SAYRE – The 16th annual 2022 Northern Tier League Athlete of the Year Banquet was held at the Best Western in Sayre on Sunday.
After the buffet lunch, Towanda High School Athletic Director Paul Lantz presented the awards for Coach/Program of the Year, Official of the Year, Female Athlete of the year and male athlete of the year.
Coach/Program of the Year was awarded to longtime Canton baseball coach Bob Rockwell. Official of the Year was awarded to Jack Carr.
Female Athlete of the Year was awarded to Canton High School soccer and softball player Emmi Ward; the male athlete of the year was awarded to Kade Sottolano, a football player, wrestler and baseball player from the Cowanesque Valley.
A four-year letter winner in softball and football, Ward culminates a four-year college career that includes All-State football nods in 2020 and 2021; NTL and Regional Defensive Football Player of the Year Award in 2020; a spot on the All-State Softball Team in 2020 – with 2021 selections yet to be made – an NTL Good Sportsmanship Award for Football in 2021; and a 2021 Softball Defensive Player of the Year selection from a host of awards.
Ward, who is an honor roll scholar and member of the National Honor Society. will graduate with a 4.0 GPA.
She is also active with the Giving Tree program and Kids Can’t Fight Cancer Alone.
Ward said she has always been an athlete.
“It’s something I love doing and when I love doing something, I work hard on it,” Ward said.
Ward hopes to continue her athletic career at the next level, but will remain active anyway.
“I hope to play sports in college, but otherwise I still want to be involved in sports as part of my career and volunteering,” she said.
Sottolano earned 11 letters during his high school career. He was a first-team all-region defensive lineman and was a second-team all-state selection. He was also a two-time first-team All-NTL wrestler and even accepted second-team All-NTL as a rookie.
Sottolano has 107 wins on the mat and finished fourth at 285 pounds at the 2022 PIAA Class AA Wrestling Tournament
In his spare time, Sottolano referees Little League games; food bank volunteers; and does other community service with his National Honor Society chapter and student council. During school, he used his study time to work out with a disabled student in the weight room.
Sottolano said he was tall, skinny, and not always athletic.
“I was always strong, but I wasn’t a big person,” he said. “Then around ninth grade I started filling out and everything started to fall into place. I had great coaches who developed me like strength coach Mike Schmitt.
He said he went from that skinny kid to who he is now because of Schmitt and his other coaches.
“The everyday stuff got me over it.”