In a swim meet, it’s a race against the clock as numbers tell the story. Likewise, numbers will likely play a big part in telling the story of the 2017-18 season for the Whitehall swim team.
Head coach Pete Rile said that it’s highly possible that this season could be the deepest he’s had since he began his illustrious career that’s spanned over four decades.
The girls have seven seniors returning from a squad that finished 12-4, giving them a solid foundation. They also have eight juniors, eight sophomores and 10 freshman, totaling 33 for the new season.
The Whitehall girls basketball team came out like gangbusters to start the 2017-18 season, but that fast beginning fizzled once visiting Northwestern Lehigh ramped up the defensive pressure, forging the Tigers’ path to a 40-36 victory despite a fourth quarter frenzy by the Zephyrs.
The Zephyrs opened the season with an Olivia George three-pointer. That was followed by Alix Buskirk sinking two foul shots on their next possession. Next, Ariana Hines stepped behind the arc for a trey and the Zephyrs were up 8-0 against the Tigers.
The boys tipped off the basketball season at the Loyalsock Tournament as they scored 120 points over their two games, a good sign as they begin league play this week.
Heading into the season, the Zephyrs lost over 95 percent of their offense to graduation. Head coach Jeff Jones said that their performance in the two-game tourney demonstrated their balance, something they can lean on as they start Eastern Pennsylvania Conference action when they hosted Allentown Central Catholic on Tuesday night.
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.