coach Matt Hill said. “He had great hands on balls in the air. Anything that came in from 50 yards or a corner kick, he grabbed, he didn’t bobble. Point-blank shots he could stop. He didn’t bobble balls. He was like a piece of Saran Wrap over the goal back there – it was great.”

TREVOR LANG Bath Haverling, goalie, Sr.

Most of the saves were difficult. Some were simply dazzling. Yet despite a stellar effort from Lang in goal against Akron in the Far West Regionals (state quarterfinals), the Rams eventually fell in double overtime. However, had most any other goalie been in Lang’s shoes, Akron would have likely won by two or three goals in regulation. Just ask Akron head coach Chuck Pfohl, whose team’s have kept Bath from making the state semi-

TOM MAKOWIEC Elmira Notre Dame, midfield, Sr.

Hunter Kaysa played Horseheads this season.



Despite being a heavily marked man on the soccer field, Makowiec still made his mark on offense for the Crusaders. And in the process he made a THE LEADER FILES lasting impression on the league positions for as Makowiec was named the IAC Large School South MVP. Even with the constant attention from opposing teams, Makowiec managed to score 16 goals and dish off 16 assists on the season. A captain at Notre Dame in each of the past two seasons, Makowiec plans on taking his game to the college level. With a soccer ball within reach of his feet, Makowiec was a human highlight reel. “He volleyed off his knee and he created for us,” Notre Dame coach Brian Adams said. “His technical ability is flawless. He can use either foot to distribute the ball and could finish with either. The best thing is his vision on the field in that he knows where he’s going even before the ball gets to his foot.”

December 19, 2011 | All-Leader Fall-Stars | Page 5

Second Team ■ Tyler Carpenter, Corning, FB Sr. ■ Chris Duane, Watkins Glen, AT Sr. ■ Cameron Groff, JasperTroupsburg, GK Jr. ■ Brian Hojnoski, Bath Haverling, F Sr. ■ George Komarc, Horseheads, MF, Sr. ■ Andrew Metarko, Addison, A Jr. ■ Te r ry Pavlick, CampbellSavona, MF Jr. ■ Jason Sincock, Elmira Notre Dame, F Sr. ■ Jimmy Tunison, Bath Haverling, SW Sr. ■ Austin Stephany, Watkins Glen, DMF Sr. ■ Tyler VanSkiver, JasperTroupsburg, MF So.


Jeff McKinley keyed Bath Haverling’s offense this season.

JEFF MCKINLEY Bath Haverling, midfield, Sr.

For all of the talent Bath boasted in 2011, McKinley was arguably the team’s most skilled player on the field. And considering the Rams captured their fifth consecutive Section V title, McKinley was in most instances the most soccersavvy player on the field for either team. A first team LCAA Division I selection, McKinley scored seven goals and dished off eight assists as a senior. He made a tremendous individual effort to score and give the Rams’ a 2-0 lead in their state quarterfinal contest against Akron. While the Rams’ lost to Akron in overtime, McKinley’s score had Bath on the cusp of a trip to the state semifinal round. For the Rams, the path to success was a fairly simple equation: Get the ball near McKinley, and good things were bound to happen. “He can see the field very well – his vision is outstanding,” Hill said. “If somebody’s open, he

where to distribute the ball in any situation. “He usually would win the 5050 balls and once he got the ball, he always knew where to go with the ball,” Knowles said. “If it needed to be a long ball to put us on the attack, he would do that, or if we needed to play the short game, he was able to read the game well and distribute the ball out of the backfield accordingly.”

can find them. He can settle things down. When a ball comes to him, it stays with him. It’s not like it hits his foot and bounces all over the place. He JON MICHAEL TOKAR can really settle the ball down and get turned and find some- Corning, stopper, Jr. body on our team. He can really Speed, athleticism, inherent see the field and control the ball. He’s got unbelievable skill.” soccer skills. Tokar possessed all of the above qualities, which made JOSH MOSOLF him one of the most dangerous Addison, defender, Sr. all-around players in the area. In just 11 games, Tokar made No matter how difficult things might have gotten from a his presence felt, scoring seven defensive perspective, coach goals and dishing out two Dennis Knowles always found assists, which helped him earn comfort knowing Mosolf was in STAC West all-division honors in 2011. an Addison uniform. In fact, during one stretch, And no doubt, Mosolf’s stifling Tokar moved to striker and play at the defensive end caught notice of opposing players and scored five goals in a span of coaches. Mosolf was named the five games. What made him so SCAA’s Division I defensive MVP effective was a combination of and was a Section V all-star for his exceptional speed and his ability to drive balls in with Steuben County. “He’s tough mentally and either foot. “He’s ambipedius – he can physically,” Knowles said of Mosolf, who even had a pair of play with both feet,” Freelove said. “He can strike the ball well assists on the season. Mosolf showed off a high with either foot. This year, he soccer IQ as he always knew figured out how to put the ball

in the net and that’s what we good. He has a great underneeded him to do. He’s just a standing of the game and a pure love of the sport.” very dynamic player.”

ALEX VARKATZAS Elmira, forward, Jr.

As a sophomore last season, Varkatzas burst onto the scene by erupting for 22 goals. And while Varkatzas wasn’t able to keep up with the breakneck scoring pace he established in 2010, his very presence opened things up for Elmira teammates. Varkatzas often found at least one player shadowing his every move and still managed six goals and six assists in 2011. He was a STAC West all-division selection as a junior after earning all-conference honors the previous season. “Alex was certainly a marked man with the season he had as a 10th grader, ” Elmira coach Derek Hamilton said. “Even with all that pressure he was a very dangerous player when he touched the ball. He is technically very

Page 6 | All-Leader Fall-Stars | December 19, 2011

Crane’s game Hawks standout named Player of the Year BY CHRIS GILL

This year’s is about as balanced as you can get on an AllLeader team. The past few seasons have seen a shift from video game numbers to defense, but things have leveled out on the local soccer scene – a nice equilibrium. On the first team are three midfielders, four strikers, a goalie, a sweeper and a defender. Of all the top performers, Corning’s Sam Crane set her self apart with her stunning play that set a new benchmark for Hawks soccer – boys or girls. After polling coaches, The

Leader staff offers the following: without complaint and to the best of her ability,” said Bath I RELAND ARMSTRONG Haverling coach Tuesday Bath Haverling, midfield, Jr. Mishook. “Just a hard-working athlete, with great skills and an If Armstrong’s key role was awesome attitude – the epitome scoring goals, that wouldn’t be a of team player.” problem, but her talents were best served in the middle of the DEE BULKLEY field to feed the ball where it Elmira, midfield, Jr. needed to be. Armstrong scored three times Switching from play in the with two assists, landing her on IAC to the STAC should have the All-Leader team for the first been a big learning curve, unless time. you have the smarts and power “She gave us an offensive that Bulkley has. threat and consistency on An Elmira Notre Dame transdefense. Whatever we asked fer, Bulkley scored 11 goals – Ireland to do, wherever we three from 20 yards or farther asked her to play, who ever we out – and helped the newlyasked her to man mark, she did formed Express make a mark in the STAC. “She’s not the fastest player, but she’s very strong and hard to knock off the ball. That sets her apart from a lot players. She can physically outmatch people,” said Elmira coach Zach Sarno. “Her size and strength, and ability to shoot the ball, really set her apart.” Bulkley makes her first AllLeader appearance.

