About this series
Coming up with a short list and then ranking the 10 greatest athletes in the history of each YAIAA high school was a daunting task. For sure, there is no scientific approach. But after two years of interviews, research and roundtable discussions, we are presenting as fair an attempt as possible to create an objective list on a decidedly subjective topic.
OUR CRITERIA: 1. The only accomplishments considered were those achieved while competing in high school varsity athletics. If an athlete earned a college scholarship, that was also factored in. 2. Accomplishments outside the setting of high school varsity sports and accomplishments after high school were not taken into account. 3. Athletes who attended more than one local high school were only evaluated at the school where they had the most varsity success. 4. Female athletes were rated by how they dominated their own sports not how they would fare going head-to-head against male athletes.

Your turn
If you d like to comment or offer a differing opinion on this list, we d love to hear from you. Each Sunday, we ll present your feedback on opinions on page 2 of the York Sunday News sports section - The Rundown. E-mail your thoughts to Sports Editor Chris Otto at cotto@ydr.com or mail them to: Greatest Athletes, c/o Chris Otto, 1891 Loucks Road, York 17408.

Read more
Check out the full series


Don Barton ('76): Barton, a goalie, helped lead his soccer team to a league title and was even better at basketball and baseball. He also played three years of varsity volleyball. In basketball, he averaged just over 17 points per game as a junior and scored just shy of 1,000 for his career. In baseball, the first baseman and pitcher was a YCIAA all-star who earned a spot as a walk-on at Division I Stetson University.

Jackie Beck James ('82): The basketball and track and field star was best known for winning a state title in the high jump (5 feet, 6 inches) - the first individual state title in school history. As a junior, she won the league meet in the triple and high jumps and silver in the long jump.

Ashley Walton (Submitted)
She finished third in districts in all three jumps. As a senior, she earned a district silver and state gold in the high jump. She earned a partial track and field scholarship to Shippensburg. In basketball, she was a four-year varsity starter and top-notch point guard and defender.

Lawrence "Butch" Lower ('57, Manchester): The 6-foot-4 basketball star averaged 15.5 points per game as a senior in helping lead his team to a county title. He also was a dominating right-handed pitcher who struck out 13, walked one and gave up only four hits in the county title victory over Red Lion. He was scouted by the Philadelphia Phillies and signed with the Milwaukee Braves.

Ashley Walton ('00): She was a standout in basketball and track and field, but volleyball was her best sport. She was the YAIAA's Player of the Year in Division II as a junior and was an all-star again as a senior in volleyball. She earned all-state honors as a junior and senior and finished with 950 career kills. In track and field, she excelled at the sprints and high jump, where she finished second in the YAIAA meet as a senior. She earned a volleyball scholarship to Edinboro University.

Matt Wilson ('91): The all-state volleyball player earned a scholarship to play for Ohio State. He also was a two-time captain of his basketball team, best known as a rebounder and defender.


Autumn Lau will push toward scoring 2,500 career basketball points before this season is done. The senior already has a Division I scholarship to play for St. Francis College of New York and is considered one of the top talents in the state. She scored 24.1 points per game last year.


Cindy King Bleacher ('85) was the school's only female 1,000-point basketball scorer (1,154) for a dozen years, until Autumn Lau reached the mark two seasons ago.

Kyle Almoney earned the first swimming state title in school history as a sophomore in the 100 butterfly and also won a state silver in the 500 freestyle.

Autumn Lau
Autumn Lau (Submitted)
He left after his sophomore year in 1997 to attend Mercersburg Academy.

Rick Brenner ('74) finished a season ranked in the top 10 nationally in batting average at York College before going on to become the first player in Central League history with 1,000 career hits.

John Ferree ('61) held school records for the long jump and 100 meters for several years, was one of the league's leading basketball scorers as a 5-foot-6 senior and also was a high-scoring winger and MVP of the league title-winning soccer team.

George Fetrow ('88) won district and state titles in the 800 meters as a senior before running for Shippensburg University.

Don Kauffman ('93) was a league all-star in the outfield but was better as a goalie in soccer, in which he earned league player of the year honors and a scholarship to Slippery Rock.

Seth Reeser ('84) signed a pro baseball contract with the Atlanta Braves after pitching for Shippensburg University.

Lee Rentzel ('53, Manchester) pitched the county title game as a freshman and won the league ERA crown as a senior. But the left-hander is best known for pitching for more than five decades - and into his 70s - in the Central and South Penn leagues.

Nevin Weirich ('63) was good enough to play basketball and soccer at York Junior College before playing soccer at West Virginia University.

Lee Rentzel
Lee Rentzel (Submitted)

Keith Wentz ('82) signed a pro baseball contract with the Oakland A's after starring for York College. His 225 lifetime home runs is tops in Central League history.

Scott White ('78) won the school's only district wrestling title as a 138-pound senior. He was 27-0 before losing in the state tournament.