HEISER: May Madness about to hit York-Adams League athletics
May Madness has arrived in York County.
Starting Thursday and ending Tuesday, the York-Adams League will hold championships in nearly every spring sport.
In just six days, scholastic athletes from around the region will produce memories that could last for six decades.
If you enjoy prep sports, it's a perfect storm.
Lacrosse: It starts Thursday evening with boys' and girls' lacrosse championships at Susquehannock High School, with the girls' match slated for 5:30 p.m. followed by the boys' contest at 7 p.m.
The girls' contest will pit Kennard-Dale (16-0) against Susquehannock (16-1). No surprise there. Those two teams finished first and second during the regular season, and they're also ranked first and second in the District 3 power ratings.
The Rams will be itching to regain the league playoff title after falling to York Catholic in last year's championship match. K-D had won the first three Y-A tournament titles.
K-D won the regular-season meeting between the two teams, 11-6, at Susquehannock. Look for a similar outcome this time around.
The boys' final pits West York vs. Susquehannock. The two teams tied for the regular-season league crown at 10-1. Susquehannock enters at 13-2 overall, while West York is 13-3. Susquehannock, however, dominated the regular-season meeting, 14-6, back on April 9 in Glen Rock. This time, the score will likely be much closer, but the home-field edge should put Susquehannock over the top.
Boys' volleyball: Also on Thursday night, the most highly anticipated boys' volleyball match of the regular season will take place when Northeastern visits Central York at 7:30 p.m. in a battle of super powers. Both teams are unbeaten in York-Adams action, and both are defending state champions (Central in AAA and Northeastern in AA). The showdown will decide the league's regular-season title.
Just five days later (7:30 p.m. Tuesday), there's an excellent chance that the same two teams will meet again in the York-Adams Tournament title match at Dallastown. Of course, to set up yet another championship battle, both teams will first have to navigate their way through quarterfinal action on Monday and semifinal matches on Tuesday.
Since 2007, every York-Adams regular-season and tournament title has gone to either Central or Northeastern, with the exception of one year. York Suburban swept both crowns in 2012.
The Panthers (11-0) and Bobcats (13-0) have competed in several of the same tournaments this season. Given their finishes in those events, Northeastern would have to be rated a slight favorite over Central.
Baseball and softball: Baseball and softball also will crown their York-Adams champions over the next week. The semifinals in both sports are Friday. The softball championship game is slated for 5 p.m. Monday at New Oxford, while the baseball title game is set for 5 p.m. Tuesday at Spring Grove.
In baseball, Division I champion Spring Grove (14-6) will try to defend its title. It won't be an easy task, however. The Rockets must face Division II champion West York (14-4) in Friday's semifinals at 5 p.m. at New Oxford. The Bulldogs won the Y-A tournament title in both 2012 and 2013. The Bulldogs also won AAA state titles in each of those years. West York won the regular-season meeting vs. Spring Grove, 3-2, on March 31 at West York.
The other Friday semifinal — at 3:30 p.m. at Spring Grove — will pit Division III champion Eastern York (12-5) vs. Division IV champion Delone Catholic (13-7). The Squires are regulars in the league playoffs. They have appeared in every tournament since the event started in 2009, but they've never won the title. Eastern, meanwhile, is making its first tournament appearance. The Golden Knights captured a 5-0 victory against Delone at McSherrystown on April 17.
Look for the Spring Grove-West York winner to take home the title. With West York struggling a bit of late, losing four of its last six after a 12-0 start, the edge goes to Spring Grove.
In softball, Dallastown won't be back to defend its tournament crown. The Wildcats lost a Division I showdown to Central (18-2) on Monday to give the Panthers the Division I crown.
Central, however, is no stranger to the league playoffs. The Panthers took the tournament title in 2012 and 2013. In fact, the Division I champion has ruled this event in recent years, winning every playoff title since 2010. Central will face Division II champion Dover (12-6) at 5 p.m. Friday at Susquehannock. Central won at Dover on April 16, 7-4.
The other softball semifinal will pair Division III champion Littlestown (15-3) vs. Division IV champion Delone Catholic (14-4) at Spring Grove. Littlestown triumphed at Delone on April 11, 7-2.
History says Division I champion Central is the team to beat.
Track and field: Finally, the top track and field athletes in York and Adams counties will take center stage on Friday night, when the league championships take place at Dallastown. Action starts at 4 p.m.
There are no team titles on the line at this event, but individuals will attempt to win medals and prove that they are the best athletes that York and Adams counties have to offer.
There are a few athletes to keep an eye on. South Western standout Lynne Mooradian is the defending champion in the 100, 200 and 400 dashes. But she could get a challenge from Red Lion's Angelica Gonzalez, who has seen limited action this spring. Gonzalez was a freshman phenom in 2012 but has struggled with leg injuries since then. Hopefully, the East Carolina recruit will be healthy and compete in the league meet. Right now, she's entered in the 200, 400 and 1,600 relay.
In addition, York Suburban's Olivia Gettle is the defending champion in the 1,600 and 3,200 runs.
Weather: Of course, with the exception of boys' volleyball, the championship events will need some cooperation from Mother Nature to go off as scheduled. Right now, the forecast for Thursday and Friday looks promising. The outlook for Monday and Tuesday, however, is a bit more sketchy.
Let's hope that the weather cooperates.
The area athletes deserve the opportunity to perform their best in the best conditions. They also deserve to have big crowds there to watch them.
May Madness has arrived in York County.
Local high school sports fans should sit back and enjoy it.
Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.