The disappointing start to the season was just a distant memory when the Dallastown girls' swimmers made their way to the locker room on Thursday evening.
The Wildcats opened 2012-13 with four non-league losses, with three of the meets coming down to the final event.
The losses didn't deflate Dallastown. Instead, the Wildcats dedicated themselves even harder in practice and vowed not to lose another meet.
Coach Rich Howley's team completed its mission by winning the final five dual meets and a fifth straight York-Adams Division I championship.
The Wildcats secured the crown with a 1031/2-791/2 victory over Central York on Thursday.
Dallastown's powerful boys' team, meanwhile, also made it five consecutive Division I championships with an impressive 134-52 decision over Central. Both teams entered the meet with 3-0-0 league records.
"Nothing keeps us down," Dallastown's Alyssa Bixler said of the way the girls' team responded to the setbacks. "The whole team got pumped up (for Thursday's meet). We weren't going to settle for a tie (for the division crown).
Dallastown's girls won eight of 12 events including five of the last six against the Panthers.
Bixler and freshman Justina Thornley each captured two individual events for the Wildcats, and both swam on two winning relay teams (200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay).
Bixler swept the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle, and Thornley took the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle. Bixler edged Central's Jade Arganbright in the 50, prevailing by just more than two-tenths of a second.
"I had my best times of the season (:24.64 in the 50 freestyle and :53.20 in the 100 freestyle)," the Dallastown junior said. "This pool, I just love it."
Bixler established a York-Adams League meet and Central pool records in the 100 with a time of :52.18 last year. In the same meet, she established a pool record in the 50 freestyle with a :23.97 leg on the 200 freestyle relay team.
Thornley, meanwhile, teamed with Julia Randolph on Thursday to give Dallastown a one-two finish in the 200 freestyle. The Wildcats, trailing 17-12 entering the event, went ahead for good by outscoring the Panthers, 12-4.
"The 200, that race really helped out," Dallastown coach Rich Howley said. "That set the tone for the rest of the meet. We had some really close meets, and we talked before the meet today about the journey (through the season). I told the girls, 'you never gave up.' They had adversity, but they overcame it."
The Dallastown boys' team simply overwhelmed its York-Adams opponents this season.
"We're blessed," Howley said. "We owe a lot to the boys and the work they put in this year. There were years when we prayed for a 1:47 (in the 200 medley relay), and 1:44 was a dream."
Not this year.
Thursday, Dallastown's winning medley relay team of Noah Brockway, Mason Tate, Trevor Hine and Corey Stauffer turned in a time of 1:40.25. The third-place team (Spencer Hill, Vincent Defelice, Matt Attig and Ashton Hensel) went 1:44.61, and the fourth-place team of Braedon Erne, Sreshta Sing, Adrie Levejac and Jake Lovelace finished in 1:47.49.
Hine won the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle, and Stauffer recorded the fastest times in the 100 freestyle and 200 freestyle.
"I had a good split (:21.62) coming out of the medley relay into the 200 freestyle," Stauffer said. "And, my 100 free time (:48.45) was my best of the season. We put in so much yardage in practice (3,000 yards at morning practices three days a week and 7,000 yards at afternoon practices), and it pays off for us."
Steven Paine, a senior who swam on two winning relay teams on Thursday, said the competition in practice pushed him to go faster.
"There are guys here who I've known my whole life. I know they're fast, and I know that I had to start stepping it up," he said.
Dallastown swimmers won 10 of the 12 boys' events.
In the girls' meet, Central's Haley Vaughn placed first in the 200 IM and 100 butterfly and helped the 200 medley relay team take first.
The Panthers also set two school records: Arganbright's :24.85 in the 50 freestyle and the 1:43.77 turned in by Erik Peckmann, Brad Wilson, Jesse Tate and Ian Johnson in the 200 medley relay.
-- Reach Dick VanO linda at dvanolin firstname.lastname@example.org.