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THE 2023 FALL SPORTS SEASON LEFT QUITE A MARK (2023-12-03)

Northern Tier Sports Report
The fall sports season is over, but it left it was with plenty great performances and lasting memories. Here are some of those, plus a few of the standout athletes this Autumn.

TOP MOMENTS

10. NEB gets win at Athens (boys’ soccer)

- The Panthers saved their best for last, beating the Wildcats on the road, 1-0, to end their season. NEB always circles this game on their schedule, and finally were able to mark it off.


9. Towanda tops Canton in five to give new coach first win (volleyball)

 - It may not have had a big affect on the NTL standings, but anytime a first year coach - Towanda’s Cassie Smith - pulls out a win like that in their first contest, it’s sure to make a list.


8. Canton tops Athens for program’s 500th win (football)

- Canton used a fast start to down the Wildcats to get their milestone. While it may not have been an exciting contest, it’s alway exciting to mark the occasion a program has a watershed moment.


7. Kylee Roy’s first varsity goal leads Troy past Muncy (girls’ soccer)

 - It’s harder to get a more exciting start to a season than Troy rallying from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 in overtime. The fact that it was done on a player’s first goal just ups the stimulation.


6. Wyalusing blanks Juniata Christian for district win (girls’ soccer)

 - It big win for the Rams, who were coming off their best season in school history. This was their first district win against a non-NTL team, practically on the road, and sent them to the district semifinals.


5. Troy nips Williamson in five for district win (volleyball)

- After losing to the Warriors 3-0 in the regular season the Trojans held on to beat them, 3-2, to reach the district semifinals. There are fewer exciting moments then a 5-set, district playoff win.


4. Jack Wheaton’s kick sends Towanda past Wellsboro (football)

- This game had just about everything, including the game winning kick in overtime. Back and forth all night long, it’s one that will be remembered for ages.


3. Towanda edges Troy at Mt. Pisgah for NTL title (boys’ cross-country)

- Eight seconds separated Towanda and Troy for the NTL, Division-I title. Due to the nature of the course, most of the onlookers were waiting on pins and needles until the runners final showed themselves for the final 300 meters.


2. Wyalusing rallies to claim the Bronze Helmet (football)

- The Rams rallied from a two score deficit to get back the Bronze Helmet. They turned a late turnover into a go ahead score, then held on when Towanda’s last second field goal just missed. Finishes don’t get much closer than that.


1. NEB shocks NPL for first ever district title (volleyball)

- The Panthers had lost to NPL 3-0 during the regular season, but pulled out a 3-1 win over the defending district champions to claim NEB’s first ever district title for the program. They had to rally in two of their sets, then held off a late NPL charge in their clinching set for the victory.

Notables: Troy blanks Canton claim NTL title, win back Old Shoe...Wyalusing's Nick Salsman nearly rallies to make states on second day of district gol


TOP STORYLINES

7. Wyalusing turns things around on the gridiron (football)

- The Rams were coming off back to back 2-8 seasons and didn’t appear to have much going for them. But they were able to clinch their first winning season since 2010, and bring back the Bronze Helmet. Mostly, though, this season gave them hope.


6. Canton keeps string of strong seasons going (football)

- Losing 13 seniors is tough for any program, and it looked like Canton’s run of success was coming to an end. This year’s young team proved that wrong, winning their first eight games before falling to three straight state ranked opponents to end the season.


5. Wyalusing has season for the ages (girls’ soccer)

- The Rams saw their first 100 goal scorer in Olivia Haley, broke their season record for victories (14), and reached the district semifinals for the second season in a row. While they lost to the eventual top seed, Meadowbrook Christian, it still showed that the Rams are continuing to build their program.


4. Troy 4-peat for NTL title (girls’ soccer)

- Despite losing several key seniors the Trojans never wavered in their pursuit for their fourth straight league title. Their only blemish in the NTL was a tie with Williamson as they swept league powers Athens and Wyalusing for the first time during that stretch.


