DALLASTOWN — During every home match at Dallastown High School, there’s a big blue-and-white banner that reminds players, coaches and fans of the program’s rich history.
The four years of District 3 titles in 1999, 2003, 2004 and 2006, as well as the 2004 PIAA state title serve as a reminder about where the program was just more than a decade ago.
This year, the Wildcats are hoping to update that banner. After falling in the District 3 final to Hershey, the Wildcats have worked tirelessly to position themselves for a chance to dethrone the champions from Chocolatetown.
While it's still too early to predict how the season will play out, the Wildcats haven’t given any skeptics pause for concern so far. Taking on Central York Wednesday without a pair of their top players in the lineup, the Dallastown boys cruised to a 5-0 triumph.
The Wildcats are now 7-0 overall and 5-0 in York-Adams Division I.
“We’re lucky that we have a lot of depth and a really nice mix of seniors,” Dallastown coach Mark Koons said. “And we have some younger kids that we’re able to groom and I think will have a lot of great careers.”
Giving lots of players a chance: With a roster of 25 players that includes just four seniors, Koons does his best to find opportunities for lots of his players to participate in contests. That was the case Wednesday when both Holden Koons and Sebastian May were out of the lineup.
“We only get to play seven in matches,” coach Koons said. “So we try to get the guys in the top 10 a chance to play at least several matches during the season. We have to find ways to get everyone a chance to play.”
Hershey test looms: While the Wildcats haven’t been seriously tested so far this season, that figures to change in a few weeks. The Wildcats will play host to Hershey on April 18 in a match that may be a preview of the District 3 finals.
“They lost their No. 1 singles player from last year, but that just means that everyone else moves up a spot,” coach Koons said. “It should be a really good match.”
Unlike Wednesday, Holden Koons won’t be able to practice with May that day. The three-time defending District 3 3-A champion feels like his team has a good shot at beating the Trojans this go around.
“We’re going for our fifth one this year,” said Holden Koons, who has already committed to play for NCAA Division I James Madison. “That’s the goal.”
Lots of optimism: A lot of the optimism surrounds the Dallastown top three of Koons, Johnathan Burns (who played No. 1 singles Wednesday) and May. Koons, who has claimed the York-Adams League 3-A singles title each of the previous three years, expects his peers to push him hard on his quest for a fourth consecutive crown.
"Johnathan and Sebastian have a lot of experience in our top three,” he said. “I think that we’re all really confident in our games right now.”
In addition to the big showdown with Hershey in a few weeks, coach Koons also pointed to a match against Cumberland Valley, as well as the teams he expects the Wildcats to face during a tournament in Altoona later this month.
“Our schedule is always tough,” he said. “At the end of the year, if you look at the District 3 power ratings, our strength of schedule is always the highest. But that’s a good thing. That gets us ready.”
Burns won his match-up against Jacob Stewart of Central, 6-0, 6-1. Noah May defeated Alex Arrow at No. 2 singles, 6-1, 6-1, while Jack Lynam earned a 6-0, 6-2 victory at No. 3 singles against Hunter Scott. In doubles competition, the No. 1 pairing of Cameron Koons and Aryan Saharan claimed a 6-1, 6-0 win over Jadon Nardo and Ethan Kannel, while Daniel Wu and Dylan Patel scored an identical triumph over Thomas Elder and Grant Sommer at No. 2 doubles.
South Western 4, Spring Grove 1: At Hanover, the Mustangs received singles victories from Derek Cracium, Alex Guy and Ryan Hanson. For the Rockets, Nicholas Etter and Logan Covington combined to win the No. 1 doubles match.
Red Lion 5, Dover 0: At Dover, the Lions received straight-set singles victories from Cameron Wheeler, Luke Zeidman and Luc Nadeau. In doubles, Alex Schnor and Chance Riddle combined to win the No. 1 match.
West York 5, Susquehannock 0: At West York, the Bulldogs received straight-set singles victories from Augie Citrone, Jack Citrone and Jacob Landis. In doubles, Jake Altimore and Brendan Guy won the No. 1 match, while Matt Fuentes and Griffin Conway won the No. 2 match. West York is now 7-1 overall and 6-0 in Y-A D-II.
Gettysburg 5, York Catholic 0: At Springettsbury Park, the Warriors received straight-set singles victories from Drew Heinzelman, Kaku Baremil and Noe Oberholtzer-Hess to clinch the match.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.