With the advent of a new baseball campaign, Whitehall manager Shaun O'Boyle knows that recapturing last year's magical season will be hard to replicate having lost nine key contributors.
But he's not about to accede anything, especially since he has a strong nucleus ready to defend their league title. He said that last year's goal was to earn respect among their peers in the conference, and they did that with resounding success. Now they will look to make sure everyone still remembers them.
Matt Greene isn't used to having free time after class. After playing four years as point guard for Misericordia, Greene's playing days are over.
The former Whitehall star saw his season end on March 1 following a 73-64 overtime defeat at DeSales in the Freedom Conference Championship.
The loss prohibited the Cougars (16-11) from gaining an automatic berth to the NCAA Division-III tournament, which has left Greene and his family with a lot more time on his hands.
Doubles is a term associated with tennis, and for Whitehall boys tennis head coach Austin Berg the word has added significance.
When he took over the program three years ago, he only had eight players on the roster, barely able to field a team.
They didn't win a match all season, but he was determined to build a program and get Whitehall pointed in the right direction.
He has now doubled that enrollment as 16 players will make up the 2014 boys tennis team. Within those numbers are seven sophomores who were all integral parts of last year's squad.
When the baseball and softball teams finally take the field this spring, some new amenities will greet player and spectator alike.
First, the softball field was outfitted with a fence. It's six-feet high and spans from dugout to dugout. The fence cost approximately $14,000, according to Whitehall Athletic Director Robert Hartman. He said it was erected to protect the players from a swale in the outfield.
The boys field will showcase a new scoreboard. This new feature was provided by MetLife, a corporate sponsor.
Whitehall's recent performance at the PIAA District 11 Class AAA swimming championships proved to be a continuous sign for the present, as well as the future.
Junior Mina Feyrer, and sophomore Alexus Merkert, both earned the right to represent the Zephyrs at the PIAA State meet next week after their performances at the district meet.
Feyrer, who finished sixth in the 100 fly at states last year, took top honors in the same event at the district meet with a time of 57.14. Feyrer, who was the top seed in the event, was just a half-second off the district record.
The 2013-14 wrestling season is now in the rearview mirror, and the Zephyrs will look toward creating a new landscape with some solid building blocks returning next season.
The Zephs finished the year 16-9. They were also a young team that improved along the way, building toward a postseason that saw them develop as they gained more experience.
They were also buttressed by a strong senior class, many of whom were among the place-winners at the District XI AAA Individual Wrestling tournament. The Zephs finished with five wrestlers who all earned sixth place at districts.
As I checked into the Giant Center Thursday afternoon for the PIAA wrestling championships, one of the ushers that provided me with a wrist bracelet said, "Everything is the same as last year."
I thought to myself, "that's just great."
Thankfully, I only have to deal with the PIAA once a year during their mecca sporting events in Hershey. And to be fair to them, I'm sure their team of people try really hard to do a good job and generate as much revenue as possible, but when it comes to the details at large events like this, let's just say they sweep that under the rug.
Northampton head hockey coach Brian Ruff and his club recently walked away from a 5-4 loss to Parkland in a Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League (LVSHL) playoff game from Feb. 21, without any regrets.
"What a great hockey game," boasted Ruff. "It was the best losing game I have ever been involved with. It was just back and forth all night, and it truly was a game that neither team deserved to lose."
The winter indoor track season spotlighted a number of Whitehall athletes, hopefully setting the stage for a successful 2014 outdoor campaign.
With the indoor season now complete, the Zephs are just about ready to spring into action. That is, if the weather cooperates. The team began its first practice this week, and will now build on the work accomplished during the indoor season.
Junior Mina Feyrer earned a trip to the PIAA Swimming Championships at Bucknell University next week with a first place finish in the girls 100 Yard Butterfly at the District 11 Championships this past weekend at Parkland High School.
Sophomore Alexus Merkert finished second in the event, but only the top finisher is guaranteed a trip to states. Merkert could still earn a trip once all of the scores from around the state are tabulated.