SAM C RANE Corning, midfield, Sr.

You know those proverbial “little things” coaches love so much, but don’t believe anyone can see them? Everyone in the state took notice of Crane’s contributions and put her on the All-State Class AA first team – a first for any Corning soccer player, boy or girl. Crane scored nine times with 13 assists this season, which hardly illustrates her value on a soccer field. Fast, smart and agile, Crane covered more ground – quicker – than anyone else on this year’s All-Leader team. “She’s been phenomenal for years. The thing about Sam is,


Corning’s Sam Crane was named to the Class AA NYS first team this season. she’s so good and does so much more for our team than people realize,” said Corning coach Julie Pierce. “She didn’t have an arsenal around her, and we have very good athletes. I thought this year she was way more balanced as a player and a person.” “She does so many little things that, unless you’re really savvy with the sport, you wouldn’t recognize it,” she added. “She was everywhere, we would not have had the success if Sam wasn’t our anchor all over the field.” Crane makes her third AllLeader appearance, and first as a Player of the Year.

COURTNEY B LILER Horseheads, forward, Sr.

Moving from center midfield to forward paid off big for Bliler and the Blue Raiders. Using superior foot skills and a lot of brain power, Bliler frustrated defenses, and goalies, all season. She finished with 25 goals and six assists, scoring in all but two games this season. “This year she was on offensive attack. She wasn’t the fastest player on the team, but smart. She knows when to give the ball up and has a shot that’s amazing,” said Horseheads coach Meghan Strong. “She’s very hard to defend because she’s so smart.

December 19, 2011 | All-Leader Fall-Stars | Page 7 Hillman rarely, if ever, came off the field and used her agility to move the ball into position for her scorers. One of a few seniors, Hillman’s presence was a big reason the Express were able to gel quickly. “She’s very dymanic, she’s able to beat people off the dribble. A lot of players don’t have the moves she has,” Sarno said. “Any battle she went up against, she usually won that battle. Very fast, very technical. You don’t find players who can take over a game the way she can.” Hillman makes her first AllLeader appearance.

KAITLIN H UYLER Jasper-Troupsburg, striker, So.

Huyler came up big for the Wildcats in her second full season on the varsity squad, scoring 17 goals with seven assists. Fast, adaptable to any position and intuitive, Huyler was named the SCAA MVP of her THE LEADER FILES division and made the All-State Horseheads’ Courtney Bliler led the Blue Raiders in scoring Class D fourth team.


Addison’s Kelly DuVall scored an All-Leader-high 29 goals this season. She’ll be a huge loss.” someone on one-on-one. She’s Bliler makes her first All- unselfish and has a real awareLeader appearance. ness of the field. Some people don’t get their heads up and look at the game, Kelly has done KELLY DUVALL that forever,” said Addison Addison, striker, Jr. coach Kay Peters. “I think what Early in her varsity career, helped Kelly was coming from DuVall played on defense. In the back to the forward. She her junior season, she torment- knows what a defender acts like, because she’s been a defender.” ed defenders. DuVall makes her second AllThe SCAA Offensive MVP, Leader appearance. DuVall scored and All-Leaderhigh 29 goals with 13 assists, LAURA H ILLMAN which ranked fourth overall in Section V, and was named to the Elmira, midfield, Sr. All-State Class C third team. Even marked by two defenders, An All-State Class AA sixth DuVall found a way to score and team selection, Hillman keyed led Addison to a sectional Elmira’s offense this season – crown. bringing together the newly“Kelly has a real vision for the combined Express from two difgame, she doesn’t mind taking ferent schools.

Page 8 | All-Leader Fall-Stars | December 19, 2011

Second Team ■ Cassie Barr, Jr., defender, Elmira ■ Brooke Collins, Jr., keeper, Addison ■ Erin Cornish, So., defender, Jasper-Troupsburg ■ Kailee Drewno, Sr., defense, Corning ■ Christina Li, So. sweeper, Corning ■ Alicia Longwell, Sr., fordward, Avoca ■ Brooke McGirr, Jr., midfielder, Horseheads ■ Mackenzie Smith, 8th, midfield, Bath Haverling ■ Lekysha Snyder, Fr., forw a r d , Campbell-Savona ■ Kasey Socola, So., forw a r d , Prattsburgh ■ Ashlee Sutryk, Jr., midfield, Addison


HALEY LUKEFAHR Corning, striker, Jr.

Lukefahr has been a dangerous part of Corning’s offense in the past, but this season she was downright deadly. The Hawks’ junior striker tallied 16 goals and eight assists, improving on her explosive maneuvers and an innate ability to put the right amount of touch on a shot. “Her biggest jump was in her ability to get prepared – she practiced harder and played harder. She consistently played well every game,” Pierce said. “She reads things well, sees the field well and she’s always moving.” She moved onto her second straight All-Leader appearance.

JESSA RODRIGUES “She was a spark plug out there, she had great speed and was able to finish,” said J-T coach Nancy Wyant. “She was i n t e rchangable, I could move her anywhere without taking her off the field, and she’s a lot quicker than the defenders she went up against.” Huyler makes her first, and unlikely not her last, All-Leader

Jasper-Troupsburg, defender, Jr.

What makes a good soccer player a great defender? It helps when that player really likes playing defense. Rodrigues was named Defensive MVP of the SCAA’s small school division and was also voted the team MVP, leading the Wildcats to eight

shutout victories this season. Her passionate play started on the defensive end, but could be felt all the to the other end of the field. “She did a great job transitionaing ball from defense up the offense. She had the knowledge of how to play that position, and she just exudes confidence on the field,” Wyant said. “She was able to tackle and could get to the ball if a teammate got beat.” Rodrigues makes her first All-Leader appearance.

