HEISER: Local college teams, athletes excel over winter
- Four York College basketball players earned All-CAC honors on Tuesday.
- The Penn State York men's basketball team has earned a USCAA playoff berth.
- Two York College wrestlers will compete in the NCAA Division III Championships.
- The York College swimming teams combined to finish 22-6.
High school sports drive our winter coverage.
That's no big secret.
It's dictated by the frenzied fan interest in the exploits of our young York County athletes.
If you wanted proof of that prep passion, all you had to do was try to squeeze into one of the packed local gyms during the recent boys' basketball playoffs, or witness the large Giant Center crowds for both District 3 basketball and wrestling.
At the same time, however, the county winter sports scene does not begin and end with high school athletics.
The local colleges — both York and Penn State York — sometimes fly under the radar.
Both schools have enjoyed significant success during the past few months.
York College basketball: That point was driven home Tuesday when the Capital Athletic Conference announced its all-conference basketball teams. York College was well represented.
Senior Sam Hruz (8.6 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists per game) was named to the All-CAC Women's First Team for a second consecutive season, while junior Morgan Kuehne (12.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg), a Red Lion High School graduate, earned a second-team selection.
On the men's side, junior Matt Scamuffo (16.0 ppg) captured first-team honors, while junior Blayde Reich (13.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg) took second-team recognition.
Women's basketball success is nothing new at York. Under Hanover grad Betsy Witman, the Spartans have traditionally excelled, so this year's 18-9 overall record was pretty much par for the course.
With a strong returning cast for next season, led by Kuehne, Susquehannock grad Katie Wagner (11.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.6 apg) and Dallastown grad Katie McGowan (6.9 ppg. 4.0 rpg), the Spartans' women's team looks primed for another strong season. Like Kuehne, Wagner is a junior this season, while McGowan is just a sophomore.
Success on the men's side has been much harder to come by at York in recent years. This season, however, marked a breakthrough campaign during Matt's Hunter's five-year tenure.
Hunter's Spartans finished 17-10, and if it wasn't for a heartbreaking double-overtime loss to Salisbury, would've earned a berth in the CAC title game.
Even better for Hunter, the 2016-2017 team could be even better. Scamuffo and Reich should return, along with sophomore Jason Bady (9.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg) and do-everything freshman Jared Wagner (8.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg). Wagner, a Central York grad, really came on during the season's second half and led the Spartans in assists (3.6 per game) and steals (2.3 per game).
Another local player, Spring Grove grad Darin Gordon (4.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg), also made an impact as a York freshman.
Penn State York basketball: Like the York women, the Penn State York men have become a traditional power under former Red Lion High coach Parrish Petry.
The local Lions won the Penn State University Athletic Conference regular season title at 15-1 and nearly won their fourth PSUAC playoff crown in five years, but fell just short, losing to Penn State Greater Allegheny 60-58 in the championship contest before a packed house at the Ruhl Center.
Despite that loss, PSY (19-7 overall) earned an at-large berth into this week's United States Collegiate Athletic Association Division II playoffs at Penn State Fayette. PSY's opener is Thursday vs. Williamson.
Red Lion grad Trent Thomas leads the high-scoring PSY outfit at 22.0 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. He was named to the All-PSUAC First Team, while Petry was named the PSUAC Coach of the Year.
York wrestling: The Spartans' wrestling team, meanwhile, finished 14-4 in dual meets this season under Bermudian Springs grad Duane Bastress and was ranked No. 18 in NCAA Division III in the latest Intermat rankings.
York will send two wrestlers to the NCAA D-III Championships in senior Ryan Flynn (37-2 at 133 pounds) and sophomore Greg Warner (29-10 at 141). Flynn looks like a real threat to medal at the NCAA event in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, after winning the Mideast Regional crown for the third season in a row.
York swimming: Each of the Spartans' swimming teams recently finished second at the CAC Championships and York's Greg Doyle was named the CAC Coach of the Year.
The men finished 12-2 in dual meets, while the women were 10-4.
In addition, Morgan Schreiber (men) and Maddy Mann (women) each won multiple CAC individual titles.
Overview: In brief, those are just some of the highlights by York and Penn State York athletes this winter — and it's not over yet.
There may be more medals and more championships yet to come. It's something to keep an eye on.
Yes, our local college teams sometimes get lost in the large shadow cast by our local prep squads, but they shouldn't.
Because, in their own right, they've enjoyed a rather remarkable winter.
Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.