Emmaus may only be sending one wrestler to the PIAA tournament in Hershey this week, but that doesn’t mean the Hornets will be lacking quality when Class 3A action kicks off at the Giant Center Thursday afternoon.
Emmaus senior Lucas Schaf will get another crack to add to his state medal collection when he prepares for the 132-pound bracket.
There was no argument over who got to hoist the District 11 trophy over the heads of their teammates after the Emmaus boys captured the District 11 Swimming and Diving Championship for the ninth straight season. Lone senior Tom Schlechter did the honors, with others later joining in after Emmaus finished ahead of second place Liberty 388-353.5, with Parkland finishing third with 314.5 points.
Emmaus’ swimming program is a perennially strong program that has gathered a string of conference championships, district championships and even state champions. The boys just picked up their ninth straight district title and they’ve got an 11-season streak of winning conference championships. On the girls side, things have been a little leaner. Their last conference title came in 2008 and their last District 11 championship was in 2007, although they have been district runner-up in seven of the last eight seasons.
As the third-place team out of District 11, Emmaus entered Saturday’s game against District 12 runner-up Martin Luther King High School as an underdog.
Despite the Cougars’ 15-12 overall record, their reputation preceded them as they were a state semifinalist last year and play in one of the state’s strongest areas for high school basketball.
Emmaus senior Lucas Schaf certainly has a past with Bethlehem Catholic’s Joey Gould.
The two met earlier this season, with Schaf coming out victorious due to an injury default by Gould. Gould beat Schaf three times a junior, but Schaf got the all-important victory when the duo met up in last year’s state tournament.
Emmaus and Parkland battled recently for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference swimming and diving championship and a quick look at the seedings for this weekend’s District 11 Championship shows why the two teams are the cream of the crop in the Lehigh Valley. Emmaus and Parkland swimmers are seeded one-two in seven of the 22 events and combine to have two of the top three seeds in 14 events.
Andrew Vanim can’t change what happened at districts. He can’t get back that one dive that hurt his score and left him devastated by the fact that he failed to qualify for states.
The only thing he can do is handle the setback with class and move on from it. He appears to be doing both.
“I don’t take this as a loss,” said the Emmaus junior after finishing in third place at Saturday’s District 11 Class 3A Diving Championships. “I take this as a learning experience. It’s just that one dive. It just happened. Things happen.”
The Emmaus boys basketball team has been in its fair share of big games this season, including four match ups against the third-ranked team in the state in Parkland.
Saturday afternoon, just days after their fourth loss this season to Parkland, the Green Hornets (19-8) took on Pocono Mountain West with their season on the line in a District 11 third-place game. Facing a win-or-go-home situation, Emmaus came up with it’s most important win of the season.
They have had to do it all season, and last Saturday night at Freedom High School junior guards David and Matt Kachelries came up big to salvage the Emmaus boys basketball season.
The Kachelries brothers combined to score 38 of their team’s 48 points to help defeat Allen 48-43 in the District 11 4A quarterfinals.
“They’re both all-stars and they played like all-stars tonight,” said head coach Steve Yoder. “Good players play really well in big moments and I’m glad they are wearing the green and gold.”
As has happened many times in the past, the Emmaus and Parkland swimming and diving rivalry ended in a split decision. The Emmaus boys downed Parkland 119-67, while the girls team took the meet down to the last race, but came up short, losing 98-88. The split decision also split the East Penn Conference titles, with the Emmaus boys taking their 12th straight conference title, and the Parkland girls winning their fourth straight championship.