Three Emmaus runners competed in the most competitive high school cross country race the state has to offer last weekend in Hershey.
Del Vierling, Abby Dalton and Abby Heilenman represented the Hornets in Saturday’s PIAA Class 3A Cross Country Championship race.
Dalton, a junior who was making her third trip to states in three years, finished in 37th place in the girls race while Heilenman was 157th in her first trip to states for cross country. Vierling, a senior, competed in his first PIAA Championship race, finishing 157th.
The Emmaus boys soccer team advanced through last Tuesday’s District 11 Class 4A semifinal with a 3-a win over Stroudsburg.
The Hornets got goals from Callen Reid, Nick Cari and Kacper Grycel in the win, which avenged a 3-0 loss to the Mountaineers back on Sept. 23.
“It was the lowest point in our season,” said Emmaus head coach John Cari. “They put it to us. Our kids didn’t forget it. We made some adjustments to make a difference out there.
Emmaus has won in different ways this season.
Most times the Hornets rely on their offensive line and sophomore running back tandem. Sometimes they ask the defense to carry the load. Other times it’s been their special teams game.
Last week in a 23-13 District 11 playoff win over Liberty, Emmaus got contributions in all three phases of the game.
Del Vierling has been working for three years to get to the state cross country meet.
His hard work paid off last week when he took fifth place overall to earn a trip to this weekend’s Class 3A state championship Saturday in Hershey.
“It feels great,” said Vierling. “Last year I was just out. It feels great to make it this year and do well.”
It was not an easy road to the District 11 boys soccer playoffs. But now that the Hornets are there, they plan to make the most of it.
Emmaus earned the No. 5 seed in districts and opened play with a convincing 4-0 win over Northampton last week in the quarterfinal round.
Three years ago Del Vierling ran in his first cross country league championship race. It was the first year for the new league and the first year for Vierling as a cross country runner.
He broke the top 100 in that first championship race, finishing 95th. He’s gotten a whole lot better since then. He cracked the top 20 last year, finishing 14th, and soon began training hard for his senior season.
As the final 10 minutes of the game approached, the Emmaus field hockey team needed a spark during last week’s Eastern Pennsylvania Conference championship.
Stroudsburg was doing all it could to protect the 1-0 lead it took in the first half, but Emmaus wasn’t going to be denied.
The Hornets tied the game in the 49th minute when Kira Koehler scored with an assist from Meredith Sholder with 10:48 left to play.
Just over five minutes later, Leah Zellner scored her first of two quick goals that put Emmaus in control of the game en route to a 3-1 win.
Emmaus football head coach Harold Fairclough said during the preseason that his team’s strength would be its defense.
With the Hornets averaging over 52 points per game in their first four games, the defense hasn’t been in the spotlight much this season.
In Friday’s 50-7 win over Northampton, the green swarm showed what it could do, especially in the second half.
This year the Emmaus backfield has a 1-2 punch.
The past few years the Hornets relied almost solely on one running back to carry the load. This year, sophomores Sone Ntoh and Lubens Myers share the ball and the spotlight. They combined for six touchdowns in last week’s 62-6 win over Pocono Mountain West.
Last year’s Eastern Conference title was a nice consolation for a team that missed the district playoffs. But that prize isn’t what Hornet head coach Harold Fairclough was referring to when he made the following statement less than a week before the start of the 2016 season, his first at the helm of the Emmaus program.