With each passing meet, Kailyn Beil approaches every dive she makes for the Whitehall swim program with a growing confidence and passion.
But it wasn't that long ago that Beil had some second thoughts about plunging into the pool.
"When I first started (diving), it was scary and frustrating," said the senior, who only joined the program her junior year. "I really had to learn in a hurry to get all of the tricks and formations that I needed.
"But it has been a good transition for me so far."
The Whitehall girls basketball team is experiencing some growing pains early in the season, dropping their league opener to Northampton, and losing a tough one to Tri-Valley.
While these early contests have seen them falter a bit, especially at the beginning of the game, head coach Dwight Repsher sees some positive signs emerging from the losses.
The fact that they cut the lead to five points at the half after trailing by 10 at the close of the first quarter in the game against the Kids, demonstrates their competitive spirit and desire.
With the Whitehall boys basketball team trailing by as many as eight points midway through the third quarter in Friday's league opener against the Kids, they needed a spark to get them back on track.
That flame was ignited when they ratcheted up their defensive intensity, the result of changing their defensive scheme.
"The second half I'm going to give coach [Corey] Frantz credit for; we decided to play man-to-man, and that obviously was a part of it," said head coach Jeff Jones.
Their defensive intensity was complemented by a change in offensive strategy as well.
With Christmas gift giving only two weeks away, buying a gift for the outdoorsman can always be a trying task. To ease the burden a bit, here are some gift ideas that will please the hunter, angler and nature lover.
Since the deer hunting seasons are winding down, and anglers await safe ice for ice fishing, this is the "down time" when it's a good time to curl up with a good book.
The Zephyrs come into this year with a good nucleus, and will lean on a good crop of seniors as they begin battling in the rugged Lehigh Valley Conference.
After finishing last year at 11-9, the Zephs still had a healthy line-up coming into this year. True, they lost their only PIAA regional qualifier when Matt Bonshak graduated, but they have a legion of good wrestlers who are capable of going far in the postseason. That group is led by their senior class.
Whitehall High School cross country coach Mike Lelko told his Zephyrs that any real runner has to be able to say they ran the Van Cortlandt course in Bronx, New York at least once in their lifetime.
So, Gabe Lamm and Calvin Schneck took Lelko up on his offer to compete at the Footlocker Cross Country Championships on Nov. 30.
Lamm walked away with a fifth place medal in the Junior/Senior Boys Race of the Northeast Regionals. The Whitehall junior was the top Pennsylvania boy with a time of 17:13 over the 5,000 meter course.
Northampton head hockey coach Brian Ruff remembered a similar scenario last season when his club struggled before the holidays and then responded with a second-half season flurry that resulted in a Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League (LVSHL) Non-Pure division championship.
So, this season with his club again sputtering, Ruff has a point of reference to fall back upon. But the veteran coach realizes he can rely on another transformation down the stretch. Heading into Monday night, the Kids had an overall 1-4-2 mark and sat in sixth-place of the eight-team division.
When assessing the upcoming girls basketball season, one glaring fact stands out as the Zephyrs embark on their new campaign.
They have no seniors on their roster and that may be seen as a disadvantage.
However, first-year head coach Dwight Repsher prefers putting a positive spin on the situation, noting that while they're without any seniors on the team, the opportunity for the underclassmen to get significant playing time bodes well for the future.
Starting the season off with a win can build confidence and lay the groundwork for a strong year.
That's what the Whitehall boys basketball team experienced when they tipped off the season against Freedom High School last Saturday at the Yasso/Rothrock Classic.
Not only was it a confidence builder in respect to beating a good opponent, but it was also in the manner in which they did it, trailing by as many as nine points at one point, but ultimately turning their fortunes around to post a 52-48 win over the Patriots.
The calm and quiet that has been a rather unusual hallmark of the PIAA over the last year might be coming to an end.
And the culprit is: gender.
Two separate yet related gender issues have converged on PIAA - one directly, another peripherally - almost simultaneously, and both could have far-reaching implications.
The first is a suit filed on Tuesday, Oct. 30, in US Middle District Court by the parents of a seventh-grade female in the Line Mountain School District claiming the student has the constitutional right to participate in wrestling.