In wrestling, a strong foundation is essential when facing an opponent, and it’s also what’s going to benefit the Whitehall grapplers as a whole this season.
That foundation begins with a solid group of returning wrestlers who’ve gained varsity experience over the last few years. It will be augmented by an intriguing group of newcomers that will give the Zephyrs a good balance of youth and veterans.
As the new season approaches for the Whitehall girls basketball team, head coach Dwight Repsher is reluctant to put them in a box.
That’s because he’s still unsure exactly what he has and how it will evolve over the course of the season. Sure, he’s got great senior leadership with Alix Buskirk, Ariana Hines, Cheyenne Shook, and Iliana Oliver, but as far as where those upperclassmen and the rest of the roster will be playing on the floor, that question is still fluid and may not be set in stone at all this year.
Whitehall’s colors may be maroon and gold, but the boys basketball team is also going to be a little bit green as they enter the season with a very young group who will be looking to make their mark this year.
While this year’s roster only features four players who logged varsity minutes, head coach Jeff Jones said that opens an abundance of opportunities for players to earn playing time as they embark on a new season.
“There’s a lot of roster spots up for grabs,” said Jones. “Now it’s a matter of working hard and fighting for playing time.”
It was another superb season for the Whitehall football team as they repeated as district champs and earned another berth to the PIAA playoffs.
While head coach Brian Gilbert said that the goal is always trying to play into December, the Zephyrs won nine games and laid claim to another 5A title before being ousted by Wyoming Valley West in the opening round of the state playoffs.
Their road to their second consecutive District 11 championship was the result of senior leadership, team balance, and dedication, which fueled another gold medal season for the Zephyrs.
Whitehall’s bid for a state title was thwarted by a brutish offensive line that powered a robust running attack that ate up both yards and the clock as visiting Wyoming Valley West advanced to the next round of the PIAA playoffs.
The visiting Spartans rolled up 298 yards on the ground en route to the 32-21 win over the Zephyrs. The win places Wyoming Valley West in the 5A quarterfinals where they’ll meet Archbishop Wood who defeated Simon Gratz, 36-6 to advance to the quarters.
The next step for Whitehall on their journey to win a state football title will be against a team that’s riding a hot streak when they come into Zephyr Stadium this Friday.
While Wyoming Valley West is only .500 for the season (6-6), the Spartans are now on a roll. They’ve won five out of their last six games, manhandling both district opponents en route to the title, outscoring Abington Heights and Wallenpaupack by a 98-21 margin.
Southern Lehigh may have owned the more potent running game on paper, but Whitehall used their own punishing ground attack to win their second straight distinct title.
It turned into an exceptional district tournament for Natalia Pedraza and Noel Yacoub as they won two matches en route to the best finish for a Whitehall doubles team in a number of years.
The pair made it all the way to the quarterfinals in the District 11 AAA bracket before being ousted by the eventual champs from Freedom, Natalie Sinai and Rebecca Packo.
It will be round two when Whitehall and Southern Lehigh meet for the District 11 5A football championship this Friday.
The same two teams met in the inaugural championship last year at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium as Whitehall won 35-15 to claim the district prize.
The Spartans come into the game at 10-1, their ticket punched into the finals with a 48-19 win over East Stroudsburg South in the semifinals. Whitehall, who is now 8-3, earned its berth by defeating East Stroudsburg North 56-7 last Friday.
The Whitehall field hockey season ended in the district quarterfinals, marking another successful season for the maroon and gold.
The season ended that way it started with a loss to Easton. They were shut out by the Red Rovers in their opener, but managed to score a goal in the district playoffs, losing 6-1 to the third-seeded Red Rovers in the AAA quarterfinals.
Easton rode that victory into the finals, defeating Liberty 1-0 in the semis, setting up a date against Emmaus for the District 11 championship.