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The school nickname is the Hawks, but these days maybe it should be Corning School of Champions

Each day it seems like the school has a new champion, either at the division, sectional or most recently the state level.

Having a state champion athlete is often a once in a generation type thing for a school.

Having two state champions, in different sports, at the same school, in the same season? That’s something you just never see.

But, that’s exactly what the Corning Hawks had this fall.

They had Jack Gregorski in cross country. A once in a lifetime runner, who became the first boy since Corning merged to win a cross country state title.

And, they had Angie McKane in swimming. A swimmer who just became the first ever state champion swimmer in school history, doing it in just her sophomore year.

One school. Two state champions. One sports season.

It’s the type of stuff that people will be talking about 50 years into the future.

Let’s start by breaking down the major achievements Corning has had this spring.

* Jack Gregorski won the state cross country title. Corning’s boys won the team title. Ashton Bange took fourth in the state, while Matt Gensel and Sarah Lawson each earned state medals. Both the boys and girls dominated on their way to STAC and Section 4 titles.

* Angie McKane won the state title in the 100 fly. She also took fifth in the 50 free and teammate Brooke Terwilliger was 10th in the state in diving. Corning also had two relays and two other individuals make it to states.

* The Corning boys’ football team captured the Section 4, Class AA Championship.

* The Corning boys’ soccer team captured the Section 4, Class AA Championship.

* The Corning girls’ soccer team won the STAC Championship after winning the STAC West title.

* The Corning boys’ golf team captured their first ever STAC Championship.

* Corning’s Jillian Austin and Ella Perry qualified for states in girls’ tennis.

* The Corning gymnastic team broke the school record score multiple times this year.

Overall the Hawks had five teams capture either division or STAC Championships and four Corning teams captured Section 4 Championships.

The Hawks had six individual state medalists, in seven events, between cross country and swimming. And, team after team accomplished things no one in Corning history had done before.

This fall the Hawks definitely were a school of champions, and no one personified that more than Gregorski and McKane.

Let’s start in cross country. What Gregorski and the Hawks did may never be matched by another team again. Going 1 and 4 in the state meet and having all five of their runners in the top 24 is the stuff of legends. The Hawks had a team total of 30 at the state meet, which is hard to ever mach.

Before states the Hawks went one through five at both the STAC meet and sectionals. How good was Corning? The Hawks number eight runner, who didn’t get to run at states because only the top seven run, finished ahead of kids who made states as individual qualifiers.

Gregorski started the year nationally ranked, and he lived up to the accolades. He finished second at the pre-states meet, and he had strong races at every meet the Hawks ran this year.

At the state meet Gregorski ran the 16th fastest time Chenango Valley’s course has seen since 1997. The course in 1997 started hosting the Section 4 Championships and it has hosted three state meets, and Gregorski had one of the best times the course has ever seen. Bange won the sectional meet and his time in that race was the 31st fastest time in the course’s history, as this year’s Corning team had two of the 31 fastest runners the course has ever seen.

In the pool McKane had a season for the ages, and she still has two more years of high school swimming to go. McKane became the school’s first swimming state champion and she had two tip five finishes at states.

In her race at states McKane swam against Tess Howley, who won the race and with it the Federation title. Howley isn’t a public school swimmer, which gave McKane the NYSPHSAA Championship. Howley broke the state record and was a swimmer who was 10th at the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 200 fly and who swims for the U.S. Junior National Team.

A lot of swimmers may struggle swimming against one of the elite swimmers in the country. For McKane, it just made her faster.

McKane shattered the Section 4 record in the 100 fly. She also broker her own school record. She also broke the school record in the 50 free.

Along with the fly and 50 free, McKane broke the school record in the 200 IM this year and she holds the school record in the 100 free and the 100 back. In the 50 free she broke what had been a 40 year old school record and since that she has constantly lowered the record. She also helped the 200 free relay break the school record and make states.

The pool records at Corning is starting to look like a list of McKane’s fastest times, and now her name is all over Section 4 at different schools as she has broken pool records everywhere she goes.

For Corning this fall was special. It was the type of stuff that only comes around once in a lifetime. Only, for the Hawks it might keep happening. McKane has two years left. While Gregorski is a senior, Bange, who finished fourth at states is among the returning runners next year. And, the Hawks have high hopes this winter and spring for teams to add to the trophy cases at the school.

McKane and Gregorski had seasons that will be remembered for generations to come, and the Hawks might be due for many more moments like that in the coming months and years.

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