The senior swimmers on this year’s Emmaus team had a bit of an advantage when coach Tim O’Connor rejoined the Emmaus Aquatic Club staff specifically to work with the seniors on the team.
The added work seemed to give them more insight into what it takes to compete in the sport and has helped them develop new routines, which have helped them make it through their final high school season.
High school athletes always look forward to their senior season. They are generally looked up to by the younger players and they get that last shot at a big season either personally or as part of their team.
Cayley Grabowski was no different. She had added reason to look forward to her senior season after being named to the third team EPC all-stars as a junior. The two-sport player was also going to have new coaches in both basketball and softball for her senior season with a lot of excitement surrounding the two teams.
Years ago, the great John Facenda, the voice of NFL Films used his legendary voice to refer to the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field as he talked about the Green Bay Packers’ historic playing field.
It wasn’t quite that dramatic, but the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Hershey Bears took to the frozen tundra of Hersheypark Stadium recently, with Lehigh Valley skating to a 5-2 win over Hershey.
The temperature at game time was 40 degrees, making life at least tolerable for the 13,091 fans who streamed into Hersheypark Stadium for the 10th outdoor game in the history of the AHL.
Anyone who has watched the Emmaus girls basketball this season has seen players slowly developing and coming into their own. The game against Parkland Monday night was somewhat of a microcosm of that growth. A young Emmaus team lost 57-39, but there were moments during the game when Emmaus (3-6 EPC; 6-8 overall) showed just how far its come.
As a freshman, Jess Hurlburt won the District 11 diving championship and went on to place third in states. Then, a shoulder injury sidelined her and put a major obstacle in her way. She didn’t dive with the high school team in the past two seasons, but returned for her senior season and is showing that she’s back to form.
Emmaus swimming head coach Tim O’Connor has spent a lot of time thinking about how best to mix and match his swimmers for relay events this season, especially on the boys side. With that being part of what O’Connor needs to figure out this season, the Wilson Relays came in handy to help sort out who wants to be where.
The boys team finished third, while the girls came home with a fifth-place finish in the team competition. Wilson and North Penn finished ahead of the boys, while North Penn took home first place on the girls side at Wilson West Lawn.
In this age of viral videos and highlight shows, a lot of student-athletes that get the most attention are the ones who put big numbers in the box score or make the dazzling plays for their team.
While every team needs those players, it’s easy to forget that there are a lot of other players who help to make those things happen and help to make the wins happen, too.
Emmaus High School has one of those players in Kathryn DeJohn, who quietly comes off the bench, does her job and helps to make things happen.
Leah Tannous is having fun playing out her senior season on the court at Emmaus.
This season’s team is especially close and its found a new sort of bond under coach Kelsey Gallagher, who is in her first season with the team. Even though Tannous is happy, there are a few things she wouldn’t mind changing.
“Obviously, I wish we had more wins, but I think that will come,” said Tannous. “We’re a very close team and get along great together.
Every January, Bucknell University plays host to some of the top high school swimming and diving teams for the New Year’s Challenge. As usual, Emmaus was invited to this year’s event and came home with strong finishes for both the boys and girls teams. The boys team placed third behind Wilson West Lawn and North Allegheny, while the girls placed fifth in the team standings, with Wilson West Lawn grabbing first on the girls side as well.
The Emmaus swimming and diving roster consists of 55 student athletes and 32 are freshmen or sophomores, with 20 of that group being freshmen.
With the success of the Emmaus Aquatic Club and the input from some new varsity coaches this season, the younger swimmers are contributing early to the success of the program even as they’re still acclimating themselves to the rigors of Hornet head coach Tim O’Connor’s program.