SOUTHERN TIER SPORTS REPORT: GREGORSKI HEADLINES LIST AS ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
By Brian Fees
Southern Tier Sports Report
Sometimes you can have a nearly impossible choice when trying to choose the best athlete of the entire school year.
And, there were some amazing performances in the past year, including All-Americans, all-state athletes, state medalists and even state champions.
But, in the end, the choice for athlete of the year proved to be a pretty easy one. That’s what happens when one athlete wins state titles in the fall, winter and spring, and between individual titles and team titles he wins five state titles on the year.
Normally we’d count down and unveil the athlete of the year at the end, but this time let’s do things a bit different.
We have a list of 15 male athletes of the year, and we’ll start with the athlete of the year Jack Gregorski of Corning. And, after Gregorski we will do the runner-up, the second runner-up and then the next 12 athletes.
For this award we focus highly on multiple sport athletes. A one-sport athlete may also be considered for the list with a dominant year, but the focus tends to be on multiple-sport athletes.ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
JACK GREGORSKI, CORNING, INDOOR AND OUTDOOR T&F AND CROSS COUNTRY
Let’s start with cross country season for the Corning senior.
Jack Gregorski became the first Corning boy since the merger of the two schools to be a cross country state champion.
He finished 7th at Eastbay Regionals to become the first Corning boy to earn a spot at Eastbay Nationals.
Gregorski helped guide the Hawks to a team state title and also led them to STAC and Section 4 titles, with the team going one through five in both of those meets. He helped the Hawks post the second best team score in state history.
The Hawks senior was the All-Southern Tier Cross Country Runner of the Year. He was the Southern Tier Sports Report top Fall athlete and also The Sports Reports All-Region top fall Athlete.
Gregorski continued his dominance in the winter with indoor track and field.
Gregorski had a big performance on the biggest stage for the Hawks.
Gregorski went sub-nine minutes in the 3200 meters at states to break the Section 4 record and win the NYSPHSAA title in the process.
Gregorski also was a part of a state medal winning relay for the Hawks, and he also was an All-American in a pair of relays, running the 1600 leg of the DMR and running in a 4x1600 relay, going under 4:20 in both of those races.
He was the runner-up for winter sports top athlete for the Southern Tier Sports Report.
This spring Gregorski was again the top spring Southern Tier Sports Report Athlete and he was the overall track and field athlete of the year.
He was the NYSPHSAA champion in the 3200 with a new Section 4 record of 8:53.92.
Gregorski anchored the Hawks’ 4x800 relay that won the Federation title in 7:49.70. Gregorski ran a 1:55.48 leg as the anchor in the relay.
Gregorski also set a school record in winning the state qualifiers in the 1600 with a time of 4:12.80.
In the 5000 meters Gregorski finished third in the nation with a school and Section 4 record.RUNNER-UP
ASHTON BANGE, CORNING, INDOOR & OUTDOOR T&F AND CROSS COUNTRY
One of Gregorski’s teammates is the runner-up for the biggest male honor of the year as he had dominant seasons in cross country and both indoor and outdoor track and field.
Earlier this week Bange was named the Southern Tier Sports Report overall newcomer of the year after his breakout cross country season after joining the sport from soccer.
In the fall he was the second runner-up for the top athlete honors.
Ashton Bange had a dominant season in his first year after playing soccer in the past. He won the Section 4 championship, he was fourth at states and he did all this in his first year in cross country.
He was consistently one of the best runners in the state all year and finished 17th at the Eastbay Regional Meet. He helped Corning capture the state title, and helped them go one through five at both the STAC Championships and the Section 4 Championships.
In the winter Bange continued his dominance as he was again second runner-up for the top honor for the season.
Bange had a huge performance at the state meet in the 1600 meters, bringing home a runner-up finish among the NYSPHSAA public school division going under 4:20 for the first time in his career.
Bange had to take the race out fast and then held on for the strong finish.
He also medaled at states in a relay and was a part of two relays at nationals that earned him All-American honors.
This spring he again made the Super 7 athletes of the spring and he was the track athlete of the year for the All-STSR team.
Bange was a state medalist in the 1600 meters, taking sixth in D1 and 7th in Federation in 4:14.78. Federation champion in the 4x800 relay in 7:49.70. Ran a 1:56.89 leg of the 800 in the 4x800 relay. SECOND RUNNER-UP
ETHAN HART, CORNING WRESTLING & LACROSSE
You can’t do much more in the two sports you play than Hart did this year.
