For the West York golf team, Tuesday's District 3 Team Championships at Briarwood East was likely its last, and best, shot at winning a coveted district crown.
For the York Catholic contingent, it may have been just the first act in what looks to be a bright future.
Ultimately, however, the day had a bittersweet ending for both teams.
The Bulldogs, who lost the District 3-AAA title to Manheim Township two years ago on a tiebreaker, again came agonizingly close. Despite an outstanding round of 3-under 69 from senior Josh Rinehart, West York failed to take down the two-time defending champion Blue Streaks.
Manheim Township earned its third-straight district title with a team score of 304. Chambersburg finished second with a 305, while the Bulldogs were just three strokes behind at 307.
The drama was even greater in Class AA. The Fighting Irish were in a heated battle with defending champion Wyomissing. Even with Nick Geiman's incredible 5-under 67 and Matt McKim's 1-under 71, the York-Adams Division III champions were edged by a stroke. The Spartans finished at 304 against York Catholic's 305.
While neither York County squad will compete in the PIAA State Team Championships, several golfers, such as Rinehart and Geiman, will still compete at this weekend's District 3 Individual Championships, again at Briarwood East.
That wasn't much consolation to West York coach Bill Ackerman.
"This was our time," said Ackerman, who ironically is a graduate of Manheim Township. "That's what is disappointing. It's frustrating that this is the second time in three years that we've come within a couple of strokes."
Ackerman pointed to last week's York-Adams League Team Championship event, where his Bulldogs shot a team score of 302 in comparison. A repeat of that would have netted the veteran West York coach a triumph over his alma mater.
"We didn't play as well as we did last week," he said. "But that's golf. Josh played like he's supposed to play -- like a No. 1 man. He played very well. It was just a couple strokes here and there, but that's the nature of the beast."
Despite the agony of defeat fresh in his mind, Ackerman was quick to point out the accomplishments of his senior-laden quintet -- Rinehart, Axel Hartman, Chris Stolakis, Brady Lucas and Kevin Rice.
"I'm proud of the kids," he said. "Winning the county title three out of four years and coming this close, twice, to winning a district title. I don't take any solace in it, but I'm definitely very proud of the kids."
The Irish, on the other hand, are a much younger bunch. Only McKim and Clint Bohn are seniors. York Catholic coach Bill Brander figures his squad will only get better next year.
Still, even a slight improvement would have been critical on Tuesday for Brander and his team.
"(Wyomissing's) other three guys were better than our other three guys," Brander said. "That's all that there is to it. One stroke, it's just one stroke."
The Irish, who finished second to West York at the league event with a team score of 318, improved that by 13 strokes on Tuesday. The biggest reason was the play of Geiman.
"Nick shot a 69 last week at counties and a 67 today, and I just hope that carries over into districts on Friday and Saturday," Brander said. "And I think it will. His maturity level has really grown. I think he's become much more mature and I think he's handling everything that's happening to him well. He's staying level."
Geiman got off to a fast start with back-to-back birdies. His highlight moment, however, came on No. 17, where he carded a eagle.
"I had about 170 yards left and I hit a beautiful shot," Geiman said. "I hit it right at (the pin) and left it about 20 feet. Then I hit my putt, and I hit it exactly like I wanted to, and I said 'that can't be short.' And it stopped on the lip and dropped in."
While Geiman's 67 was the best round on the day, perhaps more important was the 71 carded by McKim.
"Matt McKim shot his best score ever today," Brander said. "I asked him if he shot his best round ever and he said 'yes' and I just said 'well you gave it your best.' And that's all that you can do."
While Brander was hoping his team could bring home the first District 3 golf title to the area since York High won the last of four district titles back in 1955, he still feels good about his team's future.
"I don't want anybody to beat themselves up over this," he said. "I want them to come back here next year and maybe win it. Because we're going to have a really good team. Nick's back, we've got Andrew (Forjan), who's a freshman this year, and he's going to get better.
"And we have a kid named Joey Parrini, who's averaging a 75 on the junior tour right now. And we have his sister, Lauren, and even Jake Krevetski, who didn't finish up the year with us for one reason or another, and he's going to be back after averaging an 84. So we have a very promising future."
-- Reach Ryan Vander sloot at sports@yorkdis patch.com.
DISTRICT III BOYS' TEAM GOLF CHAMPI ONSHIPS
At Briarwood East Golf Course
(Top four scores out of five count)
1. Manheim Township (304); 2. Chambersburg (306); 3. West York (307), Rinehart, 69; Hartman, 76; Stolakis, 79; Rice, 83; Lucas, 94. 4. Conrad Weiser (324).
1. Wyomissing (304); 2. York Catholic (305), Geiman, 67; McKim, 71; Forjan, 83; DePorter, 84; Stewart, 84. 3. Lancaster Catholic (320); 4. Boiling Springs (341); 5. Veritas Academy (370); 6. Newport (372).