Five fall sports storylines to watch for
A few weeks ago, we took a look at the most intriguing Hanover-Adams area football games coming up this fall.
The fall season is getting closer and closer — practices start in three weeks — and football isn't the only sport to get excited about. There are plenty of intriguing storylines to pay attention to in field hockey, girls' volleyball, soccer, cross country, golf and girls' tennis.
Let's take a look at the top five non-football fall storylines we'll be following in 2016:
Field hockey: Can Bermudian Springs reach the state tournament?
It could be a big year for field hockey in Adams County as two teams (Gettysburg and Bermudian Springs) enter the year as defending division champions and New Oxford enters the year as a Division I title contender after making its first YAIAA tournament appearance last year.
All three of these teams will also have aspirations beyond York-Adams play, and the addition of a third PIAA classification could open up some more opportunities for these teams to advance to the state tournament.
Bermudian Springs, which has won nine-straight Division III titles but hasn't been to states since 2007, seems to be the team that could benefit most from the classification changes. The Eagles are now in Class A after being one of the smaller schools in Class AA for several years.
They lost four starters from last year's team, including GameTimePA.com YAIAA player of the year Kenzie Farley, but do get back Olivia Blasone, who missed most of last season due to injuries. Coach Neil Bixler also expressed optimism last season about players coming up from the middle school.
Volleyball: Can Delone Catholic keep it going?
The Squirettes won a fourth-straight YAIAA title and made another trip to states last season, but they'll have to replace the nucleus of that dynasty. Katie Laughman, Amber Johnson, Sarah Senft and Lilly Singleton are a few of the departed seniors who had been with the program since its 2013 state title.
So can Delone Catholic reload? Past history seems to suggest that they can, and they certainly have some talented rising seniors, including inside hitter Sydney Dockins and outside hitter Karigen Emig. Coach Jason Leppo also speaks highly of setter Kristen Morrow, who we rarely saw with Laughman holding down that position.
The Squirettes will certainly still be the favorite in YAIAA Division III, but rival Hanover does return all but one rotation player from last year's second-place team and will have a senior starting at just about every position.
Boys' soccer: How does Gettysburg follow up last year's run?
The Warriors enjoyed a dream season in 2015, starting off 22-0 and capturing the league title before going on a long playoff run. But a 1-2 finish that included losses in the district title game and state quarterfinals left both players and coaches dejected and should have them motivated for 2016.
While Gettysburg will once again have high aspirations, it will be difficult for coach Scott Hancock and company to match last year's 23-2 record. The Warriors graduated a number of key players, including star forward Adam Yingling, defender Bobby Weikert and midfielder Drew Riggle.
But the Warriors will have some returning firepower, most notably in seniors Matt Yingling and Drew Wivell. Yingling was one of the league's top players last year, totaling 24 goals and 12 assists and providing his brother Adam with a terrific partner up front.
If Gettysburg can find some younger players capable of taking on larger roles, it will be a team to watch once again.
Girls soccer: How far can Fairfield go in the Logue sisters' last year together?
The Green Knights split the YAIAA Division III title and made a run to the district semifinals last season, thanks in much part to the Logue sisters. Hannah, now a senior, has scored more than 100 goals already in her career, and Moriah, now a junior, brings a level of speed that gives opposing teams fits on both offense and defense.
This will be their last year together, so this could be Fairfield's best shot at going to states for some time. It can only help that two-time defending district champion Trinity moves out of Class A and into Class AA thanks to the addition of a fourth classification.
Cross country: Who will emerge as the YAIAA boys favorite?
The top two finishers from last year's YAIAA champions — Gettysburg's Dan Filler and Delone Catholic's Will Greene — have graduated.
They both put together great seasons complete with top-10 finishes at the state championships, but are now out of the way. So the search for the next YAIAA champion is on.
Here are a few names from the Hanover-Adams area that could contend for that crown this season: Jordan Maldonado and Justin Culp from Spring Grove, and Chad Long from Bermudian Springs. All three placed in the top 11 last year, and Long gained valuable experience by qualifying for the Class AA state meet.
Matt Allibone contributed to this report