Hart was a lacrosse all-American and a wrestling state medalist this season.
In the spring he was the boys’ lacrosse all-STSR Player of the Year.
Corning’s Ethan Hart scored 54 goals and added 15 assists. He was a first-team all-league pick and he was a U.S. Lacrosse All-American.
Hart also was the all-STSR offensive player of the year after the 54 goal season for the Hawks this year
In the winter he was a state medalist for the Hawks wrestling team, the only area state medalist in wrestling.
As a sophomore Ethan Hart made it to states and went 0-2. He learned from that experience and this year he made sure he wasn’t leaving the state meet without a state medal.
Hart brought home a seventh-place finish at states and he finished the year at 32-3 as a state medalist, Section 4 and STAC Champion and he was this year’s All-STSR Wrestler of the Year.RILEY LOOMIS, HORSEHEADS, FOOTBALL & BASEBALL
Loomis started the year with a standout season on the football field for the Blue Raiders.
Loomis had a dominant year for the Blue Raiders. He ran for 1,169 yards and 12 touchdowns on 181 carries this year and seemed to have his biggest games, in the biggest moments, helping the Blue Raiders top sectional champions Corning and Union-Endicott during the regular season.
Loomis was an all-around player, recording 59 tackles, two tackles for a loss and an interception on defense this year as well. He was also the teams punter and punted 13 times for an averaged of 36.08 yards per punt.
Loomis was the All-Southern Tier Football Player of the Year. He was runner-up for athlete of the year in the fall.
In the spring Loomis was an all-STSR first-team pick
Loomis hit .475 with eight extra base hits and 12 stolen bases, leading the Blue Raiders to a STAC title and a Section 4 title.RYAN MCNUTT, CORNING, SWIMMING
McNutt is the rare one sport athlete to make it on one of these lists.
While McNutt only did swimming in the winter, what a season it was that he had.
He was the winter sports top athlete for the Southern Tier Sports Report, and the was The Sports Reports All-Region runner-up for the award.
McNutt was dominant, breaking school records nearly every meet. The Hawks senior, who is committed to compete at Penn State, has pool records in most of the pools across Section 4.
He ended his high school career in style, winning the state title in the 100 free with a time of 45.58. Not only was it a state title, but it was also a Federation title as the best time of any swimmer, public school or catholic school, in the state of New York.
McNutt also had a third-place finish in public school in the 200 free to give him two top three finishes at states.LANDEN BURCH, CORNING BASEBALL, FOOTBALL & BASKETBALL
What didn’t Burch do for the Hawks this year?
Burch was the quarterback of the football team, a standout on the basketball court, and the offensive player of the year for the all-STSR baseball team.
In the spring he had perhaps his biggest performance of the year. Corning’s Landen Burch was the All-STSR baseball offensive player of the year. Burch hit .417 with 28 RBI on the year, with nine doubles and four home runs, striking out just five times all season, while walking 11 times.
Along with his hitting Burch, an Old Dominion recruit, had a .86 ERA on the mound with a 4-0 mark and 48 strikeouts in 24 innings.
He was a Super 7 spring athletes pick by the STSR.
In the fall he was an all-STSR unsung hero pick. He Set personal stats aside in a run-oriented double wing offense so that the team could excel in the ground game. A division one signee for baseball, he could have thrown in a pro style offense, but was an unselfish leader at quarterback and a tough player.
During the winter Burch put up 12.9 points a game, second best on the team, and added a team-best 8.8 rebounds a game this year. GANNON JOHNSTON, HORSEHEADS, FOOTBALL & WRESTLING
In football Johnston was nearly unblock able able at times this year. Defensively he had 10 sacks and 13 tackles for a loss. He also had an 88-yard pick six for a touchdown, forced three fumbles, recovered a fumble and had 61 tackles on the season.
He also was a force as an offensive linemen opening holes for Loomis and the run game.
Johnston was the All-Southern Tier Lineman of the year and a Super 7 Fall top athletes selection.
In the winter Johnston was dominant on the wrestling mats. Johnston finished the year 30-3 and he was one win away from a state medal. He only lost one match all regular season, to the eventual state champion, and came up just short of a state medal this year.OWEN STEWART, ND BASEBALL & FOOTBALL
Stewart was a multi-sport athlete for the Crusaders, although his football season was cut short right after it started with an injury.
