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’.
Positive signs abound as the Whitehall wrestling team prepares for the upcoming season.
Those positive signs are reflected in the number of wrestlers who will be part of the program this season. Head coach Tim Cunningham said that they have 28 wrestlers competing for spots.
“We have a good group of guys right now,” said Cunningham who enters his 14th season as the Zephyrs head coach. “That’s good because you work with quantity, hopefully we can get some quality out of them.”
Whitehall head boys’ soccer coach Adam Bastidas isn’t solely looking at his team’s final record as a true evaluation of the program.
Instead, the Zephyrs will continue to be a program in progress.
“We will continue to build the program,” said the second-year head coach. “We made some strides during the year and we stayed the course with everything. Our final record really doesn’t reflect what we have accomplished so far.”
For the Whitehall boys’ soccer team, it will be a matter of time.
The Zephyrs began this week with an overall 1-6 mark.
They began the season allowing 11 goals in three consecutive shutouts before they registered their first win, a 5-2 decision against Lehighton, Sept. 10.
“It is a learning process for us now to get better,” said head coach Chris Bastidas. “It has been tough, but our kids have been coming along. We knew it would be a struggle as we lost about 10 starters from last year’s team.
For the Hall brothers, winning a tournament in their literal backyard was something special.
Phil and Derek Hall, both former standouts at Northampton High, paced a Tony’s Top Cat bar and Grill, a locally-based team to the title with a 54-51 win over defending champion Nites recently in the final of the 27th version of the Tournament of Champions at the Catty playground.