September 3, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — The Troy offense played keep away for the majority of the game, and the Trojan defense forced a pair of key first-half turnovers in a 13-0 win over Athens here Friday night in a key early-season NTL Large School Division football match-up at Alumni Stadium.

The Trojans ran 32 offensive plays in the first half, compared to just 14 for the Wildcats.

“(Troy) just lined up and ran it right at us,” said Athens coach Jack Young. “It was dive, it was iso, and it was toss.

“It’s pretty simple,” he said. “They just pounded the ball on the ground and kept it away from us for large chunks of time.

“We were really concerned that they were going to pound the ball at us, and that we’d get beat up at the line-of-scrimmage, but our kids played really solid at the line-of-scrimmage — on both sides of the ball,” added Young.

Young was pleased with his team’s defensive performance.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the way our kids showed up and played.

“We played a really solid defensive game,” said Young. “We had one breakdown in the first half, it probably should have been 0-0 at halftime.

“In the second half, we just a couple of mistakes that beat us,” he added. “We played physical. We got after it.”

The Wildcats gained 114 yards on the ground on 25 carries, with senior Shayne Reid’s 80 yards on 10 carries leading the way.

Lister completed 11 of 19 passes for 79 yards. Reid had three catches for 21 yards, while freshman Kolsen Keathley had three receptions for 19 yards, and junior J.J. Babcock added two grabs for 27 yards.

“We did get some things going offensively here and there, but we kept shooting ourselves in the foot,” said Young. “We had a couple big turnovers that hurt us. We had a couple big penalties that hurt us, and we had a couple breakdowns in pass protection that hurt us.

“It seemed that every time we got something going offensively, one of those three things got us,” he added.

The Trojans turned the ball over on down on the opening possession of the game when senior Damien Landon was stopped short of the first-down marker on 4th-and-2 at the Troy 43.

The Trojan defense yielded just four yards on three plays, and forced an Athens punt.

After one first down, Troy faced a fourth-and-four at its own 38, but a 23-yard run by Landon on a fake punt kept the drive alive and moved the ball to the Athens 39.

Four plays later, Landon bulled ahead for eight yards to give the Trojans a second-and-2 at the Athens 18, but following an illegal procedure call against the Trojans, the drive stalled and the Wildcats took over on downs at their 21.

Two plays later, Reid broke free for 17 yards, but coughed the ball up, and Troy recovered at the Wildcat 41.

The Troy drive started poorly with a botched snap, and Landon needed a 3-yard pickup on fourth-and-2 at the Wildcat 33 to keep the drive alive.

On fourth-and-four at the Athens 13, sophomore Clayton Smith found junior Justice Chimics open for a 13-yard TD pass to give Troy a 6-0 lead with 7:02 remaining in the first half.

The Wildcats moved the ball to midfield on their next possession, but were forced to punt. Junior Caleb Nichols pinned the Trojans at their own 2 with a 48-yard punt.

The Athens defense forced a three-and-out, and the Wildcats took over at their own 38 with 1:54 remaining in the first half.

Lister connected with the 6-5 Babcock for a 24-yard gain to the Troy 14 on the Wildcats’ first play, but they coughed the ball up and the Trojans recovered at the 17 on the next play.

The Wildcats opened the second half with the ball, and drove to the Troy 29, thanks in large part to 26 yards on five carries by Reid, before turning the ball over on downs.

After an exchange of punts, Troy took over at its own 20 with 11:12 remaining in the contest.

A 29-yard run by Smith on Troy’s fourth play moved the ball to the Athens 40, and three plays later, Chimics broke loose on a 36-yard TD run to give the Trojans a 12-0 lead with 7:35 remaining in the game.

Keathley ripped off a 23-yard run on Athens’ first play of its ensuing possession, and Lister gained 13 yards on two carries to move the ball to the Troy 33, but the drive stalled out at the Trojan 29 with 6:12 remaining in the game.

After Troy punted the ball away, Athens moved the ball to midfield, but Troy standout lineman Mason Imbt registered a QB sack for a 15-yard loss, and the Wildcats possession ended on down two plays later.

Troy pounded out 247 rushing yards on 49 carries, with Landon and Smith leading the way. Landon gained 96 yards on 24 carries, and Smith added 95 yards on 16 carries. Chimics chipped in with 42 yards and one TD on three carries.

Three different Trojans — Chimics, Smith, and Woodward — completed passes to three different receivers — Jeff Roy, Chimics, and Jayden Renzo.

Troy, 1-1, hosts Central Columbia Friday, while Athens, 1-1, travels to Towanda.

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September 2, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Athens hosts Troy here tonight at Alumni Stadium in a key early-season Northern Tier League football contest. Kick-off is 7 p.m.

The Wildcats are coming off a 44-6 demolition of Hanover, while Troy also hosted a non-league foe — dropping a 20-0 decision to Bald Eagle Area.

“Troy lost a tough game to a solid football team (in Week 1),” said Athens coach Jack Young. “There’s no disguising what Troy, they are a good mix of physical kids.”

“It’s going to be a huge test for us in Week 2,” noted Young. “We will see what we’re made of.

“Troy presents certain things to you, and you have to play the game a little differently against them,” he added.

The Trojan cornerstone is two-way lineman Mason Imbt, who stands in at 6-3, 300 pounds.

