West York’s Josh Rinehart fired a 2-under-par 70 at Briarwood East Golf Course on Wednesday to lead West York to its third York-Adams League Team
West York's Josh Rinehart fired a 2-under-par 70 at Briarwood East Golf Course on Wednesday to lead West York to its third York-Adams League Team Golf Championship in the past four years. (JOHN PAVONCELLO -- jpavoncello@yorkdispatch.com)


It started about three years ago, just before the York-Adams League Golf Championship.

That's when former West York golf standout Aislynn Merling came up with the idea to put the word "now" on the Bulldogs' golf balls.

It was an attempt to keep her teammates in the moment and to forget about the previous hole, regardless of the result.

Merling's idea has become a tradition for the Bulldogs during play at the league event.

And it seems to work.

The West York team of Josh Rinehart, Chris Stolakis, Axel Hartman, Brady Lucas and Kevin Rice didn't let the highs and lows of a golf round take them out of the moment. As a result, the Division II champion Bulldogs earned themselves a third league tournament title over the past four years at Wednesday's championship against Division I champion Dallastown and Division III winner York Catholic.

Rinehart led all golfers from the three squads with a 2-under-par 70 at Briarwood East Golf Course to highlight a West York team that posted a team score of 302. The Irish finished second at 318, while the Wildcats finished at 324.

"A lot of these guys have played over the past four years and this is their third time in four years winning the county championship," West York coach Bill Ackerman said. "That's pretty impressive. You throw in Josh, with his three individual championships, and that's six out of seven so far for him. So that's pretty darn good for Josh, and he led us today. It was certainly appropriate."

The difference -- which at times was just five or six shots -- grew over the final five holes. Rinehart helped the cause by shooting four under par over his final four holes, while Stolakis and Hartman finished strong as well.

"Josh going four under those last four holes certainly helped," Ackerman said. "He eagled No. 2, which was his third-to-last hole. But that's Josh for you. And Kevin Rice stepped up and shot an 80, which was huge. You know we had to throw away Brady's 82 ... so I'm very happy with the results."

Nick Geiman of York Catholic blasts the ball out of the sand on the eighth hole Wednesday.
Nick Geiman of York Catholic blasts the ball out of the sand on the eighth hole Wednesday. (JOHN PAVONCELLO -- jpavoncello@yorkdispatch.com)

Rinehart's eagle on the par-5 No. 2 was without a doubt the highlight of the day.

"On No. 2 I hit a great 4-iron to make eagle," he said. "I hit a great drive ... I was 202 yards for my second shot into the green. I put it to about 10 feet and then made the putt for eagle."

It wasn't until after the final scores were tabulated and the Bulldogs were crowned champions again that they could finally look ahead. They celebrated by taking pictures with the league championship banner on the platform just outside the driving range.

Then, to cap it off, they doused Hartman with the remaining water and ice that was in their cooler.

Rinehart, however, knows that his team will have to live in the now again for Thursday's York-Adams League Individual Championship and next week's District 3 event to remain successful.

And Merling's reminder won't be too far away.

"She had us put the word 'now' on our golf balls just to remind us to stay in the moment," Rinehart said. "And don't get ahead of ourselves. That was the motto today and I guess it obviously paid off today."

Notes: In addition to claiming the league title, the Bulldogs also earned the league's berth into the Class AAA field for next week's District 3 Championship. West York tied with Manheim Township two years ago but was denied the crown by virtue of the tie-breaker (fifth-man's score). ... York Catholic already earned the league's Class AA berth into that same event next week. ... Nick Geiman led the Irish with a 75, while Byron Markle paced Dallastown with a 78.

YORK-ADAMS LEAGUE TEAM GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS

At Par-72 Briarwood East Golf Course

Top four scores out of five count

West York (302): Rinehart (70); Hartman (74); Stolakis (78); Rice (80); Lucas (82).

York Catholic (318): Geiman (75); Forjan (78); McKim (82); DePorter (83); Bohn (91).

Dallastown (324): Markle (78); Bagnall (81); Sebring (82); Williams (83); Greenplate (84)