September 8, 2021 Tim Birney

WAVERLY — After 25 minutes of scoreless action, Waverly blew the game open with four goals in the final 15 minutes of the first half en route to a 7-1 win over Odessa-Montour here Wednesday night in IAC girls soccer action at Memorial Stadium.

“We had a quiet, but quick start today,” said Waverly coach Tara Hogan. “The first-game jitters were there, but we quickly worked on putting pressure on every ball. The whole team worked very well with getting to the ball quickly and forcing turnovers.

“O-M’s keeper (Keyonna Garrison) was fantastic, so we had to really work for our goals.  

“Lea VanAllen got to work in the first half with a hard-earned hat trick,” noted Hogan. “She has been putting in extra time with her club team to work on her shot, and it already has paid off.”

VanAllen’s first two goals — with 15 and seven minutes remaining in the half — were unassisted. Eighth-grader Claire Clonch set up VanAllen’s third goal with 3 minutes left before intermission.

Just two minutes later, Clonch scored her first varsity goal to give the Lady Wolverines a 4-0 lead. Kennedy Westbrook was credited with an assist.

Kiley Stillman, off another assist from Kennedy Westbrook, scored her first varsity goal just two minutes into the second half to make it 5-0.

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September 7, 2021 Tim Birney

WATKINS GLEN — The Waverly boys, led by runner-up senior Nate Ackley, opened the 2021 season with a 3-1 mark here Tuesday afternoon in IAC cross country action, while freshman Harper Minaker led the incomplete Lady Wolverines with a second-place finish in the five-team meet.

The Wolverines notched wins over Notre Dame, Watkins Glen and Groton, but lost to powerhouse Lansing.

Ackley finished second in a time of 18:36.9 in the field of 32 runners, while Gavin Schillmoeller was seventh in 20:27.47, Sam VanDyke was 13th in 21:52.8, Matt Atanasoff was 15th in 22:14.9, and Brayden Hurd was 24th in 27:08.99.

Minaker clocked in at 21.37 in the field of 17 runners, while Olivia Nittinger placed eighth in 24:49, Elizabeth Vaughn was 12th in 25:04, and Ally Barrett was 16th in 32:26.

Waverly returns to action Saturday morning at the Notre Dame Invitational.

Chase Hine finished second for the Waverly modified team, clocking in at 9:50.05, and Lauren Gorsline was the second girl to cross the finish line (eighth overall) in a time of 10:57.05.

Finn Williams placed ninth in 11:26.07, while Taylor Sinsabaugh was 14th in 14:12.03, Sophie Williams was 16th in 14:59.82, and Mark Myers was 27th in 15:01.3.

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September 7, 2021 Tim Birney

ODESSA — Waverly fended off a pesky O-M squad, and pulled out a season-opening sweep here Tuesday night in IAC volleyball action.

The Lady Wolverines posted wins of 25-14, 25-21, and 25-19.

“The team played well tonight,” said Waverly coach Charity Meyers. “During the second (set), O-M started getting scrappy.

“We did well with serving and got better with serve / receive as the match went on.

“We kept a good attitude and finished the game with a win,” added Meyers.

Eighth-grader Brilynn Bellis led Waverly with 12 service points, including six aces, and two digs, while junior Michaela Lauper had eight points, including five aces, 10 setter assists, and six digs, and sophomore Peyton Shaw had four points (two aces), six kills, and one block.

Senior Sydney Nierstedt had three points (two aces) and a team-high seven kills in the win, while sophomore Paighten Streeter had three points, three digs, and two kills, freshman Lillie Kirk registered four kills and four digs, sophomore Mia Bakley recorded eight digs, and senior Derek Bartlett chipped in with three kills.

Waverly (1-0) returns to action Tuesday when it hosts SVEC.

JV: Waverly cruised to a sweep of O-M, winning by scores of 25-13 and 25-12.

Maddie Farnham led Waverly with 11 points, including 10 aces, while Meghan Apgar had nine points — all aces — and five digs, Maddy Olmsted had nine points (eight aces) and eight assists, and Ashlen Croft had seven points — all aces — and two kills.

Natalie Lauper had four points (four aces) and two digs in the win, while Lainey Teeter had four points (three aces), Lauryn DeLill registered three kills, and Makena Pike chipped in with two points (two aces).

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September 7, 2021 Tim Birney

WAVERLY — SVEC scored three second-half goals to break open a tie game in a 4-1 win over Waverly here Tuesday night in IAC South Large School Division boys soccer action.

“I was very pleased with our work rate and organization in the first half,” said Waverly coach Eric Ryck. “We were able to create some really good opportunities, and Griff (Schillmoeller) was able to put us up early. 

“Unfortunately, (SVEC’s) midfield was really skilled and forced us to work very hard in the center of the park,” noted Ryck. “This wore us down, and we had some trouble keeping organized.

“When we created opportunities they ended up being very direct and we need to get better at getting the ball in the air and playing it at angles for our players to run on. 

“All in all, there were a lot of good takeaways, and some good stuff for us to get working on,” added Ryck. “There’s a lot of soccer left to play, and I am looking forward to watching these boys grow together through the season.”