“Obviously, they are led up from by Imbt, who is a mountain of a kid,” said Young. “He plays really hard — he gives 100 percent on every snap. He’s fun to watch … you don’t see many kids like him.”


Troy rushed for 153 yards in Week 1, led by 75 yards on 19 carries by senior Damien Landon. The Trojans threw for 45 more, with QB Justice Chimics completing 6 of 10 passes attempts. He was intercepted twice.

Young said there is no mystery about what Troy brings to the table offensively.

“We’re going to see two backs in the backfield, and they are going to run it at us about four different ways,” said Young. “They’ll run a little option, then they’ll run a little power… we have to be able to at least hold our own at the line-of-scrimmage.”


The Wildcats ran for 278 yards, and added 101 more through the air. Senior Shayne Reid rushed for 144 yards and two TDs on 11 carries, and added a 26-yard TD reception, while junior QB Mason Lister completed 6 of 10 passes for 101 yards, and three TDs.

Young said the Trojans will rely on their big defensive line to free up their linebackers and defensive backfield to make plays.

“For the most part, Troy is a three-man front,” he said. “They put their big dudes up front to occupy space, and they let their athletes run to the football. They have some linebackers who play the game very well.

“We have to be prepared, and use the entire width of the field, and try to take our shots when we have them,” added Young.

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August 31, 2021 Tim Birney

TOWANDA — Freshman Dylan Saxon finished fourth, and helped Athens to a third-place finish here Tuesday afternoon in NTL golf action at the Towanda Country Club.

Wyalusing earned first-place honors on the day with a four-player aggregate score of 370, while Wellsboro was second with a 395, Athens shot a 404, Towanda was fourth with a 448, Cowanesque Valley was fifth with a 454, and North Penn-Mansfield was sixth with at 502.

Sayre did not field a full team due to Covid quarantines that led to the absence of three starters.

Wyalusing junior Brody Fuhrey won low-medal honors with a round of 86, while NP-M junior Andrew Green and Wyalusing sophomore Nick Salsman tied for second with rounds of 89.

Saxon shot a 90 to lead the Valley contingent, while Athens junior Cam Sullivan and Sayre senior Dylan Seck tied for ninth with rounds of 96, and Athens sophomore Evan Cooper finished 11th with a 97.

Sayre senior Dom Fabbri finished 19th with a 104, and Sayre junior Colton Watkins was 20th with a 105.

Junior Lucas Kraft rounded out the Wildcat scoring with a 121, while sophomore Sean Clare and freshman Keaton Sinsabaugh each tacked on non-scoring rounds of 123.

The NTL golfers return to action Tuesday at Corey Creek Golf Course in Mansfield.

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August 27, 2021 Tim Taylor

ATHENS — Athens scored early and often to roll to a 44-6 season-opening victory over Hanover Area here Friday night.

The Wildcats scored on six of their first seven possessions in the non-league contest. Four touchdowns came through the air as they built a 30-6 halftime cushion.

"Anytime you can win a game like that, it's a good feeling," Athens coach Jack Young said. "We did a lot of good things and we have a lot of places to improve on, but we'll take it.

"A lot of people contributed on both sides of the ball."

Troy Pritchard's sack to force a Hanover punt set up the game's first score. Junior quarterback Mason Lister connected with Karter Rude on a 26-yard TD strike in the corner of the end zone with 8:01 left on the first-quarter clock. Shayne Reid's PAT kick made it 7-0.

The Hawks turned the ball over on downs on its next possession and Athens turned it into a a 5-yard scoring run by Caleb Nichols. Xavier Ankner blocked the PAT attempt, leaving Athens up, 13-0, with 2:06 to go in the period.

Hanover would punt again, but Lister was intercepted by Jake Zola on the next series and he would return it to the Athens 21. Three plays later, Zola pulled down an 18-yard TD pass from Christian Torres, but the kick was blocked and the Wildcat lead was 13-6 with 10:57 left in the half.

Athens took a bloop kickoff at its own 38 and Reid picked up 43 yards on two carries. Following an exchange of penalties and a pair of short runs by Chris Bathgate, Lister hit 6-foot-5 wide receiver JJ Babcock in the end zone and Reid's PAT kick pushed the lead to 20-6 with 8:01 remaining before intermission.

The Hawks turned the ball over on downs at their own 32, setting up Athens for another TD. This time,  Lister connected with Reid on a 26-yard TD pass, and Reid's kick made it 27-6 with 4:41 left in the half.

On the Wildcats' next possession, Reid kicked a 29-yard field goal with 61 ticks on the first-half clock.

Jared Peterson picked off a Torres pass with 32 seconds left in the half and Lister took a knee to end the half with his team up, 30-6.

Athens' ability to take advantage of the run and pass possibilities played into its big lead.

"You've got to open things up," Young said. "We had a couple of penalties that killed us, which killed us on the kick off and gave them field position and I think we sulked a little bit. We felt sorry for ourselves."

The Wildcats were flagged seven times for 65 yards.

"That’s a football game right there," Young said. "You know, momentum, old momentum, and they took care of it and we just preached a little bit on the sideline about getting ourselves back where we belong and the kids turned it around themselves. We've got great senior leadership, great senior leadership."

