EDITORIAL: Northeastern boys make York County proud
Winning one state championship is incredibly difficult.
Each year, thousands of Pennsylvania high school athletes take to fields, tracks, courts and pools hoping to experience the thrill of wearing a PIAA gold medal.
The vast majority — far more than 90 percent — fall short of that goal.
One York County high school team, however, has made a habit of making the incredibly difficult look stunningly easy — and they've displayed class and humility nearly every step of the way.
As nearly everyone in these parts already knows, the Northeastern boys' volleyball program took home a fourth straight PIAA Class AA state crown on Saturday.
The significance of that achievement is truly staggering.
After all, in high school sports, there is nearly always a large turnover in a team's roster from year to year. That's the nature of the beast. Seniors graduate, and a new bunch of players must take over leadership of the team.
That turnover normally makes the odds of repeating as a state champion very long.
The kids from Manchester, however, beat the odds — again and again.
Of course, it helps when you have the best player in the state banging kills from all over the court.
Reese Devilbiss has been a starter on every one of the Bobcats' last four state championship teams. Next year, the high school All-American will take his considerable talents to Ohio State, which just happened to win the NCAA Division I national title recently.
But Devilbiss is hardly a one-man gang. There were five other seniors on the Northeastern team — Chris Lee, Jeff Reynolds, Matt Schaeffer, Drew Landis and Brandon Arentz — who were standouts in their own right.
Together, they formed an unbeatable combination.
In fact, the Bobcats were 23-0 this season and have not lost a single game in a best-of-five match in the last two seasons. Overall, during the last four years, Northeastern has compiled a nearly unbelievable record of 90-3 in best-of-five matches. Ask any state volleyball expert, and they'll tell you the Bobcats were the best team in Pennsylvania the last two years, regardless of class. Even the bigger AAA teams couldn't hang with Northeastern.
In fact, MaxPreps.com ranks the Bobcats as the 21st-best team in the entire nation.
They're just that good.
A feat that can't be bettered: Winning four state championships in four years is a feat that can't be bettered, only matched. That's something that Northeastern head coach Matt Wilson made sure to mention before and after Saturday's 3-0 win over Ambridge at Penn State's Rec Hall in the state final.
Much of the credit for Northeastern's success has to go directly to the intense Wilson. He's built a program that is the envy of every school in the state, and beyond. He was a star in his own right as a player at Northeastern, before going on to excel at Ohio State. Now he excels as the Bobcats' coach, having led the Bobcats to a total of five state crowns.
Wilson constantly preaches humility to his players, but after Saturday's history-making triumph, he made an exception, especially for his seniors.
“I'm OK, as graduating seniors, if they beat their chests a little bit," Wilson said. "Shed a little bit of the humbleness. They are fantastic."
There can be no doubt about that. The Bobcats are fantastic.
And for the past four years, they've made all of York County very proud.