N ACHELLE VAIL Elmira, goalie, Sr.

Nachelle Vail, Sr., goalie, Horseheads Vail wasn’t supposed to play goalie, having only dabbled in it as a JV player, but she was the last option for an injuryriddled Horseheads team. Turned out, she was one of the best options in the STAC. Sliding between the posts in the third game of the season, Vail made 139 saves and was a key reason for the Raiders’ second-half surge. “She has amazing athleticism and she’s a selfless player,” Strong said. “She’s very aggressive in the goal – she attacks, knows when to come out and challenge the shooter. She’s very good at tracking the ball.” A forward-turned keeper in a coupe days, Vail makes her first All-Leader appearance.


Addison’s Allison Vargeson was named the SCAA Defensive MVP, despite coming back from an ACL tear.

ALLISON VARGESON Addison, stopper, Sr.

Coming into the season, the Knights didn’t know how, or if, Vargeson would fit into the picture, having rehabbed an ACL tear. The former left winger was

put in the stopper position and made life much easier for her goalie. “For her to come back off that tear and win the defensive MVP speaks volumes of the contribution she made,” Peters said. “She understands the game. She’s a soccer player, that’s what she wants to do. I think she can only get better.” Vargeson, who couldn’t practice or condition during the summer, still managed to dish out four assists and make her second All-Leader appearance.

December 19, 2011 | All-Leader Fall-Stars | Page 9


Usually, when considering the best-of-the-best when it comes to high school football players – the old adage ‘numbers don’t lie’ is certainly helpful. An offensive player that runs for more than 1,500 yards and 19 touchdowns – a no brainer. A defensive lineman that leads his team in tackles, despite being lined up against the offense’s top lineman week after week – sounds automatic to me. That’s what we have on the 2011 All-Leader Football Team as Corning quarterback Brandon Griffin ran away with Offensive Player of the Year honors, while Bath Haverling’s Kyle Weaver overcame tough

assignments to be the Rams’ top tackler and this year’s Defensive Player of the Year. And the road to the top became a bigger challenge this season as The Leader welcomes members of the newly-merged Elmira Express to the fold. This year’s All-Leader first team is presented in alphabetical order following the players of the year.


Section IV coaches are breathing a sigh of relief because they will no longer have to figure out ways to slow down Corning quarterback Brandon Griffin any longer.

Over his senior campaign, Griffin amassed more than 1,500 yards rushing, including 19 touchdowns. This year, he also completed eight passes for another 163 yards and another three scores. “He did a phenomenal job,” Corning head coach Tim Hughes said. “He knew he’d be the feature back and most teams had his name on top of their scouting report – but he still moved the ball e f f e c t i v e l y. ” For his career, Griffin ran for 4,018 yards and 45 touchdowns. Griffin had a gift while working the Hawks’ triple option offense – whether it was selling the handoff to the fullback, before pulling the ball back and

Corning’s Griffin named Offensive Player of the Year; Bath’s Weaver the Defensive Player of the Year rattling off a long run – to making a deft pitch to a trailing running back, after already gaining 25 yards himself (a move that drove stat keepers nuts the past two seasons). And when Corning went to its double-wing offense, with Connor Jacobs at quarterback, Griffin’s ability to run or work the double-handoff made him more dangerous. According to Hughes, Griffin was also indespensible as a team leader. “He did a fantastic job making sure everyone was working hard and to the best of their ability,” Hughes said. “It was like having another coach on the field. It was a pleasure for him to be there.”

KYLE WEAVER Bath Haverling, Sr., DT

According to Bath Haverling coach Wayne Carroll, Kyle Weaver is the kind of a football player that you don’t see every day – or every year, for that matter. “Guys like him only come around once every 10 years, or so,” Carroll said. A four-year letterman, Weaver called the anchor for the Rams’ offensive and defensive lines, which featured a lot of new and youthful faces in 2011. But Weaver’s biggest impact was felt on defense, where he was moved around on the line to square off against the opposition’s top lineman. Despite that

Page 10 | All-Leader Fall-Stars | December 19, 2011 tough assignment, Weaver led the Rams in tackles with 75 and also recorded a sack. “He was the best defensive and offensive lineman we had,” Carroll said. “He was also the biggest at 6-2, 280 pounds. We won’t be able to replace him.” That goes for his offensive abilities as well. “He’s a big reason (Matt) Nevius got 500-plus yards rushing this year,” Carroll said.

“He was a total offensive force for us,” Elmira coach Tony Marks said. “He could play Division I college ball.”


offense or defense, Ryan Campbell was going to be leading the way from his lineman position. On defense, Campbell led Watkins Glen in tackles. On offense, the 6-3, 240-pounder used his size and quickness to his advantage. “He was our most dominating offensive lineman,” Condon Jr. said. “He’s quick and used his leverage well.”

One of the senior leaders for the Senecas, Arcangeli was proficient on both sides of the ball for Watkins Glen this season. As a fullback, Arcangeli ran for 600 yards and six touchdowns. MUHAMMAD ABDUL-MATIN On defense, he was second on RYAN CASLIN the team in tackles. Elmira, Sr., OL Corning, Sr., OL-DL “He was a true leader of the To call Abdul-Matin the team. The kids really looked up Caslin was a mainstay for the anchor of the Elmira Express to him,” Watkins Glen coach Hawks’ offensive and defensive offensive line would be an Lou Condon Jr. said. lines this season. understatement. “He excelled on the defensive Abdul-Matin stood 6-5 and side of the ball,” Hughes said. RYAN CAMPBELL weighed 285 pounds and never Watkins Glen, Sr., OL-DL “He did a nice job stuffing the allowed a defensive sack run and occupying space up the through 2011. Whether the Senecas were on middle.”

According to Hughes, Caslin also had a good football mentality. “He knew how to use leverage on the line,” Hughes said. He often produced hard hits up front that could be felt in the stands, as well.

ALEX DAINES Corning, Sr., OL

Corning’s vaunted running game would not be as productive if not for the work of the linemen. At 6-0, 280 pounds, Alex Daines was one of the biggest anchors on that line. “He could not only play any position on the line, he was able to help the guy next to him,” Hughes said. “It was nice to have a big body there.” According to Hughes, the four-year varsity player will be missed next season. “All of our running backs will give credit to Alex and all of the line for making them look good this year,” Hughes said.