3. NEB cross-country repeats at D4 champs (cross-country)

- Both NEB teams proved hit the expectations they set for themselves this year. They swept the NTL, both easily won district titles, and both teams finished in the top seven at states. Its hard to have a better season than that.


2. NEB historic season (volleyball)

- The Panthers had a laundry list of accomplishments in their record breaking season - claiming their first two titles (NTL and district), Gabby Susanj being their first setter to reach 1,000 assists, and winning the most matches (19) in school history. 


1. Troy’s march through NTL to D4 final (football)

Few teams have put together a year as dominant as Troy football did, winning their first 12 contests by mercy rule. They blew the NTL for their first title since 2019, and gave defending state champions, Southern Columbia, all they could handle in the title game.

Notables: Towanda winning NTL titles (boys’ cross-country)…Troy taking second at districts (boys’ cross-country)…Troy makes run to district semifinals (volleyball)…Wyalusing second on the links (golf)…Towanda has winning season (football)


TOP COACHES

7. Mike Maurer (Towanda)

- Maurer led Towanda boys to an NTL title, and a second place finish at the NTL Coaches’ Invitational. Though they came up short at the District IV Championships, it was a still a banner worthy season.


6. Tyler Sechrist (Canton)

- It was the day after tomorrow for Canton football, but the Warriors continued their excellence on the gridiron despite losing 13 seniors. Sechrist and his staff showed that they can keep the legacy of winning going despite graduation losses.


5. Wayne Pratt (Troy)

- Despite losing key seniors Troy had an even better league season than last year. Led by Pratt and his staff, the Trojans claimed their fourth straight league title and have set themselves up for more next season.


4. Jimmy Smith (Troy)

- Few teams were as dominant as Troy was this year. Despite injuries the Trojan coaching staff made sure the team didn’t skip a beat as they went undefeated in the regular season, and reached the district final.


3. Adam Russell (NEB)

- NEB cross-country was a dominant as ever, sweeping the NTL and both claiming district titles as they etched their seasons into the thick book of Panther running excellence, all behind Russell and his staff’s coaching.


2. Rich Rogers (Wyalusing)

- Few teams had a turn around in one season as the Rams did, going from a 2-win team to 6-4, while being competitive in a couple of their losses. They got the Bronze Helmet back, a trophy many probably felt would be in Towanda for a while.


1. Vanessa Perez (NEB)

- Perez’s rebuild of NEB volleyball reached its zenith this past year with NTL and district titles. They had high expectations going into this season and exceeded them in every way possible.


Notables: Curtis Miller, Troy, Cross-country…Abby Herman, Troy, Volleyball…Gary Haley, Wyalusing, Girls’ Soccer


TOP NEWCOMERS

GIRLS

5. Karis Flynn (Towanda)

- Flynn became a key cornerstone for a young Towanda team as they tutored under senior setter Shay Greenland, while also providing attacking and defensive contributions.


4. Kylie Pickett (Wyalusing)

- Pickett proved to be one of the best young players in the NTL as she did it all for the Rams this year - setting, hitting, and defense.


3. Giana Renzi (Troy)

- Renzi was key to Troy’s success with her midfield and forward play. Her contributions in the midfield were especially key as that was where Troy lost most of their starters.


2. Brooklyn Evans (Towanda)

- Evans developed into a force at the net, securing the second most blocks in the NTL and also providing some key hitting from the middle hitter position.


1. Izzy Larson (Towanda)

- Larson had one of the best seasons a freshman can have in the NTL, being a league all-stars and earning a state berth. Unfortunately, her season was cut short due to injury.

Notables: Alysha Botts, Wyalusing, Soccer, Cross-country…Vayda Rought, Wyalusing, Soccer…Kiera Robinson, Towanda, Soccer…Cailyn VanNoy, Canton, Volleyball


BOYS

5. Gavin Lykon (Troy)

- Lykon showed himself to be one of the best young players in the NTL, doing whatever the Trojans needed. His four goals showed his potential for the future.


4. Evan Geer (Troy)

- The first year cross-country runner was a model of consistency for the Trojans, having his best races at the end of the season.


