Whitehall’s boys’ soccer season certainly has been an adventurous one.
Throughout the season, the Zephyrs have hovered around the .500 mark and still have a district playoff berth within their sights.
Ironically, they have a 6-6-1 mark to begin play this week with five games remaining in the regular season.
The Zephyrs suffered a tough, 1-0 loss at Nazareth Monday night and had Northampton Wednesday and Allentown Central Catholic Friday to round out a challenging, and important week.
In the 29th annual Tournament of Champions (TOC), the ending was ironic and also fitting.
Curmaci Dental and Blue Monkey – both who had the same players on both teams – met in the recent TOC final at the Catasauqua Middle School instead of the Catty Playground due to weather issues.
In the end, it was Derek Hall who led Curmaci to a 74-64 victory over Blue Monkey. It also was a test of attrition as Curmaci had five players and Blue Monkey had six.
It was a true Catty-Northampton flavor night, as all but one player was either a former Roughie or Konkrete Kid.
It wasn’t a typical night of high school football. Instead, it was a night of camaraderie and memories for all those who participated and watched.
The 48th annual McDonald’s Lehigh Valley All-Star Classic football game at Nazareth High School’s Andrew S. Leh Stadium wasn’t your average September game as it was dotted with errors from the players and referees alike who all struggled to get in sync.
Along with being the second overall pick in the recent NFL draft, Saquon Barkley couldn’t be happier with his new surroundings in the Jersey Meadowlands.
In fact on the first day of the team’s recent three-day OTA workouts, Barkley was the first player to arrive and the last player to leave the New York Giants’ training complex.
He already has developed into a staple in the greater New York area.
“This is where I wanted to be,” said the former Whitehall standout. “I am a hard worker, I am willing to learn, and I am coachable.
Twenty-eight years ago, Eric Snyder had one of those night’s where he couldn’t sleep.
He remembered a passage from a book written by legendary college football coach Lou Holtz who stated that he would “get up and do something to make him tired.”
So Snyder decided to follow the initiative. He had his concept and groundwork for the then initial Tournament of Champions, but he wanted to add another twist. Snyder wanted it to be a rotating tournament in which a different league every year would be the host site.
On paper, Whitehall’s swim teams may not have registered several top finishes at the PIAA District 11 swimming championships.
The Zephyrs didn’t qualify a swimmer for the upcoming state meet at Bucknell University.
But the Zephyrs had outstanding overall performances for their boys’ and girls’ units. They both shattered a good amount of previous individual and relay records.
The boys’ team finished eighth from the 15-team field, while the girls’ were ninth overall.
After a successful season, Whitehall’s swimming teams will look forward to extend their season in the upcoming district championships and beyond.
The Zephyr girls’ team finished the year with an overall 12-4 mark and will send eight swimmers to district competition at Parkland High School.
“We had a good year,” said head coach Pete Rile about the girls’ squad. “It was nice to see us have five girls qualify with their times and we had another three qualify with conditional times. We had a pretty solid unit this year.”
Jordan Rivera had a strong inkling that swimming could be his sport in high school.
His confidence began to build in fifth grade when he joined the Whitehall Waves. From there, it was just a matter of time before he would be a key member of the Zephyrs, as the drive began at home.
He is optimistic that his overall journey will end at states.
“My mom thought swimming would be a good sport for me and I started with the Waves,” said Rivera, who is a senior captain this season. “I tried the other sports, but swimming really seemed to fit.
When he was younger, Dan Jablonski admittedly tried a number of sports. However, it didn’t take the Whitehall sophomore long to discover that swimming would come to the forefront.
Jablonski began taking lessons at age two, and knew he found his sports niche.
“When I think back, I did play a lot of different sports,” said Jablonski. “But once I got into a pool, I knew that swimming would be my backbone sport. I remember swimming for the Whitehall Waves in kindergarten and wanted to be able to swim on the high school team.”
Veteran head coach Pete Rile begins his 28th year at the helm of the Whitehall program again with a similar recipe for success – a steady girl unit and a budding boys’ program.
The Zephyrs once again will have some familiar faces back for the winter as well as some promising newcomers helping them to remain in the thick of things in the East Penn Conference. Whitehall is coming off an 11-5 campaign for the girls’ and a 6-10 season for the boys’.