RUNNER OF THE YEAR
Patrick Reilly, Dallastown: The junior improved by leaps and bounds in one season, assuming a quiet leadership role from the graduated Adam Katora and pacing the Wildcats to a 17-2 record.
Reilly was undefeated at league meets during the regular season and went into the YAIAA championships hoping to improve on last year's sixth-place finish. He did that and more, winning the meet with a time of 16:19, almost a full minute faster than a year ago.
Then it was on to the District 3 Class AAA meet, where Reilly obliterated his finish from his sophomore year when he came in 44th overall. This time, he finished second at 16:43, just 8 seconds behind the leader.
Behind Reilly's steady and consistent running, the Wildcats placed 10th as a team at districts.
From there, it was on to the PIAA championships, where Reilly clocked a 16:54, which was good for 53rd overall in his debut at the event.
Aaron Gebhart, New Oxford: The sophomore had a super season, placing third at the YAIAA meet in 16:24. Gebhart followed that up by coming in 14th at districts in 16:59. Gebhart might have saved his best for last, however, as he was the top finisher at states, placing 28th
Jacob Plank, New Oxford: The junior came in eighth at the YAIAA championships in 17:03. He placed 44th at districts in 17:45, helping the team to a 25th-place finish.
Caleb Gatchell, Red Lion: The senior was fourth at the YAIAA meet in 16:29, a 50-second improvement from last year. He then led the Lions to the solid seventh-place finish at districts by placing 19th in 17:05 earning a trip to states. He was 63rd at states in 16:59. Other highlights were a 13th-place finish at the Kutztown Invitational and an 18th at the Carlisle Challenge.
Nick McCabe, Red Lion: The junior was a key cog in the Lions' machine, placing 10th at the County Meet in 17:14. McCabe was 47th at districts in 17:47.
Ryan Hertzog, South Western: The senior had another stellar season, wrapping up a sensational career by placing second at the YAIAA championships, trailing Reilly by a mere second. This must be getting old for Hertzog, who suffered the same result last year, losing to Dallastown's Katora. Hertzog finished fourth at districts in 16:48 and was 134th at states in 17:34.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Nate Stetter, Red Lion: Another year, another perfect season for Stetter and the Lions. It was the second straight 19-0 regular season for the coach, who is now 54-3 in the league over the past three years.
Stetter was fortunate this year to have a solid, steady crew with a wealth of senior leadership. Senior Caleb Gatchell was the best of the bunch, but he had plenty of support.
Nick McCabe and brothers Nate and Josh Pardoe were the other seniors, and all three of those runners were consistent for the Lions.
While Red Lion will miss its fearless foursome, sophomore Ethan Gatchell gives Stetter hope for the future. Next year he will also have to look to juniors Zach Dutton and Andrew Erickson to step up and fill the void.
The Lions finished the year with a solid performance at the District 3 Class AAA meet, placing seventh and just missing sixth overall. Red Lion was the top performer among YAIAA schools.
Martin Conrad, Central York
-- M.C. Besecker