Susquehannock’s Katie Wagner fist-bumps her father, Alan, after winning the YAIAA Class AAA singles title in October.
Susquehannock's Katie Wagner fist-bumps her father, Alan, after winning the YAIAA Class AAA singles title in October. (Daily Record/Sunday News -- file)
I had better apologize in advance for part of my annual local sports year-in-review column.

But 2012 was a most unusual year for me, considering I missed a little more than two months while being treated for -- and recovering from -- throat cancer.

At least things are looking up health-wise, and I am thrilled to say as 2013 begins that I am back full time at the Daily Record/Sunday News and GameTimePA.com.

Before I recap the YAIAA's biggest moments of 2012, let me first thank everyone who supported me during my time of struggles.

I will start with the incredible people here at the YDR, who took turns driving me to Towson, Md., for daily radiation treatment and provided emotional support that I cannot describe.

Then there were the slew of cards, emails and well wishes I received from area coaches, athletes and parents I have covered over the years, plus readers I didn't know. I cannot thank you enough for the smiles your messages gave me.

But on top of everything is the "Navaroli Nation" T-shirt campaign started by York Suburban swimmers Will Massey and Emily Schmittle.

The two said they had to do something for me because of what I have done for area high school swimming. It was an unbelievable gesture, one I cannot claim I deserve but am so grateful for receiving.

Other swim teams got involved, other sports have ordered shirts, basketball teams have been seen wearing them for warmups; parents and fans are in on it too. Everyone in my office -- and my wife's office -- bought shirts. It is humbling how this community, where I have lived and worked for so many years, has rallied around me.

Thank you doesn't cut it -- at all. But everything the great people of this community have done for me and my family is deeply appreciated.

Central York’s Jay Stone won gold medals in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles at the District 3 track and field championships last May.
Central York's Jay Stone won gold medals in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles at the District 3 track and field championships last May. (Daily Record/Sunday News -- file)

This year provided some great moments for the YAIAA, several of which I was lucky enough to witness, starting with West York's Bradley Strathmeyer capturing the PIAA Class AA 500 freestyle championship at the state swim meet in March.

Strathmeyer dominated the entire race, which took place one day after he won a silver medal in the 100 butterfly.

Red Lion's Morgan Pfaff closed her brilliant high school career at states with a silver medal in the Class AAA 100 backstroke and a bronze in the 200 individual medley.

Suburban's Erin Merkle won a bronze medal in the Class AA 100 fly at states, as did Eastern York's Luke Dickson in the AA boys' diving competition.

The winter sports scene brought another state championship for Kennard-Dale wrestler Chance Marsteller, who closed a perfect season with gold at the Class AAA 160-pound division. The two-time champ has not lost a match at the high school level.

And let's not forget Hanover's Derek Wolford scoring a silver medal at 195 pounds in Class AA.

Of course, the winter wasn't complete without a trip to the PIAA Class AA girls' basketball championship game to once again cover York Catholic.

While the Irish ran into a buzz-saw in the loss to Seton-La Salle -- one of the most complete high school teams I have ever seen -- the fact that coach Kevin Bankos got his team to the finals again, is quite an accomplishment.

Away from the high schools, both the York College men's and women's basketball teams played in their respective Capital Athletic Conference championship games in a doubleheader at Mary Washington.

Being there as the Spartan men won the title in coach Jeff Gamber's final season is a memory I will keep with me and, although the women lost that day, they ended up appearing in their second Sweet 16 in four seasons.

The YAIAA got a state team champions in June when the West York baseball team heated up at the perfect time and rolled through the four-game PIAA playoffs en route to a Class AAA title.

Timely hitting, great defense, the right moves by coach Roger Czerwinski and the workhorse arm of Kaden Hepler keyed an impressive run.

Dallastown’s Haylee Anders lets the ball go past her during the District 3 Class AAAA softball championship against Central Dauphin. The Rams won,
Dallastown's Haylee Anders lets the ball go past her during the District 3 Class AAAA softball championship against Central Dauphin. The Rams won, 7-6. (Daily Record/Sunday News -- file)

The York Suburban boys' volleyball team won the District 3 Class AA championship and made it to the state finals. Watching the Trojans work on the court was fun.

Dallastown's softball team marched on a run of its own before falling to defending champ Central Dauphin in the District 3 Class AAAA title game.

Also in the spring, Dallastown's Jared Allison, now at Virginia Tech, took silver medals at the PIAA Class AAA track and field championships.

And we would be remiss if we didn't mention Red Lion's Angelica Gonzalez, who as a freshman earned a PIAA Class AAA silver medal in the 200 dash and a bronze in the 100.

Central York hurdler Jay Stone won two gold medals at the District 3 Class AAA championships and teammate Megan Lundy won the 400 dash. Allison and Gonzalez headlined a long list of YAIAA athletes who won silver, bronze and other medals at districts.

This fall was one of the YAIAA's best on the football field with three teams reaching district championship games. Delone Catholic won the Class A title, with an impressive 28-13 win against perennial power Steel-High.

Bermudian Springs lost in Class AA to eventual state champ Wyomissing, and another West York run ended against Bishop McDevitt in the finals. Those marked the only losses of the season for both the Eagles and Bulldogs.

In the YAIAA's edition of worst to first, the Spring Grove football team and second-year coach Russ Stoner, turned a one-win 2011 season to a share of the Division I title. Perhaps making the Rockets' story even better is the fact they shared the crown with Central York, where Stoner was a defensive coach under Panthers mentor Brad Livingston.

The football success was on of three district titles for Delone teams. The Squirettes won the Class AA girls' cross country and volleyball championships.

Susquehannock's Katie Wagner rounded out the league's fall on the tennis courts when she won the girls' Class AAA singles title.

Once again coach Mark Ludwig's York College men's soccer team was terrific, reaching the NCAA Elite Eight before bowing out in penalty kicks to eventual national champ (for the eighth time in 11 seasons) Messiah College.

Unfortunately I missed all of the fall championship runs by our athletes and teams, but here is to being healthy with the hopes of not missing any in 2013.
Steve Navaroli is a sports reporter for the Daily Record/Sunday News. Reach him at 771-2060 or snavaroli@ydr.com.