There have been an incredible number of athletes and teams from Lebanon County to reach the highest level of their chosen sport over the years and won themselves a state title.

From a team standpoint, state champion runs bring to mind unforgettable squads like Annville-Cleona’s 1970s boys’ cross country dynasty, and its Cinderella 1999 boys’ basketball champion, and the three separate state titles by Lebanon Catholic girls’ basketball, as well as gold medal runs by ELCO boys’ soccer and Palmyra field hockey, boys’ soccer, and girls’ cross country, to name a few of the area’s most memorable state championship winners. The 1986 A-C baseball team and the 1999 Palmyra baseball team also won states.

Individually, the county has also produced numerous state champions, including Cedar Crest golfers Stu Ingraham, Blaine Peffley, and Dylan Ramsey, and swimmer Cody Weik; ELCO tennis phenom Stanley Kahl, who captured two consecutive state crowns in the early 2000s; two-time state tennis doubles champions Aidan and Tyler Mahaffey of Palmyra; a ton of track and field state champions like Jaren Hayes and Thomas Jordan of Cedar Crest; Jeremy Silverman of Annville-Cleona; and, most recently, sprinter extraordinaire Kadell Howard of Cedar Crest, a freshman state title winner last spring.

And, of course, there have been those who have gone on to star at the national level, including Sam Bowie, Frank Reich, and Olympic gold medalist Jamie Gray.

None of them, though, have dominated their chosen sport the same way as Northern Lebanon wrestling star Seidel, who will be heavily favored to rack up a fourth straight individual state title next winter. The Mahaffeys, both seniors, could equal Seidel’s dominance in their final go-round as seniors this spring. And under legendary coach George Gerber, A-C claimed three straight boys cross country AA state championships from 1972-74.

In his three years on the mat in Fredericksburg, Seidel has enjoyed the type of success most can only dream of having.

Aaron Seidel with Northern Lebanon wrestling head coach Rusty Wallace Jr. (Provided photo)

Most notably, of course, was his third straight state championship, which he achieved in dominating fashion at the PIAA Championships a few weeks back, capturing state gold without giving up so much as a single point while facing the state’s best.

Read More: Northern Lebanon’s Aaron Seidel eyes record third wrestling championship

The Virginia Tech recruit, a 106-107 pound competitor as a freshman and sophomore has also captured three straight Lancaster-Lebanon League titles and District 3 AA titles along the way and will enter next season with an almost incomprehensible record of 151-2. 151-2! Craziness.

Can anyone beat that in the history of Lebanon County sports? Well, the Mahaffeys can equal Seidel with a three-peat in their last go-around this spring, and Howard is in the hunt if she can maintain her current level of performance,

But, well, assuming Seidel wins his fourth straight state championship next year, nobody will top him, although Howard and other future stars may yet equal him.

For now, though, Seidel, who was preceded as a state champion wrestler at NL by Jim Collins in 2000, stands alone at the top of the mountain. And most impressively, Seidel is completely unfazed by his many triumphs. He doesn’t enjoy talking about his dominance and wishes that others wouldn’t, either. He prefers, instead, to quietly and faithfully, work behind closed doors to continue building his state championship resume.

One can only respect such a humble approach, so we’ll do the bragging for him. Sometimes you have to just sit back and appreciate greatness and not be afraid to speak about it.

So is Aaron Seidel the best in Lebanon County history? Probably, and at the very least, its most accomplished.

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Pat Huggins covered local sports for the Lebanon Daily News for almost 25 years, beginning in January of 1999. Pat was born and raised in Lebanon County and is a 1987 graduate of Lebanon High School and a 1991 alum of Elizabethtown College. A huge Phillies and 76ers fan, Pat spends his spare time on...


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