CONNOR JACOBS Corning, Jr., utility

If you follow jersey numbers at a Corning Hawks game, you may have a hard time keeping up with No. 18 Connor Jacobs – he was all over the place. On offense, he lined up as quarterback, running back or fullback. On defense he was on the line and in the secondary. On special teams, he punted and took on holding duties on extra points. “He was Mr. Utility. He could play absolutely anywhere,” Hughes said. “He could handle multiple assignments and do well with each of them.” Hughes credits Jacobs’ football IQ for his ability to multitask as well as he did in 2011. Most notably, Jacobs was the Hawks’ quarterback whenever Corning lined up in its doublewing formation. As a passer, Jacobs completed four throws for 60 yards. “He did a very nice job running that offense,” Hughes said.

JAKE KOBZA Bath Haverling, Sr., DE

As a senior, Kobza saw action as a fullback, wide receiver, a defensive back and a defensive end – wherever Bath needed him. On offense, he caught nine passes for 94 and scored two touchdowns. On defense, he led the Rams with eight sacks and was second on the team with 67 tackles. “He did it all for us – he was very versitile,” Carroll said.

DAN LEONARD Bath Haverling, Jr., QB-DB

In his third season at quarterback in Bath, Leonard continued to put up solid numbers. He threw for 671 yards and 10 touchdowns (giving him 1,500 yards and 20 TDs the last two seasons) and also carried the ball 91 times for another 412 yards. “He was part of our 1-2 punch with (Matt) Nevius,” Carroll said. Leonard also made an impact on defense, where he tallied 22 tackles and a pair of fumble recoveries. “I think he can become one of the best, if he has a good off-season,” Carroll said. “He needs to take his game to the next level.”

MARK MANGANARO Horseheads, Sr., WR-DB If there is a football flying in the air nearby, chances are Mark Manganaro will find a way to run it down and catch it. The Horseheads captain, wide receiver and defensive back had the speed and dexterity to get the job done on both sides of the line of scrimmage. On offense, Manganaro tallied 23 catches for 330 yards and three touchdowns for the Blue Raiders in 2011. On defense, he pulled down two interceptions and recorded 32 tackles – many of which were touchdown-saving, according to Horseheads head coach Damian Saks. “He has a great set of hands and he has great instinct,” Horseheads coach Damian Saks said. “And he’s just a hard worker. It was nice to have him this season. He’ll be a big loss for us next year.”


A three-year varsity player, In his final high school seaKobza was Mr. Utility for the son, Maycumber flirted with the Rams in 2011.

December 19, 2011 | All-Leader Fall-Stars | Page 11 1,000-yard rushing mark, finishing with 932 yards on 98 carries for a robust 9.5 yards a try. He also caught one pass for 48 yards and reached the end zone eight times. He was a member of the All-Section IV first team. Maycumber’s best effort may have been in the regular season finale against the Corning Hawks, where he rushed for 215 yards on 13 carries. He had one run of 87 yards and a touchdown carry of 76 yards. His lone catch of the season also came against the Hawks, but in their sectional semifinal game.

you feel it. He was a linebacker If you’re talking about a wellrounded, versatile football in every sense of the word.” player – someone like Matt Nevius will likely dominate the TANNER MORSE conversation. Corning, Sr., RB On offense, Nevius led the Rams with 12 touchdowns. He Morse was a part of the rushed for 524 yards, while Hawks’ three-prong attack on adding another 508 yards offense. receiving. He closed the season with 903 “He was our best offensive yards rushing on 132 carries for weapon this year,” Carroll said. a robust 6.8 yards per carry averOn the other side of the ball, age and ran for 11 touchdowns. Nevius was a standout, as well. He also caught four passes for He recorded 40 tackles, picked another 62 yards and two more off two passes and also recovscores for the Hawks. ered one fumble. “Tanner did a great job step“As a coaching staff, we’re ping into more of a role for us, expecting great things from ZACH MOORE with more carries,” Hughes said. him,” Carroll said. “we won’t be “We really needed production a great team unless he’s a great Corning, Sr., RB-LB from Tanner for us to be success- back.” Before Corning football fans ful. He did a nice job on both could remenince about the pre- sides of the football for us.” TYLER SCHOONOVER vious year’s team quick-strike Elmira, Sr., P capability – Moore opened the BRADY MYERS Hawks’ 2011 season with a 97- Watkins Glen, Jr., RB It’s rare to see a football playyard touchdown run in the er nominated for All-Leader as a Carrier Dome on the team’s secAccording to Condon Jr., punter, but Schoonover fills the ond offensive play. Brady Myers’ work ethic paid bill. Moore closed the season with big dividends for the running In his senior season, 492 yards on 77 carries. He also back this season. Myers took to Schoonover averaged 33.7 yards had two catches for 24 and the double-wing offense and a punt over 21 kicks. amassed eight touchdowns. finished with 1,027 yards rushOn defense, Moore was one of ing and 12 touchdowns in 2011. the Hawks’ leading tackler, “He really bought into the while also pulling down one offense and he flourished in the interception and recording mul- double wing,” Condon said. tiple sacks. Ran for 245 yards, including “He’s just a great player. He touchdown runs of 62 and 42 just did his job,” Hughes said. yards in the Senecas’ season“You could count on him to do opening Bucket Game victory what he was supposed to do. He against Odessa-Montour. was quiet and just went about his business. MATT NEVIUS “He was physical and very Bath Haverling, Jr., RB aggressive – when he hits you,

According Marks, only two of Schoonover’s punts were returned by opponents. “He was the best directional punter in Section IV,” Marks said.

SCOTT SMITH Corning, Sr., OL

While some football fans think an offensive lineman’s job is just at the line of scrimmage, Corning senior Scott Smith showed them it wasn’t. Smith would not only take care of his assignment on the line, he would also use his speed to take on Level 2 defenders down field. “Scott did a really nice job getting to the next level of defense,” Hughes said. “He was very athletic and was quick enough to get to the next level of the defense.”

coach Damian Saks. A quick glance at his season numbers confirms it. In 2011, Watson led the Blue Raiders with 117 tackles (85 solo), averaging 14.6 per game. “He makes key reads from the first step and has a good slide to the ball,” Saks said. “He’s a solid kid and he knows what he’s supposed to be doing. When he makes a play, it gets the team amped up.”

DEB RAY WILLIAMS Elmira, Sr., special teams

A valuable weapon at running back, Williams ran for 519 yards on just 52 carries (9.9 yards per carry) and was a member of the All-Section IV first team. But Williams’ talent came through on special teams. He had two punt returns for 83 PATRICK WATSON yards (41.5 avg.) and six kickoff Horseheads, Sr., LB returns for 231 yards (38.5 avg.) and two for touchdowns. On defense, Watson had a “He was our best overall pergreat nose for the football, according to Horseheads head former,” Marks said. “He always gave us the big play threat.”