Peterson opened the second half with a 41-yard kickoff return to the Hanover 35. Six plays later, Reid, who appeared to be stuffed at the line of scrimmage, squirted through the line for a 14-yard scoring run and his kick gave Athens a 37-6 cushion with 8:39 on the clock.

The Hawks responded with 64-yard Torres-to-Sean Dooner TD pass, but Dooner was flagged for pushing off and the ball came back to the Hanover 21.

The next several minutes saw a few Athens defensive gems. Brandon Jennings sacked Torres, teammate Ethan Wilcox crunched Jeremy Vega for a 5-yard-loss as he received the handoff, Pritchard received credit for a second sack when Torres bobbled the pigskin and took a knee, and Skylar Matthews added a sack.

Pritchard's initial sack of the night on Hanover's first possession was the Wildcats' first big play of the game and was notable as Pritchard wears the No. 13 jersey and the team has 13 on their helmets — a tribute to Brayden Taylor Murrelle, a Class of 2019 graduate who passed away earlier this year.

Jaden Wright scored Athens' final TD on a 5-yard run with 7:09 remaining in the game and Reid's kick made it a 44-6 final.

There were some mental mistakes which the Wildcats need to clean up if they hope to continue performing at a high level.

"Some things got chaotic," Young said. "At some of the skill positions, we're pretty deep. We feel good about that. Playing on a hot night ... it's pretty slimy out here and we knew cramping could be a situation, but we feel good with our skills because we've got so many. We were able to give them rest early in the game. We feel confident that we can do that in any situation. We feel good about that.

"We've just got to keep getting the first half. We got a little sloppy and as we talked at halftime, some of that when we're substituting and not creating chaos, that's just as much on the coaches as the players, so we've got to improve there. We've got to get better in the mental part of the game."

Athens outgained Hanover, 379-50. Reid carried the rock 11 times for 144 yards and caught one pass for 26 more. Lister completed six of 10 pass attempt for 101 yards, three going for TDs. Babcock caught three passes for 33 yards.

The Wildcats received some nice efforts from Kolsen Keathley, who rushed for 47 yards on six carries, and Wright, who tacked on 43 on six runs.

Young likes what he saw in the opener, but also knows the areas which need improvement.

"I think we've got to get better on special teams, but we’ll take it, week one against an opponent we've had a couple dog fights with the last few years and they've got some tough kids," Young said. "They've got some linemen that can really play and I felt like, without looking at film, our offensive line played pretty well."

Athens hosts Troy, which had its season opener postponed, Friday evening.

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August 25, 2021 Tim Birney

WAVERLY — Sayre, led by low medalist senior Kannon VanDuzer, and Athens finished 1-2 in the opening NTL golf match of the season here on a steamy Wednesday afternoon at The Club at Shepard Hills.

“I was proud of the way the kids played today,” said Sayre coach Jamie VanDuzer. “The heat was brutal, so I think a few got tired by the end.

“Our new guys played pretty good for their first time out,” he noted. “Most are nervous not knowing how the matches work, but I felt they settled in and did OK.

“I think other than Kannon (VanDuzer), the team wasn’t too pleased with their scores, and feel they will score better going forward.

“The league looks to be down score-wise, but the top 10 or 15 should be pretty competitive,“ added VanDuzer. “It will be fun.”

The Redskins shot a four-man aggregate score of 377, edging out the Wildcats by 1 stroke. Wellsboro was third in with a 382, while Wyalusing was fourth with a 399, Towanda was fifth at 440, Cowanesque was sixth at 444, and North Penn-Mansfield was seventh at 481.

VanDuzer shot a 79 on the 5,695-yard, par-72 course, including an even-par 35 on the back nine. He birdied the 100-yard, par-3 16th hole, and the 447-yard, par-5 18th hole to finish off his day.

NP-M junior Andrew Green was second for the day with an 83, while junior Cam Sullivan led Athens with an 88 to finish third.

Athens sophomore Evan Cooper finished fifth with a 92, and freshman Dylan Saxon was eighth with a 94, while junior Lucas Kraft was 17th with a 104, and freshman Sean Clare was 20th with a non-scoring round of 105.

Sayre senior Dylan Seck was 11th with a round of 96, while junior Colton Watkins was 15th with a 99, and junior Colton Watkins was 16th with a 103.

Seniors Josh Arnold and Dom Fabbri added non-scoring rounds of 108 for the Redskins.

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June 23, 2021 Tim Birney

WILLIAMSPORT — Postseason softball is all about pitching, and Shamokin’s Annie Hornberger was on top of her game Tuesday afternoon, limiting Athens to three hits in a 6-0 win here in the semifinals of the District 4, Class 4-A playoffs at Elm Park.

Hornberger fanned 10 and walked three in seven innings of work. She allowed just one hit after the first inning.

“(Hornberger) is the best pitcher we’ve faced all season. She threw a great game,” said Athens coach Mickey Farrell.

“She was throwing mid-60s with a nasty curveball,” noted Farrell. “The girls kept coming back and saying ‘her curveball is moving like crazy.’”

“We battled though,” added Farrell. “We struck out seven times in the first three innings, but after that, we put the ball in play, (Shamokin) just made plays.”

Athens, on the other hand, committed four errors, leading to five unearned runs.

