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HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS: CORNING'S NICHOLS HEADLINES TOP COACHES OF THE WINTER SEASON (2022-03-26)

By Brian Fees
Southern Tier Sports Report
It was a successful winter season, with state champions, sectional titles, and regional championships for area teams.

With so much success, there were a lot of coaches who stood out this winter, and it’s time to name the Nifty Nine coaches of the winter.

Let’s list the coaches, and count down the final four from the third runner-up, second runner-up, runner-up and the coach of the winter.

Barb Smith, Corning, girls’ bowling:
Helped guide the Hawks to the team title at the state qualifier and a trip to the state championships.

Corning, went on to finish sixth at the state meet and they had one of the top individual girls in the state this year in Meghan Sturdevant.

Eric Winkky, Horseheads, Boys’ swimming and diving:
The Blue Raiders captured the title at the Section 4 Championships and they won the STAC division title this year.

Horseheads had two individuals and two relays earn medals at states, with Cullin Cole winning four medals on the day and Emmett Hanson claiming three medals.

Ray Lawson, Corning, indoor T&F:
The Hawks dominated their way to the team title at sectionals, and they had a dominant year sending 39 athletes to the indoor track and field state championships.

Corning wound up with two state champions — Ellie DeRosa and Jack Gregorski — and a state runner-up — Ashton Bange — this year.

A’Don Allen, Elmira, girls’ basketball:
In his first year as the Elmira head coach he guided the Express to the STAC Championship and a trip to the sectional final.

Elmira won the division title and then beat Maine-Endwell in the STAC final.

Elmira finished as runner-up in sectionals to Corning.

Chris Mallette, Edison, girls’ basketball:
Helped guide the Spartans to their first sectional playoff win in 15 years.

Elmira Heights had a strong regular season and they won their first sectional game in 15 years by beat Harpursville in the opening game of sectionals.

THIRD RUNNER-UP: Mike Johnston Jr., Corning, boys’ basketball:
Helped guide the Hawks to the Section 4 title and a spot in the regional final.

Corning lost just one game in the regular season, and reached the STAC final, before beating Elmira in the sectional final.

SECOND RUNNER-UP: William Condon, Corning, boys’ bowling:
The Corning boys finished third in the state this year, and nearly made a run for the state title.

Using a strong second set of three games the Hawks rallied in the afternoon and nearly came away with a state title, bringing home a third-place finish in the state.

They won the state qualifier and had two of the top 10 finisher in the state in the team competition at states.

RUNNER-UP: Brett Owen, Horseheads, wrestling:
Guided the Blue Raiders to STAC, Section 4 and Section 4 Duals titles.

Horseheads won the titles at the STAC meet and at the Section 4 Championships, and they won the Section 4 Duals title to earn a trip to the state duals.

Horseheads qualified four athletes for states on the season.

COACH OF THE WINTER: Jamie Nichols, Corning, girls’ basketball:
Guided the Hawks through a season for the ages.

Corning made their first ever trip to the sectional final, and won their first ever sectional championship as a merged program.

The Hawks then won their first ever regional championship as a merged program and reached the state final four.

Corning, who didn’t have a player over 5-foot, 8-inches tall, or a scorer who put up more than 15 a game this year, played the epitome of team basketball all season long.
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IN PHOTO: Corning girls' basketball coach Jamie Nichols. . . PHOTO BY BRIAN FEES.


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