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THE SPORTS REPORTS: CORNING'S JOHNSTON NAMED GIRLS 'ATHLETE OF THE SPRING;' FIVE OWEGO ATHLETES MAKE THE LIST (2024-07-03)

The Sports Reports
Sophomore Matti Johnston took over the pitching duties late in the season, and Corning was nearly unbeatable from that point on, eventually winning the New York State Class AAA title. She is The Sports Reports’ All-Region “Girls Athlete of the Spring.”

While full-time pitching duties were a late addition to her contributions, she was a contributor at the plate from the outset of the 2024 season. She hit .460 on the year with a .564 on-base percentage, five doubles, four triples, four home runs, 24 RBI, 30 runs scored and 12 stolen bases.

In the circle, Johnson threw 86 2/3 innings with a 3.15 ERA and 80 strikeouts. Johnston twirled a no-hitter in the sectional final and was 8-3 on the season, including a perfect mark in the postseason.

ALL_REGION GIRLS ATHLETES OF THE SPRING
Matti Johnston, sophomore, Corning softball:
See above.

Sarah Lawson, senior, Corning track & field:
Lawson, who will compete collegiately at Syracuse, medaled in the 1,500-meter run, placing third, and 3,000-meter run, finishing fourth, at the New York State Championships this year.

Piper Hoprich, freshman, Wellsboro: Hoprich was second in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes at the NTL Championships, then won District 4 gold medals in both sprint events. She had a phenomenal showing at the PIAA Championships, bringing home a bronze medal in the 200 and a fourth-place medal in the 100.

Stella Palladino, sophomore, Owego track & field:
A state qualifier in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, she won Section IV overall and Division 2 titles in both events, setting personal records in the process. She was the Section IV Class B champ in the 100 & 200 and the STAC champ in the 100.

Kylie Grippen, sophomore Owego flag football, softball & Unified basketball:
Grippen completed 300 of her 395 pass attempts (76 percent) for 3,336 yards and 62 touchdowns with 15 interceptions, and also converted 41 extra point throws as the River Hawks won the Section IV Division 2 championship and advanced to the state semifinals, going 16-1 overall.

Grippen also played softball, hitting .343 with six runs and five RBI, and had seven putouts and one assist in eight chances. In Unified basketball, she was a student-helper for the Section IV Division 1 champions, who went 6-1. She was part of 29 River Hawk victories during the spring.

Gracelyn Laudermilch, junior, Northeast Bradford track & field: Laudermilch had a season to remember, winning a district title (3,200-meter run), getting a state medal (1,600-meter run), and qualifying for states in the 800-meter run, showing she’s a premier distance runner in the state.

Sara Bronson, senior, Athens: Bronson won the 800-meter run at the NTL Championships, and was second in the and 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs. She earned four medals at the District 4, Class AA Championships. She punched her ticket to States with a second-place finish in the 3,200-meter run, and a fourth-place finish in the 1,600-meter run. She narrowly missed States with a fifth-place finish in the 800-meter run.

At States, Bronson finished fourth in the 1,600-meter run in a school-record time of 5:03.53, and finished 10th in the 3,200 in a time of 11:19.16. She also ran the Athens 3,200-meter relay team that finished fourth at the PIAA Championships. The relay finished second at the District 4 Championships, clocking in more than 25 1/2 seconds faster than its seed time.

RaeAnne Feeko, sophomore, Tioga: Feeko hit .608, which included a string of 14 consecutive hits. She had 45 hits in 74 at-bats with 11 doubles, four triples, five home runs, 37 RBI, 48 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, 15 walks and was hit by four pitches for a .688 on-base percentage, to go along with a 1.068 slugging percentage for a 1.756 OPS.

In the pitcher’s circle, Feeko was 6-0 with a 2.45 ERA. She allowed 14 hits in 34 2/3 innings, while striking out 61 and walking 31. Opponents hit .122 against her.

Taylor Dalton, senior, Owego flag football and track & field: A knee injury prevented a potential return to the state championships in the long jump and limited her participation on the football field.

Despite her reduced playing time, she logged 13 tackles, 18 deflections and six interceptions as the River Hawks. On offense, she caught 46 passes for 560 yards with 11 TDs and four extra points, and added 19 rushes for 145 yards, two TDs and one PAT.

Prior to the injury, she went 3-0 in the long jump in STAC dual meets and placed in the top five at all three invitationals she participated in.

Lexi Herceg, junior Owego, flag football and lacrosse: On the gridiron, Herceg caught 14 passes for 372 yards and five TDs, and ran the ball five times for 68 yards. Herceg scored one extra point, picked off seven passes, and tacked on 20 tackles, one sack and nine deflections.

An attacker, she scored 38 goals and four assists, and led the lacrosse team with 48 draws. She also had 26 ground balls and seven caused turnovers. She was a Section IV Division 2 first-team all-star.

Madison McEvoy, junior, Owego lacrosse: McEvoy recorded team-highs with 58 goals, 15 assists, 67 caused turnovers and 47 ground balls. She also won 40 draws and was a Section IV Division 2 first-team all-star.

Mackenzi Tice, senior NP-Liberty:
Tice led the 19-1 Mounties from the circle and at the plate. The senior pitched 80 innings and went 15-1 with a 0.79 ERA and 125 strikeouts. Tice hit .370, got on base at a .490 clip with 31 base hits (including five doubles and a triple), and had 21 RBI, 35 runs scored and 21 stolen bases.

Taylor Farrell, senior, Corning: Farrell won a national championship in the Race Walk at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals, breaking the national record in the process.

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