Some people may think that the Indy 500 is the premier sporting event over the Memorial Day weekend, but folks in Whitehall may point to another event that has its own die-hard following that could one day rival the race at the Brickyard.
The Coplay Connie Mack team remains in the hunt for a state championship, splitting a pair of games in the opening round of the playoffs.
When the state playoffs began on July 20 at Limeport Stadium, Coplay drew Hatfield-Towamencin from the Bux-Mont Connie Mack Baseball League. Hatfield-Towamencin, the third seed, handed Coplay, the eighth seed, a 10-2 loss.
That put them in a must-win game against Nazareth. Coplay responded with a 12-2 win, earning them another game which is set for Tuesday against Catasauqua.
The word consummate is often linked to professional, or pro, but in the case of seniors Cara Bonshak and Kylee Cunningham, that word can also be associated with student-athlete.
Yes, Bonshak and Cunningham are the consummate student-athletes who give total effort both on and off the field. They’re the embodiment of that credo that hangs on their gymnasium wall, commonly known as the PRIDE banner: Prepared Respect Involved Dependable Empathetic. They’ve maintained those four principles throughout their athletic careers at Whitehall.
It’s hard to imagine a better senior year than the one Zach Gilbert just recently completed at Whitehall.
Not many seniors can claim two district championships in one season. Moreover, his résumé reads that he was the starting quarterback and starting pitcher for both those titles.
After stepping in as the starting quarterback, he led the team to a 9-5 record and a District XI Championship. He also helped them win a PIAA game over Abington Heights, riddling their vaunted defense for 310 yards and four touchdowns.
When building a successful athletic program, early success is always a vital tool in helping establish a solid foundation at the varsity level, and that’s what’s been happening with Whitehall wrestling.
Competing in the highly-competitive Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, a league that routinely produces state champions, requires that teams have strong youth and junior high programs that will one day fill their varsity rosters.
Baseball great Ernie Banks famously said let’s play two, but with the way this season has unfolded for the Coplay Legion team, doubleheaders have become routine for them since the season started.
Bad weather struck over the weekend, forcing more cancellations. They played another doubleheader on Sunday, with this twin bill featuring league-leading Salisbury.
They lost both games of the doubleheader, dropping their record to 10-5-1. With those two losses, they finished the regular season in third place behind Northern Valley and Salisbury.
Judging by the success the junior varsity had this season, the Whitehall boys volleyball program is poised to be in title contention for the foreseeable future.
Even with the loss of seven seniors, the team is well stocked with talent, and soon they’ll be bursting onto the varsity scene to help the Zephyrs stay atop the tough Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.
The main reason for such high optimism is the caliber of talent at the junior varsity level.
In a coaching career that’s spanned 25-years, James Sebesta has impacted the lives of thousands of student-athletes at Whitehall.
Those relationships, built over those two-plus decades with the track and field team, made his decision to retire extremely difficult, but he knew that time was slipping away if he wanted to watch his own son play high school sports.
Jared will be entering his senior year at Northampton High School and Sebesta wanted to make sure he would witness his final scholastic season.
When the Whitehall softball team takes the field next season, the third-base coaching box will be without the familiar presence of Alexis Berg-Townsend.
After a coaching career than spanned 10 years, Berg-Townsend submitted her resignation last week. She won 136 games over that decade and guided the Zephyrs to a District XI championship in 2009.
She also led the Zephyrs to an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Skyline Division championship in 2016, culminating in a district finals appearance.
The Coplay Legion team took another step toward the top of the standings with a win over the Carbon Monarchs on Tuesday night, taking aim at consecutive regular season championships.
The win should put them in second place, leapfrogging Northern Valley who was idle Tuesday night. The 2-1 win lifts their record to 10-2, and they’ll look to continue their ascent with games against Emmaus on Wednesday evening, followed by Southern Lehigh on Friday.