Liberty’s swimming team will have a smaller look this year, having graduated many seniors last year, but coach Reik Foust is very excited about the incoming freshmen and sophomores for the 2018-2019 season.
“The girls’ team is fun to work with because everybody is trying to make everyone else better,” Foust said.
Returning for the Hurricane girls are Kay Wetmore, Greta Stuckey, Natalie Richardson, Samantha Taylor, Abby Mack, Emma Reilly, Jackie Baker, and Molly Gray, to name a few.
There will be some familiar players on Bethlehem Catholic’s girls’ basketball team for the 2018-2019 season, but the Hawks’ leader in all offensive and defensive categories, Taliyah Medina, will sit out for the season after tearing her left ACL this past June while playing with her AAU team.
“Having to replace her output will definitely be a priority,” said Becahi coach Jose’ Medina.
Dr. Jarrod Spencer, founder and president of Mind of the Athlete, a sports psychology company based in Bethlehem, has been traveling the country speaking to athletes, coaches, parents, students, athletic directors, health care professionals, and business leaders with his signature message of clearer mind, better performance.
Recently, Spencer has addressed the topic of parents in youth sports on WFMZ TV and at Grace Church Bethlehem, adding that the central point he makes is controversial, but that Generation X, of which Spencer is part, has wrecked youth sports in America.
Second-year Liberty girls’ basketball coach Andy Wescoe said the Hurricanes have shown marked improvement in their decision-making, handling pressure, and cutting down on turnovers, which helped them win the Catasauqua Summer League.
“But we aren’t where I want to be in this department yet,” Wescoe said. “Our weakness is lack of experience. We are young. We aren’t the biggest team either so team defense, ball pressure, and ability to rebound misses will be key. Shooting must be improved.”
Freedom’s diving team, coached by Lisa Young, will return sophomore Sarah Gill and junior Fallon Tatlow, and will welcome sophomore Cailin Connelly and freshman Lillian Peterson.
The Patriots do not have a boys’ diving team this season, but that does not mean they have stopped looking for male divers.
In the meantime, Young is looking forward to Gill and Tatlow’s season, showing improvement from last year, and the potential of Connelly and Peterson.
Liberty’s diving team will be led by new head coach Emily Kocis, replacing Jeff Zettlemoyer who recently retired from the Hurricanes.
Kocis is a 2002 Liberty graduate and dove all four years in high school.
“The [coach vacancy] was sent to me, and the more I thought about it, the more I thought it would be fun to do,” Kocis said. “I taught swimming lessons at the Y, and I loved to see when it would click. And with diving being an integral part of my high school career, I thought it would be rewarding to give back.”
The Freedom Patriots graduated four players from their district championship season last year, but key returners, forward Jennifer Kokolus, guard Corrin Gill, guard/forward Brenna Ortwein, guard Yasmine Herrera, and guard Rachel Sanchez have plenty of experience for another successful season.
“Our ball movement, at times, can be outstanding,” said Patriot coach Dean Reiman. “We have multiple players who can drive, pass, and shoot, and play unselfishly.”
What is missing for the Patriots this season is size and depth.
Liberty graduate and Union College freshman Anna Lehr made her college swimming debut with two individual victories and one relay victory in the Dutchwomen’s 156-84 win over Skidmore College on Nov. 10 at the Williamson Sports Center.
Lehr, who swam the medley relay, backstroke, IM, and freestyle for the Hurricanes and the Hanover Stingrays summer swim team, won the 200 free for Union with a time of 2:04.50.
High school swimming season is set to begin next month and for the Freedom Patriots, it will begin with new head coach Melissa Baer at the Cedar Crest Classic on Dec. 8.
Key returners for the Patriots will be district champ and senior Al Bell, senior Jared Franges, and sophomores Abby Burnette and Danny Connel.
Freshman Andrew Ehret will also be one to watch.
Melissa Baer will be the Freedom Patriots’ new head swimming coach for the 2018-2019 season, replacing Coach Will Berisha.
Baer was the head swimming coach at Allentown Central Catholic High School, an assistant at Emmaus High School, and a coach, manager, site supervisor, and instructor at the Emmaus Aquatic Club.