DALLASTOWN -- They weren't the most heralded group of Wildcats to ever walk on the tennis courts.
The 2013 Dallastown boys' tennis team wasn't even the favorite to win the York-Adams Division I title.
Coach Mark Koons' team, though, pulled out a 4-3 victory in a midseason showdown with two-time defending champion South Western to put itself in position to capture the championship. The Wildcats then wrapped up an unbeaten league season and another Division I crown with a 6-1 victory over Central York on Monday afternoon. It's the first division title since 2010 for Dallastown, which had won six-straight Division I titles from 2002 until 2007.
John Schmitt, Kyle Salaga, Payce Berridge, Nick Barley and Michael Gibbs earned singles points on Monday with straight-set victories.
Salaga and Gibbs took No. 1 doubles, and Central's Devin Lehigh and Jeremy Garling captured No. 2 doubles. Both doubles matches were 10-game pro sets.
"It's a nice feeling because this is the first one that we've won in a long time that we were not necessarily expected to win," Koons said. "They (the players) worked hard in practice and believed they could do it."
The Wildcats did it with a No. 1 player (Schmitt) who played No. 7 the year before, and a No. 2 player (Salaga) who climbed the tennis ladder from No. 5 in 2012. Salaga spent some time at No. 3 this year before winning a challenge match to move to No. 2.
"The competition we have between each other (in practice and challenge matches) helps make us stronger as a team," he said. "We talk to each other on the court, and we encourage each other."
Salaga said he worked a lot in the offseason preparing for his senior year. The preparation included matches at Wisehaven on Wednesday nights starting at the beginning of February.
Schmitt used to play quite a bit of tennis when he was 10 and 11, but then he stopped playing. The sophomore returned to competitive tennis last year when he joined the team.
"John is going to be a really good player for us," Koons said. "He reminds me a lot of (former Dallastown star) Billy Heird with his athleticism. He's strong and hates to lose."
Despite the loss, Central still finished 6-2 in Division I, and 24 of the Panthers' 28 players will be eligible to play next year.
"I'm pleased that our players developed enough this year that the last match was meaningful," Central coach Eric Sweitzer said. "We have a few kids who are on the cusp of being nice players. Today, Dallastown did a better job, court in and court out, of executing. It was a learning experience for them (Central's players)."
Dallastown has qualified for the District 3 Class AAA Team Tournament. The Wildcats are No. 2 in the current rankings. South Western is listed at No. 8, and Central at No. 10. The top eight teams qualify. The Panthers have a match on Tuesday against York Suburban.
OTHER BOYS' TENNIS
YORK SUBURBAN 4, BIGLERVILLE 3: At Suburban, the Trojans captured the York-Adams Division II match in doubles, when Matthew Manzella and Michael Peck won the No. 2 match, 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-2. Elliot Diehl, Peck and Sam Atkinson also each captured a singles victory for the Trojans. Suburban finished divisional play at 5-2 and improved to 8-4 overall.
-- Reach Dick VanO linda at dvanolin firstname.lastname@example.org.