“We struggled defensively,” said Farrell. :We had a bad throw that cost us a run, and booted a couple balls that cost us runs, but that’s what happens when we have to put Caydence (Macik) on the mound.”

Junior Caydence Macik, the starting shortstop when she’s not in the pitcher’s circle was tagged with the tough-luck loss. She allowed six runs — only one earned — on nine hits, while striking out two and walking three in 5 1/3 innings of work.

“(Caydence Macik) threw a great game. Her change-up was nice, and she kept (Shamokin) off-balance. She threw strikes, and only had three walks. She did a great job.”

Sophomore Aliyah Butler walked one in 2/3 of an inning of relief.

Senior Harley Sullivan led off the game with a line-drive single into centerfield for the Lady Wildcats, and senior Audrey Hatch followed with a bunt single, but Hornberger fanned the next three batters to escape the early jam.

Shamokin worked a walk and had a pair of singles in the home half of the first, but a relay from sophomore right fielder Addy Repsher to first baseman Hatch to catcher Sullivan cut down a runner at the plate, and Macik retired the next batter to escape the inning unscathed.

Shamokin took advantage of a pair of Athens errors in the bottom of the second inning to take a 3-0 lead.

The Lady Indians tacked on a run in the fourth, and two more in the sixth to provide the final margin.

Sullivan had two hits, and Hatch added one to account for Athens’ three hits.

Farrell was pleased with his team’s effort in the loss.

“We had a great week of practice,” he said. “And we played hard, that’s the one thing I did not like against Wyalusing, but today we battled. We just got beat by a better team.”

The Lady Wildcats finish up the season with a 15-6 record.

“I told the girls after the game that they played far and above expectations,” said Farrell. “No one gave us a shot at the NTL title, but we tied for the best record … no one thought we could do it.

“It’s all because of these kids,” he noted. “They practice hard and put a lot of work into this season.”

Farrell will be looking to replace five seniors, including four starters, in 2022.

“It’s a good group. I want to cry when I talk about this group,” said Farrell.

“Carlie Simpson wasn’t a starter, but she came to everything for the three years she was with me. She never complained, and was always there for us. She’s a great kid.

“Mallory (Mummert) got hurt her sophomore season … she’s a senior, but it was her rookie year,” he said. “She did a heck of a job at third base, and hit over .300. She was a nice surprise for us.”

“Megan (Collins) was a steadying influence on the team. She hit the ball pretty well early in the year.

“Audrey (Hatch) made the move from the outfield to first base for us, and did a great job there for us,” noted Farrell. “She was only a .200 hitter two years ago, but hit well over .400 this year.

“Then, there’s Harley Sullivan,” continued Farrell. “In all my years of coaching, she is far and away the best kid I’ve ever coached. And I don’t mean her performance, but how she carries herself.

“No one has the work ethic Harley has. She kept us there late at practice every night.

“We wouldn’t trade her for the world,” added Farrell. “She’s a phenomenal young lady, and she’s going to do good thing at King’s (College).”

Looking ahead, Farrell believes 2022 could be another good season for the Lady Wildcats.

“We have all three of our starting pitchers coming back, and an 8th-grader (Savannah Persun) who will also challenge for time on the mound next year.

“Ash VanFleet will probably slide in behind the plate because that’s her natural position, and we have our entire starting outfield coming back,” said Farrell. “We need to find a first baseman, and a third baseman.

“Abby Champion will come up from the JV team and help us, and Braelynn Wood and Ciara Devine will step in somewhere for us,” noted Farrell. “And, we have a couple 8th-grader who could help us.

“We have some talent ready to step up, and having those three starting pitchers back is going to be huge,” added Farrell.

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June 18, 2021 Chris Manning

WYALUSING — After playing to a hard fought, 16-14, win over NP-Liberty on Monday, turning around and facing the red-hot Wyalusing Rams was going to be tough for the Athens Wildcats. After going down 3-0 in the first inning things just got worse, and they ultimately fell, 13-0, in five innings during NTL softball Tuesday.

“Usually, these kids are singing away on the bus, and today they slept,” said Athens coach Mickey Farrell. “And today, you could tell it was a long game last night, but I don’t know if that played any part of it.”

The Wildcats tried changing pitchers, but nothing worked to slow down the Rams. While at the plate, they couldn’t figure out Wyalusing hurler Hailey Jayne.

“Hailey pitched a great game,” said Farrell. “We just couldn’t hit her … we just told them, ‘this one’s done with, it’s over with, just forget out it, and move on.’”

Athens had five hits on the day: Harley Sullivan (1-for-3), Audrey Hatch (1-for-3), Ashlyn VanFleet (1-for-1), Addy Repsher (1-for-2), and Megan Collins (1-for-2).

Aliyah Butler started, and takes the loss, going 1 1/3-innings, allowing one walk, four hits, and five runs.

Addy Repsher came in to pitch the next 3 2/3 innings, with one strikeout, three walks, eight hits, and eight runs.

The Wildcats didn’t get a runner on base until the top of the third, and by then it was 5-0 Wyalusing, thanks in large part to a three-run home from Callie Bennett in the first inning.

It was 7-0 in the fourth when Athens was able to threaten. Hatch led off with a single, followed by Repsher getting a two-out hit. However, Wyalusing got a put-out to end the at-bat.