Page 12 | All-Leader Fall-Stars | December 19, 2011

Front-runner BY SHAWN VARGO

with a time of 16:11.4 for the 5K event, greatly improving on his 2010 Federation finish – where he placed 38th overall in a time of 16:43.9. “The most telling piece about any true athlete is the ability to pick themselves up and dust themselves off and compete again when they fall,” Jansen said. “I was most impressed by Brian’s ability to work with and accept setback. “Much more than the races he has won, I was most impressed with how he came back at the Federation Meet and came back with a vengeance.”

Many will remember 2011 for the sheer number of area runners that advanced to the state meet. From Class AA to Class D, many local names appeared on the final stat sheet. Ironically, for Horseheads Brian Crimmins, the state meet may have been his least favorite m e m o ry of the season. After winning several races and invitationals leading up the state meet, Crimmins surprisingly finished deep in the field – well off the pace of previous races after, quite literally, running out of gas. THOMAS ABBEY A week later, he was back in Addison, Jr. form and notched a top 10 finish at the Federation Meet – Abbey placed 28th at the state securing his status as the 2011 meet in Class D (19:05.6). All-Leader Player of the Year. This years team, as selected by The Leader’s sports writers and area coaches, appears in alphabetical order:

BRIAN C RIMMINS Horseheads, Sr.

Crimmins spent most of the 2011 season at the front of the pack. He placed first at the Elmira Invitational, Owego Invitational and the Loyal Greenman. He closed the year by winning the STA C Championships with a time of 16:16.7 and the Section IV, Class A event by 13 seconds with a time of 16:11.7. “Brian has had an outstanding senior and high school career at Horseheads,” Blue Raiders coach Tom Jansen said. “Brian’s accomplishments are numerous at best, leaving many school records in his wake.” Although Crimmins didn’t run the race he had hoped for at his final state meet – finishing 72nd, with a time of 18:28.2 – he closed his high school career with an eighth place finish at the Federation Meet the following week. Crimmins clocked in

Abbey also grabbed a top 10 at the Section V, Class D meet with a sixth place finish (17:07.59). He was second overall in the SCAA Championships with a time of 17:40. Abbey won the LeRoy Invitational with a time of 17:39.60 as the Knights also took first as a team.

TIM BANACH Corning, Sr.

Corning’s Tim Banach led the Hawks throughout the season, then posted the top time for local runners at the state meet with a 17:39.7. His time was good for 26th in the Class A event – and was good enough to put him the top 50 overall when all of the classes were combined.

No catching Crimmins in 2011 In his third year running vars i t y, Banach won the Chittenango Invitational, before adding sixth place finishes at the STA C Championships (16:34.4), as well as the Section IV, Class A meet (16:40.1). He was eighth at the Marathon Invitational (17:03.9). “Tim had his best race of the season on the biggest day of the season at the state championship where he placed 26th and was 48th in the merged results of all boys in New York state,” Corning coach Ray Lawson said.

the Section V, Class D meet with a time of 20:22.74 – eight seconds ahead of Addison’s Brenna Lyons. Bouten also won the SCAA Championship by eight seconds with a time of 20:26.


Just a freshman, but Katie Butler ran like a seasoned pro down the stretch for the Hawks in 2011, placing eighth overall at the Section IV, Class A meet (20:34.9) and earning a trip to states. At states, Butler returned with a 59th-place finish with a time of 21:38.3. MEGAN BOUTEN Butler’s other top finish this Campbell-Savona, Jr. season came at the STAC Championships where she finBouten closed out her junior ished 11th. season by finishing seventh at SEE CRIMMINS | PAGE 19

December 19, 2011 | All-Leader Fall-Stars | Page 13

Shifting power Corning’s Downie the Player of the Year BY CHRIS GILL

Following a long power surge over the past several All-Leader teams, the focus shifted in 2011. Despite the All-Leader Player of the Year being a strong middle hitter, Corning’s Carolina Downie was an aberration in a season defined by the play of the setters and liberos. This year’s team is comprised of nine players who not only set the ball or dug out incoming shots, but went to the net, aced the competition into submission and served almost every role on the court. Four of those made the first team. This year’s list was compiled by polling local coaches, with some help from college scouts, to boil down the top nine players in the area:

LAUREN BINNERT Hammondsport, Jr., S

The SCAA co-Player of the Year, Binnert served as a general on the floor, guiding the Lakers’ attack to the sectional finals. Her 238 setter assists not only led the team, but the SCAA, and she served up a mind-boggling 111 aces – by far the best among her All-Leader brethren. Employing a nasty topspin, and the ability to find bare spots on the floor, few could wrangle her serves. “It just drops right in the middle of the court – it’s really lethal. She scores a good chunck of points for us just with her serve,” said Hammondsport coach Julie Amsden. “Her big contribution is her service percentage is 95 percent, but she has 111 aces. That’s what really made her stand out.” Binnert makes her second straight All-Leader appearance.


and ended up throwing down a team-high 116 kills, while setting up 240 shots for her teammates. In addition, she recorded 14 blocks to land a second straight All-Leader appearance – albeit in two completely different roles. “I don’t think (the opposition) expected her being able to do what she can do. I really needed her and it’s tough going from being the sole setter to sharing that role,” said Corning coach Irene Furness. “She’s very humble. I don’t think she knows how good she is yet, and she’s not the kind of person to boast. She always wants to get better.” W h a t ’s more: Blencowe served up a team-high 58 aces. The only thing she didn’t do was play libero in 2011, but there’s always next year.


Corning, So., S

Corning, Sr., MH

Corning needed some more firepower at the net, so the Hawks turned to their sophomore setter. An odd choice? Not where Blencowe is concerned. A naturally gifted athlete, Blencowe split the setting role

Hard as it is to imagine, but Downie’s spikes were more powerful than ever for the four-year varsity player. The All-STAC selection recorded 99 kills and 26 blocks on the front line for Corning, emerging


Corning’s Carolina Downie was a force at the net. as the most dangerous middle hitter on this year’s All-Leader team. Her improved, and more efficient, hitting and blocking proved troublesome for every opponent. “She made super strides again, and she’s super strong,” Furness said. “She plays her heart out every match, every game, every point.” She turned her ankle in practice, missing the sectional semifinals, but came back for the title match and didn’t miss a beat. Coaches voted her the AllLeader Player of the Year, marking her third appearance on the team. That isn’t necessarily what motivates her. “Whatever she does, she does it with all her heart. She just loves the sport,” Furness said. “Her goal is to be good for her-

self, and also good for her teammates.”