Schillmoeller gave the Wolverines the lead early, but Jacob Banks scored his first of three goals to tie the game at 1-1, which it where it stood the intermission.

Banks scored two more goals in the second half, sandwiched around a goal by Zeb Soper — off an assist from Banks.

SVEC had an 8-3 advantage in shots-on-goal. Both teams had one corner kick.

Senior Cameron McIsaac recorded five saves in net for the Wolverines, while Kody Gobel had four saves for the Eagles.

Waverly returns to action Thursday night at Notre Dame.

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September 3, 2021 Tim Birney

WAVERLY — Waverly coach Jason Miller took a gamble defensively, and it paid big-time dividends in a season-opening 31-7 win over Section III’s East Syracuse Minoa here Friday night in non-league football action at Memorial Stadium.

Miller’s defense pitched a shutout. ESM’s lone score of the game with a 78-yard kick return by El Rahkhem in the second quarter.

“This is the first time since in the nearly 20 years that (defensive coordinator) David (Shaw) and I have been together that we’ve played man-to-man coverage,” said Miller. “It’s the first time in a game ever, that we’ve played man-to-man, with two safeties behind, in what we call Cover-5.

“Man, it worked pretty good,” laughed Miller.

“It worked pretty good against this kind of offense. If we do that against a Section IV running teams, it ain’t working.

“We mixed up our coverages, too,” noted Miller. “We gave the same look, and played some zone; that’s difficult to read. When you’re bringing three, and covering with eight, that’s a quarterback’s nightmare.

“I think we surprised them with it. I don’t think they were ready for it,” added Miller. :I think they thought they were going to see a 4-4 Cover-3, and that’s not what we did.”

The Wolverine defense held the Spartans to 219 yards in total offense — 129 rushing yards on 28 carries, and just 90 yards through the air.

“The big difference in this game was us having five men in the box, making it difficult for them to throw, and their inability to run the football despite us having just five in the box,” said Miller. “I would have never thought that would happen, but it was a risk we took.

“Our inside backers (Cayden Turcsik and D.J. Shaw) played great, Ty Beeman played great, Tyler (Talada) and Jake (Benjamin) played great on the outside, did a great job containing it,” he noted.

“And having those two (Joey Tomasso and Jay Pipher) in the back is a safety net for the defense,” added Miller.

Offensively, sophomore Joey Tomasso completed 17 of his 34 pass attempts for 279 yards and two TDs, with sophomore Jay Pipher hauling in six catches for 161 yards and one TD.

Miller was impressed with Tomasso’s decision-making in the win, and by the play of Pipher.

“We talked about getting rid of the ball quickly because of the way (ESM) brings pressure, and with how athletic they are off the edge.

“It was something we emphasized to Joey … we told him he had 1.75 second to get rid of the football.

“Joey did a great job. He kept his composure and threw catchable balls, and we made some great plays.

“(Pipher) just made great plays. There were a couple times, he broke them down, and got behind the defender, but for the most part, he just made great plays, and great catches,” added Miller.

Senior Brady Blauvelt recorded five catches for 62 yards, and senior Tyler Talada added four receptions for 34 yards and one TD.

Tomasso was not sacked despite dropping back to pass more than 35 times.

“I thought we did a really good job protecting Joey,” said Miller. “(ESM) typically brought six, and we were able to pick it up. A couple times they got away, and pressured him or hit him after the throw, but (Joey Tomasso) has great feet. He’s elusive, a lot more elusive than he looks.

“(ESM) did do a great job bottling him up in our quarterback counter game,” added Miller. “They matched up with him man-to-man, and we got nothing out of that.”

Sophomore Gage Tedesco led the Waverly ground game with 68 yards and one TD on 16 carries, while Pipher added 39 yards on five carries, and Tomasso added a rushing TD.

Miller said a big factor in the win was Waverly’s conditioning.

“(ESM) got a little tired,” he said. “They were just not as conditioned as we were. That’s always a factor in these Week Zero, Week 1 games … if you look back at some of the wins we have in the first week of the season, we are in better condition.

“It goes back to our conditioning program that started in June with Eric Ryck running our conditioning,” Miller added. “We had 40 guys here doing a well-organized conditioning program, three nights a week, and that makes a huge difference.”

Another factor were the penalties. ESM was flagged 19 times of 179 yards, while Waverly had nine penalties for 79 yards.

The Wolverines opened the game with a bit of trickery, as junior kicker Ryan Clark recovered an onside kick after it ricocheted off the face mask of an ESM player, give Waverly the ball at it own 44 to start the game.

A 12-yard run by Pipher on a jet sweep, and a 31-yard complete from Tomasso to Pipher quickly moved the ball to the Spartan 25, but the drive stalled there.

The teams exchanged possession, with Waverly taking over on downs at its own 28 with 2:35 remaining in the first quarter.

After a first down on a 9-yard completion from Tomasso to Blauvelt, the Wolverines used a pass interference call against the Spartans to move into ESM territory.

On the next play, Pipher hauled in a 28-yard completion to give Waverly first-and-goal at the 10.

Pipher nearly scored on the next play, but was driven out-of-bounds at the ESM 1. The Spartans stiffened, and Clark’s 19-yard field goal gave Waverly a 3-0 lead with 10:24 remaining in the first half.

