District 4 has continued to prove itself with top athletes makings statements at the highest levels.
This fall season was no different as surprises and championships jumped out for highlights throughout the three-month-long season. There are plenty of standouts to look back on, but here are just a few as the fall season comes to a close.
Tennis — South Williamsport’s Olivia Dorner was outstanding this year in tennis. She rarely dropped points and cruised through the District 4 Singles Championships to claim her first title. She also helped the South Williamsport team capture the top slot in the District as it defeated Montoursville in a memorable match at Muncy.
It was the type of year any competitor would want, but for one like Dorner, it might just be the beginning. She’s a freshman who finished third at States after her run through Districts. She has shown an ability to get better, and she has shown the drive to want to get better.
There were plenty of highlights throughout the fall season, but the one that really stands out might not have even taken place on the court. As she quickly finished off her top singles match during the District 4 team tennis championships Dorner turned into a supportive teammate, and it was easy to see just how much it meant to her. She wanted her teammates to have a good finish, and she wanted them to perform well.
Dorner cheered them on, and the favor was returned as she competed in the semifinals of the State Singles Tournament. Dorner will be a name that will become common on the tennis scene if it hasn’t already. Dorner will be back next year for another run. She will also be there to support her teammates as South Williamsport’s tennis program continues to stand out.
Golf — Wellsboro’s Benjamin Barnett was faced with a difficult situation moments after he walked off the Williamsport Country Club Course. He finished second at the District 4 Championships and missed winning by a single stroke to Central Columbia’s Grant Gronka. It was a challenging moment, to say the least, but Barnett wasn’t about to let it define his season.
He rebounded with a big performance at the Regional Tournament, finishing his one-day marathon with a final score of 81 for a tenth place finish. It was a day marked by much tougher conditions than the final day of Districts and Barnett survived to qualify for the State Tournament. The two-day State Tournament would put Barnett’s work ethic and skill on full display as he tied for fifth in the state with a two-day score of 154.
After his impressive outing at the East Regionals, he talked about how much it simply meant to qualify for the State Tournament. He worked throughout the break between tournaments and earned his spot as the fifth best in the state.
Soccer — During Sullivan County’s run throughout the District 4 Class A Soccer playoffs no one player stood out more than forward Brian Lewis.
He opened the tournament with a four-goal performance against East Juniata. The Griffins, who entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed, needed each and every one of those goals as they defeated the Tigers 4-3.
The game was close, but it also started to make fans and players on other teams take notice of what Lewis was doing on the pitch. With expectations now much higher, Lewis continued to impress as he added three more goals to his totals in a 4-1 win over Galeton.
Lewis has the ability to use his speed to get behind the defense, but still has the body control to collect passes and put shots exactly where he needed to put them. Lewis will graduate at the end of the year, but he definitely put a stamp on the postseason.
Football — When it came to big plays in the District Loyalsock’s Gerald Ross was one of a kind. He was a constant threat to go deep and lead his team in receiving throughout the 2018 season.
Ross finished with 1,024 yards and 11 receiving touchdowns to lead his team throughout the season. The Lancers eventually found their way to the playoffs but fell in a memorable game against Shamokin.
Despite the early finish, it would be hard not to call Ross’s year highly successful as he continued to make his case as the best athlete in the area.
Ross put on a memorable performance against Shikellamy early in the season. He pulled down ten receptions for 211 yards and scored three touchdowns as the Lancers downed Shikellamy 35-0. It was the first of many standout performances throughout the year for Ross.
Cross Country — Disappointment was all over the face of Loyalsock’s Isabell Sagar as she accepted her second place medal at the PIAA Track and Field Championships.
It was a down moment for Sagar, but much like all the athletes mentioned she bounced back in a big way. The 2018 Cross Country Championships started like most championship meets as the cool fall conditions made for a tough day on a difficult course.
Sagar jumped out with a fast pace time and continued to push to finish with a final time of 19:12, claiming the top spot in the entire state. It’s always nice to see young athletes bounce back and Sagar was no different. With one gold under her belt, this year’s track and field season should be a memorable one for her.