Playing the newly-formed Exrpess, Ficarro not only accepted the leadership role, but became the most important player on the team. Elmira employed two setters this season, most likely because the Express had to with Ficarro’s uncanny ability to cover the entire court. She led the team with 129 assists, was tops defensively with an All-Leader high 71 digs and served up a teamleading 46 aces. “She really improved as a team leader, but in the physical aspects, she really improved defenviely,” said Elmira coach Ian Harkins. “For her to lead the

Page 14 | All-Leader Fall-Stars | December 19, 2011 team in digs was really surprising, considering her position. She really got good at reading the hitters and she showed a lot more aggression.” Ficarro makes her first AllLeader appearance.

KELSEY R AY Horseheads, Sr., MH

Listed as a middle hitter, the truth is Ray could, and did, play anywhere on the court. Horseheads’ senior covered more ground than anyone on this year’s list, with 69 kills, 28 s e rvice aces with a 95 percent efficiency, 15 blocks and 51 digs. And that was just in league play. “She played all the way around, good serve-receiver and

was very well-rounded,” said Horseheads coach Patti Perone. “Her game maturity was better this year and her confidence.” W h a t ’s most remarkable is Ray’s consistency at the net, only making seven errors in 143 attempts. That kind of dependability made her a lock for the All-STAC team and second straight All-Leader appearance.

ERICA STICKLER Horseheads, Sr., S

She’s not a flashy setter, she fits into our system and got the job done,” Perone said. “She makes it happen without the flair.” But her 261 assists – in league play alone – don’t tell the whole story, also consider her teamleading 65 digs, 93 percent serving with 19 aces. Stickler made the All-STAC team and makes her first All-Leader appearance.


they’ve got Hartman ready to set into that role. As a sophomore, Hartman knocked down 93 kills, made 20 blocks and recorded 16 digs – as a middle – while serving up 34 aces. She makes her first, likely not last, All-Leader appearance. “Middle is a tough position to play and learning to do that, she has come a long way,” Furness said. “She made incredible strides, and she could feel that so it made her better at it. She’s got some shoes she wants to fill and she loves the sport.”

Stickler’s play wasn’t really K ATIE HARTMAN appreciated until after reviewing Corning, So., MH ERIKA OLIVER the stat sheets. Her systematic style of play set the table for The Hawks would be con- Horseheads, Sr., OH Horseheads’ battery, without cerned about losing Downie to any bells or whistles. A rarity this season, Oliver graduation, but not when “She’s efficient in her job. was voted onto the team as an

outside hitter who led Horseheads in kills with 117 – in league play alone – to go along with 19 service aces with a 92 percent efficiency and 56 digs. Her ability to cover big swaths of ground helped Horseheads claim yet another STAC West crown to make her first AllLeader appearance. “She had a very nice year and she loved to hit that ball down the line,” Perone said.

GINA PARILLO Corning, Sr., L

Had Parillo started playing volleyball two years later, there’s no telling what kind of impact she could have had at the libero position.

December 19, 2011 | All-Leader Fall-Stars | Page 15 She went from a setter for Corning East to playing behind an established defensive specialist when the Hawks were born. This season was her first as a full-time libero, and she quickly emerged as one of the best in the area with 45 digs, 15 kills and 44 aces. “She studies the game, she learned where she needed to be,” Furness said. “Gina learned that part super-fast, I can’t imagine what she would have done if she had started as a freshman. She grew big time in the two years I had her, alone.” Making her second All-Leader appearance, Parillo was voted an All-STAC player and served as captain of the Hawks.

KERA RAY Horseheads, Sr., OH

Ray covered a lot of ground this season, and served as a safety net for Horseheads. The multi-faceted outside was equally adept at throwing down a clutch kill after digging out a shot and passing it to the setter. “I thought she brought a lot of balance on the outside. When we went to the back row, we didn’t really lose anything,” Perone said. Ray makes her second AllLeader appearance.

Honorable Mention ■ Tori Cunningham, Jr., MH, Elmira ■ Liz Estep, Fr., L, Horseheads ■ Olivia Furness, So., S, Corning ■ Caitlin Lewis, Jr., OH, Prattsburgh ■ Andrea Miller, Sr., OH, Hammondsport ■ Brooke Mitchell, Sr., S, Elmira

ed in the not-too-distant past, liberos were merely defensive specialists, tasked with passing incoming hits to the setter. It’s tough to imagine a player in this role as a league MVP, until ALISSA WALRUTH you see Walruth play. Hammondsport, Jr., L Hammondsport’s junior only When the position was creat- notched 17 digs in the regular sea-

son – the product of playing a league not known for many volleyball powerhouses – but in three postseason games she recorded 25. When facing tougher hitters in sectionals, Walruth’s talent was on full display. “She reads the ball so well, no matter where that ball goes she gets behind it and she’s an excellent serve-receiver,” Amsden said. “She takes more than half of our serve-reception and more times than not the ball goes right to our setter. She’s exceptionally quick, but her mental game really improved this year.” The SCAA co-MVP and AllLeader selection was also deadly at the service line, serving up 32 aces with a 85 percent efficiency.


STAC teams were made fully aware of Wiezilowski’s talents this season, and will no doubt spend the next two seasons game planning around her. With 97 kills and 83 blocks, Wiezilowski gave Elmira a consistent offensive and defensive threat in the suddenly shrinking STAC West division. Making her first All-Leader appearance, Wiezilowski was also named to the All-STAC West team. “The biggest leap in her game, she started playing all the way around,” Harkins said. “This year we really started moving her around and became very versatile.”

Page 16 | All-Leader Fall-Stars | December 19, 2011

Tripling up Dickson Swimmer of the Year, for 3rd time BY BOB BENZ

The sport is generically referred to as swimming. Yet, in 2011, the sport’s diving contingent enjoyed the most success. Led by Devyn Dickson, The Leader’s Athlete of the Year in swimming and diving, the 2011 All-Leader swimming team boasts of three divers. Bath’s Danielle Neu and Horseheads’ Paige Huffman also qualified for states and were first-team selections. The following is the 2011 AllLeader swimming – and diving – team, as assembled by The Leader sports staff in conjunction with area coaches.

LAUREN BARLOW Bath Haverling, So.