3. JB Burbage (Troy)

- Stepping into the starting linebacker’s role Burbage led the Trojan defense in tackles, and was a particular menace in clogging up running lanes.


2. Graham Welles (Towanda)

- Welles was an NTL all-star, and qualified for district play with his average, a rarity for freshmen in the sport of golf. He’s part of a new youth movement for the Knights on the links.


1. Ben Fitch (Canton)

- Fitch took over the quarterback role for Canton and ran with it - literally. He led the team in rushing, while also throwing, too, to help the Warriors to an 8-2 season.

Notables: Camden Coyle, Troy, Football…Carson Glantz, Towanda, Soccer…Dan Barrett, NEB, Soccer…Eason Teribury, Troy, Football…Aydin Holcomb, Canton, Football


TOP ATHLETES

GIRLS

7. Megan King (Wyalusing)

- King came on strong at the end of the season, taking third at districts, and just missing a state medal by a couple seconds.


6. Abby O’Connor (NEB)

- O’Connor was one of the best middle hitters in the league with her combination of high kill percentage and defense, giving the Panthers an element that was tough to counter.


5. Emma Neuber (NEB)

- Neuber did it all for the Panthers - hitting, serving, defense - and proved to be one of their most consistent performers during the season.


4. Anna Dunn (Towanda)

- Dunn had a season for the ages, netting 45 goals to carry the Knights back to the postseason for the first time in three years. 


3. Gracelyn Laudermilch (NEB)

- Laudermilch repeated as NTL Runner of the Year, and scored her first district title and state cross-country medal, to boot, a pretty good haul for the junior.


2. Olivia Haley (Wyalusing)

- Haley’s 37 goals and 10 assists led the Rams to their best season in program history, and she helped the football team turn things around as their kicker, where she hit 16 extra points. Her presence against Athens proved to be the difference in the 2-point win for the Rams.


1. Alexis McRoberts (Canton/Troy) 

- McRoberts power the Trojans to another league title, with her strong defense and powerful leg, which was feared by everybody during free kicks. She used that leg to help the Canton football team as a kicker, going 32-for-40 on extra points and hitting a crucial field goal in their playoff game against South Williamsport.

Notables: Addi Parker, Troy, Soccer…Saydi Renzo, Troy, Soccer…Melanie Shumway, NEB, Soccer…Aryana Andrus, Troy, Volleyball…Kali Ayres, Troy, Volleyball…Gabby Susanj, NEB, Volleyball…Izzy Larson, Towanda, Cross-country…


BOYS

7. Josh Stanton (NEB)

- Stanton led the NTL in scoring for boys’ soccer, and was a cornerstone to the Panthers’ success on the pitch this season.


6. Jed Feldmeier (Troy)

- Feldmeier anchored another feared Trojan line, one that ran for over 3,000 yards on offense, and had over 4,000 yards of total offense.


5. Hudson Ward (Canton)

- Ward finished with 150 tackles this season, easily the highest in the NTL. He also had a nose for the ball with seven fumble recoveries.


4. Ayden Hunsinger (Wyalusing)

- Hunsinger was a consistent and dependable 2-way player for the Rams. He ran for 1,000 yards and led the team in tackles on defense as one of the most important players in their turnaround.


3. Creed Dewing (NEB)

- Dewing earned his first NTL Runner of the Year trophy, along with repeating as a district champion. He also claimed his third career state medal this season as he led NEB to league and district team titles.


2. Riley Vanderpool (Towanda)

- Vanderpool had one of the best individual seasons in recent Towanda history. He amassed over 2,000 total yards between the ground and air, and had 77 tackles from the safety position. Few did more to give their teams a chance to win week in and week out.


1. Evan Woodward (Troy)

- Woodward turned into the best quarterback in the league, throwing for over 1,000 yards and posting an efficiency rating of 144. He was also a key member of their vaunted defensive backfield, one of the best in the district.