After an exchange of fumbles, ESM turned the ball over on downs at the Waverly 37, and the Wolverines needed just four plays to march 63 yards to take a 10-0 lead.

On second-and-10, Tomasso connected with Pipher for a 34-yard gain to the ESM 29. Two plays later, Tedesco broke loose off tackle and raced 25 yards untouched for a score. Clark’s PAT made it 10-0 with 4:02 remaining in the half.

Moments later, Rahkhem broke through the middle of the Waverly kick coverage team and raced 78 yards for a TD. Tyler Bell’s PAT kick trimmed the deficit to 10-7 with 3:50 left in the half.

The Wolverines took the ensuing kickoff and march into ESM territory. They seemed poised to score after a 29-yard pass from Tomasso to Pipher put them in a first-and-goal situation at the Spartan 3.

At that point, the wheels fell off. A holding call while Tomasso was scrambling and trying to find a receiver pushed the ball back to the 20, and Kayleb Bechy was dropped for an 8-yard loss on a jet sweep. The possession ended when Tedesco was decked for a 3-yard loss at the ESM 33.

Waverly, which won the coin toss and deferred to the second half, took the third-quarter kickoff and marched 55 yards on seven plays to take a 17-7 lead.

Junior Nate DeLill returned the kick 14 yards to the Waverly 45 to put the Wolverines in prime field position.

On the second play of the possession, Tomasso hooked up with Blauvelt on a 31-yard pass to the ESM 20.

Senior Kaden Wheeler gave the Wolverines a first-and-goal at the 6 with a 10-yard run, and Tomasso capped the drive with a 2-yard scoring run, breaking a tackle at the line-of-scrimmage in the process.

Clark’s PAT kick made it 17-7 with 9:06 left in the third quarter.

ESM quickly found itself in Waverly territory, at the 35, on its next possession, but a pair of penalties bogged down the drive, and the Wolverines at its own 6 following a 38-yard punt by Bell.

Waverly was forced to punt after a three-play possession, and ESM had good field position at the Waverly 29, following an 11-yard return by Rahkhem.

The Spartans moved to the Waverly 13, but a bad shotgun snap resulted in a 14-yard loss, and they ended up turning the ball over on downs at the Wolverine 15.

Ten plays later, Pipher made a one-handed grab of a Tomasso pass for a 30-yard TD to make it 24-7.

Early in the drive, Tomasso connected with Blauvelt for 10 yards on a third-and-10 play. Later in the possession, DeLill hauled in a 19-yard reception while falling flat on his back, securing the catch after he was already on the ground.

Clark’s PAT kick made it 24-7 with 10:54 remaining in the game.

Waverly finished off the scoring with a 7-yard TD pass from Tomasso to Talada with 1:04 left in the game. It capped a 13-play, 95-yard drive that included three pass interference, one defensive holding, and one encroachment call against the Spartans, and two penalties against the Wolverines.

Bell completed 9 of 15 passes for 90 yards for ESM, including four for 34 yards to Rahkhem. Jackson Palumb led the ESM ground game with 44 yards on 14 carries, and Bell added 27 yards on seven carries.

Miller is pleased with his team’s progression throughout the preseason, following a 1-4 spring season.

“We’re in a different place than we were in the spring, and that’s quite obvious,” he said. “This was just a great team effort.

“I’m really pleased with how our under classmen helped us prepare for this game,” noted Miller. “We had a great two weeks of practice, and it showed on the field tonight.

“This is a good win,” added Miller. “ESM is one of the best Class A teams in Section III.”

Waverly returns to action Friday when it hosts Owego.

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September 3, 2021 Tim Birney

WAVERLY — On a weekend usually reserved for scrimmages, Waverly will open the 2021 regular season against Section III’s East Syracuse Minoa, a Class A program, here tonight at Memorial Stadium. Game time is 6 p.m.

The Wolverines are one of just two Section IV schools (Norwich is the other) to take advantage of “Week Zero.”

So why is longtime Waverly coach Jason Miller, who is also the winningest coach in school history with 101 victories, playing a “Week Zero” game when nearly no one else is?

“Why not?” said Miller. “I can’t imagine having an opportunity, especially after last year and playing in the spring, to play a game in Week Zero, and not do it.

“Why wouldn’t you play a game when you can play a game. It’s beyond me, and we’re one of only two teams in the Section playing,” noted Miller. “What are you waiting for? How do you know if in Week 2, everything is not going to get shut down.

“I know there has been an incredible sense of urgency in the past seven days to prepare to play a game,” continued Miller. “Practice tempo has been great. Mentality has been great, There are people flying around.

“There is usually an incredible lull in week 2 of a three-week camp going into the first game, and we haven’t had it.

“It’s forced us as a coaching staff to be much more prepared, and to have guys ready for special teams, and everything else.

“Could it be ugly? Yes,” said Miller. “Parts of the game could look like a scrimmage, and be really bad, but these kids have worked hard not to be in that situation.

“I can’t imagine ever, unless I have a modified team playing varsity, where this wouldn’t be the right thing to do,” added Miller. “This Week Zero game is enormous. We’ll have a game under our belt going in against a team that doesn’t have a game. If I was them, I’d be concerned.”

