It looks like the 2019 York-Adams League sports year will start with a bang.
The next several days will feature a number of showdowns that could go a long way toward determining division champions in basketball, wrestling and swimming.
Basketball, in particular, has a handful of intriguing match-ups on Friday night.
In boys’ action, each of the three Y-A divisions will see collisions of first- and second-place teams.
In Division I, Northeastern is at York High. The Bearcats, at 4-0, are the only unbeaten team in the division. York is also 7-0 overall and ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 5-A according to one poll. Northeastern (7-2 overall) is 3-1 in the division, good for a second-place tie with New Oxford. If the Bobcats want to win a third-straight D-I title, a win vs. York High on Friday is likely a necessity.
In Division II, Eastern York (7-2, 3-1) is at West York (8-0, 3-0). The Bulldogs, coming off consecutive losing seasons, would have to be considered the biggest surprise of the season thus far. Eastern, meanwhile, appears to be hitting its stride, having won seven of its last eight, including its own holiday tournament.
In Division III, Littlestown (9-0, 4-0) visits York Tech (5-3, 3-1). If the Spartans hope to challenge the Thunderbolts for the D-III title, a Friday night home victory would certainly help. If Littlestown wins Friday, an unbeaten regular season would appear within reach. The game will feature two of the league’s leading scorers in Littlestown’s Logan Collins (No. 3 at 21.6 points per game) and Tech’s Terence Romey (No. 4 at 19.6 ppg).
The Y-A D-I girls’ basketball title picture should also be a little clearer after Friday night, when the top four teams do battle. South Western (7-2, 3-0) is at defending champion Central York (5-4, 3-0) and Spring Grove (5-2, 3-0) is at Dallastown (6-2, 2-1). The Wildcats started as the preseason favorite in D-I, but a second division loss would severely hurt those hopes.
In D-II, the top girls' teams collide on Friday when Susquehannock travels to Gettysburg. Both teams stand at 4-0 in the division, a half game clear of Kennard-Dale. The winner takes over sole possession of first place.
Basketball showcases: In addition to Friday’s showdowns, a number of Y-A teams will be involved in Saturday showcases at Conestoga Valley for the boys and at West York for the girls.
The CV event is another War of the Roses battle, with York County teams facing Lancaster County foes over five games.
The most intriguing of the boys’ contests looks like unbeaten West York vs. Hempfield (7-2) at 3 p.m. The event starts at noon with Central York vs. Manheim Township (6-3), followed by Eastern York vs. Lancaster Mennonite (5-4) at 1:30 p.m. The event finishes with York Catholic (2-7) vs. Lancaster Catholic (5-4) at 4:30 p.m. and Red Lion (4-4) vs. Conestoga Valley (2-7) at 6 p.m.
The West York girls’ showcase, meanwhile, features a whopping seven games, starting at 9:30 a.m. The action will likely last at least 12 hours. The highlight game appears to be Spring Grove vs. Solanco (7-3) at 4:30 p.m. The other pairings are: Delone Catholic (8-1) vs. Red Land (2-6) at 9:30 a.m.; New Oxford (3-5) vs. Lower Dauphin (6-1) at 11:15 a.m.; York Catholic (5-3) vs. Manheim Central (1-7) at 1 p.m.; Eastern York (3-5) vs. Shippensburg (4-3) at 2:45 p.m.; Red Lion (4-5) vs. Downingtown East (5-3) at 6:15 p.m.; and West York (3-6) vs. Conestoga Valley (3-7) at 8 p.m.
Wrestling confrontations: Thursday night should be an intense evening on the local mats.
The team match of the night pits Gettysburg (2-1) at Spring Grove (6-2). The Warriors, who rolled to the D-II title a season ago, have moved up to D-I this season. The Rockets, meanwhile, have won the last three D-I titles and 10 of the last 11.
Just two weeks ago, Gettysburg and Dallastown put on a sensational show in a drama-filled match that ended in a 31-31 tie. The Wildcats eventually earned the victory by virtue of tiebreaking criteria H — most first points scored.
That loss likely puts Gettysburg in a must-win mindset vs. the Rockets. Another D-I loss would almost certainly end their divisional title hopes. Spring Grove is 2-0 in the division, while Gettysburg is 1-1.
While the Rockets and the Warriors will garner the team headlines, the individual bout of the night may take place at Dallastown, where the Wildcats meet Central York.
The two top heavyweights in York County would appear headed for an unbeaten clash of heavyweight titans. Central York’s Michael Wolfgram, a West Virginia recruit, is 9-0, while Dallastown’s Raymond Christas is 14-0. Both records are according to PA-Wrestling.com. Wolfgram finished fourth in the state a year ago in Class 3-A.
In their regular-season meeting in 2018, Wolfgram pinned Christas in the third period.
Ready to make waves: The Y-A D-I swimming season starts Thursday with three key meets right off the bat — Spring Grove at Central York, Dallastown at Northeastern and Red Lion at South Western.
The six D-I girls’ teams boast a combined record of 14-1, while the six boys’ teams are 11-3-1, according to the Y-A website.
Thursday’s action will be the first step in separating the contenders from the pretenders.
The Dallastown boys and Central York girls are the defending D-I champions.
Reach Steve Heiser at firstname.lastname@example.org. All records for this story are through Tuesday night.