Emmaus swimming may not have had the team outcomes that they had hoped for at states, but they came away with some pretty significant accomplishments, including something that hasn't happened in at least 20 years: a medal in diving.
Freshman sensation Jess Hurlburt came into the meet seeded third and finished exactly where she was seeded, thanks to a strong last dive that moved her up a spot.
Hurlburt, who won gold in the District 11 Championship, shook off some nerves to give a strong showing, especially considering it was her first time diving in a competition this big.
Emmaus softball head coach John Eyer is about ready to head out to a softball field with a blow torch to melt the remaining snow away so his team can practice on an actual field. For the most part, they've been in the friendly confines of the high school gym, with the exception of a couple ventures onto the parking lot.
"It's hard, because there's cars all over... it hasn't been easy," said Eyer, who is heading into his 16th season as coach.
Emmaus athletic director Dennis Ramella recently announced the hiring of Sarah Oswald as the new head coach of the girls soccer team. Oswald takes over for Rob Rooney, who coached the team through 10 seasons, with Oswald serving as a varsity assistant since 2011.
From the time that Rooney stepped down, Oswald was an obvious front-runner for the job thanks to her soccer background and connection to Emmaus.
The District 11 Swimming and Diving Championships saw the Emmaus girls team finish second behind Parkland. The only member of the Emmaus girls squad that qualified for the PIAA Championships was freshman diver Jess Hurlburt, who had won the District 11 diving competition.
A number of swimmers posted their personal best times while competing at districts, which was held last Friday and Saturday at Parkland High School.
For the eighth straight year, the Emmaus boys swimmers can call themselves District 11 Champions. With a total of 422 points, Emmaus had pretty well wrapped up the title early on in the meet, which was held last weekend at Parkland High School. Liberty placed second with a total of 285 points, while Parkland finished third with 269 points. Southern Lehigh and Freedom rounded out the top five finishers in the team competition.
The District 11 Diving Championships had both exhilaration and disappointment for Emmaus divers.
On the girls side, freshman Jess Hurlburt captured first place and a spot in the PIAA Championships, which will be held next month at Bucknell University. On the boys side, Andrew Vanim made it look like Emmaus would have another champion, but struggles over his final three dives dropped him from first place to third, leaving him just short of a place at states.
The Parkland girls won their seventh straight conference title when they downed Emmaus 104.5-81.5 last week. That's the bad news for the Lady Green Hornets. The good news is that things could be starting to turn for Emmaus, which has a number of strong, determined swimmers working their way up through the ranks.
Perhaps the emerging young swimmers best showing of the event came in the 50 freestyle. While it was senior Claire Frank who won the event, freshman Lexi Ruth battled Parkland's Alex Bodnar to tie for second in the event.
There's an old adage that a draw is like kissing your sister. The Parkland and Emmaus swim teams know all about that feeling, since they seem to constantly split the conference championship, with the Emmaus boys and Parkland girls taking home titles.
The same thing happened last week when the Emmaus boys downed Parkland 111-75, while the girls lost to Parkland's girls 104.5-81.5 in the final regular season meet.
Coming into his first season as the head coach at Emmaus, Jeff Williams knew there were going to be some tough times. With the 22-game schedule completed and the team compiling a record of 4-12 in the EPC and 6-16 overall, things played out about how one might have been expected to go.
For six Emmaus seniors - Tori Bingham, Vinnie Cucchiara, Claire Frank, Theo McAllister, Carter Paules and John Woltornist - the home meet against Pocono Mountain East was their final dual meet in their home pool. The six were recognized for their performances over their careers during a break in the meet, which both the boys and girls teams won.
Paules made the most of senior day, tying a pool record with a time of 1:55.43 in the 200-yard individual medley, which was set by North Penn's Dominic Szabo in 2000.