The Wolverines are coming off a 1-4 season in 2020, while the Spartans were 3-2.

“On paper, you see a lot of athletes on our offense, but there’s really not enough experience,” said Miller. “You look at ESM’s roster, and it’s a veteran team with almost 20 seniors.”


“We’re going to see a spread team, with a good quarterback, athletes everywhere on the field, and a massive line,” said Miller. “On paper, it doesn’t look good. They are big up front, and their athletes are very fast.

“We’re looking at some challenges offensively with what they do,” he noted. “Are we prepared for their speed? I don’t know. Without a scrimmage it’s tough to gauge.

“My concern is, at practice we can’t replicate that. We cannot practice against that, so I think there’s going to be an incredible shock the first few plays for our guys seeing how fast they are,” added Miller. “We can replicate their formations and make sure we’re lined up properly, but after the snap, I think there’s going to be a little bit of a shock.”


“ES-M will use their athletes to match-up against ours,” said Miller. “They play zero-coverage, and will bring six or seven guys. We only have six to protect with, so that’s an issue.

“We have got to find a way to get rid of the football because they are going to be pressuring Joe (Tomasso).

“We’re going to have to control the ball on offense, force ESM into mistakes on offense, and we’re going to have to be patient,” noted Miller.

“We’re going to have to understand their strategy is tough to deal with. We have to win the one-on-one match-ups. We have to find somebody, and it’s easier said than done. that we can beat one-on-one,” added Miller. “If we can do that, we can be successful. If we can’t do that, it’s going to be a long night offensively.”

Miller is relying on two things — preparation and special things — to give the Wolverines a chance to win.

“We’ve been successful against teams like this in Week 1 against city teams,” he said. “As a staff, are we more prepared than they are? Can we find their weaknesses?

“No disrespect to them because I know their staff, but I’m confident in our staff.

“And, special teams have been critical for us,” added Miller. “If we can hang (with ESM) in this game, I’m telling you it will be because of special teams.”


IN PHOTO: Waverly coach Jason Miller. … VSR STOCK PHOTO.

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September 2, 2021 Tim Birney

WAVERLY — Waverly struggled to find the net in the first half, but had no such troubles in the second half on its way to a season-opening, 7-0, win over Watkins Glen here Wednesday night in IAC boys soccer action at Memorial Stadium.

Junior Sheldon Huddleston put the Wolverines on the board late in the first half, and they went to the halftime intermission ahead, 1-0.

“I’m really pleased with our performance tonight,” said Waverly coach Eric Ryck. “Everybody stepped up to the occasion and the boys played very well together.

“We were putting a ton of pressure on the Senecas in the first half, but we were struggling to find the back of the net until Sheldon Huddleston got us on the board with a beautiful shot,” added Ryck.

Senior Brennan Traub netted a hat trick in the second half in a six-goal barrage.

“We really hit our stride in the second half,” said Ryck.

Sophomore Griff Schillmoeller added two goals in the win, and sophomore Charlie Larrabee netted one goal and had one assist.

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September 2, 2021 Tim Birney

WAVERLY — Waverly struggled to find the net in the first half, but had no such troubles in the second half on its way to a season-opening, 7-0, win over Watkins Glen here Wednesday night in IAC boys soccer action at Memorial Stadium.

Junior Sheldon Huddleston put the Wolverines on the board late in the first half, and they went to the halftime intermission ahead, 1-0.

“I’m really pleased with our performance tonight,” said Waverly coach Eric Ryck. “Everybody stepped up to the occasion and the boys played very well together.

“We were putting a ton of pressure on the Senecas in the first half, but we were struggling to find the back of the net until Sheldon Huddleston got us on the board with a beautiful shot,” added Ryck.

Senior Brennan Traub netted a hat trick in the second half in a six-goal barrage.

“We really hit our stride in the second half,” said Ryck.

Sophomore Griff Schillmoeller added two goals in the win, and sophomore Charlie Larrabee netted one goal and had one assist.

“Charlie Larrabee hit a beautiful left-footed shot that found the back of the net,” said Ryck.

Waverly had a 20-2 advantage in shots-on-goal, and held the Senecas without a shot in the second half. Waverly had a 5-0 edge in corner kicks.

“This was a great confidence boost for our squad as we get rolling into what I hope is a great season,” said Ryck.

Waverly returns to action Tuesday when it hosts SVEC at 7 p.m.



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September 1, 2021 Tim Birney

WAVERLY — Waverly returns a fair amount of experience in 2021, but the team as a whole remains young, says longtime coach Jason Miller, who expects his team to grow as the season progresses, and ultimately challenge for a division title, and a Section IV crown.

(Waverly opens the 2021 season tonight at home against East Syracuse-Minoa. Game time is 6 p.m.)

“The thing I love about being back in a normal situation is an expectation with enough talent that throughout the year, we’re going to grow,” he said.

Earlier this week, Whitney Point announced it will drop to 8-man football, forcing Section IV to shift Chenango Valley into Waverly’s division, along with O-M / Watkins Glen, and Dryden.

“Our division got tougher,” said Miller.

“Now, all of the sudden winning the division is really important,” he noted. “With Whitney Point dropping to 8-man, Chenango Valley comes over to our division, so that’s a critical game for us at home in Week 2.

