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Kennard-Dale's silver in girls' lax put suburban Philly on notice that District 3 is coming

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Even after finishing off its season with a PIAA silver medal, Kennard-Dale players were still trying to wrap their heads around what they had accomplished.

The Philly burbs own girls' lacrosse.

Only District 1 teams had reached the state final during the PIAA's first eight seasons (2009-16) of girls' lacrosse. 

Kennard-Dale crashed the party in 2017. 

"Last night at dinner we were joking around and we said we really did leave a legacy at our school," 2017 Kennard-Dale graduate Emmie Dressel said after the game. "Everybody else thinks Kennard-Dale is this little hick town, and we (stink) at sports and don't really go anywhere or do anything.

"But we're here at the state championship."

MORE LACROSSE: Kennard-Dale falls in state final

Take notice, District 3 teams: It's possible. Kennard-Dale proved it.  

Kennard-Dale's appearance should be a building block for District 3 and YAIAA lacrosse. District 3 is not even close to being on par with District 1 teams, not yet at least. Remember, Radnor barely had a .500 record in the regular season. The program plays a loaded schedule. Compare that with Kennard-Dale, a program that demolished a District 3 schedule. 

"We were so honored to be at the state championship," 2017 Kennard-Dale graduate Calie Swegon said. 

But the gap between District 1 and the rest of the state is narrowing.

And the next York County team or District 3 team to reach a state final shouldn't be shocked. 

Granted a change in the state playoff bracket setup, and the state's move to separate big schools and small schools into two classifications, meant District 3 Class 2A teams didn't have to deal with District 1 until the final game of the season. But District 3 established itself as the second-best district in the 2A state tournament - with three District 3 teams reaching the state quarterfinals. 

District 1 is still the barometer for the rest of the state, but York Catholic held Radnor to a halftime draw in this state tournament. 

Radnor, with an impressive roster of senior players headed to play at Notre Dame, Colorado and UMass among other programs next season, displayed just how good District 1 remains in the state championship. Radnor ran away with the small-school title game, 20-8, against Kennard-Dale. 

It might be a tough rebuild for Kennard-Dale next season, losing 10 seniors from this year's squad.

"We're losing a lot of starters, but we will see what our (younger) players do in the offseason to make themselves better," Kennard-Dale coach Kelly Wetzel said. 

He was smiling when he said that. 

Don't expect this to be Kennard-Dale's only run of excellent lacrosse. 

The YAIAA's other state qualifiers, Susquehannock and York Catholic, also lose key seniors to graduation. So it remains to be seen if York County and District 3 continue to play at the state's highest levels. 

"But I believe in the team," Dressel said about Kennard-Dale's program. 

Watch: Kennard-Dale plays for teammate, ailing father
Kennard-Dale girls' lacrosse wanted to win its playoff game so the father of senior Calie Swegon had a chance to see the team's next game. Swegon's father has been battling cancer.
Jim Seip, GameTimePA