Young Dallastown golf team hasn't lost step without Shoffner

Dante Green
York Dispatch

There hasn't been much of a question of who stands on top in York-Adams League Division I golf in 2022, as Dallastown continues to prove it is the team to beat. 

The Wildcats have now won all three tournaments that have taken place this season, giving them a perfect 18-0 record on the year. Dallastown has thoroughly outplayed every other divisional squad in these events, winning by margins of 26, 16 and 24 strokes.

Dallastown’s Lane Krosse tees off during YAIAA Division I golf action at South Hills Golf Club in Hanover, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert photo

At Heritage Hills on Monday evening, the Wildcats' 303 total strokes were well clear of Central York's 327. Northeastern finished third with 330 shots, with standout junior Caden Blanchette firing a 77 and Ryley Nade-Bishop (79) helping to keep the team afloat. South Western finished fourth at 333, New Oxford was fifth at 360, and Spring Grove and Red Lion placed sixth and seventh, respectively. 

The Panthers' Dallas Inch had the best performance of the day, pacing the competition with a 70. Ryan Hilyard (73) and Dylan Paolucci (79) were the top performers for South Western. 

But Dallastown put together a full team effort of low scores. Senior Bobby Nicholson led the way, finishing on par with a 72. The Wildcats' highest mark came from sophomore Taylor Hicks, and her score of 81 would have led multiple teams. Hicks, one of four returning starters for the Wildcats, finished ninth in the individual district tournament and 35th in the state tournament in 2021. Nicholson has been the leader thus far, though, with an average score of 72 in three tournaments. 

Dallastown started the season with a team score of 290 at Royal Manchester on Aug. 18, with Central York finishing second at 316. The Wildcats' second win came at South Hills on Aug. 24, with their 308 strokes ahead of the Panthers' 324. All three tournaments this season have seen Dallastown finish first, Central York second and Northeastern, South Western and New Oxford rounding out the top five in that order.

Dallastown’s play has come despite losing its coach, Brooke Shoffner, this offseason. Shoffner was the Division I Coach of the Year but stepped down after 13 years with the program. His overall record was 472-116 with the Wildcats, and Dallastown won multiple York-Adams Division I titles. Under new head coach Joe Gibbs, the program hasn't slowed down. 

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Dallastown's 2021 season was historic for the school. The Wildcats went 36-0 in division action and then posted a record-low 280 total on their way to winning the league crown by 23 shots. They also won the District 3  Class 3-A crown, their first district title ever, and finished fifth in PIAA state action. Three Dallastown players earned D-I all-star selections.

The team lost only one senior from 2021, as Makensy Knaub now plays at NCAA Division I Mount St. Mary's in Maryland. She took a long list of York-Adams and District 3 titles with her, and she was described as a vital voice in team chemistry.

New Oxford’s Trent Uhler, left, and Spring Grove’s Camron Gracey during YAIAA Division I golf action at South Hills Golf Club in Hanover, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Along with Dallastown's Nicholson, Hicks and Reed and Lane Krosse, Blanchette is among the top returning players in the division. The Northeastern junior was 14th in the district 3-A  tournament and tied for 26th in the PIAA tournament.

South Western lost perhaps its best golfer in Evan Twyman, who took the York-Adams League boys' title and then finished sixth in the district and 12th in the state. The team has leaned on Hilyard and Paolucci in its early fourth-place finishes.

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New Oxford, Red Lion and Spring Grove round out the current status of the bottom of the division and have an uphill battle to compete with the teams in front of them. 

Central York junior Noah Shultz shot 72 in each of the first two tournaments, finishing second to Nicholson at Royal Manchester and winning as an individual at South Hills. He shot 82 on Monday at Heritage Hills.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correctly identify Joe Gibbs as Dallastown's new golf coach and Taylor Hicks as a female golfer.