The Rams went on to score six runs in the bottom of the fourth — for a few hot minutes the officials called the game, thinking it was the fifth, not the fourth — which gave Athens one last chance to keep things going.

They once again threatened in the fifth as Collins, and Sullivan both had hits, putting runners on second and third with two outs.

However, Jayne induced a ground out to end the game, giving Wyalusing the season sweep over Athens.

The Rams, now on an 8-game win streak, can close out the NTL Large School title with a win over Canton Thursday.

As for Athens, they’re going to refocus, and recharge, for the playoffs.

“We’re giving them a couple days off,” said Farrell. “We said we’ll see you Friday night. We’re not sure when we’re playing next week, but we are playing Shamokin, that’s pretty set.”

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June 17, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Athens juniors Kaden Setzer and Karter Rude were named all-NTL first-team baseball all-stars, and sophomre Cameron Sullivan received honorable mention recognition in recent voting by the league's coaches.

NTL Small School, and District 4, Class AA champion Sayre received the majority of the top league awards with junior Brayden Horton voted “Player of the Year,” and sophomore Lucas Horton named the “Pitcher of the Year.”

Sayre coach Jamie VanDuzer and his staff — Mike Cron and Joe Wheeler — were named the “Coaching Staff of the Year.”

Freshmen Hudson Ward of Canton and Trehnon Hugo of Wyalusing were bored “Rookies of the Year,” and Wellsboro’s Cam Brought was the “Newcomer of the Year” — given to a first-year varsity player.

Kaden Setzer, junior, OF / C, Athens:
After a couple of years away from the game, Setzer returned to the diamond without missing a beat.

Setzer hit a team-high .450 (18 hits in 40 ABs) with three doubles, one triple, seven stolen bases, 13 runs scored, and 11 RBI. He also drew nine walks for a .549 on-base percentage. He had a 1.124 OPS.

Karter Rude, junior, C / SS, Athens: A tremendous all-around athlete, Rude led the Wildcats in several offensive categories.

Rude hit .364 with a team-high 24 hits in 66 at-bats. He led Athens with nine doubles, 25 runs scored, and 24 stolen bases without being caught. He also had one triple, 12 RBI, and drew 12 walks for a .462 on-base percentage, and a .992 OPS.

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June 17, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Athens senior Harley Sullivan was voted the NTL’s “Offensive Player of the Year,” and four of her teammates were named to the NTL all-star teams — two first-team and two second-team — in recent voting by the league’s softball coaches.

Northeast Bradford sophomore Thailey Franklin was named the league’s “Player of the Year,” while Canton’s Emmi Ward was the “Defensive Player of the Year,” and Wyalusing’s Hailey Jayne was voted “Pitcher of the Year.”

North Penn-Liberty’s Megan Spohn was named the NTL “Rookie of the Year” — given to the league’s top freshman, and NEB’s Kayleigh Thoman was the “Newcomer of the Year” — given to the league’s top first-year varsity player.

The NEB coaches were named the “Coaching Staff of the Year.”

Sullivan, who is also an outstanding defensive catcher, hit .569 (37 hits in 65 at-bats) with 10 doubles, two triples, three home run, 21 RBI, 39 runs scored, and three stolen bases.

Sullivan also drew 23 walks and had a .682 on-base percentage, to go along with a .923 slugging percentage, and a1.605 OPS.

Caydence Macik, junior, SS, Athens:
A tremendous all-around athlete with a powerful swing, Macik hit .500 (27 hits in 54 ABs) with five doubles, one triple, seven home runs, 33 RBI, 27 runs scored and two stolen bases.

She also drew 11 walks for a .585 on-base percentage, to go along with a 1.018 slugging percentage, and a 1.603 OPS.

Audrey Hatch, senior, 1B / CF, Athens: A versatile defender, Hatch hit .465 (40 hits in 86 ABs) with four doubles, three home runs, 16 RBI, 39 runs scored and seven stolen bases.

She had a .477 on-base percentage and a .616 slugging percentage for a 1.093 OPS.

Aliyah Butler, sophomore, 2B / SS, Athens:
Butler, who played both middle infield spots with equal aplomb, hit .391 (27 hits in 69 ABs)  with five doubles, 15 RBI, 12 runs scored, and one stolen base.

Mallory Mummert, senior, 3B, Athens:
A solid defender at the hot corner, Mummert enjoyed a very good season in her only season on varsity.

She hit .364 (24 hits in 66 ABs) with one double, one triple, two home runs, 20 RBI, 26 runs scored and two stolen bases. She also drew 10 walks for a .447 on-base percentage.

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May 28, 2021 Tim Birney

SHIPPENSBURG — Athens’ Asher Ellis capped a stellar senior season throwing in two events here Friday in the PIAA Class AA Track & Field Championships at Seth Grove Stadium on the campus of Shippensburg University.

“(Asher) threw well today,” said Athens coach Scott Riley. “For it being his first time there, it’s a different environment.

“Not having invites this season really put a lot of kids at a disadvantage,” noted Riley.

“He had a great season that really had a huge impact for the team and he should be proud of all that he accomplished,” he added.

Ellis was well off his season-best throws in the javelin and discus on Friday.

