Koons: Unbeaten boys' tennis season 'ultra successful,' even by Dallastown's high standards
Dallastown played for two weeks in 2020 before the spring season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Mark Koons called the campaign a lost season.
The longtime Dallastown boys' tennis head coach wasn't sure what to expect from this year's team, despite the program winning consecutive York-Adams League Division I titles from 2016 through 2019. So, while winning the division isn't new to the Wildcats, their 17-0 campaign and a fifth consecutive division title impressed their coach more than previous teams had.
“These guys have exceeded my expectations for the year and it's hard to do that in our program,” Koons said. “We've had a lot of success inside our league. We've been successful in districts, but this is one of the few teams that I think so far has exceeded our expectations of what we had going into states. So, no matter what happens to this point, we've been ultra successful this year.”
The Wildcats enter District 3 competition as the No. 1 team in the Class 3-A power ratings. Two major reasons why the team has enjoyed so much success is a pair of juniors.
Daniel Wu and Jonathan Arbittier became the Wildcats' top two singles players after they spent the summer preparing for bigger roles on the team. Koons added the pair played a lot of tennis together, training to lead the team.
Once Koons saw how skilled they had become, it was clear the team could contend for more trophies.
“They turned themselves into two of the better players in the entire league this year,” Koons said. “From five and eight on the team, to probably two of the top four players in the league. That shows how much those two improved. So, we knew we were headed in the right direction because of how much better those two got.”
Koons also praised sophomore Andrew Chronister, the team's No. 3 singles player, for a breakout season and expects him to improve even more next year.
The respect that the York-Adams League coaches had for Dallastown's top-three players became apparent on Wednesday, when the seeds for the league's 3-A singles tournament were released. Wu is seeded No. 2, Arbittier is No. 4 and Chronister is No. 6. Wu and Arbittier are also seeded No. 1 in the league in 3-A doubles.
During the regular season, Koons' son, Cameron, and Bobby Nicholson enjoyed a standout doubles campaign as well. Cameron Koons is a senior, but Nicholson is just a sophomore, so the future of the Wildcats program looks very bright.
Unbeaten Hershey may be looming: Despite the strong 2021 season, Dallastown had one match canceled multiple times that it really wanted play in and win — against Hershey, the No. 2 team in the District 3 3-A power ratings. Hershey (13-0), was supposed to play the Wildcats three times, but the matches were prevented because of COVID-19 concerns.
Koons said if both teams stay healthy, a showdown in the district championship would prove which undefeated squad is really the top team in the area and punctuate a stellar season.
"Yeah, we're 17-0, but we didn't get to play the best team on our schedule,” Koons said. “So, we know that looking ahead.”
Reach Rob Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.