While Stewart may not have had the football season he had hoped for, what a season he had when he took the field with the baseball team.
The George Mason committee threw four no-hitters this year and had a year no one in the area has ever seen before and he was this year’s All-Southern Tier Sports Report Player and Pitcher of the Year.
Stewart was 7-0 on the year, with a .12 ERA, with four no-hitters and 134 strikeouts in just 59 1/3 innings.
At the plate Stewart hit .426 with 26 hits, four doubles, two triples a home run and 12 RBI on the season.
He was runner-up for the spring athlete of the year award by the Southern Tier Sports Report.JACOB ROSE, ELMIRA, BOYS’ SOCCER, SWIMMING & LACROSSE
Rose was the all-STSR goalie of the year for boys’ soccer and The Sports Reports All-Region Defensive Player of the Year.
Rose was dominant in net as he posted six shutouts, including five in a row at one point, a program record. His season was highlighted by a penalty kick shutout win against Horseheads in the sectional final to help the Express make the sectional final. He was a STAC all-conference player.
In the pool Rose was a standout for the Express, and he was the school’s male athlete of the year this year. AIDAN CHAMBERLIN, CORNING BASKETBALL AND BASEBALL
He was an all-state selection in basketball and followed that up with a big baseball season that saw him earn all-STSR honors.
Chamberlin was 2-2 with 32 strikeouts in 22 innings and a 3.45 ERA. He hit .370 with five home runs and 11 extra base hits in baseball, earning all-STSR honors.
In basketball season Chamberlin scored 9.8 points a game for the Hawks this year and added 5.1 rebounds a game.AARON VERKLEEREN, HORSEHEADS, DIVING & BOYS’ SOCCER
He started the year as a all-STSR Super 13 soccer player for the Blue Raiders, and then in the winter he had a huge year in the pool for Horseheads.
Verkleeren the sectional title in diving and made it to states and he was the All-STSR diver of the year.
Verkleeren was a state qualifier in diving this year.STEVEN GOUGH, ND, BASEBALL AND BASKETBALL
Gough was an honorable mention all-state pick in basketball this year and then he followed that up with a strong showing in baseball season, earning first-team all-STSR honors.
Gough was a first-team all-Terrific 10 pick in boys’ basketball. Gough put up 16 points a game this year and he added eight points a game, along with three assists and three rebounds, as he did a little of everything for the Crusaders.
In baseball Gough hit .276 and was 3-2 on the mound with 42 strikeouts in 32 innings. TYLER SIMPSON, ND, SOCCER, INDOOR & OUTDOOR T&F
During soccer season he was a first-team all-STSR pick and a first-team IAC all-star, he was one of two seniors on the Crusaders team, that featured eight freshmen, and he was a steady influence and leader for the team all year.
He was a state qualifier in both indoor and outdoor track and field for the Crusaders. In the winter Simpson made states in the 600 meters and in the spring he qualified for states in the 1600 meters.
He was a first-team all-STSR pick in track and field.MASON SMITH, CORNING BASEBALL AND FOOTBALL
An honorable mention all-state football player and a standout on the baseball field.
In football Smith rushed for 1,288 yards, and 12 TDs helping to lead Corning to a Section 4 title.
Smith shared the all-STSR offensive player of the year honors. He had nine two-point conversion runs and averaged 7.8 yards per carry. On defense he had 32 tackles and an interception.
He was a second-team all-STSR pick in baseball this Spring. He was 3-1 on the mound with a .91 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 23 innings. AT the plate he hit .316 with 15 runs scored and he stole eight bases.TIE: KYLER RIPLEY, EDISON FOOTBALL & BASEBALL
He was a key lineman for the Edison football team in the fall and then in the spring he was a second-team all-STSR pick on the baseball field.
He was named the Edison male athlete of the year award winner. TIE: MIKEY MIDDAUGH, ELMIRA, BASKETBALL & FOOTBALL
An all-STSR first-team pick in both basketball and football this season.
In football, a tough kid who is a very smart player for the Express. Did anything the team asked him to. Was a force on defense and was the team’s best pass catcher this season.
In basketball the Elmira senior scored 10.7 points a game and added 10.1 rebounds a contest as he averaged a double-double for the Express.
IN TOP PHOTO: Corning’s Jack Gregorski. . . STSR FILE PHOTO.
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