Liberty’s girls’ track and field team edged out Parkland, 76-74, when the Hurricanes’ 4x4 relay team of Rachel Byrne, Camryn Bortz, Yamilet Ferrufino, and Greta Stuckey took first place over the Trojans in the last event of the day.
Byrne was also the winner in the 400 in 1:04.5.
“I was pumped going into this,” Byrne said. “It was a good race. I usually use blocks and today I didn’t because nobody else did, but either way, I get a good start. In any race, with the crowd cheering, and when you think someone’s behind you, you automatically go faster.”
The Freedom Patriots are heading into their most challenging week this season with a record of 6-3, having lost to Northampton, 8-1, this past Monday at Freedom.
“We got off to a nice start but we knew this week was going to be our big challenge week with Northampton, Nazareth, and Parkland, so we’re hoping to fight through the rest of it,” said Freedom coach Michele Laubach, who has returned to head coaching after having last led city rival Liberty.
“I feel like I never left,” said Laubach. “Stepping back on, just switching the colors.”
Watching the boys’ 300 hurdles, Liberty fans called Christian Tackett a beast as he broke the school record in 37.8 in the Hurricane boys’ 108-42 track and field victory over Parkland last Monday at Liberty.
“Coming out the first couple hurdles or so, I felt really good and I know I had to come out here and put up some good numbers to compete with the Parkland team because they’re obviously very good,” Tackett said. “I feel great. It’s definitely motivating me for the post season and proving myself over the rest of this regular season to do the best I can.”
Freedom’s boys’ track and field team defeated Whitehall, 82-68, while Whitehall’s girls defeated Freedom, 91-59, last week at Whitehall.
The Zephyr girls won all sprinting events, but the Patriots’ Lauren Charboneau took first place in the 3200 in 12:31.2.
Shannon Connelly placed first in the 300 hurdles in 52.7.
Madison Fey won the pole vault with a jump of 8-06.00, and Lola Willey won the triple jump with a distance of 32-07.00.
Killia Ramos took first place in the shot put with a distance of 31-03.00.
In Freedom’s first city rivalry tennis match of the season, the Patriots defeated Bethlehem Catholic, 6-1, last Thursday at Becahi.
Justin Szaro defeated Stephen Botek, 6-1, 6-2, at number one singles, Paras Chand defeated Gabe Velez, 6-1, 6-2, at number two singles, and at three singles, Advay Desmukh defeated Anthony Barczynski, 6-1, 6-0, all for the Patriots.
“Definitely my forehand and definitely my serve [were working well],” said Szaro. “He had a good forehand and a very consistent serve, so it was more the struggle of keeping play in and keeping the points going.”
Liberty’s boys’ track and field team defeated Easton, 89-61, but Easton’s girls’ track and field team defeated Liberty, 85-65, last Thursday at Easton.
Top finishers for the Hurricane girls were Greta Stuckey in the 1600 with a time of 5:31.0, Essynce Botz in the long jump with a distance of 14-06.00, and Catherine Kelly in the triple jump with a distance of 32-11.00.
Rachel Byrne, Yamilet Ferrufino, Gabrielle Phillips, and Stuckey won the 4x4 relay in 4:14.6, and Belle Weikert, Stuckey, Evelyn Sharken, and Camryn Bortz won the 4x8 relay in 10:41.0.
Freedom’s tennis match against Emmaus could have gone either way in most matches, but in the team score, it went the way of the Hornets, 6-0, last Thursday at Freedom.
In singles play, Justin Szaro lost to Sean Jaeger, 1-6, 0-6, Paras Chand lost to Quinn Erk, 5-7, 6-7, and Advay Desmukh lost to Aiden Springs, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6.
Chand’s two set match took almost as long as Desmukh’s three set match.
Once all but one event had been run at Freedom’s track and field meet against Nazareth last Thursday, a group of Patriots gathered at the pole vault competition to cheer on teammate Ryan Smizaski, one of two men left standing along with the Blue Eagles’ Colin Finkbiner.
“I love to beat the other kid, but it’s more like focusing on myself, trying to do my best and my part for the team,” said Smizaski, who clinched first place with a new P.R. of 11-09.00 at Freedom.
In a meeting of city rivals, Liberty’s track and field teams defeated Bethlehem Catholic’s, 107-43 for the boys, and 114-36 for the girls.
The Hurricane girls scored all points in the 100 when Gabrielle Phillips placed first in 13.3, and in the 200 when Essynce Botz placed first in 27.3.
Maddie Wickel won the 400 for the Hawks in 1:06.0.
Liberty swept the distance events with Belle Weikert taking first in the 800 in 2:38.4, Greta Stuckey winning the 1600 in 5:31.0, and Maddy Drager winning the 3200 in 13:10.0.
Bethlehem Catholic’s boys’ tennis team has undergone some restructuring with the recent injury of the Hawks’ number one singles player Curt Gruber.
Gruber is expected to be out for two weeks, but that leads right into districts which start April 22 and leagues which are April 26, so whether he will be ready to compete even then is uncertain.
In the meantime, senior Stephen Botek has taken on the number one singles spot, Gabe Velez is at two singles, and Anthony Barczynski is at three singles, up from two doubles.