With the district title on the line in set three, the Whitehall boys volleyball team needed to stop a surging Emmaus squad to avoid the sweep.
They narrowly missed upending the Green Hornets in the first set, losing by two points to the undefeated denizens of Macungie Street, and as the third set began, they got out to a healthy 8-2 lead.
If they could maintain that lead, they would be able to prolong the match and see if they could seize the momentum and dethrone Emmaus as the reigning district champs.
With the district softball game teetering on the mercy rule, after Emmaus scored eight runs in the top of the fifth to make it 15-3, Whitehall refused to accept that fate in the opening round of the 6A playoffs.
They had already fought back once, trimming Emmaus’ 7-0 advantage to just four in the bottom of the fourth, but the Hornets erupted for eight more runs in their next at-bat to potentially ice the game if the Zephyrs didn’t score.
The Southern Lehigh baseball team prevented Whitehall from duplicating last year’s postseason run, exacting some revenge in the district semifinals to end the Zephyrs’ season on May 23 at Parkland.
Last year Whitehall who took home the inaugural District XI 5A baseball crown, defeating Southern Lehigh to begin their magical ride to the state finals. This year the Spartans derailed their hopes of repeating a long postseason run, defeating them 3-1 in the opening round of the 5A playoffs.
When Brian Gilbert was hired early in 2012 as Whitehall’s new football coach, he said he wanted to make Zephyr football a combination of fun and winning.
He succeeded on both counts, going 48-23 over six seasons. His .676 winning percentage over that span ranks him just behind Andy Melosky (. 690) among Whitehall’s head coaching fraternity.
The fun came along with all that success as they were able to hoist two district trophies during his tenure. They also shared a Lehigh Valley Interscholastic Athletic Conference crown in 2012 and 2013.
It’s been said that lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place, but Amanda Crooks proved that’s a fallacy as she thundered to gold again in the 100 meters at the Zephyr Sports Complex last week.
This time she bolted to first place at the District XI 3A Track and Field Championships, giving her back-to-back wins this postseason. She finished in 12.26, improving on last week’s mark that saw her win EPC gold in 12.53.
As members of the Whitehall’s girls 4x100 relay team gathered to await their gold medals at last week’s district meet, a celebratory dance ensued, one in which didn’t have a name yet.
“We just made it up in the locker room,” said Rebecca Ganthier. “It doesn’t have a name. We just made it up. Whitehall pride.”
It’s something that originated as they tried to hype themselves up to get ready for the meet.
“It just came out,” said Ganthier.
While that impromptu dance may not have an official name, the foursome can officially be called record breakers--again.
Whitehall’s opponent in the finals of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Boys Volleyball Championship has been a thorn in their side the last few postseasons.
Well, make that a stinger in their side.
Once again the Green Hornets prevented the Zephyrs from claiming a championship, this time the site was at Allen High School as the two teams collided to see who would win the EPC title. Emmaus emerged victorious, defeating Whitehall in three sets to become the 2018 league champs.
In addition to their two first-place finishes, Whitehall had a number of excellent performances during the District XI 3A Track and Field Championships last week.
The boys 4x100 team also earned a medal, finishing fourth with a 43.63 mark. That group included Martin Labib, Kresstoph Whittick, Chad Hussett and Dez Boykin.
Boykin also competed in the long jump, finishing seventh with a 21-07.75 mark.
It was a run for the record books as the Whitehall girls 4x100 relay team took home gold at the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Track and Field Championships last week.
The foursome of Monica Manu, Rebecca Ganthier, Kate Bonshak and Amanda Crooks crossed the line in 48.86, establishing a school record and EPC record in the process. For the school record, they beat the previous mark of 49.37 set in 2010 as Kelsey Gregory, Danielle Smith, Brooke Hamscher and Erinn Bonshak combined for that finish.
Amanda Crooks’s spot atop the podium last Wednesday during the medal ceremony following the 100 meter dash, cemented the senior as the top sprinter in the league.
Yes, the Zephyr Sports Complex has become Crooks Country every spring for the last four years, and she further added to her legacy, finishing first in 12.53 to capture the gold in the 100 meters at the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Track and Field Championships.
Crooks now has a gold medal to go along with her two silver medals, taking second in 2015 and again in 2016.