Last year, Anna Overholtz provided Emmaus with a diver who could provide a legitimate challenge to some of the better high school divers in the area. Her accomplishments were the best that the program has seen in a while.
This season, two young divers are providing excitement on both the boys and girls side of competition and they proved it this past weekend with strong showings in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Diving Championship.
For the first time this season, Emmaus girls put together back-to-back wins, both against Eastern Pennsylvania Conference teams. Last week, Emmaus picked up a come-from-behind, 61-50 win over Allen and then put together an impressive 60-55 win over Liberty. The wins brought Emmaus' record to 5-7 on the season, but they were unable to stretch the streak to three games when they dropped a 38-33 nonconference game to Pennsbury.
It's not really that unusual to have student-athletes play more than one sport in high school. It is slightly unusual for a football player to choose swimming as his second sport.
The two sports don't seem to have much in common, so they generally don't share many athletes. One exception is Connor DeJohn, who plays on the offensive and defensive lines for Emmaus' football team and then heads for the pool once the football season ends.
DeJohn, a sophomore, is showing a marked improvement in his times in the pool this season over what he was able to do as a freshman.
Sometimes, you know what a team is going to do against you, but you just can't stop bad things from happening. Such was the case when the Lady Hornets traveled to Parkland last Friday and left with a 40-21 loss, dropping Emmaus to 1-5 in the EPC and 2-6 overall.
Just hours before the game, coach Jeff Williams walked his team through drills, explaining that Parkland was going to use full-court pressure against them. He meticulously explained what his players needed to do to break that pressure and give themselves offensive opportunities.
The Emmaus girls basketball team lost its third straight game over the weekend, falling to Fleetwood by a score of 45-39 in the Fleetwood Holiday Shoot-Out. The game was a microcosm of what has become a disturbing trend for the team, falling behind early in the game, only to make a late run that comes up short.
The roller coaster ride that is Emmaus girls basketball continued with a 68-31 loss to the Nazareth Blue Eagles, widely considered to be one of the best teams in the area. The loss dropped the Lady Hornets to 2-3 on the season as they keep searching for back-to-back wins on the year.
The Emmaus swimming teams put together an impressive win over Central Catholic, with both the boys and girls teams winning all but one event in the meet. The boys won by a score of 131-54, while the girls bested the Vikettes by a score of 137-45, to put both teams at 1-0 on the season.
The win included an Emmaus victory in diving, where freshman Jess Hurlburt, competing in her first high school event, put together a score of 277.05, a new team record. Hurlburt edged out perennial District 11 favorite Nicole Sagl, who finished third in girls AA diving last year at states.
Sometimes, a loss can teach a team a lot about itself. That was the case in Emmaus' season opener against Pocono Mountain East, when the girls basketball team discovered that it could be its own worst enemy. The Cardinals downed Emmaus 43-35, handing first-year coach Jeff Williams his first loss.
The game could have gone a different direction, but Emmaus struggled to hit shots early and then found two key players - Destanee Watkins and Kiyae White - in early foul trouble that just turned an obstacle into a major hurdle.
Emmaus swimming coach Tim O'Connor is entering his 12th season with the program and has picked up state titles with four girls teams and two boys teams. In 2007, Emmaus swept both the boys and girls titles, which was the first time since 1990 that had been accomplished. That success has led O'Connor to be chosen for induction into the Pennsylvania Swimming Hall of Fame at McCoy Natatorium on the campus of Penn State.
Emmaus girls soccer head coach Rob Rooney believes he's found the perfect time to step down, and that time is now. After 10 seasons, Rooney announced to his players and their parents at the recent team banquet that he had tendered his letter of resignation to athletic director Dennis Ramella. That letter of resignation also included a strong recommendation for his assistant coach and former Emmaus soccer standout Sarah Oswald to take over as the team's coach.