Athens' Emily Lunger the girls' Athlete of the Year.

By: Brian Fees | Towanda Daily Review | June 14, 2018


It's starting to become an annual thing.

For the third year in a row The Daily & Sunday Review Female Athlete of the year is from Athens.

The past two years the athlete was Breana Gambrell. This year, the award goes to a new face, from the same school, as Emily Lunger is the Athlete of the Year.

"It's pretty special," Lunger said. "Athens has great athletes. Me and Bre work hard, we are best friends and we push each other, to make each other great."

For Lunger, having teammates like Gambrell just makes her a better athlete and she feels honored to win the award.

"It feels amazing, all the hard work has paid off," Lunger said. "It's very nice, I have great people to push me, help improve me. I have great coaches, so I'm happy."

For Lunger there was a time she was learning from upperclassmen. And, now she's the one helping the younger athletes, both on her team, and around the NTL.

"Coming in as a freshman, seeing all the older kids succeed at states, it made me motivated over the years," Lunger said. "I wanted to be able to motivate others and younger people like (Williamson's) Charly (Slusser)."

The year started off for Lunger with a strong soccer season.

"I was very happy with the way soccer went," Lunger said. "I had a little injury in the season that made me nervous, but I fought through it and it paid off."

Lunger feels like the past couple years she learned a lot in soccer from her coach, Rich Pitts.

"He made me such a better player and an even better person," Lunger said.

Things were a lot different in basketball this year. Breana and Ariana Gambrell did indoor track meets this winter and didn't play basketball, two of three regulars for the Wildcats that didn't play this year. That left Lunger as one of the few veterans on a very young Wildcats team. Lunger got her 1,000th career point this year and helped lead Athens to an NTL Showdown title.

"It was a lot different, there were some big shoes we had to fill, but we put everything we had toward it and it definitely show," Lunger said. "It was a lot of fun, everyone would look at you for what do do, so you didn't want to mess up, but it was great to be role model for others."

Track and field was the season Lunger had always dreamed off.

Lunger broke a pair of school records — in the high jump and also as a part of the 4x100 relay with Breana and Ariana Gambrell and Rachel Hutchison — and she earned state silver medals in both events.

"It's everything I hoped for and the mark I left on Athens I'm very happy with," Lunger said. "It's very nice, hopefully those events won't be broken anytime soon. But, I'm glad with my performances."


About the Author

Brian Fees Author Bio
Brian Fees

Brian Fees is the sports editor of the Daily & Sunday Review in Towanda, PA.