March 21, 2013


Cortland fetes top athletes

Staff Writer

The members of this winter’s Cortland High athletic teams were honored at their squads’ respective postseason banquets.
The award winners for each sport, with coaches’ comments on their MVPs, are listed below.
Coach: Jeremy Milligan
Most Valuable Player: Josh Gutchess and Isaiah Prior.
Most Improved Player: Zach Whelan.
Coaches’ Award: Brian Hughes.
Milligan on Gutchess: “Josh, a starting forward, captain, and three-year player, was the vocal leader for the team both on and off the court. At the conclusion of all team huddles, he was the one that provided the inspirational or motivational word or phrase for the team to repeat. Josh finished the season as the rebounding leader (7.3 per game), third in scoring (10.5 per game), second in blocks (.5 per game) and third in assists (1.9 per game).
“For someone who came off the bench last season as the sixth man, Josh was an impact player for us this season, always working hard to put himself and the team to be in position to win games. His dedication to the sport in the offseason over the last several years truly paid off as he was a dominant force in the post, collecting rebounds, maneuvering past defenders for easy buckets, and finding open teammates. Josh’s leadership, work ethic, and high level of play will be missed.”
Milligan on Prior: “Isaiah, our starting point guard, was the court general for us throughout the season. The point guard position is the most physically and mentally demanding position on the court. The highest expectations are placed on this player since the ball is in his hands the most often and there is the largest room for error. Considering Isaiah saw very limited quality minutes during his junior year, this was truly his first year of running the varsity team. He may have been one of the most versatile point guards the program has seen in a long time. Isaiah led the team in assists (3.6 per game), was second in scoring (12.2 per game), led the team in shooting percentage from the floor (48%), led the team in 3-point shooting percentage (46%), was second in steals (1.9 per game), and was second in deflections (37 on the season). He has put in a great deal of time over the years in order to polish his game and it showed as he excelled at both ends of the court. Isaiah was the last of a long legacy of Prior boys. His positive attitude, drive to compete, and well-rounded play will be missed. Hopefully, future Purple Tiger point guards witnessed the intensity with which this position needs to be played.
Coach: Dick Penoyer
Most Valuable Player: None.
Most Improved Player: Julia Babjack and Jackie Phillips.
Coaches’ Award: Kelly Dineen.
Coach: Don Armstrong
Most Valuable Player: Nick Burton (Homer).
Most Improved Player: John-Morgan Burhans.
Coaches’ Award: Alex Rosato and Mike Lavere (Homer).
Coach: Dave Darrow
Most Valuable Wrestler: Zack Alexander.
Most Improved Wrestler: Grant Tinker.
Coaches’ Award: Kevin Parker.
Darrow on Alexander: “Zack is one of the top wrestlers I’ve ever coached. He does all the little things right; he conditions hard, drills hard and learns from his mistakes. He constantly wants to improve. He’s good at assessing how his opponents wrestle and adapting to their styles, what they’re trying to accomplish. Zack wrestled the best kids this year; we moved him up and down (between 126 and 132 pounds) depending on where other teams’ top wrestlers were.”
Alexander finished 46-6 this season with 33 pins, going 19-3 with 14 pins at 126 and 27-3 with 19 pins at 132. He won the 126-pound championship at the Class B sectionals (after winning 126 in Class A last season), was third at 126 in the sectional Division II tournament (second in Division I last year) and went 1-2 in the state Division II meet at 126. He finished with a career record of 169-51 with 78 pins.
Coach: Cheri Olson
Most Valuable Player: Megan Howard and Katie Dovi.
Most Improved Player: Emily Ross.
Coaches’ Award: Amanda Edwards.
Olson on Howard: “Megan (senior libero) did a great job for us this year. There was a big difference depending on whether she was in the game or not. Her competitive nature makes her wonderful to coach.”
Howard had 185 digs this season.
Olson on Dovi: “Katie (senior middle blocker) is a great athlete. She had to assume a leadership role this year as captain and she did a great job. Katie’s love for the game is obvious and I was so proud of her this year. Even as a senior, she kept trying to learn and get better. She had the most kills on the team. It’s a shame that we couldn’t use her more often. She definitely put some heat on the ball. Her natural blocking ability will also be greatly missed.”
Dovi had 21 aces, 98 kills and 28 blocks this season.
Coach: Ron Reed
Most Valuable Bowler: Nadeane Minnard.
No other awards were given.
Reed on Minnard: “Nadeane, a junior, was the energy behind our team this year. She comes to every practice and competitions with a positive attitude. Nadeane organized several team-bonding activities, was responsible for designing our team towels and shirts and was my ‘go-to’ person throughout the season. Whenever I could, I would transfer responsibilities to Nadeane. She accepted each one and followed through with maturity. Next year, Nadeane will once again assume a leadership role on the team.”
Minnard had an OHSL average of 144, a high game of 222 and high series of 528 and was a team captain. She has been team treasurer or two years.
Coach: Ron Reed
Most Valuable Bowler: Andrew Adsit.
No other awards were given.
Reed on Adsit: “If Nadeane was the energy behind our girls’ team, then Andrew Adsit, a senior, was the glue that held the boys’ team together. Andrew’s quiet leadership played a crucial role in melding a young squad (two eighth-graders and a freshman) with our upperclassmen (three seniors). He served as an outstanding role model to the younger athletes and to those who were less experienced. He maintained calm under all circumstances and accepted the bad days with the good. His sense of humor brought us through some tough moments. Good luck as you graduate in June. It has been an honor to be your coach.”
Adsit had an OHSL average of 171, a high game of 227 and high series of 614 and finished second in the league’s singles tournament.
Coach: Nikki Zeches
No awards were reported.
A total of four Cortland High winter sports squads have been named NYSPHSAA Scholar-Athlete teams.
Varsity teams must earn an academic average of 90 percent or higher during their season to qualify for the award, with letters of recognition and pins provided by NYSPHSAA for the individual athletes who made the team awards possible.
The volleyball team led the way for CHS with an average of 93.133, followed by girls’ basketball at 92.991, Ice Hockey at 92.751 and boys’ basketball at 92.529.



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