A holiday wish list for YAIAA sports (column)
What's on my holiday wish list?
For York County high school sports, there's a plethora of gifts I would like to see appear under the tree or arriving in 2017.
Here's my list:
A big-school run in district football playoffs
I'm not talking about the smaller programs. I know what York Catholic, Bermudian Springs and Littlestown can do in the lower classifications.
No, I want to see one of our big schools — Class 4A and up — make a legitimate run in the District 3 postseason. Or better yet? Go win a district title.
William Penn football takes another step forward
Straight up: Russ Stoner did a nice job in his first year as head coach at William Penn.
Were the Bearcats a 10-win team? We certainly won't make that claim. A 1-9 record isn't going to get the head coach a Gatorade shower any time soon.
Still, the Bearcats were far more competitive last season and at least played like they believed. Stoner also instilled discipline, accountability and leadership within the program.
The work is far from over. The team's top players — such as running backs Khalid Dorsey and Dayjure Stewart — need to return to the field next year as improved performers, and more student-athletes must come out to play for the Bearcats. And make no mistake — wins must follow as well.
With that being said, there's no arguing that a successful William Penn football program would provide an exciting wrinkle in the local sports landscape. It'd be nice to see it happen.
Continued competition in district high school hoops
One reason I like YAIAA high school basketball is our teams can hang with competition outside the immediate region.
The Northeastern boys have a ton of talent and appear to be the cream of the crop in a very competitive YAIAA Division I this season. Can Northeastern take the next step in the postseason this year? That will ultimately be the litmus test for the Bobcats.
Staying on the boys' side, can York Catholic return to glory in the District 3 Class 2A playoffs? No doubt the Irish should roll through YAIAA Division III play. Similar to Northeastern, their true test will come in the postseason.
On the girls' side, I'm intrigued to see what New Oxford brings to the table once the playoffs roll around. The Colonials are a very good team — big, tough and physical — and they should be a top contender for the YAIAA title. I want to see how the Colonials play with a target on their back throughout this season, and that includes the postseason.
State high school wrestling champion
Can the YAIAA bring home its first individual state champ since Chance Marsteller in 2014?
It's certainly possible. Dalton Rohrbaugh at Spring Grove will be right there at 113 pounds. Austin Clabaugh of Bermudian Springs (132 pounds) is another local competitor who comes to mind.
Gettysburg boys' soccer gets over the hump
This team has advanced to the state semifinals in back-to-back years.
Two years ago the accomplishment was somewhat of a disappointment — the Warriors were loaded and had the state title in their sights. Frankly, falling short of that goal was unfulfilling.
This past fall, however, it was a pleasant surprise. Gettysburg lost a large portion of its roster to graduation, yet it was back at it again, reaching the District 3 title game and the state semis. The Warriors exceeded expectations in 2016.
With that being said, can the team get over the hump in 2017?
An early spring
So spring sports can be played in tolerable weather.
And so we can get on the golf course as early as possible.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all.