“Our goal is to win our division, so that we’re the number one seed in our division, crossing over against the No. 2 seed in the other division in the semifinals, and not the 1-seed (Chenango Forks),” continued Miller.

“Our goal is to make the Section IV finals,” he added. “A lot will have to happen right for us throughout the season, but it is a realistic goal.”

Junior Ty Beeman returns to anchor the offensive line at center, and will be flanked by seniors Cayden Turcsik and D.J. Shaw at guards. Junior Zach Vanderpool and sophomore Jake Benjamin will start at the tackles.

Eighth-grader Troy Beeman will back-up all three positions on the line, while senior  Jake Forrest and sophomore Dylan Baggerly will back up at guard, and freshman Cam Hills is the back-up tackle.

Miller’s biggest concern with his offense is in the trenches.

“Our depth up front is our biggest concern by far,” he said. “Our first few guys are young, but solid.  They got a little game experience last year, and they’re going to develop throughout the year.

“Our back-ups and younger guys will have to come along; that’s major concern,” added Miller. “With this schedule, and starting off against large school that have a lot of linemen, that’s our weakness.”

Junior Nate DeLill will start at tight end / H-back, with senior Kaden Wheeler also seeing time there.

Sophomore Joey Tomasso will start at quarterback, and sophomores Gage Tedesco and Braedon Hills will share time at tailback.

Seniors Brady Blauvelt and Tyler Talada will start at the X-receivers, with juniors Isaiah Bretz and Treyton Moore both seeing time there as well.

Sophomore Jay Pipher will start at slotback, with  junior Kayleb Bechy and senior Thomas Hand also seeing time there.

“We’re young. If you look at our roster, especially the guys on offense, we’re young — a lot of freshmen and sophomores,” said Miller. “Our goal is to get better every week.

“We have a lot of depth in the skill positions, though, and that’s one area where we’re good,” noted Miller. “We use multiple-personnel sets, and no matter what personnel grouping we’re in, we’re deep.

“We’re a little inexperience at tailback,” he continued. “Gage (Tedesco) was out last year, and Braden Hills is coming back after not playing last year.

“Both are pretty talented kids, though,” added Miller. “They run hard, and as they get use to this level of football, they’re going to develop into pretty good players.”

Cam Hills and Ty Beeman will anchor the defensive line at the tackle spots, with Vanderpool, Troy Beeman, and Forrest in the mix to see time. Benjamin and Talada will start at defensive ends.

Shaw and Turcsik will start at inside linebacker, with Baggerly and Ty Beeman rotating in, and junior Conner Stotler also in the mix.

Tedesco and Bretz will start at outside linebacker, with Wheeler and Moore backing them up.

Pipher and Tomasso will start at safety, with Hand, Bechy, and Blauvelt rotating at corner back.

“I don’t have a major concern on defense,” said Miller. “We play some teams that can really run the ball, and that could be an issue, but we have a lot more experience on the defensive side of the ball than on offense.

“Most of  our guys are hitters, and like contact, so I feel pretty good about our defense,” he noted. “We don’t have great team speed … it’s a typical defense for us.

“It will come down to assignments early in the year, and that’s always an issue for us. We will get game experience, and we’ll get better every game.

“I feel good about our defense. I think they’re going to fly around, and I think they’re going to play hard, and that’s what you ask of them,” added Miller.

On special teams, Ty Beeman will serve as long-snapper, with Tomasso handling the punting chores, and junior Ryan Clark will handle the place-kicking duties.

“(Ryan Clark) does a great job, and has a strong leg,” said Miller. “He has embraced the role of kicker. He works on it, and has a lot of different types of kicks.”

Hand, Bechy and Stotler will return kicks for the Wolverines, and Pipher and Tomasso will handle the punt return chores.

“I have a lot of respect for (O-M /) Watkins Glen, I think they are going to be a very good football team,” said Miller.

“I don’t know anything about Chenango Valley, but Chenango Valley is Chenango Valley, and they’ve always been a thorn in our side,” noted Miller.

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July 15, 2021 Tim Birney

SYRACUSE — Waverly grad Gabby Picco was recently received second-team Class B all-state recognition for the 2021 spring season, as selected by the New York State Sportswriters and Coaches Organization for Girls Sports.

Selections were edited by Perry Novak, president and founder of NYSSCOGS. Four of the five classes in New York had first-team and second-team selections. Class D included only a first team.

Picco, a polished all-around player with a sky-high soccer IQ, “consistently controlled the midfield and made all her teammates better.”

In her five seasons on varsity, PIcco played nearly every position on the field.

This season, she scored six goals and had one assist to give her 60 goals and 39 assists in her career.

In the fall, Picco will play Division 1 soccer at LaSalle.

The Section 4 first-team selections both played for Oneonta: senior forward Hannah Johnson and senior midfielder Anika Buzzy.

Second-team all-state honors also went to Chenango Valley senior midfielder Kerri Hayes, and Norwich senior midfielder Sydney Coggins.

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June 22, 2021 Tim Birney

WAVERLY — It was a clean sweep in 2020-21 as Waverly athletes were crowned the top female and male three-sport athletes in the Valley.

