Power rankings: Littlestown proving it's no fluke
When Littlestown went 10-4 and captured a share of the York-Adams Division II tennis title last season, the Thunderbolts didn't do much celebrating.
Sure, it was a banner season for a team coming off a 3-10 campaign that hadn't won a division title since 1989. But the Bolts knew they still had plenty of work to do. In their minds, they were probably still the third-best team in the division behind co-winners York Catholic and Gettysburg.
But this season, Littlestown is determined to leave no doubt which team is the division's best.
Right now, the Bolts are 7-0, in first place in Division II and ranked fourth in District 3 Class 2A. They've already beaten both second-place York Catholic and third-place West York, while Gettysburg is now is Division I.
"Last year we lost to a couple of teams, and we felt we still had a lot to do," head coach Ron Floess said. "Our goal for the league is to win outright."
Floess, who's now in his fifth season at Littlestown, said two things have led to the Bolts turnaround. The first is the team's number of players (16) has doubled since he first started. The second reason is senior Brett Gill.
The Bolts No. 1 singles player the past few seasons, Gill is currently undefeated. But it's his dedication and personality that Floess believes has brought the program up a notch.
"He's gotten players to come out for us, and has coached them up the past few years," Floess said. "As a player, he has incredible hand-eye coordination. He makes it fun. Sometimes during a match, he'll be propping (his opponent) up, congratulating them when they make a good call. When he gets in a good shot, he's kind of self-deprecating. He just always wants to be on the court."
Gill has also created a sense of competition within his own team. The Bolts No. 2 and No. 3 singles players, Noah DeCampo and Ryan Appleton, are also undefeated this season. According to Floess, they two of them would like nothing more than to beat Gill when the YAIAA Class 2A singles tournament rolls around on April 27.
"Our guys would love to finish one, two and three in the league," Floess said. "Noah and Ryan would be the No. 1 guys on plenty of teams, and they can give Brett a run for his money in practice."
The Bolts aren't the only local tennis team off to a hot start. Here's how our power rankings shake out right now.
At YAIAA spring sports media day on March 18, Northeastern's players confidently said the team would take a step forward after going 4-7 last season. They've been right so far. The Bobcats have already matched last season's win total and have earned impressive wins over New Oxford and York Catholic. At No. 14, they're one spot ahead of Red Lion in the District 3 rankings, but because they lost to the Lions, we'll place them a spot behind Red Lion here.
4. Red Lion (5-3)
The Lions' only loss in league play was to Dallastown, while the other two came against District 3 top-eight teams Wilson and Muhlenberg. Still, Red Lion earned an impressive opening day win over an improved Northeastern squad and has one of the best singles players in the area in Alec Shue. Currently ranked 15th in Class 3A, the Lions need a strong April to make the 12-team playoffs.
3. Littlestown (7-0)
The Bolts toughest challenge of the season will come on April 24, when they face South Western at home. Either way, Littlestown seems primed to make the District 3 playoffs after missing out last season.
2. South Western (6-1)
The Mustangs are undefeated in league play and are ranked fifth in District 3 Class 3A. Outside of a loss to New Oxford star Justin Gruver, No.1 player Gavin Gavin Kenny is unblemished in the league, while his fellow singles players Vince Guy and Wyatt Laudicina have also been strong. It will be interesting to see how the team fares against Dallastown on April 12.
1. Dallastown (7-0)
The Wildcats are as good as advertised. Not only is Dallastown undefeated and ranked first in District 3 Class 3A, it has yet to lose an individual or doubles match in league play. Sophomore Holden Koons has been as strong as expected, even taking first place at the State College invitational, but the Wildcats have talented players after him, too. Hunter Jones and Jonathan Burns have been two of the league's top singles players so far, and the team's two doubles duo's (Tyler Lilie and Logan Maddox, Sebastian May and Vincent Villani) have yet to be topped. The Wildcats have already swept one of Division I's strongest team's in Red Lion, and face New Oxford and South Western next
York Catholic (5-2), York Suburban (5-2), New Oxford (6-3).