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The Sports Reports
For the second time in his 12-year coaching career, Tioga football coach Nick Aiello reached the pinnacle of his sport, coaching the Tigers to their second Class D state title since 2015 and is The Sports Reports’ 2021 All-Region “Coach of the Fall.”

It was a tough decision as Aiello edged out Corning cross country Ray Lawson, who directed the Hawks to a state title.

Aiello guided the Tigers to a 12-0 season — the first unbeaten season in his career. He has amassed a 108-23 career record, including a 24-2 record in the Section IV playoffs, and a 13-7 mark in the state playoffs.

Aiello’s teams have won nine Section IV titles since 2011 — including the last four played, to go along with his two state titles.

The Tigers outscored their opponents by an average of 47 to 8.4 points per game, including a 42-6 margin in the three state playoff games.

The Sports Reports' 2021 All-Region “Baker’s Dozen Coaches of the Fall:”
Nick Aiello, Tioga football: See above.

Ray Lawson, Corning, cross country: Lawson led the Corning boys to the state championship — the third state title for the boys in his coaching career. He had individual boys go first and fourth at the state meet. The Corning boys also swept the top five spots at both the STAC Championships and Section 4 Championships. … He also guided the Corning girls to a fifth-place finish at States.

Sheila Wesneski, Canton volleyball: Wesneski directed Canton to a 21-5 record, a District IV, Class A Championship, and the PIAA state semifinals. Despite losing nine seniors from last year’s team, this year’s Canton team went even further. They won their fifth straight district title, and reached the state final four.

Tyler Sechrist, Canton football: Sechrist guided Canton to an historic 13-1 season, a District IV, Class A Championship, and a PIAA state semi-final appearance. After three years of being district runners-up, Canton broke through in a big way, winning their first district title since 1990. The Warriors also won their first NTL Large School Division title since 1998, and won the first state playoff game in school history.

Joe Picco, ND girls soccer: Picco guided the Crusaders to an IAC Large School title, a Section IV title, and into the state semifinals. Notre Dame was unbeaten until the state semi-final game. Since taking over the program before last season, Picco has guided the team to the IAC finals last year (the game wasn’t played due to Covid) and then this year took them to the state final four.

Alessio De Michele, Owego boys soccer: The second-year coach led the Indians to a 12-3-1 record, and the Section IV Class B championship. Owego nearly upset defending and eventual state champ Skaneateles in the regional final before falling in overtime. The Indians were 1-15 in 2018, and 3-10-1 in ’19 prior to De Michele’s arrival.

Pam Quinlan, Candor volleyball: Quinlan guided the Indians to a 21-1 record and their fourth consecutive IAC South and overall Small School championships. She also led Candor to its second straight Section IV, Class D title, as well as a second straight berth in the state semifinals. The Lady Indians won a state title in 2019.

Brittany Race, Owego volleyball: Race led the Indians to an 11-4 record and their 10th straight Section IV Class B championship.

Jason Miller, Waverly football:
Miller directed the Wolverines to an historic season — the first time a Waverly team has started a season 10-0. The Wolverines’ season came to an end in the Section IV, Class C title game against eventual state champ Chenango Forks.

Waverly opened the season with a decisive win over Class A East Syracuse-Minoa, then won a division title, and beat Norwich in the Class C semifinals to advance to its first Section IV title game since 2015. Miller has a career record of 111-70, and three Section IV titles.

Tim Crout, Horseheads volleyball: Crout directed the Blue Raiders to STAC and Section IV titles, while also reaching the regional final. The team played their best in the biggest moments, winning multiple five-set matches during the season.

Mike Johnston Jr., Corning football: Johnston led the Hawks to a Section 4, Class AA championship, and played in the Regional finals. The Hawks had one of the best defenses in the Section, allowing just 11.1 points a game. Offensively the team scored 37.7 points a game, second most in Section 4, and ran for 3,695 yards. Over the past three seasons. the Hawks are 22-4.

Jim Schools, Wyalusing cross country: Schools led Wyalusing to an 8-2 record, and a District IV, Class A championship. The Rams accomplishments came in spite of losing three of their top four runners from a year ago. They won their third straight district title.

Chad Freelove, Corning boys soccer:
Freelove guided the Hawks to the Section 4 championship. Corning dealt with injuries early in the year, before coming on strong as the season went on and winning the sectional crown and advancing to the regional final.


IN PHOTO: Tioga’s Nick Aiello. … VSR STOCK PHOTO.

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