Senior Gabby Picco was announced as the Valley Principal’s Award winner Tuesday night at the annual Waverly All-Sports Banquet, while her classmate Collin Wright was announced as the Gary Forbes Memorial Award Winner.

Picco, who is in the Top 10 in her class and a member of the National Honor Society,  earned five letters for varsity soccer, and four for golf.

She is a two-time all-state performer on the soccer pitch — third-team as a sophomore, and fourth-team as a junior. (There were no all-state teams compiled this year.)

On the links, she a four-time state qualifier, and a four-time team Section IV champion. She also defied the odds (67 million-to-1), and holds a state record for two holes-in-one in the same round.

As a senior, Picco switched from golf to track & field, and earned a pair of Section IV medals for the Lady Wolverines.

She also won the 2020-21 All-State Heisman High School Scholarship Award.

In the fall, Picco will play Division I soccer at LaSalle, where she will major in business.

Wright,  who is Top Ten in his class and a member of the National Honor Society, holds the school record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase,  and the 3,200-meter run for both indoor and outdoor track programs.

Wright is a three-time qualifier for the New York State Cross Country Championships, and a state qualifier as a sophomore in the steeplechase. (His final two seasons to duplicate the feat were wiped out by the Covid-19 pandemic — no season in 2020, and no postseason in 2021.)

In the fall, Wright will attend Binghamton University to major in Biology on the pre-Med track.

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June 16, 2021 Tim Birney

WAVERLY — Waverly landed two players on the IAC South Large School Divisional all-star team, and three more on the honorable mention list in recent voting by the division’s coaches.

Junior Aubrey Ennis and freshman Olivia Robinson earned first-team honors, while senior Alyssa Sindoni and Sidney Tomasso, and junior Bella Romano received honorable mention recognition.

Aubrey Ennis, junior, catcher, Waverly:
A powerhouse at the plate, Ennis led the Wolverines in nearly every category at the plate. She hit a team-leading .475, and led the team with 29 hits (61 at-bats), seven doubles, five home runs, 24 RBI, an .836 on-base percentage, and a 1.385 OPS. She also scored 18 runs and stole two bases.

Olivia Robinson, freshman, outfield, Waverly: Fast hands and a quick bat, Robinson hit line drives for the Lady Wolverines from Day 1 of her varsity season. She was second on the with a .379 average (22 hits in 58 ABs), with three doubles, one triple, eight RBI, two stolen bases, and 19 runs scored. She also walked seven times, was hit by pitches six times, and had a .493 on-base percentage.

Other players to receive first-team divisional honors were: Olivia Switzer, Lawson Bigelow, Ava Mustico, and Shannon Maloney — Notre Dame; Gabby Milazzo, Payton Littlefield, Sidney Cooper, and Leah Austin-Whittaker — Thomas A. Edison; Allie Wandell and Brianna Beebe — Newark Valley.

Alyssa Sindoni, senior, second base, Waverly:
A good glove at second base, Sindoni hit .283 (16 hits in 56 ABs) with three doubles, 14 runs scored, and three stolen bases. She was second on the team with 17 RBI. She drew 12 walks, and had an on-base percentage of .412.

Sidney Tomasso, senior, shortstop, Waverly:
In her only season of varsity softball, Tomasso enjoyed a good all-around season. She hit .338 (24 hits in 71 ABs) with three doubles, and eight RBI. She led the team with three triples, 24 runs scored, and six stolen bases.

Bella Romano, junior, third base, Waverly: A very good defensive third baseman, Romano hit .350 (21 hits in 60 ABs) with five doubles, 15 RBI, seven runs scored, and three stolen bases.

Other players to receive honorable mention recognition were: Payton Miller, Ana Milazzo, and Ellie Mustico; Bailey Mahwir and Mallory Mowchan — Thomas A. Edison; Haley Beebe — Newark Valley.

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June 12, 2021 Tim Birney

MARATHON — Senior Caden Wheeler won a gold medal, and his classmate Collin Wright won a bronze here Saturday to lead a strong Waverly effort at the Section IV Track & Field Showcase, which featured athletes from nearly every school — 499 in all, regardless of size.

In all, the Wolverines won six medals — three by the boys team and three by the girls team.

Wheeler won two medals, including one on a relay, while senior Gabby Picco, junior Abby Knolles, and sophomore Kennedy Westbrook were all part of two medal-winning relays for the Lady Wolverines.

Wheeler won the long jump with a personal-best 21-feet, 1-inch, but noted he didn’t quite meet his goal.

“It’s a good feeling to win,” said Wheeler. “I didn’t quite get the results I was looking for in terms of distance and overall performance, but I’m happy.”

Wheeler said he had his sights set on the school record of 22-feet, 1-inch.

“I’m not exactly sure what happened, maybe it was the weather,” said Wheeler. “I just don’t put it all together.

“My first and fourth jumps were the only ones marked, I faulted the other four times,” added Chandler. “I believe one of the ones I faulted on may have been it.”

Chandler was pleased to have the opportunity to compete.

“It was good to have a season,” he said. “Last season got cut, so it made us worry we wouldn’t have a season. Just to be out here, even with a short season, was nice.”

Wright finished third in the 1,600-meter run in a time of 4:41.4.

