1. Bill Schmidt, William Penn

2. Donna McLain Vitacco, Eastern

3. Scott Fitzkee, Red Lion

4. Doug King, Northeastern

5. Joey Wildasin, South Western

6. Randy Edsall, Susquehannock

7. John Sprenkle, West York

8. Jen German, Dallastown

9. Mark Phillips, Hanover

10. Harry "Haps" Benfer, William Penn

11. Paul Snyder, Dallastown

12. Josh Henson, Hanover

13. Pierre Ritter, William Penn

14. Chris Doleman, William Penn

15. Danny Smith, Red Lion

16. Laura Carroll Beveridge, Central

17. Mike Spangler, South Western

18. Bill Butler, Kennard-Dale

19. Hal Brown, William Penn

20. Bill Groft, William Penn

21. Joe Henson, Hanover

22. Michele King, Spring Grove

23. Tisen Thomas, William Penn

24. Jon Witman, Eastern York

25. Chris May, Biglerville


Let's talk about No. 1.

The reaction: Unbelievable. A swimmer? He's better than a football star? He's better than a three-sport athlete? He's better than a four-sport athlete?

The e-mails: Get real. You've got to be kidding me. I'm laughing out loud. Do some research.

The simple fact: Schmidt earned what amounted to first-team, all-nation honors in back-to-back years - posting the fastest time in the country in the breaststroke. How many of the above athletes even earned first-team all-state honors two straight years?

It wasn't a case of one or two good days either - the result of a fast pool or a fantastic day. He threatened to break his own national mark on any day in any pool in any meet. He also allowed his relay teams to record the fastest times in the nation for two straight seasons. And he helped William Penn win two state team titles.

Could anyone else on this list quit a secondary sport to be the greatest athlete in the nation in one event for a two-year stretch? I doubt it.

Let's talk about the No. 2 athlete.

The reaction: See above, but become irate about a runner beating out football and basketball and wrestling and baseball stars.

The e-mails: See above. And add ... she's a girl!

The simple fact: She won two national cross country titles. She is also one of the most dominating athletes state track has ever seen. Although she didn't compile the team or relay accomplishments like Schmidt, the county may never see a runner of her caliber again.

One more argument for Schmidt/McLain: A purity exists in swimming and running that does not figure into football, basketball or baseball. No teammates. No helmets. No bats. Each sport boils down to the most rudimentary aspect of athletics: Everyone lines up with a pair of swimming trunks - or in the case of track, a pair of shorts - and we see who is the fastest.