Dominant senior class goes out on top

Lewisburg players hold their championship plaque Saturday at Hershey.

Lewisburg players hold their championship plaque Saturday at Hershey.

HERSHEY — While the wind picked up and the storm clouds started rolling in off the horizon toward Hersheypark Stadium on Saturday afternoon, nothing could dampen Lewisburg’s celebration after it defeated Quaker Valley, 1-0, in the Class AA final.

Especially not for the 10 Lewisburg seniors.

While some other members of the Green Dragons lingered around near the fence, high-fiving and hugging Lewisburg fans, friends and family, some of the seniors huddled together for photos with their gold medals and the trophy.

Being a repeat state champion is an honor in and of itself, but the legacy this group of seniors leave behind at Lewisburg is one that may not be reached for a while again at Lewisburg.

When they were younger, the seniors watched previous Green Dragon soccer teams play. They were too young to see the 2000 team win the state championship, but they saw their fair share of great teams play for the Green Dragons.

You could argue now that this senior class is perhaps the best to ever walk Lewisburg High School’s hallways, and given, the tradition of great soccer at Lewisburg, that says a lot.

“I think we leave a high bar. I’ve been part of the program for a long time being the manager when I was younger and I’ve seen some amazing teams play for Lewisburg, and I think it’s really impressive how we’re team that finally boke that streak of not winning states and managed to do it,” Kratzer said.

This senior class became the first boys team in District 4 to win repeat state championships, and Lewisburg is now the only school in District 4 with three state championships. But perhaps even more impressive than that, is just how dominant this Lewisburg class has been.

Since they were freshmen in 2013, they have only lost four career games. Think about that: four losses in four years, and only one loss the past two seasons as Lewisburg went 49-1 in that span.

“Testament to how hard we worked over these four years,” Lewisburg senior Joey Bhangdia said.

The only other senior class in Lewisburg history since 2000 that ended their four years with single-digit losses was the Class of 2015, which went 84-6-1.

That’s how good this senior class has been. They ended their careers on Saturday hoisting the state championship trophy for the second consecutive year, were District 4 champions for the third consecutive year and walk off into the sunset with an 89-4 career record.

The 89 wins is likely the most by a senior class in Lewisburg history and just the third class to surpass 80 career wins, joining the Class of 2015 and the Class of 2007, which went 81-12-4.

“It’s really raised the bar high for everyone else following in their footsteps. It says a lot. It tells you that these boys love the game, they grew up with the game. They had parents that motivated them and kept them together,” Lewisburg coach Skip Kratzer said. “They got to see other Dragon teams go through and be successful and they wanted to achieve that same level of success. It’s great.”

All 10 of the Green Dragons’ seniors — Bhangdia, Kratzer, Michael Permyashkin, Will Brock, Harrison Gronlund, Wilson Fisher, Davis Baylor, Adam Cole, Sam Rosevear and goalie Ryan Ehmann — started on Saturday in the Class AA championship game against Quaker Valley.

When this group was younger, they watched previous great Lewisburg teams play and be successful. Who knows what young fans in the stands watched Lewisburg on Saturday and will end up playing for the Green Dragons too. But if they do, they already know there’s a high bar that’s been set and the tradition of great soccer at Lewisburg will be expected to continue.

Gerardi may be reached at jgerardi@sungazette.com.

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