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.
When all was said and done, Southern Lehigh's Jacob Del Priore's résumé stood above everyone else's.
During Sunday's National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame 54th Annual Awards Dinner at Northampton Community Center, Del Priore was named the scholar athlete among 34 high school student-athletes.
Del Priore, a wide receiver and safety on the Spartans' football team, put together a track record that was as impressive as any candidate. He ranked 12 out of 280 students in his class and accumulated a 4.2 grade point average at Southern Lehigh.
After a two-year hiatus, the Northampton girls basketball team is back in the PIAA Class 4A state playoffs.
Coach Jeff Jacksits' squad captured District 11's No. 3 spot last Friday with a 53-44 victory over Pleasant Valley at Stroudsburg. The Konkrete Kids, who own a 14-12 record, will take on District 2 champion Wallenpaupack at 7 p.m. Friday at North Pocono High School.
Northampton, playing in the state tournament for the fifth time in seven years, takes on a team which beat Wyoming Valley West for the District 2 title.
The dual meet season may have been tough on Northampton, but the K-Kids' individuals are shining at the right moment.
Northampton advanced five wrestlers to this week's PIAA wrestling championships in Hershey, giving head coach Seth Lisa his largest contingent in his three years at the helm of the program. The Kids brought back memories of Northampton's dominant years, as they finished third in the team standings, placed four in the finals and crowned three champions.
The Northampton girls and boys varsity swim team sent 14 swimmers to the PIAA District 11 AAA Championship meet which was held Feb. 28-March 2.
The Northampton teams had a strong showing including 17 individual events and 5 relays.
Zach Valley and Bobby Fehr both got the district gold medals they coveted over the weekend at Liberty's Memorial Gymnasium. Valley topped Easton's Evan Fidelibus 7-5 in the 126-pound champion ship, while Fehr (160) scored a convincing 8-2 decision over Nazareth's Ricky Fornaciari.
It was the first district championship for both seniors, as it helped Northampton grab a fourth-place finish with 127 points in the team standings.
It was a nail-biter at the end as Parkland edged Northampton 45-43 Tuesday night in a District 11 Class 4A semifinal game at Allen.
The Trojans' Nadine Ewald sank a layup on a backdoor screen to snap a 43-43 tie with six seconds remaining to wrap up the win.
But, all is not lost as the Konkrete Kids are still alive for a spot in the PIAA state tournament and will face Pleasant Valley Friday night at Stroudsburg at 6 p.m. Pleasant Valley lost to top-seeded Pocono Mountain West in the Tuesday's other semifinal.
The Penn State softball team turned in another split effort on last Monday evening, falling to No. 21 LSU, 11-3, in five innings in game one before upsetting the Tigers 6-5 in the second game. With the win, first year head coach Amanda Lehotak earns her first victory over a ranked opponent.
Northampton head hockey coach Brian Ruff and his club recently walked away from a 5-4 loss to Parkland in the Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League (LVSHL) championship game 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 National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Lehigh Valley Chapter is holding the Football Scholar Athlete Banquet on Sunday, March 2, at 4:30 p.m. at the Northampton Community Center.
The main speaker this year is Lehigh coach Andy Coen. Ticket price is $30.
Northampton Area High School
Nicholas David Cook