Northampton head coach Seth Lisa summed it up perfectly.
“If you are happy about No. 2, you’ll never be No. 1.”
Northampton didn’t travel to Hershey to just participate in the state wrestling tournament. It didn’t come to win a match. Or two. It came to win the whole thing.
The Konkrete Kids put themselves in position to do just that on Saturday with a trip to the Class 3A finals. Another District 11 foe was waiting, however. District 11 champion Bethlehem Catholic edged Northampton, 31-19, at Hershey’s Giant Center over the weekend for its seventh state championship.
Three Northampton grapplers entered Saturday’s championship round at Liberty High School. And all three left Bethlehem with individual titles.
Julian Chlebove, Devon Britton and Jagger Condomitti picked up first-place finishes on Saturday at the Bethlehem Holiday Wrestling Classic. Northampton finished second as a team with 175.5 points, only behind host Liberty (179 points).
What’s even more ironic about the Konkrete Kids’ three champions is that they occurred back-to-back-to-back.
Daron Whitmore spent his first postseason in the Blue Mountain League sidelined with a shoulder injury as the Northampton Giants won their first league championship in 2014.
On Sunday, he pitched a gem to lead the Giants back to the Blue Mountain League championship series.
Whitmore pitched six stellar innings, allowing just two runs on four hits as Northampton completed the sweep of the Northern Yankees with a 3-2 victory at Northampton High School. The Giants will face the winner of the Limeport Bulls and Orioles in the championship series beginning this week.
If Northampton had hopes of forcing a winner-take-all Game 3 in the championship series of the Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League (LVSHL), the Konkrete Kids would likely need a fast start. One much like Northampton had in Game 1.
Instead, seven-time defending champion Parkland was the one to hit the ice fast and never look back.
It was just two years ago when Lauren Sterner watched her older sister, Leandra, participate in the Via All-Star Basketball Classic. Fast forward to the present and Leandra is playing hoops at DeSales University.
Over the weekend, Lauren followed in her sibling’s footsteps as she also earned an opportunity to play in the same game.
“I look up to my older sister,” said Sterner, who will choose a different athletic path and compete in track and field at Kings College. “She’s a great role model. I aspire to do the same things.”
It’s a spectacle that brings in not just some of the top players and teams from the state, but even nationally, together to compete on one stage.
The 2016 Lehigh Valley Hoop Group Showcase has lived up to its expectation once again, as a eventful day of hoops is schedule for Sunday at Parkland High School that will feature some of the area’s and nation’s top talent.
Even with the Bulls just coming off a five-run inning in the top of the third, Limeport co-manager Mike Cudwadie had a few words for his teammates and players going into the fourth: "We're not done yet."
The Bulls' offense certainly wasn't finished, but that would have been more than enough with pitcher Jared Schaffer dealing on the mound.
Just a week ago, it looked as if the road to another championship appearance in the Blue Mountain League would be easy for Limeport.
The Bulls, who finished the regular season with the No. 1 seed in the playoffs at 25-11, quickly built a 2-0 series lead against the Northampton Giants. A pitching spectacle from ace Adam Maini in Game 1 led to an 8-0 win. A 7-5 victory the next day brought the Bulls within one win of their fourth championship appearance in six years.
After plenty of success in the Tri-County ranks in recent years, the Northern Yankees transitioned to the Blue Mountain League a year ago with much of the same triumph. In their inaugural BML season, the Yankees were one of the final four teams standing in last year's playoffs.
But a 1-0 series lead in the semifinals against Limeport quickly diminished to a 3-1 series defeat in a matter of days, leaving an uneasy feeling in the Yankees' stomachs.
Ted Plessl has been around for quite some time, managing countless Lehigh Valley baseball teams in the annual Carpenter Cup Classic.
He looked at this year's team and had high expectations for his squad, due in large part to the pitching staff on the roster.
But sometimes things don't go as planned. Plessl didn't get to see that staff's full potential come to fruition.
Instead it was Tri-Cape that stole the show.