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.
Emmaus swimmers finally got to face some competition from other schools in an invitational meet against both Freedom and Wyoming Valley West. The meet didn't count toward any of the team's season records, but the times posted by the swimmers were official and can go toward qualifying for district events.
Seniors Carter Paules and Tori Bingham had impressive days, as did junior Casey Young. Paules turned in two first-place finishes, coming in first in the 200-yard individual medley and in the 100-yard backstroke. In the 200 IM, Paules just missed setting a pool record.
The Emmaus boys swimming team is coming off its seventh straight District 11 title, but has a lot of holes to fill thanks to having lost key swimmers to graduation. The good news is that underclassmen also contributed strongly to last year's squad, so those holes may be a little easier to fill than first thought.
The Emmaus girls swimming team has quite a task ahead of it. There is always the battle to catch Parkland and this season, the Hornets have to do it with a young team consisting of just two senior swimmers.
Graduation took away many of the team's top swimmers, but that doesn't mean there's not enough talent remaining for the girls team to make a run at Parkland as well as conference and district titles.
The two seniors (Tori Bingham and Claire Frank) are both quality swimmers who can provide leadership for the younger swimmers coming up through the program.
Last season, the Emmaus girls basketball team played with four seniors who were pretty well seasoned and had played full-time through most of their varsity career. Ivy Forstater, Miryah Palko, Drea Watkins and Beth Wiseley provided a lot of leadership and experience. This season, the team will be much younger and will have just two senior players in Jenna Reid and Ashley Petre.
The Emmaus field hockey season came to a surprising end in a 4-0 loss to Palmyra in the semifinal round of the PIAA playoffs last week. The biggest part of the surprise wasn't that the Lady Hornets lost, but the margin. It was the first time all season that they allowed more than one goal in a game and just the second time that they failed to score, with the other being a 1-0 loss to Stroudsburg in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference final.
Coach Sue Butz-Stavin is in her 39th season as the head coach of the Emmaus field hockey team, so it's safe to say that she knows every strategy that works in the game.
That's why when she looks at her team, she doesn't recognize its current trend of falling behind early only to rally back as any sort of solid strategy. The team's latest comeback was a 3-1 win over Wyoming Valley West in the PIAA quarter-finals, which were played in Berwick.
"That's not a new strategy," said Butz-Stavin about falling behind early. "It never was in my book."
For much of the season, most folks thought the District 11 boys soccer championship would come down to Emmaus and Parkland. Southern Lehigh wasn't very involved in the discussion, but the Spartans beat both of the favorites on their way to winning their first district title since becoming a Class AAA school.
Southern Lehigh downed Emmaus 2-1 in last week's title game, with all three of the goals coming in a span of 1:39. It started with Southern Lehigh's Ryan Fowler firing a shot past goalkeeper Ethan Lang with 22:39 left to play in the first half.
While it's the offense that gets the lion's share of the attention in most sports, the defense often winds up winning championships. In picking up their 26th straight district title, the Emmaus Hornets field hockey team can credit its defense with having played a big role in the success.
Consider some of the numbers.