Counting down the top 10 F-F stories of 2015-16
Throughout every high school sports year, there are highs and lows, ups and downs, celebrations and disappointments.
The 2015-16 school year was no different for teams in Franklin and Fulton counties, which saw a lot of success this year. Countless district titles were won, personal milestones were recorded, and a few teams even made a run at states.
Here is the countdown of the top 10 best stories in the area this year.
For the second year in a row, Waynesboro was the Mid Penn Capital Division champions. But the Maidens' 2015 season was even more special than that. Waynesboro survived the entire regular season without losing a match, and finished the regular season undefeated for the first time since 1990.
Taken to five sets just three times, Waynesboro lost only 10 sets during the regular season, and coach Kim Saunders was named the Public Opinion Girls Volleyball Coach of the Year.
It was a solid year all around for Shalom Christian's boys teams. The Flames collected a pair of Mason-Dixon Christian Conference titles this season, and both of them came over Shenandoah Valley.
Shalom's boys soccer team started the conference winning by taking down the Patriots, 1-0, and living up to its No. 1 seed. One season later, Shalom's boys basketball team earned a 67-46 victory to upset Shenandoah Valley and claim the crown. Jonah Stains was the leader of both teams - he had 19 goals and 17 assists in soccer, and averaged 21.2 points per game during basketball season.
Shippensburg's Cameron Tinner wowed everyone when he completed the regular season undefeated at 220 pounds. He blasted through tournament competition, winning six tourney titles. His biggest accomplishments were earning gold medals at the Section I and District 3 Class AAA championships.
Tinner did not register his first loss of the season until the PIAA tournament, where he went 1-2 in his first state competition. He completed the season 34-2, a vast improvement from his 20-13 record as a sophomore. For the season, Tinner had 19 pins, four technical falls and three major decisions.
For the first time in the history of James Buchanan's boys tennis team, the Rockets advanced to the PIAA Class AA state tournament. Although they suffered a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Bishop Guilfoyle, the Rockets still accomplished something no one had before.
JB made it through nine games before suffering a loss, and finished in third place in the Mid Penn Colonial Division and in District 3. The Rockets concluded the season with a 15-6 record, and No. 3 singles player Hunter Sowers went nearly undefeated, finishing with just one loss to his name.
The Mercersburg Academy girls basketball team made history in more ways than one this season, but winning the school's first-ever PAISAA girls basketball title was the cherry on top. And not only did the Blue Storm win the state title over the two-time reigning champion Shipley School, they did it in dominating fashion, taking down the Gators 53-39.
The Blue Storm also won the Independent Parochial School League title for the first time in program history and appeared in the Mid-Atlantic Prep League championship game for the first time.
Due to lagging numbers in recent years, the Forbes Road girls basketball team has had its fair share of hardships. But this year's Lady Cardinals proved that they didn't need a deep bench to succeed.
For Forbes Road, the recipe for success was in the hands of six girls who were not afraid to work hard. With just one reserve player, every girl on the team made major contributions in each game, ultimately sending the Cardinals to their first postseason appearance since 2011-2012 and a 10-13 record.
A milestone such as scoring 1,000 career points in basketball isn't an easy feat. Yet this season saw a staggering seven area players hit the mark.
Shalom Christian's Jonah Stains and Lydia Harris, Greencastle-Antrim's Hannah Crist and Jenay Faulkner, Southern Fulton's Dylan Gordon and Olivia Mottern, and Fannett-Metal's Mikell McGee all surpassed 1,000 points this season. Of those seven, all are juniors except Harris and Crist.
Controversy surrounded football coach Mark Saunders for the last two years he led the program at Chambersburg, and the controversy came to a head on Oct. 9, when Saunders turned in his official resignation. He did so just hours prior to playing Mifflin County in Week 6.
At the time, assistant coach Scott Mitchell was named the interim coach. Then Mark Luther was named the official head coach at a school board meeting on Feb. 24. Luther was the head coach at Lock Haven from 2001-05, and has already begun spring practice with the Trojans.
Virtually all of Fulton County was on hand or tuned in when Southern Fulton and McConnellsburg met in not one, but both of the District 5 Class A basketball finals this season. It was the first time since 1985-86 that two Fulton County teams met in the boys hoops district championship, and the first time ever on the girls side.
Southern Fulton came out on the winning side of both, with the boys claiming a 40-35 victory and the girls following it up, 50-41. That wasn't the only glory for the Indians, either. The boys claimed two other district championships - cross country and baseball. Zach Clark, Dylan Ensor and Logan Beatty were members of all three gold medal teams.
Despite being knocked out of the district tournament early last season and working under a new coach this year, Chambersburg's softball team saw the area's best success. The Lady Trojans claimed the District 3 Class AAAA championship with an extra-innings victory over Penn Manor.
The climb up the ladder didn't stop there, though, as Chambersburg made it all the way to the PIAA semifinals for the first time since 1997. Hempfield Area got the best of Chambersburg, but the Lady Trojans were the last area team left standing. They finished 24-5 and made it through eight games before taking a loss. They also reeled off streaks of seven straight wins two other times during the season.
Chambersburg won its first outright Mid Penn Commonwealth Division championship since 2006, and Leah Hunt was named the Commonwealth Division Player of the Year, while Chris Skultety earned the Commonwealth Coach of the Year honors.