STATE COLLEGE — Dynasty.
It’s a word originally meant for rulers of country or empire who hold a sequence of time over the same family or group.
In the sports world, the title is given to a team which dominates its league for an extended length of time.
After West Chester Rustin claimed its third consecutive state championship on Saturday, is it time to label Rustin with that shining, hard-to-come by title?
“We’ll see,” head coach Nick Russo said to me after the game on Saturday. “Talk to me in 15 years. We’ll see where we are at then.”
I value Russo’s honesty with me through the last three years, but I may have to disagree with him on this one.
It’s too hard to look past all the trophies the Golden Knights have been stockpiling in their case the last handful of years, most of them coming since I started on the high school hockey beat back in October 2013.
Before I started, Rustin had won the Ches-Mont in 2009; the Flyers Cup A in 2009, 2010 and 2012; and the state championship in 2009. That’s already five championships in just four years.
In my time, I’ve seen these kids win the Ches-Mont in 2014 and 2015; the Flyers Cup A in 2014, 2015 and 2016; and the state championship in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Eight more championships in three years is nothing to shrug your shoulders about.
If you sit down to look at it, over the last eight years, Rustin has won the Flyers Cup six times, meaning they have also gone to the state championship game six of the last eight years.
No one has been able to dethrone the Golden Knights. Not in their league. Not in the east. Not even in the state.
It’s not like the other teams haven’t been good enough, either. The Golden Knights have taken down teams which beat them during the regular season or had better records than they did, such as West Chester East and Downingtown East.
Even during a season where the roster fluctuated so much with different players in and out of the lineup — and a season even Russo admitted was one of his toughest because of that — Rustin was still able to come together at just the right time and make its push through the Ches-Mont playoffs and the Flyers Cup tournament.
It’s a team that always seems to be blessed with talent and bred to be winners and it starts from the top with Russo and works its way down the coaching staff to the players.
These kids know what it takes to win at the highest level. They’ve been there and they have that unquenchable thirst to want to do it again and again and that instill that type of play into the younger players as they join the team.
Hats off to Rustin. No matter the situation they’re in, they can always find that way to mesh and to put everything out on the ice and come away as the best of the best.
Eight years. Thirteen championships. One team.
I’d say that’s enough to call them a dynasty.