The most memorable moment of 2015 was ...
It took several days for me to digest the news of 2015.
It was a big year in Franklin and Fulton counties, with a lot of memorable storylines from the sports world, and I got to be a part of them all.
I got to witness some incredible milestones this year, such as when Shalom Christian's Tori Yoder scored her 100th soccer goal in the spring or when Fannett-Metal's Mikell McGee nailed his 1,000th point in a boys basketball game just a week ago.
2015 also gave me the opportunity to write about some really interesting events, such as the Little League World Series or the retirement of longtime Chambersburg baseball coach Bob Thomas. And it brought about the chance to write several heartwarming stories, like the return of youngster Mason Yeager after being hit in the eye by a line drive or the comeback of Cade Whitfield, who missed the Trojan boys basketball tryouts last year with meningitis but came out strong at the end of the season.
Do you even realize how many district champions we wrote about this year?
We had nine - count 'em, nine - individual district champions in 2015. District 5 dominated with a pair of gold medals for both Fannett-Metal's Tom Peppernick and Southern Fulton's Celina Merchant at the track & field championships. McConnellsburg's McKenzie Gelvin and Josh Booth both climbed atop the podium with gold medals of their own on the track.
The Spartans also got a repeat district championship out of Bronwyne Mellott in girls tennis, and also this fall, F-M's Steven Glodek broke the tape at the District 5 Cross Country Championships.
In District 3, Peter Hughey brought his second straight gold medal home to James Buchanan in the 400-meter dash, and Chambersburg's Garrett Kyner and Shippensburg's Chandler Olson were crowned district wrestling champs.
Team-wise, Southern Fulton's boys claimed the team title at the District 5 Cross Country Championships, and Greencastle-Antrim's girls basketball team won the District 3 Class AAA gold medal.
But the most exciting storyline of 2015 involved more than just a team's district championship.
For me, the most memorable moment of 2015 was Southern Fulton's run to the PIAA Class A baseball semifinals.
The first game I ever covered for GameTimePA.com was Fannett-Metal's victory in the PIAA Class A softball championship. And after actually following them around for an entire postseason, the Indians nearly got us back to State College - the closest we've been since.
My run with SF started near the end of the season when Trent Rider threw one of the best games of baseball I've ever seen. He was so close to a perfect game that it was almost hard to swallow when he didn't get it. He faced only 21 batters - he walked a single McConnellsburg player, but his defense cleaned it up with a double play.
In the next game I covered of Southern Fulton's, Rider threw a no-hitter in the District 5 semifinals. No biggie.
Although I missed the Indians' district-winning game, they won it in thrilling fashion, and I vowed not to miss another.
I then followed Southern Fulton for all of its PIAA games and spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about Southern Fulton baseball. My significant other took a backseat to endless texting sessions with coach Dustin Fischer, and Dylan Gordon even thought I rode the bus to one of their games - he might still think that, actually.
I believe Southern Fulton was the first team I traveled to cover two days in a row due to a rain delay, and the Indians' team bus was one of the few buses I would ever allow to pass me on the interstate. Shortstop Connor Litton was even named the Public Opinion Basketball Player of the Year - maybe truly starting my SF run when he explained the ins and outs of the MLB draft. Then Rider was the P.O. Baseball Player of the Year.
Although SF ended up suffering a loss to Lancaster County Christian in the PIAA semifinals, it was still a joy to cover the Indians' baseball team this season - and I don't even really like baseball. What made their storyline so memorable for me was the kids. That was a great bunch of players, who clearly loved the game and loved their run, almost as much as I did.