The javelin competition took center stage in the morning. The event was broken into three flights, and Ellis, who was the seventh seed, had to wait until the third heat.

He finished 16th with a throw of 155-feet, 9-inches, well off his season-best of 174-feet, 8-inches last weekend at the District 4 Championships.

Bedford senior Elija Cook won PIAA gold in the javelin with an effort of 192-feet, 5-inches.

The javelin competition went long, so meet organizers pushed the discus competition along at a brisk pace.

Seeded 16th, Ellis finished 15th with a toss of 138-feet, 2-inches —  more than 11 feet off his seed distance of 149-feet, 10-inches.

Only three of the 25 throwers in the discus beat their seed distance, and many were more than 12 feet short. The tops seeds both were both 30 feet under their season-best throws and finished 17th and 19th, respectively.

Wyomissing senior Rob Williams won PIAA gold in the discus with a mark of 169-feet, 7-inches — topping his seed by more than 10 feet.

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May 27, 2021 Tim Birney

BLOOMSBURG — One bad inning.

Second-seed Montoursville scored six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to break open a tie game on its way to a 9-2 win over third-seed Athens here Thursday in the semifinals of the District 4, Class AAAA baseball playoffs at Central Columbia High School.

“One bad inning … we made a couple bad plays that extended the inning; that was the difference,” said Athens coach Charlie Havens. “(Montoursville) took advantage of our mistakes, and put together a big inning.”

With one out in the home half of the fourth, Dylan Moll ripped a single through the hole at short.

Three pitches later, Moll took of for second, and Athens shortstop Karter Rude broke toward the bag to take a throw, but Antonio Lorente executed a perfect hit-and-run with a groundball single into left field

With runners on first and third, C.J. Signor laid down a perfect squeeze bunt between the pitcher and first baseman to score Moll with the go-ahead run.

“(Montoursville) answered right back after we tied the game,” said Havens. “That’s what good teams do.

“They executed very well to get their first run,” added Havens. “They’re a good team, it’s fun to watch that kind of stuff.”

Back-to-back walks forced home another run to give Montoursville a 3-1 lead, and Nick Reeder followed with an RBI double just inside the third-base page to make it 5-1.

Havens elected to lift starter Mason Lister for fellow sophomore Lucas Kraft, and Kraft struck out the first batter he faced. However, Nolan Kutney hammered a 1-1 pitch into the right-center field gap for a two-run double to push the lead to 7-1.

The Wildcats scored a run in the top of the sixth without the benefit of a hit, but Maddox Dalena answered with a two-run home run to left field in the home half of the frame to provide the final margin.

Montoursville scored an unearned run in the bottom of the second to take a 1-0 lead, but Athens answered with a run in the fourth to tie the game.

Rude led off the Athens fourth with an infield single, and advanced to third base on an errant pick-off throw. Sophomore Caleb Nichols drove him home with a sacrifice fly.

Reeder started for Montoursville and pitched six innings of one-hit ball to earn the win, striking out six and walking just one. Grayson Rinker retired Athens in order in the seventh, striking out two.

“We only had one hit, and that was an infield single, so we didn’t help ourselves out that way,” said Havens.

Lister was tagged with the loss, allowing seven runs — six earned — on four hits, while striking out three and walking three in 3 1/3 innings.

Kraft finished off the game, allowing two runs on two hits, while striking out five and walking one in 2 2/3 innings or work.

Athens wraps up the season, the first under Havens, at 12-9.

“This season was a huge transition,” said Havens. “It was a transition for me, it was a transition for the guys getting used to each other, and to our system.

“Me going from being a JV coach for such a long time … it was a harder transition than I thought it would be,” noted Havens. “Getting use to the speed of the game … and I didn’t know any of the teams in the NTL — I do now.”

“The whole year was a learning experience. Figuring out our system took a little time, but once we did, we came around and did some good things,” he added. “Once we put it together, we won 8 of our last 10 to end the regular season.”

The Wildcats graduate just three seniors in starters Kyler Setzer and Tanner Dildine, and reserve Ben Vough.

“We’re going to lose three real good seniors who came to work every day,” said Havens. “They will be tough to replace, and will definitely be missed.”

Havens believes the future is bright for Athens baseball.

“We have a lot of sophomores, who will be juniors, coming back; and Karter Rude will be a senior, he’s a heck of a player,” said Havens. “We have the pieces here.

“Nick Jacob is going up from the JVs. He’s going to be a heck of a ball player, and someone who will help us going forward,” noted Havens. “And, Connor Mosher does a lot of good things. He will help us out.

“Our junior high team was 15-2. There are some kids coming up from that team that we’ll take a look at.

“People are going to get pushed for spots,” added Havens. “I think we have a three or four year window where we can make a run at this.”

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May 22, 2021 Tim Birney

WILLIAMSPORT — Athens junior Olivia Bartlow  was the top place-winner for Valley girls, winning a bronze medal in the discus, while Athens sophomore Emma Bronson won a pair of medals in the distance events here Saturday at the District 4 Track & Field Championships.

The Lady Wildcats, competing in Class AAA, finished seventh (out of seven) with 19 points, while Class Sayre was tied for 18th (out of 27) with 4 points.

