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The Sports Reports
Corning senior Sarah Lawson earned five state medals this year, and headlines The Sports Reports’ 2023-24 Baker’s Dozen as the All-Region “Girls Athlete of the Year.”

A state medalist in all three seasons, Lawson led the Corning cross country team to a Section IV title, was a state medalist for the third time in her career, and also qualified for Nationals.

Lawson also earned states medals in the 1,500-meter and 3,000-meter run at the New York State Indoor Track & Field Championships, then duplicated the feat in the same events at the outdoor championships in the spring.

Lawson capped her indoor track career by finishing third in the 5,000-meter run at the New Balance Indoor Nationals, setting a new Corning school record in the process.

(NOTE: This award is designed to honor student-athletes who participate in multiple sports, but on a rare occasion a one-sport athlete may make the list.)

The 2023-24 All-Region “Athletes of the Year:"
Sarah Lawson, junior, Corning:
,See above.

Ellie Clearwater, senior, Elmira:
Clearwater was the Section IV, Class AAA “Co-Player of the Year,” averaging 14 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.1 steals per game.

She was the most dangerous player on the flag football field in the region, averaging 18 yards per touch, and scored 13 TDs on just 47 touches. She also led the region with eight interceptions, and three defensive TDs, as well as 12 pass break-ups and 41 solo tackles.

She was also a starter for the Elmira volleyball team, which won its first Section IV championship in program history.

Sophie Bonnell, senior, Horseheads: Bonnell led the Blue Raiders to STAC and Section IV basketball titles — just the second time in program history they’ve won both, averaging 16.5 points, 5.5 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals per game, while knocking down 73 3-pointers, and shooting 41 percent from behind the arc.

This spring, Bonnell hit .438 with 20 runs scored and 12 stolen bases. In the fall, she aded speed and athleticism on the wing for the Horseheads soccer team.

Sara Bronson, junior, Athens: Bronson placed eighth at the District 4 Cross Country Championships to qualify for the PIAA Championships for the third straight year. She finished 56th at States, which is made even more impressive by the fact she missed the first two weeks of the season after having surgery late in the summer.

Bronson 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.  At States, Bronson finished fourth in the 1,600-meter run in a school-record time, and finished 10th in the 3,200.

Bronson 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.

During the winter, Bronson battled injuries, but she contributed 5.3 points, 5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.7 steals per game in 12 games.

Stella Palladino, sophomore Owego: 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 100 & 200 and the STAC champ in the 100.

She tried her hand at cross country last fall and placed ninth at the Section IV Class B championships and qualified for the state meet.

This winter, she played a key role off the bench, mainly on defense, as the River Hawks basketball team advanced to the Section IV Class A championship game.

Madison McEvoy, junior Owego: The school-record holder for 3-point field goals, McEvoy was one of the better offensive players in the area, averaging 17.4 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2.2 assists per game.

This spring for the Owego lacrosse team, she had team-highs with 58 goals, 15 assists, 67 caused turnovers and 47 ground balls. She also won 40 draws, and was chosen to the Section IV Division 2 first team.

One of the field hockey team’s primary goal scorers, the forward played a key role in Owego returning to the Section IV playoffs.

Lexi Herceg, junior, Owego: A Class A third-team all-state selection, she was one of the top setters in Section IV and a leader as the River Hawks returned to the state volleyball playoffs. She handed out 314 assists.

On the gridiron, she caught 14 passes for 372 yards and five TDs, and ran the ball five times for 68 yards. Herceg picked off seven passes, and tacked on 20 tackles, one sack and nine deflections.

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

Nicola Soper, sophomore, Candor and Spencer-Van Etten / Candor:
A first-team all-state selection for the Candor volleyball team, Soper was a dangerous hitter with 169 kills, 154 points, including 56 aces, and 70 digs.

This winter on the hardwoods, Soper set Candor school records for rebounds in a game (35) and a season (380), averaged a double-double with 12.9 points and 21.1 rebounds per game, and was the IAC South Small School MVP.

This spring. Soper stepped onto the diamond for her first varsity season and had to fill the void left at third base by an injured SVEC teammate, playing nearly half the season there before moving to the outfield. She hit .424.

Ashley Woodring, junior, Cowanesque Valley: In the fall, Woodeing allowed just 16 goals i 18 games, and did not allow more than two goals in a match. She recorded 87 saves with eight shutouts for the 13-win Williamson soccer team

This winter, Woodring averaged 9.9 and 9 rebounds per game for the Cowanesque Valley basketball team.

This spring, Woodring his .455 with 30 base hits, including five doubles and two home runs, and scored 21 runs. She had a .532 on-base percentage, thanks to 11 base on balls.

Haley Litzelman, sophomore, NP-Liberty:
In the fall on the volleyball hardwoods Litzelman registered 96 service points, including 30 aces, 69 kills, 17 blocks, and 33 digs.

On the hoop hardwoods, Litzelman averaged a double-double with 11.9 points and 10.8 rebounds per game, adding 3.2 assists, 2.7 steals and 2.6 blocks per game.

On the diamond this spring, she pitched 31 innings and registered 42 strikeouts, while posting a 0.45 ERA. She hit .305 with 22 hits, including six doubles, three home runs, 28 RBI and 17 runs scored. She also walked 10 times and had a .414 on-base percentage.

Olivia Haley, senior, Wyalusing: Haley was one of the top goal scorers in the NTL for soccer, leading Wyalusing to their best season in program history.

She also kicked for the football team, the second NTL girl to do so, and her extra points won the game against Athens.

In the spring she was a state qualifier in the 400, and set the school record in the event as she went sub-59 seconds.

Alyssa Parks, junior, Troy: Parks was one of the most versatile athletes in the area.

In the fall, she was a state qualifier in cross-country, while in the winter she led the Troy hoops team to an undefeated league season and and NTL title.

In the spring, Parks made States again, this time in the 300-meter hurdles, while just missing a state berth in the pole vault and high jump.

Alexis McRoberts, sophomore Canton / Troy: McRoberts was a key contributor across four sports.
In the fall, she was the first female football kicker in NTL history, and had some big kicks for the Canton football team. On the soccer pitch, she led Troy to their fourth straight league title.

She went out for basketball, and was a contributor for a hoops team that made districts.

In the spring, she was a medalist in track & field in the discus, setting the school record in the event.

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