“I felt great,” said Wright. “I feel like I ended on the right note for my career.

“I wanted to PR and cut down my time a little bit, and I definitely did that,” added Wright, who knocked more than two seconds off his previous-best time.

Wright ran in third of fourth place for the first two laps, but dropped to fifth early in the third lap. About midway through the final lap, Wright made his more and passed a pair of runners.

“Once the pack condensed a little bit, that’s what prepped me for the move I made on the last lap.

That was the last lap of my high school career, so in that last 150 or so, I just wanted to give it everything I had,” said Wright. “I feel like I laid it down pretty good.”

Like Chandler, Wright was pleased to have the opportunity to compete in 2021.

“It was awesome. It was a crazy year, but I’ll take everything we had,” said Wright. “I really appreciate the opportunity to run, to do what I love doing.”

Wheeler teamed with freshman Micah Chandler, junior Sam VanDyke,and senior Alex Gadow to finish fifth in the 1,600-meter relay in a time of 3:37.24.

VanDyke finished 12th in the 400-meter dash in 54.87 seconds

Picco, Knolles, and Kennedy Westbrook teamed with sophomore Natalie Garrity to finish fifth in the 400-meter relay in a time of 53.94 seconds.

The trio teamed with 8th-grader Addison Westbrook to finish fifth in the 1,600-meter relay in a time of 4:28.23,

Junior Olivia NIttinger also won a fifth-place medal, clearing the bar in the pole vault at 8-feet.

Eighth-grader Harper Minaker finished seventh in the 1,500-meter run in a time of 5:29.41.

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June 11, 2021 Tim Birney

WAVERLY — Waverly had three first-team selections, including co-MVP senior Gabby Picco, and and four second-team selections to the IAC South Large School all-star teams in recent voting by the division’s coaches.

Picco, a polished all-around player with a sky-high soccer IQ, “consistently controlled the midfield and made all her teammates better.”

In her five seasons on varsity, PIcco played nearly every position on the field.

This season, she scored six goals and had one assist to give her 60 goals and 39 assists in her career.

In the fall, Picco will play Division 1 soccer at LaSalle.

Notre Dame senior midfielder Ellie Mustico was also named co-MVP.


Leah Williams, senior, Newark Valley.
Leila Vargas, sophomore, Notre Dame.

Emma Miller, sophomore, Newark Valley.
Rachel Simpson, junior, Notre Dame.

Midfield / Defense
Brianna Beebe, senior, Newark Valley.

Kennedy Westbrook, sophomore, Waverly:
“She played every minute of every game,” said Waverly coach Tara Hogan. “Ideally she would be up top, but we needed a strong, reliable, and versatile player in the back."

Westbrook had one assist on the season.

Mackenna Nechwedowich, senior, Newark Valley.
Amanda Simpson, junior, Notre Dame.
Shannon Maloney, sophomore, Notre Dame.
Maddie Watts, senior, Notre Dame.

Kait Clark, senior, Waverly:
A fourth-year starter, Clark was “incredibly reliable.

“She had some very notable saves this year,” said Hogan, “One being our first against Newark Valley. Another where she took on a player 1-v-1 and did a split to save the shot.”

Addison Westbrook, 8th-grader, Waverly.
Lea VanALlen, freshman, Waverly.

Ava Mustico, sophomore, Notre Dame.
McKenna Keogh, 8th-grader, Notre Dame.
Caroline Horton, 8th-grader, Notre Dame.

Paige Robinson, freshman, Waverly.
Bella Romano, junior, Waverly.

Maris Aylesworth, senior, Newark Valley.
Hayley Beebe, sophomore Newark Valley.
Isabella Sheil, sophomore, Newark Valley.
Ella Chicone, sophomore Notre Dame.

Anna Milazzo, senior, Notre Dame.

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June 10, 2021 Tim Birney

WAVERLY — Waverly’s 11-9 loss to Susquehanna Valley Thursday afternoon in the semifinals of the Section IV, Class B baseball playoffs was a case of missed opportunities.

The Wolverines left 12 runners on base, including 11 in scoring position. They left the bases loaded three times, including in the sixth and seventh innings.

“We had a lot of opportunities, and we didn’t take advantage of enough of them,” said Waverly coach Kyle McDuffee.

“I think we had a runner at third with less than two outs four times, and we just couldn’t get them in.

“It’s hard to say we lost because of one particular thing, but that timely hitting that we’ve displayed all season just didn’t show up today,” noted McDuffee.

“This is a pressure cooker for a young team. I think they now see that those little things we can get away with in some games; you’re not going to get away with in the postseason,” added McDuffee. “Those things are going to get exposed. And, Susquehanna Valley exposed them today.”

Waverly had its ace on the mound in junior Caden Hollywood, who entered the game with a 6-0 record this season, and a record of 13-0 for his career.

Hollywood struggled to consistently throw strikes, but battled through five innings. He suffered his first career loss, allowing six runs — three earned — on four hits, while striking out eight and walking seven in five innings. He threw 118 pitches.

“Today was not Caden (Hollywood) … but he kept us in the game,” said McDuffee. “When he’s a little off, he still battles, and he did that today.”

Hollywood walked two of the first three batters he faced, and SV had runners on first and third with one out, but he escaped the jam with a pair of strikeouts.

