For almost 30 years now, Emmaus has had a girls team compete in the National High School Physical Fitness Championships and 2015 marked the 14th season that the team has captured first place. Junior Meghan Cilento finished second nationally in the individual competition, trailing the top scorer by 10 points.
The girls team also consisted of seniors Taylor Bednar, Kristen Bray, Grace Linder and Sammi Roth and juniors Amber Gross and Shaelyn Weida. In addition to being on the fitness team, Bednar and Roth were also honor graduates, with grade point averages over 4.0.
Things could have been very different for the Emmaus baseball team in its first season with Mike Mihalik as head coach. The season ended with a 6-5 loss in extra innings to Stroudsburg last week, which eliminated the Hornets from the District 11 playoffs.
When Cassie Burke tried out for the Emmaus softball team, she was like any other freshman. She was basically just hoping to make the team and thinking that one day, she might be grow into playing a key role on a winning team.
As it turns out, she did all of that in just her freshman season, capping off her year by being named the second baseman on the East Penn Conference All-Conference Team, which was announced following the EPC Championship game last week. She was the only Emmaus player to be named to this year's team.
A leadoff hitter's job is to set the table for the bigger bats in the lineup, get on base and make things happen. George Smith did all of that and drove in a key run for Emmaus Monday in their 3-2 win over Whitehall in the opening round of the District 11 Playoffs. The win sends Emmaus to the quarterfinals and a rematch with Stroudsburg who they beat earlier in the season.
The Emmaus softball team certainly isn't making it easy on itself or coach John Eyer. The early part of the season was filled with comeback wins, with the Lady Hornets (8-7, 10-8) finding ways to pull out games in the late innings.
Not always a great strategy, but they opened with a 7-0 record, so it seemed to be working. Since that auspicious start, Emmaus has gone just 3-8, which has gotten them a spot in the District 11 Tournament, but has left them on the outside looking in for the EPC playoffs.
Emmaus qualified for the District 11 baseball playoffs with a win over Northampton 10 days ago, which was the Hornets' 10th win of the season. Until a recent three-game losing skid, it looked like they were destined for the EPC Playoffs as well. Since putting together a seven-game losing skid, Emmaus has gone 2-4, dropping its conference record to 8-6.
April 7 was a rainy, miserable day in the Lehigh Valley. Emmaus and Parkland hoped to get the first of their two regular season meetings played that day, but it just wasn't going to happen.
The Hornets might have probably been better off just calling off the game, because the Trojans jumped on pitcher Trey Hinkle for six runs in the top of the first. Parkland's Rhett Jacoby put down the Hornets in the bottom of the inning and the rains poured down at a pace that forced the game to be halted for a little over two weeks.
Matt FitzMaurice is in his third year of high school and in each of those seasons, he reached the finals of the District 11 singles tennis tournament. The first two times, he came up short, losing to Freedom's Andrew Sinai in the finals. This season was different for FitzMaurice as he downed Parkland's Nick Kshatri 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the district finals to earn his first berth in the PIAA Tournament.
Earlier in the season, as his team was rolling right along with a perfect record, softball coach John Eyer predicted there would be some rough spots for his team to get past at some point in the season.
The key would be how his team would handle that adversity and how quickly it could get past those spots.
It wasn't easy, but Emmaus stretched its win streak to five straight games with a 6-5 win over Central Catholic Saturday at Coca-Cola Park. Emmaus needed extra innings and had to come-from-behind in the bottom of the eighth, to pull out the win and stretch its record to 6-3 on the season.
After Central Catholic broke a 4-4 tie in the top of the eighth inning, the Hornets came to bat trailing by a run and went to work quickly to erase the deficit.