A to Z: Hanover-Adams year in review
You expect it to go fast, you know it will go fast, but it's still strange when it's over.
The 2016-17 sports season has come to a close for Hanover-area teams. Overall, it was a very successful year for athletes in this area, both individually and from a team standpoint.
There was no way I could sum up my thoughts on this year in five or 10 points, so let's try something different. Here are my top memories on Hanover-Adams sports, from A to Z.
A is for Austin Clabaugh. The Bermudian Springs senior wrestler was fantastic this winter, winning District 3 and regional titles before reaching the 126-pound state finals in Class 2A. But what I'll always remember abut Austin is how humble he was after winning each gold medal, and how he would thoroughly analyze a match during interviews. He'll be participating in the Army ROTC program at Penn State.
B is for Brooks, as in Eli and James Brooks. Obviously, much has been said and written about Spring Grove's favorite father-son duo. Needless to say, it was a thrill to watch Eli and the Rockets play the past two seasons. I'll be following his career at Michigan.
More Brooks: Eli Brooks proud to take after father, coach
C is for the coaches. There's too many good ones to praise them all, though I'll give a few shout-outs in this column. While the relationship between a reporter and a coach can be tough at times, most of the coaches in this area are respectful and willing to help you when needed. I'll always appreciate that.
D is for the District 3 playoffs. There's no more exciting (and exhausting) time of year for sports writers than the postseason. From soccer to basketball to softball, the Hanover-Adams area produced some great moments in the District 3 playoffs, including four district champs.
E is for Eckenrode, as in Delone Catholic girls' basketball coach Gerry Eckenrode. The 18-year veteran reached 400 career wins this season and guided a young and injury-riddled Squirettes team to a District 3 championship game and the state playoffs. He also remains one of the league's most honest and entertaining interviews.
F is for Friday nights. As a high school sports reporter, there is no greater thrill than the one you get from covering football on a Friday. Those nights are busy and stressful, but almost always memorable and fun.
G is for the Green Knights of Fairfield. Seriously, what a year it was for the smallest school in the YAIAA. The girls' soccer team produced a season for the ages, piling up an insane amount of goals on its way to the first team state championship in school history. But that was just the beginning. Fairfield also won district titles in girls' track and field and softball. If you didn't pay attention to Fairfield before this year, you probably do now.
More Fairfield: Scoring spree leads Fairfield to state title
H is for holding the ball, something the Biglerville boys' basketball team did for the entire third quarter in a game against Big Spring. The unorthodox plan worked, as the Canners ended up winning, 53-42. I wonder if we'll ever see that again.
I is for the inflatable bounce house and obstacle course New Oxford set up before its home football game against Delone Catholic on Sept. 15. Sadly, I never got a turn on either.
Joking aside, this was part of a tailgating event New Oxford set up to encourage community involvement in its athletics programs. It was a great idea, and I'd love to see more schools do something similar.
J is for Jon DeFoe. The Bermudian Springs football coach finished his 18th season leading the Eagles this fall, making him the league's longest-tenured coach in his sport. In this day and age, you don't see many coaches lasting that long at one place. Bermudian also has the YAIAA's longest-tenured boys' basketball coach in Tom Flaherty and wrestling coach in Dave McCollum.
More Bermudian: DeFoe, Flaherty a rare pair at Bermudian Springs
K is for Kaelyn Long. The New Oxford senior field hockey player was dazzling to watch, consistently beating double teams to both score and set up teammates. The Bucknell field hockey commit was also stellar on the basketball court.
L is for Littlestown. This was quite a year for Littlestown, which enjoyed a bounce-back season in football and also sent its field hockey, boys' basketball, softball and boys' tennis teams to the District 3 playoffs. Individual athletes like wrestler Carl Harris and sprinter Kristin Langrill had great seasons for the Bolts as well.
M is for mustaches. I gotta give credit where credit is due, and some guys in this area can grow impressive facial hair above their lips. I think the award for Mustache of the Year is a tie between South Western wrestler Chase Mowery and Spring Grove wrestler Jared Barley.
N is for Noah Fleshman. In my view, no local athlete was more entertaining than the Bermudian Springs senior wrestler. Fleshman ate snack cakes before matches, pounded his chest after wins and earned a district title at 195 pounds. He was also good for a few laughs every interview. And he loves his fast food.
O is for offensive lineman. The big men in the trenches don't get much publicity, but you can't win games without them. This area had some great ones this season, including Delone's Bryce Perkins, Spring Grove's Owen Jacobs and Littlestown's Matthew Becker.
P is for Phomma Phanhthy. When he wasn't busy dancing, Phanhthy was leading Fairfield's girls' soccer team and girls' track and field team to previously unseen heights. The charismatic coach will have plenty of talent to work with next year, too.
Q is for quarterbacks. This area has some good young signal callers, including Bermudian sophomore Chase Dull, Hanover junior Cam Mumma and Fairfield junior Darian Mort. It's going to be fun watching these guys play this fall.
R is for rivalries. It doesn't matter the sport, there's nothing better than an intense rivalry game where fans from both teams pack the building. My two favorites? South Western-Spring Grove wrestling and Bermudian Springs-Boiling Springs wrestling. Great atmosphere and competition for both.
S is for Seidenstricker, as in recently retired South Western athletic director Don Seidenstricker. I wasn't working at GameTimePA when he was coaching the Mustangs football team, but it wasn't long after I started here that I learned about his program's dominance. I attended a YAIAA football coaches meeting that Don spoke at last spring, and it was clear from the moment he stood up that every person in the room revered him. Also, there were many times this past year when I had to call him for stories, and he was always willing to help. I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing him an enjoyable retirement.
More South Western: Seidenstricker retiring as South Western athletic director
T is for track and field. Look, postseason track meets are some of the longest and most stressful days we have as reporters. The meets last all day, there's always five things happening at once and the wi-fi is never good. Still, those weekends are some of my favorites because our local athletes provide so many good stories. From New Oxford's Madi Smith to Spring Grove's Nathalie Elliott to Bermudian's Trevor Grim, there was plenty to write about this spring.
U is for underclassmen. The Hanover-Adams area has a lot of good ones, and I'm looking forward to watching them grow next season. Keep an eye on Fairfield soccer players Annabel Anderson and Nora Clarke, and Delone Catholic three-sport athlete Maddie Clabaugh.
V is for victories, which are always more fun to write about than the losses.
W is for wrestling. Ditto what I wrote about track and field. Postseason wrestling provides long hours and puts lots of miles on your car but is still worth it. Even if you're like me and you've never wrestled in your life, it's impossible not to admire the commitment these kids have for their sport.
X is for...well X is a hard one. I'll give it to the X factors, those kids who mean so much to their teams. From Eli Brooks in basketball to Hannah Logue in soccer, this area had some good ones this year.
Y is for the YAIAA tournaments. While these games don't have any effect on the District 3 playoffs, they mean a lot to the teams involved and generate a ton of interest. Shout-out to the Gettysburg boys' soccer team, which won its second-straight league title this past fall.
Z is for Zurich Storm. The New Oxford wrestler capped off his impressive career with a District 3 title and his fourth PIAA championships appearance. He also has one of the coolest names in the YAIAA. Storm will be continuing his career at North Carolina State.
That's it, folks. I hope you all enjoyed this school year as much as I did. Good luck to all the graduating seniors, and I look forward to seeing the rest of the Hanover-Adams athletes back on the field in the fall.
Matt Allibone covers high school sports for GameTimePA.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-881-8221.