In the bottom of the first, SV’s 6-10 right-hander Nick Stilloe retired Waverly’s first two batters, but freshman Joey Tomasso and Hollywood worked back-to-back walks, and sophomore Ty Beeman laced a line-drive RBI single to left field to plate the game’s first run.

Hollywood retired the first two batters he faced in the second inning, then walked back-to-back batters, before finishing off the inning with his fifth strikeout.

The Wolverines appeared poised for a big rally in the second inning, but only managed one run.

Juniors Kaden Wheeler and Brady Blauvelt led off the frame with back-to-back singles, then senior Nick VanHouten laid down a sacrifice bunt, but SV failed to cover first base, and he reached to load the bases.

Stilloe buckled down and nearly escaped unscathed, but a passed ball allowed Waverly to up its advantage to 2-0.

Stilloe’s efforts seemed to turn the tide of momentum in the game.

“Sometimes when that happens, teams can rally behind it, and I think you saw that a little bit,” said McDuffee. “I think that motivated Sus. Valley … it’s like ‘hey we just avoided a big inning, let’s go get them now.’

“(Sus. Valley) was playing their infield up in the second inning, and I think that’s because they knew how we’d been hitting the ball, and they didn’t want to fall too far behind.

“I wish we could have responded a little better,” added McDuffee. “A couple hits there and it’s a different ball game.”

The Sabers took advantage of a two-out error in the third inning to score a pair of runs, tying the game at 2-2.

The Wolverines went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the third — the only time either team was retired in order in the contest.

Susquehanna Valley scored three times in the top of the fourth inning, a rally capped by a two-run inside-the-park home run by Logan Haskell, who hit a rocket well over the head of Waverly center fielder Thomas Hand, to make it 5-2.

The rest of the game was a series of near-misses for the Wolverines.

Wheeler and Blauvelt led off the home half of the fourth inning with back-to-back singles,, and Hand’s one-out single loaded the bases.

Freshman Jay Pipher plated a pair of runs with a two-run, line-drive single to center field to close the gap to 5-4, and knock Stilloe out of the game.

Reliever Quinton Bowman retired the next two Waverly batters to preserve the lead.

The Sabers used a walk, a stolen base — one of the team’s 12 steals in the game — and an error in the fifth inning to up its lead to 6-4.

Beeman walked and stole second to lead off the bottom of the fifth, then took third on a single by Brennan Traub, who stole second moments later.

With one out, Beeman scored on a wild pitch, but Bowman retired the next two Waverly batters to keep SV on top, at 6-5.

The Sabers upped its lead to 7-5 in the top of the sixth against Waverly reliever Jay Pipher, then tacked on three more runs with two outs on a hit batsman and two walks that forced home runs to make it 10-5.

Hand and Pipher drew walks for the Wolverines to start the home half of the sixth, prompting Sus. Valley to hand the ball to its third pitcher of the game — Scotty Howard.

With the score at 10-6 following a fielder’s choice grounder off the bat of freshman Joey Tomasso, Hollywood stroked a line-drive single to right field, and Beeman followed with an RBI single to left field to make it 10-7.

After Traub was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Hollywood scooted home on a wild pitch to trim the deficit to 10-8. A walk to Blauvelt re-loaded the bases, but Howard induced an inning-ending grounder to first base to avoid further damage.

SV tacked on a run in the top of the seventh to increase its lead to 11-8, but Waverly wouldn’t go quietly.

In the bottom of the seventh, Hand was hit by a pitch, Pipher walked, and Tomasso lined a single to left field to load the bases with no outs.

Two pitches later, Hand attempted to score on a wild pitch, but was cut down at the plate.

Hollywood then walked to re-load the bases, and Beeman drew a four-pitch walk to bring home another run, closing the gap to 11-9.

The Sabers then handed the ball to its fourth pitcher — Haskell, and he responded by getting an infield pop and a groundball to third base for a force out to end the game.

“It’s a tough way to lose,” said McDuffee. “But, we didn’t stop playing and battling. We pressed (SV) hard — every out was hard for them to get.

“I’m proud of my kids,” he noted. “This is a young team, and we’re going to do some damage over the next few years.

“You know what was key today? Maybe we didn’t win today, but the program won because we’re prepared for Sectionals for the next three years,” added McDuffee. “This was a good experience for all these kids.”

Beeman had two hits, one run scored, and three RBI to pace Waverly’s 12-hit (all singles) attack, while Wheeler singled twice and scored two runs, and Blauvelt singled twice and scored one run.

Pipher singled, scored one run, and drove in two for the Wolverines, while Tomasso singled, scored two runs, and drove in one run, Hollywood and Hand each singled and scored one run, and Traub and VanHouten each added one hit.

Pipher was tagged for four runs on three hits and three walks in one inning of relief for the Wolverines, while Beeman allowed one run on one hit and one walk in one inning.

Waverly wraps up its season at 15-5, and will return eight starters in 2022, as well as several grads from a JV team that finished the season at 11-2.

“We have a nice 9th and 10th-grade crew coming in, and they will be competing with these guys for spots,” said McDuffee. “I’m really excited about that.

“You’re going to be hearing about this team for the next few years,” he added.

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