Bartlow finished third in the discus with a toss of 91-feet, 2-inches, while Athens sophomore Meltem VanHelden was 13th at 67-feet, 5-inches, and freshman Emma Pernaselli was 14th at 62-feet, 9-inches.

Bronson finished fourth in the 1,600-meter run in a time of 5:35.27, and was fifth in the 800-meter run in 2:30.78

Senior Leah Liechty and senior Emma Roe, junior Hannah Walker, and freshman Mya Thompson teamed to finish fifth in the 1,600-meter relay in a time of 4:25.19.

Liechty, sophomore Cassy Friend, and freshmen Emily Henderson and Abbie Panek teamed to finish sixth in the 400-meter relay in a time of 55.98 seconds.

Thompson, who won four medals on the weekend, finished sixth in the long jump with a leap of 15-feet, 5 3/4-inches, and Friend was 10th at 14-feet, 4 1/4-inches.

Pernaselli finished eighth in the javelin with a throw of 94-feet.

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May 22, 2021 Tim Birney

WILLIAMSPORT — Athens senior Asher Ellis will be a busy young man Friday at the PIAA Track & Field Championships.

Ellis, who won district gold in the javelin Thursday night, added a second gold medal Saturday in the discus, and nearly qualified for States in a third throwing event before settling for a bronze medal at the District 4, Class AA Track & Field Championships.

On Thursday, Ellis struggled in the preliminaries of the javelin, and narrowly advanced to the finals, where he popped out a big throw to win gold.

On Saturday, Ellis’ best discus throw in the preliminaries was 114-feet, which put him in the ninth and final qualifying spot.

On his first throw in the finals, Ellis unleashed a throw of 149-feet, 10-inches, which ended up besting runner-up Cole Goodwin of Milton (139-feet, 11-inches) by nearly 10 feet.

“The nerves were kicking in. It’s tough with all these talented throwers — anybody could have won,” said Ellis.

“It started out the same as the javelin, I was struggling, then it clicked.

“I got settled in after the first three throws,” added Ellis. “I knew I had it in me, I just had to do it.”

Ellis said the wind was also a factor.

“(The) wind was tough,” he said. “If you didn’t have a perfect release, the wind would catch it, and flip it right back. You had to be mindful of that.”

In between the preliminaries and the finals, each competitor received one practice throw. Ellis’ practice throw may have been his best of the day.

“That throw gave me a little boost of confidence, and let me settle in,” he said. “Then, I let if fly.”

Sayre senior Zach Belles finished eighth in the discus at 117-feet, and Athens senior Lucas Aquilio was 22nd at 84-feet, 7-inches. Athens senior Ian Wright no-distanced.

Later in the afternoon, Ellis and Central Columbia Garrett Carter tied for second in the shot put with throws of 46-feet, 11-inches. Carter claimed the silver by virtue of having a better second-best throw of 45-feet, 6 3/4-inches, compared to Ellis mark of 42-feet.

“I did what I could do,” said Ellis. “It’s been a long day … not to make excuses, but I just didn’t perform as well as I could have. And, that’s all right.”

Ellis will now prepare to compete in the javelin and discus in the PIAA Championships.

“As much as I wanted to win all three, what you want doesn’t always happen.

“I did what I could,” said Ellis. “It will definitely allow me to focus more on the javelin and the discus.

“I’m proud of myself, and I’m good with my performance,” added Ellis.

Belles finished 12th at 40-feet, 3 1/2-inches, and Wright was 23rd at 37-feet, 1/2-inch.

The Wildcats finished fifth in the highly-bunched team standings. Tightly-bunched aside from Southern Columbia that is.

The Tigers ran away with the team title with 113.5 points, while Mount Carmel was second with 55 points, Milton was third with 49.5 points, Loyalsock was fourth with 48 points, and Athens and South Williamsport were tied with 46 points. Sayre was 22nd in the 25-team field with 4 points.

“Asher (Ellis) led the way today and Thursday with some big points in the throwing events, but we added points along the way in the relays, and some of the other events,” said Athens coach Scott Riley.

“When you have one team that runs away with it, it kind of lets the rest of us battle it out for what’s left.

“The kids were PRing left and right,” noted Riley. “It’s been tough with the heat, but they adapting the best they can, and do pretty well.

“It’s been an incredibly coachable group across the board, and a very exciting team,” added Riley. “It’s been fun to watch them grow throughout the season.”

Junior Kyle Anthony, who won a fourth-place medal Thursday, won three more Saturday.

Anthony finished fourth in the 1,600-meter run in 4:36.93, while Dahl was ninth in 4:52.25, and junior Matt Gorsline was 11th in 4:53.84.

Anthony finished seventh in the 800-meter run in a time of 2:06.07, while junior Justin Lynch was ninth in 2:06.31

Anthony teamed with junior Ryan Thompson, Lynch, and freshman Ryan Lasusa to finish seventh in the 1,600-meter relay in a time of 3:41.91. Sayre’s foursome of seniors Bobby Benjamin and Tavone McClenny, sophomore Mason Hughey and junior Riley Parrish finished 11th in 3:46.41.

Dahl finished sixth in the 3,200-meter run in a time of 10:21.62, and Gorsline was seventh in 10:24.02

The Athens foursome of senior Joe Toscano, junior Levi Kuhns, Thompson, and sophomore Jaden Wright finished eighth in the 400-meter relay in a time of 46.92 seconds.