An accomplished sprinter who makes swimming fast seem effortless, Barlow broke her own school record in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:03.80 and was also part of Bath’s 200 and 400 free relay teams that set new school records.

Barlow finished third at sectionals in the 100 backstroke and was fourth at sectionals in the 100 freestyle, where her best time was 57.06. “Lauren has a beautiful technique,” Bath coach Sheri Neu said. “She makes swimming look easy. Each stroke looks beautiful. She’s a perfectionist.”


The Blue Raiders’ most experienced swimmer, Carbaugh excelled in the 100 butterfly, where she won the EFA Invitational and was named a STAC West all-star in the event. Carbaugh’s best time in the 100 butterfly was 1:00.37. She was also one of the area’s top swimmers in the 200 individual medley, where her best time was 2:14.20. Carbaugh finished second at sectionals in both the 100 fly and 200 IM. “She is driven to be her best and pushes her teammates to do the same,” Horseheads coach Mark Miles said. “She doesn’t settle for good swims – she wants nothing but great swims, but can accept failure as a learning tool. I think she is on the verge of an outstanding year.”

Year in swimming and diving. “She’s very sharp when she dives and she had nice diving lift,” Neu said. “She could do tight summer saults with good lift and her entries were gorgeous.”

MARY EDWARDS Horseheads, Fr.

Horseheads’ most versatile swimmer, Edwards proved very capable in both the 100 freestyle and 200 freestyle, along with the 200 individual medley. Edwards was named a STAC West all-star in the 200 individual medley, as well as the Blue Raiders’ 200 and 400 free relay teams. She won the 200 freestyle at the EFA Invitational and placed second in the 100 freestyle at the same meet. She boasted a top time of 55.42 in the 100 free and 1:59.68 in the 200 free. Edwards was Horseheads’ leading point scorer. “Mary’s work ethic is every coach’s dream,” Miles said. “I can’t think of a single time where she has complained in practice and she is constantly optimistic.”

EMILY GUGLIOTTA Bath Haverling, So.

DEVYN DICKSON Bath Haverling, Sr.

Few divers in the area entered the pool on their dives as gracefully as Dickson. Dickson closed out an outstanding career as an LCAA champion (401.054) and also qualified for states. She’ll leave Bath after setting the school’s six-dive record at 238 and 11dive record of 438.95. With a most impressive resume, Dickson was named The Leader’s 2011 Athlete of the

Gugliotta seemed to get better as the season progressed. Her performances at sectionals served as proof. Bath’s top distance swimmer, Gugliotta finished third at sectionals in the 200 freestyle (2:03.19) and smashed her own school record in the 500 freestyle with a third-place finish in 5:37.94 “Emily is ever-ready batteries,” Neu said. “She has huge desire. Every day she tries to find a new best.”

December 19, 2011 | All-Leader Fall-Stars | Page 17 H UNTER HOOBLER Horseheads, Jr.

Hoobler turned in personalbest times in the 50 freestyle (26.16) and 100 butterfly (1:04.23) and was named a STAC West all-star in the 200 and 400 free relays. “Hunter is a great athlete who will give 100 percent in practice and to her teammates,” Miles said. “She loves the 100 fly and constantly works on it in practice. She expects her best every time she dives in the pool.”

PAIGE H UFFMAN Horseheads, Jr.

No member of the Horseheads team took her talents further than Huffman, who qualified for states. Huffman’s top six-dive score was 221.00 and her best 11-dive score was 416.30, which put her in the state meet. In addition, Huffman was selected as a STAC West all-star. “Paige had a solid year diving for us this year,” Miles said. “She stepped up in all of our dual meets when we needed her.”

DANIELLE N EU Bath Haverling, Jr.

Constantly battling with fellow teammate Devyn Dickson throughout the season, Neu saved her best for last. Neu was the Section V, Class C diving champion with a score of

Honorable Mention ■ 8th Kaitlynn Breitung, Horseheads ■ Jr. Amelia Flint, Bath Haverling ■ Fr. Jenna Gleason, Bath Haverling ■ So. Chelsea Morgan, Corning ■ Sr. Ally Muller, Bath Haverling ■ Jr. Samantha Olson, Corning ■ Jr. Kristanna Peris, Horseheads ■ Sr. JoAnn Wang, Corning

380.95 and placed 23rd at states – the Rams’ top finish. Neu finished second at the LCAA meet with a score of 393.2. Ultimately, Neu’s tireless determination paid off with her strong finish to the season. “She worked in that No. 2 position all season and kept plugging away and working her way,” Neu said. “She pulled the upset in the Section V meet and at states she kept going. Her momentum came midseason and she kept going.”

ERICKA PHILLIPS Bath Haverling, Sr.

The common denominator who was part of two record-setting efforts in the 200 free relay and 200 medley relay, Phillips’ exceptional speed in the sprints was vital to Bath’s success. Phillips boasted a personal best time of 26.86, but was per-

haps most valuable in the relays. “Ericka is sometimes overlooked, but never should be because she is the glue to the relays,” Neu said. “Another good hard worker who was instrumental in setting both relays.”

MACKENZIE TRAVIS Bath Haverling, 8th

While only an eighth grader, Travis proved to be mature beyond her years. Travis placed second at sectionals in the 100 freestyle

(56.82), was fourth at sectionals in the 200 individual medley (2:23.59) and helped the Rams set new record in the 200 free relay and 400 free relay. “For a young swimmer, she had such a maturity about her,” Neu said. “She seems to be fearless for a young swimmer.”

Page 18 | All-Leader Fall-Stars | December 19, 2011

Freshman feat Corning’s Li tops the tennis list BY BOB BENZ

While the 2011 All-Leader tennis team is rich in senior talent, the area’s top player won’t be a senior for another three years. Corning first singles standout Connie Li was named The Leader’s Player of the Year in tennis after going 13-3 and winning the Section IV, Class A tournament as a freshman. Li is joined on the first team by four seniors and a junior. The following is the 2011 AllLeader tennis team as assembled by The Leader staff in conjunction with area coaches.


ference selection. In addition, Li was named The Leader’s Player of the Year in girls tennis. “Her backhand is unusually good – that’s her strongest stroke,” Corning coach Paul Spear said. “She’s got a very good first serve and really an excellent second serve. So I would say she’s just consistent across her different strokes.” With still three more years of high school tennis, Li’s future appears to be bright. “She’s actually really easy to coach,” Spear said. “Strategically, I can tell her to put something into play and she effectively does it and that’s very rare.”


