Heading into the 2018-19 season, the Emmaus boys basketball team has plenty of positive hype and energy surrounding the program. It had won two District 11 Class 6A playoff games last year and advanced to the state tournament. The Hornets also had a successful summer season.
With four starters returning and a transfer that started a majority of games for Whitehall last year joining the fray, expectations were high for Emmaus.
When Megan Forstburg was at Emmaus, she spent much of her high school volleyball career as a hitter. And a great one at that.
But when she arrived at Shippensburg, head coach Leanne Piscotty tried Forstburg out at a number of new positions.
“I came in my freshmen year and started setting, which was nuts,” Forstburg said. “And then in my sophomore year, [Piscotty] was like, ‘OK, you are going to play defense now.’ I was like, ‘OK, I’ll try.’
“I played defensive specialist my freshman year, and then got to libero my sophomore and junior years.”
One of the biggest college football rivalries continues its tradition when Army and Navy kick off on Saturday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. And one of Emmaus’ former stars will suit up for the rivalry his last time.
Andy Davidson, a senior running back for Army at West Point, is days away from the 119th meeting. It will be the second-to-last game for Davidson, who has had a remarkable college career at Army.
However this season’s Emmaus Green Hornets wrestling season turns out, fans can rest assured the team will be tough and tenacious, just like its head coach.
Thad Smith is entering the first year of his second stint as leader of the Emmaus wrestling program, replacing Nick LaFevre after one season. Smith, coached Emmaus from 1998 though 2003, is a familiar face and hopes to bring stability back to the Emmaus mats.
The Lady Hornets finished last season at 8-14 overall and are tasked with trying to improve on that record even though they lost their top three scorers from last season to graduation. Add to that an ACL injury to Megan Navitsky, who was fourth on the team in scoring last season, and there’s a lot of rebuilding for the team to do in the 2018-19 season.
Gone are Kathryn DeJohn, Cayley Grabowski, Bri Hart, Leah Tannous and CC Wippel. Grabowski was injured for all of last season and spent the year serving as a student-coach under first-year coach Kelsey Gallagher.
Even in somewhat of a rebuilding year last year, the Emmaus boys basketball team finished with a winning record (14-13 overall) and reached the District 11 Class 6A semifinals and the state tournament.
Now, looking into the 2018-19 season, the Green Hornets have plenty of key ingredients back to do even more damage and make an even deeper run this year.
Emmaus returns four starters and has added a transfer who started at his former school to form a group capable of competing for both league and district crowns this season.
Coach Thad Smith’s second tenure as Emmaus’ varsity wrestling coach begins with him leading a talented squad of grapplers, most of whom are somewhat new to the varsity ranks.
Last year the Green Hornets were 10-9 overall and 4-5 in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference. Smith welcomes back some talent from last year’s team, including junior Caden Wright (170), who Smith describes as a “year-round wrestler.”
The Emmaus ice hockey team had a rough start to its 2018-19 campaign, losing its first four games. But since it has gotten back on the right path with wins in four of its last six outings.
“We opened the season with four very difficult games: Parkland, Freedom and two games against Northampton,” said Hornet head coach Keith Hurlburt. “These are the top teams in the league and we struggled a bit.
The Emmaus boys went 11-0 in the EPC last season and 12-1 overall. They also won their 11th straight District 11 championship and performed well in states. With their biggest roster in recent years, Emmaus has plenty of young swimmers pushing for spots and it’s created great competition, especially on the boys side, which head coach Tim O’Connor welcomes.
While there are big numbers, the team has just three seniors and six juniors. There are a total of 13 boys sophomore and freshmen swimmers on this year’s team.
There was a time when people speaking about high school swimming in the Lehigh Valley spoke mainly about Emmaus and Parkland. Those days are changing, as the Liberty girls finished last season 13-1 overall and were perfect in the EPC. Girls teams from Easton and Nazareth both won eight EPC meets. The Emmaus girls finished second to Parkland in districts last season, but continue to close the gap between the two rivals.