Notables: Varrius Farrell, Towanda, Football…Michael Davis, Canton, Football…Eli Stanton, NEB, Soccer…Jack Tavani, Towanda, Cross-country…Nick Salsman, Wyalusing, Golf…Trennan Tewksbury, Wyalusing, Cross-country…Jack Wheaton, Towanda, Football/Soccer…Brady Spalding, Troy, Football/Soccer


A LOOK AHEAD

FOOTBALL

Troy football may still be feeling that sting of losing the title game to Southern Columbia - who reached another state title - but they are well stocked to get back to the game next year. They return most of their starters, including Woodward, and their JVs had another top notch season…Canton will say good-bye to stalwarts Hudson Ward and Michael Davis, but only lose a few seniors, meaning they should return plenty of players with winning varsity experience next season…Wyalusing took a big leap this year, with their nine seniors a big part of that. The cupboard isn’t bare, particularly in the trenches, though they may need to fill out their skill position ranks…Few teams return as many starters on both sides of the ball as Towanda does, including Vanderpool. They are positioning themselves to be good for a very long time.


GIRLS’ SOCCER

Troy will once again say good-bye to some key seniors, including goal scorer Addi Parker, but they have another bumper crop of junior high players coming up, meaning they’ll be reloading again instead of rebuilding…Wyalusing will say good-bye to the best player in school history in Olivia Haley, but plenty of underclassmen saw the field this season as they try to keep their newfound program success going…It was a bounce back year for Towanda behind Anna Dunn’s goal scoring prowess. She returns, but they lose key seniors in midfield and defensive positions, meaning they’ll need to plug some holes to keep things going in 2024…It was a rebuilding year for the young NEB squad. They lose stalwart Mel Shumway, but bring back much of their team, and will look to take the next step in 2024.


BOYS’ SOCCER

It wasn’t quite the year NEB wanted as they say good-bye to a senior class that were key players for the last four years. They return plenty of players with experience, but they’ll be asked to do more next season in order for them to have success…While their record didn’t show it Towanda proved to be more competitive this year than in recent seasons. They return a strong junior class next year as they look to turn some of those close losses into wins…Troy found their stride late in the season. Though they say good-bye to a high number of seniors they hope to keep their late season momentum going into 2024.


VOLLEYBALL

There isn’t much higher NEB can go in 2024, but they return five starters - though they need a new setter - and will be the favorites to win the league and district again…Few teams are as well positioned to make a run next year as Troy, who lose just one starter from a team that made the district semifinals. They should be one of the favorites in the league and district…It was a rebuilding year for Towanda, but after losing just one senior they should be position to be a district qualifier - if not better - next year…Canton was in the same boat as Towanda, rebuilding after the loss of a strong senior class. They’ll look to challenge NEB in the league and district in 2024…Rebuilding was a theme across the NTL, and Wyalusing was the biggest rebuild. However, they showed their potential, at times, and should look to take a big step in 2024.


CROSS-COUNTRY

Few teams had the dual season NEB boys and girls had in 2023. Both teams are well positioned to repeat as league champs in 2024, though the girls will find a tough competitor in Warrior Run come district time…The Towanda boys are well positioned to repeat as league champs in 2024, but will now join the girls in Class AA at districts, making a return trip to states that much harder…The Troy boys return everybody and should be challenging Towanda for the league title. At districts, though, the Trojans will move up to Class AA, while the Lady Trojans stay down in Class A…It was a rebuilding for both Wyalusing teams, though the girls nearly took second at districts. The girls, led by Megan King, should be in position for the second place spot at districts again, while the boys will have a youth movement to try and improve…The Canton boys saw Lawrence Halbfoerster punch his ticket to states as they look to rebuild as a team. The girls will be looking to increase their numbers in 2024.


GOLF

Wyalusing will say good-bye to stalwart Nick Salsman, but have plenty of depth to try and compete for a league title next season - they’ll just need a few players to step up…Towanda’s youth movement will hit high gear next year behind Graham Welles as they look to climb the NTL ladder.


GIRLS’ TENNIS

Towanda nearly pulled out a league title this season, and just missed team districts. They say good-bye to four key seniors, but their number one, Lainey Alderfer, returns, and they should be competitive in the league once again.



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