Sports Editor’s Playbook, 2013 year-end edition


Patrick Newell

Knowing that this is my final winter sports season at The Evening Sun, we’re beginning to wax nostalgic. As 2013 comes to a close, I have reviewed some of the highlights of the previous 12 months of high school sports, and have pinpointed those moments here. We start with the end of the 2012-2013 winter sports season, and bring you through to December 2013. Not every sport is recounted, but that does not diminish the accomplishments of those not mentioned here.

    Winter Sports (January-March)

Wrestling
A half-dozen local wrestlers finished among the top six in the state at the 2013 New York State Division II Wrestling Championships. Norwich’s Frank Garcia and Tristan Rifanburg along with Greene’s Christian Dietrich were one move away from winning state titles, but settled for runner-up finishes. All three are back this year, and are among the favorites in Feb. 2014. Also placing in the state tournament were Greene’s Mike Beckwith, and B-G/Afton’s Mark Viviano and Chris Cirigliano.

Girls’ Basketball
Unadilla Valley finished with its best record in school history (15-2), and captured the Midstate Athletic Conference championship beating Unatego. The Storm, though, ran into formidable opposition in Section IV tournament play facing Harpursville in the opening round. Harpursville survived a last-second UV shot attempt to prevail by two, and went on to win the Section IV crown and advance to the Class C state finals. Although it made an abrupt departure from the postseason, the Storm were among the best Class C teams in the state.

Boys’ Basketball
Norwich overcame a number of injuries and illnesses to claim it second straight Section IV Class B title beating Whitney Point by 22 points. In intersectional play, the Tornado made a strong second-half rally against Westhill only to fall a point short of reaching the state semifinals. Through the first month of the 2013-2014 season, Norwich is again on top of its game entering January 2014 with a perfect 6-0 mark.

Boys’ Swimming
Norwich threatened to win a division title, was third in the Section IV Class B meet, and had a number of top-five individual finishes. The Tornado have continued that momentum to start the 2013-2014 season, and again could challenge for a division championship.

Indoor Track and Field
On the same weekend Norwich’s basketball team was winning a sectional championship, Norwich junior Matt Murray became the best 600-meter sprinter in the state. Murray became the first Norwich athlete to win an indoor track and field state title when he won the 600 meters in early March. If he decides to defend that title this season, he is the odds-on favorite.
 

    Spring Sports (April-June)

Track and Field
The largest accumulation of standout athletic performances this past spring came on the track. Norwich’s Murray and Brooke Bonney won sectional titles, as did B-G/Afton’s Julia Knapp. All three also placed in the Division II state meet. Knapp was fifth in the 100-meter hurdles; Murray took fifth in the 800 meters; and Bonney was fifth in the discus and sixth in the shot put. All three was also champions in their league and class meets. Additionally, Unadilla Valley’s Dylan Thomsen continued to set new records in the distance events, and won a MAC title in the 1,600 meters with a school-record time.

Golf
Norwich repeated as Class B champion taking the team title by a whopping 16 shots. The Tornado linksters were led by overall low medalist, junior Corey Johnson, who shot a 3-over-par 73 at Maple Hill Golf Club.

Softball
G-MU’s girls had the best season amongst the area teams that we cover. The Raiders finished with double-digit wins and won a first-round sectional postseason game before falling to eventual Section IV Class D champion Afton.

Baseball
While no team in Chenango County advanced past the quarterfinal round of the playoffs, we did see one of the most impressive seasons turned in by a Norwich pitcher in some time. Hurling against some of the best hitting teams in New York, junior left-hander Cody Barnes had the highest single-season strikeout total by an NHS pitcher in over 25 years striking out 81 in 40 innings, while also recording all five of Norwich’s victories.

    Fall Sports (August-November)

Football
Sherburne-Earlville claimed a division title in Section III play, earned its highest state ranking, and hosted its first playoff game since joining Section III in 2002. The Marauders finished with a 7-1 record, its best mark in 11-man football in over 40 years. Norwich qualified for the postseason a fifth straight season, but suffered an opening-round playoff defeat to Johnson City

Boys’ Soccer
Greene won yet another MAC league championship, remained unbeaten through the regular season and first two rounds of the postseason before losing in the Class C semifinals – by a single goal – to Marathon.

Girls’ Soccer
Greene senior Paige Wilcox built on her all-time scoring mark finishing with nearly 150 career goals, the highest known total in Chenango County history.

Girls’ Tennis
Norwich coasted to a STAC East division title, and lost just two matches the entire season.

Field Hockey
Greene again advanced to the Section IV finals, but missed intersectional play for the first time since 2005 losing to Whitney Point by a single goal.

Girls’ Swimming
Oxford’s Abby Voce had the top individual performance at the class meets. The eighth-grader was second overall in the 50-yard freestyle.

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