“ S h e ’s a backboard,” Spear said. “She returns everything. A lot of her opponents are frustrated to make mistakes. She’s not going to beat herself. She’s going to make her opponents beat her.”

JULIE WEAVER Horseheads, Sr., first singles

Weaver used smarts and finesse to her advantage and enjoyed a splendid senior season that was capped off with an impressive run in doubles play. A STAC West all-division selection, Weaver went 13-14 in first singles play, but qualified for states as a doubles player. Weaver teamed up with Elena DeLuccia and the two showed tremendous chemistry as a tandem. “She’s a real fun to player to watch, because she’s so smart,” Horseheads coach Dan Palmer said. “She doesn’t have a lot of power, but she’s very consistent. She puts the ball in great places and she has a great drop shot.”

Corning, Fr., first singles

Corning, Sr., second singles

When it comes to pure tennis mechanics, good luck finding a weakness in Li’s game. As just a freshman, Li has already compiled quite an impressive resume. In first singles play, Li went 13-3 and won the Section IV, Class A tournament. Li finished fourth at Section IV state qualifiers and was a STAC West/Metro all-con-

Play carelessly and in most instances, you don’t stand a chance against Finney. Corning’s second singles player went 7-6 as a senior and was an All-STAC West selection. With a consistent serve and steady all-around play, Finney ELENA LELUCCIA would at times wear opponents Horseheads, Jr., second singles down because she so rarely slipped up herself. At times, DeLuccia could simply overpower her opponents. And whether it was her scorching serve or aggressive play at the net, DeLuccia often made things happen – and quickly. “Her serve was the strongest part of her game,” Palmer said. “She hit harder than any player on the team and many players

Honorable Mention ■ Fr. Leslie Darrin, Prattsburgh, first doubles ■ 8th Meredith Braiman, Horseheads, fourth singles ■ Jr. Jillian Rathbun, Horseheads, third singles ■ Sr. Becky Seager, Prattsburgh, first doubles


Connie Li went 13-3 for Corning this season. couldn’t handle her power.” DeLuccia posted a record of 19-8 in second singles play and was a STAC West all-division selection. She won the Pal-Mac Invitational and was arguably at her very best after teaming up with Julia Weaver in doubles play. As a doubles player, DeLuccia qualified for states. As doubles players, virtually nothing fazed DeLuccia and Weaver. “They played stress-free most of the time and it really impressed everyone around them to see the comfort level at which they played,” Palmer said.

N ICOLE WISE Prattsburgh, Sr., first singles

Wi s e ’s ability to play well from any spot on the court set her apart from most of the competition. A fearless player when it came to charging and playing at the net, Wise went 14-2 in first singles play and was an SCAA firstteam selection. Wise’s only losses came against AlfredAlmond’s Meghan DioGuardi,

who advanced to states. Wise teamed up with Marissa Stefan and won counties and made it to state qualifiers as a doubles tandem. “She has good ground strokes and her forehand was her best shot from the baseline,” Prattsburgh coach Bill Stollery said. “The fact she was able to play all of the court makes a big the difference. She is not afraid to get up there and attack the net. As soon as somebody hits a short ball, she’s going to attack the net.”

MARISSA STEPHAN Prattsburgh, Sr., second singles

Aside from her quickness, topspin and a deadly forehand were Stephan’s top allies on the tennis court. An SCAA first team selection, Stephan went 12-3 in second singles play. “She uses a lot of topspin and it gives players a tough time,” Stollery said. “The ball will jump up and really make it difficult for players to handle if you have so much spin on it.”

December 19, 2011 | All-Leader Fall-Stars | Page 19

CRIMMINS Continued from Page 12

the IAC championships with a time of 17:52.0.


Butler’s other top finish this Addison, Fr. season came at the STAC Lyons placed 8th at the Championships where she finSection V, Class D meet with a ished 11th. “Once Katie adjusted to racing time of 20:31.09. She was second at the SCAA the 5K distance she really came on, having her best races at Championship (20:34), just Sectionals and States when the eight seconds behind winner pressure was on,” Corning head Megan Bouten. coach Ray Lawson said. “ I am LANI NAGLE very excited to see how much she improves as she trains over Corning, Sr. the next three years.” A four-year varsity runner, Nagle was Corning’s leading finNOAH C HAUVIN isher for much of the 2011 seaCorning, Sr. son, as well as a team leader the Chauvin came up big at the entire year. Her season was highlighted by Section IV, Class A meet with a an eighth place finish at the fourth place finish (16:33.5), which earned him a trip to the Hickories Invitational, a ninth state meet where the junior at the Chittenango Invitational and a 15th at the STAC placed 80th. Chauvin also turned in a gem Championships. “Lani had some excellent at the STAC Championships, where he placed fifth (16:34.2) – races this season and has had a just 0.02 seconds ahead of team- great cross country career makmate Tim Banach. In his third ing the state meet three of her varsity season, Chauvin also four seasons,” Lawson said. added a fifth place finish at the “Lani has been an excellent Marathon Invitational in leader this season working hard in practice and leading team (16:54.2). “Noah came on strong at the warmups and race preparation end of the season and was our on race days.” top runner at Marathon, the JON PEARL STAC Championships and the Section IV Championships,” Campbell-Savona, Jr. Lawson said. Campbell-Savona’s Jon Pearl made the most of his first trip to LAUREN COOK the state meet – he returned with Bath Haverling, 8th a medal after placing 10th in the The Rams’ Lauren Cook fin- Class D event. Pearl completed ished in 92nd place in the Class the course at Vernon-VeronaC girls event with a time of Sherrill in a time of 18:21.1, using a stalking game plan. 24:30.5. In his second season on the Cook placed ninth at the Section V, Class C meet varsity, Pearl went undefeated (20:26.41), which got her to states in league competitions, closing as an eighth-grader. Cook also his year with an SCAA champiearned a top 10 (9th) at the LCAA onship. His time of 17:13 was 27 seconds faster than his closest Championships (20:38.62). competitor. He followed that effort with a third place finish at MATT GILL the Section V, Class D event Watkins Glen, So. (16:49.79) – which set up his trip to states. Gill led a tough pack of “Jon is a diverse runner,” Watkins Glen runners to the Campbell-Savona coach Tom state meet. Fleet said. “If the weather At the Section IV, Class C and/or conditions are off, he meet, Gill was the top Senecas can front run, stalk, or be a closrunner with a third place finish er. That is what makes him such (17:21.3). He was also third at a tough competitor.”

Page 20 | All-Leader Fall-Stars | December 19, 2011

All Leader, December, 19, 2011