The Northampton girls and boys varsity swim team kicks off their fifth season under head coach Gwen Whildin this week with a strong slate of returning swimmers and high hopes for a winning season.
The Northampton team has been preparing for their season opening meet against Louis E. Dieruff High School on Thursday, Dec. 11.
The team, which includes 11 boys and 18 girls, began practicing for the 2013-2014 season on Nov. 18. The team's roster is heavy with returning seniors while new swimmers to the team include several freshman swimmers.
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.
The Parkland ice hockey team has seen a lot of success over the past two years.
But the Trojans saw a first last Monday night at the Lehigh Valley Ice Center. Junior goal keeper Anthony Sorrentino recorded his first shutout in a 7-0 win over Northampton to keep the Trojans undefeated on the young season.
"It was a good team effort tonight," Sorrentino said. "In a game where there weren't too many shots on goal, I had to just stay focused and awake."
Sorrentino did not see many shots on goal, as Parkland held the advantage 43-12.
With his inaugural season behind him, Northampton head boys' basketball coach Coy Stampone admittedly feels more comfortable about his and his team's journey into the 2013-14 campaign this winter.
The Konkrete Kids will return a core of upperclassmen who saw playing time last season and most of them will fit tightly into their starting lineup as well as a budding group of underclassmen who could see significant playing time throughout the year.
This year's Northampton field hockey alumni game was once again a success.
It was the second time in which Northampton has hosted an alumni game and this year everyone was celebrating the 50th anniversary of the sport at Northampton. The game falls on the Saturday following Thanksgiving each year, and although it is a little chilly, the players came buddled up and ready to play. After the game there was a small tailgate so that players could be nostalgic and catch up.
"We don't know where we are yet as far as preparation for the upcoming season," says Jeff Jacksits. "But it's a good problem to have."
Jacksits and the Konkrete Kids open their season Friday night.
The K-Kids, who take on Pleasant Valley in a nonleague game, have 15 girls on this year's roster and Jacksits says "we're still learning to play together."
"We're trying to figure out who'll be playing at this spot or another. They are all exceptional and we've got to find the right combination," added the coach, who's starting his 10th year at the helm of the K-Kids.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission has issued its preliminary bear harvest report, but not included, is the tally from the archery and early bear seasons.
According to the PGC, bears were taken in 51 counties statewide, so far. And the top 10 bears checked on Monday were either estimated or confirmed to have live weights of 556 pounds or more. The largest, a male, weighed an estimated 772 pounds and was shot in Covington Twp., Lackawanna County by Dan Beavers of Covington Twp., Pa.
The 2012 Thanksgiving Day football game belonged to Catasauqua in a convincing 52-21 victory over the Kids.
After running the table up to the District 11 finals, the Roughs were coming off a heartbreaking loss to Pen Argyl for the championship, and perhaps no one was quite sure how this game would play out.
Catty trailed at one point 6-3 in the first half, and led by just 10 points at the half, 23-13. But, the Roughs came out of the locker room and exploded for 29 unanswered points at Alumni Field in the second half. The win gave the Roughs a 12-1 mark on the year.
"It'll be a challenge this year," says Jeff Jacksits when he's talking about this year's Northampton High School girls' basketball team.
The Konkrete Kids open the 2013-2014 season next Friday, Dec. 6, at home against Pleasant Valley and Jacksits expects his team to be ready for the Lehigh Valley Conference and District 11 challenges.
"We have six seniors and all of them were starters at one point or another last year," Jacksits said as he watched his team scrimmage Salisbury and Marian Catholic last week.
At various times, Ryan Hartzell admittedly can have two sides to his personality.
When he is a senior student at Northampton High School, Hartzell describes himself as a mild-manned person who is concerned with his studies and also is developing some plans for his immediate future.