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.
Liberty’s softball team is currently 4-0 on the season after defeating Bethlehem Catholic, 8-3, on Monday at Liberty.
“I’m happy,” said Hurricane coach Sam Carrodo. “This team hits. I know we have the ability, but we made some mistakes, and we can’t do that against Freedom.”
Liberty will host Freedom this Friday.
The Hurricanes jumped out to a 2-0 lead on the Hawks with home runs by Alanysse Solomon and Kat Borda.
In the fourth inning, Tori Panik and Alexa Burger had base hits, and Sarah Curti reached on an error before Solomon’s two-run double.
Bethlehem Catholic’s boys’ track and field team opened its season with a 81-64 victory over Freedom last Monday at Freedom.
The Hawks gained most of their points from jumping events, the 300 hurdles, and the 4x4 relay.
Matt Stianche, Caden Giordano, Isaiah Lopez, and Josiah Kelly won the 4x4 in 3:45.0.
Kelly came in first in the 300 hurdles in 44.3, followed by Tristan Buscemi, and Steven Santostefano,
Becahi also won all points in the high jump, won by Stianche with a height of 5-11.0, followed by Santostefano, and Michael Donchez.
Freedom senior cross country and track & field athlete Shannon Connelly thought she was set to continue her running career at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn. until last week.
“At first I was for sure going there because I loved it there, but then, I don’t know. It was just kind of last minute, and I always said if it doesn’t work out at Sacred Heart, I’ll go to Moravian,” Connelly said.
When cross country season ended in November, and as Connelly is nearing graduation, she started thinking about what she would be leaving behind.
Liberty’s boys’ tennis team picked up its seventh win with a victory over Pleasant Valley last week.
Hurricane coach Chris Conrad noted the match of the day was played by one singles player Louis Gruber, who came back from a 0-4 third set deficit to win his match.
Earlier in the season, Gruber had come back from dropping his first set, 1-6, in Liberty’s match against Nazareth.