By STEVE HEISER
The York-Adams League absolutely saved its best for last.
A 2014-2015 high school sports season that had already produced its fair share of memorable moments, soared to another level in the past month.
First, Kennard-Dale’s Morgan Day shattered the national girls’ lacrosse scoring record with a mind-blowing 469 goals. The NCAA Division I recruit (Saint Francis University) led the Rams to an unbeaten regular season, a York-Adams League championship and a state playoff berth. It was a career that won’t soon be forgotten in southeastern York County.
Then, a few weeks later, the Northeastern Bobcats capped off the local prep campaign by winning a third straight PIAA Class AA boys’ volleyball state title with frightening ease. They didn’t lose a single game in the postseason and set a state record with the fewest points allowed in a state final (43) since the change to rally scoring in 2004.
It was the sixth overall state crown in Northeastern’s illustrious volleyball history, and it would surprise absolutely no one if the Bobcats won their seventh state championship next season. They’re expected to return the bulk of their starting lineup, including Ohio State recruit Reese Devilbiss.
Almost overlooked in Northeastern’s dominant postseason run was the fact that the Bobcats also picked up their 15th District 3 title.
There’s no doubt that Northeastern cast a very large shadow this season in boys’ volleyball, but the accomplishments of the Central York team should not be overlooked. The Panthers won the District 3-AAA title with an scintillating comeback from a 2-0 deficit vs. Penn Manor, including a dramatic 35-33 Game 3 triumph. It was Central’s 22nd district championship — more than any other boys’ volleyball team.
Yes, there’s no doubt that the spring prep season provided several unforgettable highlights, but the rest of 2014-2015 scholastic sports year wasn’t too shabby, either.
Here are a few other items of note from the past York-area high school sports season:
Basketball: The local hoops season was packed with significant achievements, most notably York Catholic’s 10th-straight District 3-AA girls’ championship. Coach Kevin Bankos’ classy program is a model for all others to emulate.
The York High Bearcats may not have won 10 district titles in a row, but they did pick up their second straight District 3-AAAA boys’ crown and their third in the past five years. That’s an impressive feat in the most high-profile and competitive district division. Coach Troy Sowers turned the Bearcats into a program that’s earned state-wide respect.
The Hilda Goodling Impact Academy also made news by capturing the District 3-A championship in the first year of the school’s existence. Unfortunately, the school closed before the state playoffs began because of financial difficulties, denying the team a much-deserved chance to compete in the state playoffs.
Swimming: York Suburban’s Carson Gross brought home a state swimming gold medal in the AA 200 freestyle to highlight a strong York-Adams season in the pool during the winter. She helped the Trojans finish third in the state AA team race. They also finished first in the state among public schools. The Suburban boys, meanwhile, finished fifth in the state AA standings.
The Dallastown swimming teams, meanwhile, continued to dominate York-Adams competition. The girls have won 11 straight league titles, while boys have earned seven straight York-Adams crowns. That qualifies as a dynasty in anyone’s estimation.
Cross country: The York Suburban boys’ cross country outfit used a pack mentality to capture the state AA championship in November in Hershey.
The Trojans simply overwhelmed the competition throughout the season, including at the state meet, where they finished a whopping 31 points ahead of runner-up Grove City.
Coaching news: It was big season for York-Adams coaching changes, especially in football.
The league will have six new coaches for the 2015 season. Most significantly, Ron Miller stepped down as the leader of the powerhouse West York program, replaced by one of his former assistants, Jeremy Jones, who was the head coach at York Suburban for the past couple of years. Former Kennard-Dale coach Andy Loucks takes over at Suburban.
Spring Grove (Kyle Sprenkle, replacing Russ Stoner), Delone Catholic (Corey Zortman, replacing Steve Wiles), Susquehannock (Steve Wiles, replacing J.C. Lewis) and Dover (Wayne Snelbaker, replacing Eric Lam) will also have new football coaches.
The coaching news wasn’t limited to football. In boys’ basketball, Ryan Luckman wasn’t rehired after a single season at his alma mater, York Catholic. The storied Fighting Irish program will have its third head coach in three years this winter as the program continues its efforts to regain its former glory. Another former York Catholic standout, Blaine Claiborne, was hired to replace Luckman.
In baseball, West York’s Roger Czerwinski decided to step down after seven hugely successful seasons with the Bulldogs, citing family reasons. His replacement will have big shoes to fill. West York won three York-Adams League and two PIAA Class AAA state titles during Czerwinski’s stint with the Bulldogs.
New addition: Gettysburg became the 23rd York-Adams member this season and immediately made an impact as a competitive entry in a number of sports, including championships in field hockey and track and field.
Illnesses: Finally, several high-profile York-Adams athletes were sadly forced to deal with forms of cancer this season, including Dover girls’ soccer player Maddie Hill, Central York boys’ basketball player Peter Falci and Northeastern quarterback Marcus Josey.
On more upbeat notes, however, the athletes in question dealt with their illnesses with strength and dignity, and the York-Adams athletic community rallied to support them in numerous, heart-felt ways.
It was inspiring to watch.
Really, the entire 2014-2015 high school season was inspiring to watch.
The opportunity to report on teen athletes, on the cusp of adulthood, performing wondrous deeds is what keeps this job constantly interesting.
There’s just one problem — the 2014-2015 high school sports season is over.
But there’s good news. The 2015-2016 season is just a couple months away.
Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.