Lasusa finished ninth in the 400-meter hurdles in 53.1 seconds, and Sayre senior Tavone McClenny was 16th in 54.84 seconds.

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May 20, 2021 Tim Birney

WILLIAMSPORT — Athens senior Asher Ellis topped his seed by more than 8 1/2-feet to win gold in the javelin here Friday evening at the District 4, Class AA Track & Field Championships, and punch his ticket to States next week at Shippensburg University.

Entering the meet with a season-best throw of 166-feet, 1-inch, Ellis was seeded second behind Montoursville senior Gavin Livermore, who was the top seed at 169-feet, 10-inches.

Ellis launched a throw of 174-feet, 8-inches, besting Livermore, who was second at 173-feet, 9-inches.

The Wildcat 3,200-meter relay team also reached the podium.

Juniors Kyle Anthony, Matt Gorsline, and Justin Lynch, and senior Connor Dahl teamed to finish fourth in a time of 8:32.7.
Athens is currently second in the team standings with 15 points. Southern Columbia leads the field with 20 points, while Montoursville is third with 13 points, and Wyalusing and Hughesville are tied for fourth with 10.

Athens junior Levi Kuhns finished seventh in his 100-meter hurdles heat in a time of 18.27 seconds.

The Lady Wildcats reached the podium in two events in the Class AAA Championships, with freshman Mya Thompson earning a pair of medals in the process.

Sophomore Emma Bronson, senior Emma Roe, Thompson, and junior Hannah Walker placed fifth in the 3,200-meter relay in a time of 10:37.82.

Thompson also medalled in the triple jump, finishing sixth with an effort of 31-feet, 6-inches.

Senior Leah Liechty finished eighth in the high jump at 4-feet, 5-inches, while freshman Emily Henderson was sixth in her heat, and 10th overall, in the 100-meter hurdles in a time of 18.75 seconds.

Freshman Emma Pernaselli was 12th in the shot put with a heave of 26-feet, 5-inches.

Saturday’s action begins at 9 a.m.

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May 17, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — There are comebacks, and there are comebacks.

North Penn-Liberty scored 11 runs in the second inning to take an 11-5 lead, and led 14-9 after 4 1/2 innings, but Athens scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to pull out a wild, 16-14, win here Monday afternoon in NTL Large School Division softball action.

“Our kids never quit, we just kept chipping away,” said Athens coach Mickey Farrell, who noted his team’s defense put them in an early hole.

“We did not play well defensively in the outfield, and we had eight errors overall,” he noted.

Athens improves to 15-4 on the season. The 15 wins are believed to be a school-record .

“Before the game, we told the kids let’s get back to what’s gotten us to this record,” said Farrell. “And that is having fun.

“We had been pressing too hard because of how important these games are,” noted Farrell. “We just wanted them to play hard and have fun; whatever happens, happens.  !

“We now have the most wins in a season at 15,” added Farrell.

Athens took a quick 5-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.

Senior Harley Sullivan walked to lead off the game, and junior Audrey Hatch followed with a single. Junior Caydence Macik drove both runners home with a two-run triple, and scored on a grounder off the bat of senior Mallory Mummert.

Sophomores Addy Repsher and Aliyah Butler followed with RBI singles to cap the rally.

The Lady Mountaineers sent 15 batters to the plate in the top of the second, turning six hit, three errors, and three walks into 11 runs. Payton Chapel’s three-run home run capped the rally.

The Lady Wildcats got three runs back in the home half of the second, trimming the deficit to 11-8.

Sullivan led off the inning with a single, and Athens used a pair of walks, and outfield error and a pair of passed balls to plate their runs.

Macik led off the bottom of the fourth with a double, and scored on a one-out RBI single by Repsher to pull within two run, at 11-9.

NP-Liberty scored twice in the top of the fifth on a one-out bases-loaded single y Megan Spohn and a walk to Saige Lehman to make it 13-9, but Macik, who came on in relief in the second inning for the Lady Wildcats, registered a pair of strikeouts to avoid further damage.

Sullivan led off the home half of the fifth inning with a double, and scored on a one-out RBI single by Macik. After Macik stole second, she scored on an RBI single by Mummert to make it 13-11.

NP-L scored an unearned run in the top of the sixth to up its advantage to 14-11, but the Athens offense kept hitting.

The inning didn’t start well as the first two Lady Wildcat batters struck out. With two outs, Sullivan ripped a double, and Hatch followed with a single. After an intentional walk to Macik, Mummert and Repsher hit back-to-back two-run singles to give Athens a 15-14 lead. Butler’s RBI double provided the final margin.

In the top of the seventh, Macik retired the side in order to preserve the win.

Macik had three hits, including a tripled and a double, scored five runs, and had three RBI, while Repsher stroked three singles, scored three runs, and drove in four runs, and Sullivan belted two doubles and a triple, and scored four runs to pace Athens’ 17-hit attack.

Mummert singled twice, scored two runs, and collected four RBI in the win, while Hatch singled twice and scored two runs, Butler doubled and singled, and drove in one run, and freshman Ashlyn VanFleet and senior Carly Simpson each added a single.

Athens travels to Wyalusing Tuesday in a key battle for the NTL Large School title.

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