Winter practice takes shape before Thanksgiving
If there's one thing synonomous with Thanksgiving, it's also the start of the winter sports season. The winter schedule officially picked up Friday afternoon for schools across the state as coaches and players prepare for another season of winter action.
In Bethlehem Catholic's wrestling room, those dreams of glory have become a mainstay for the Golden Hawks as they return as two-time defending PIAA 2A dual meet champs, but head coach Jeff Karam knows that road will be even tougher this year as his squad deals with graduation.
"We lost a bunch of key guys from a year ago that we'll need to replace," said Karam, who most notably lost state champions Randy Cruz and Elliot Riddick over the summer to graduation. "We have a lot of young guys this year and we should do well in dual meets, but we'll see what kind of tournament team we are over the course of the season."
Numbers have been up across the board at Becahi's program, as well as in the midget program, which bodes especially well for the future of keeping the program a district and state powerhouse.
"With over 30 kids in our room, it gives our guys good competition everyday," Karam said. "When you get to wrestle against different guys everyday, it makes practices more competitive and efficient. We've seen the numbers at the midget level double over the years and we need to continue that to keep this program moving forward."
Liberty boys' basketball coach Chad Landis had to deal with his first two days shuffling through the large number of tryouts through the freshman, junior varsity and varsity levels.
With over 100 students trying out for the program, the first couple of days become a daunting and difficult task of working through numbers.
"We had over 50 kids try out just for the freshman team, so it's a tough process to evaluate kids and also tell kids no," Landis said in reference to making cuts. "With Thanksgiving on Thursday and a scrimmage [against CB West] on Saturday, we really have a lot of work we have to cram in this week."
Both programs expect to compete again for the Lehigh Valley Conference and district championships this season, which is part of the routine now for both coaches and their respective programs.
"You get into a routine after you've been doing this for awhile," said Landis, who enters his fifth season. "It's the start of a fun season and I just hope it works out the way for us in the way that we expect."