Bethlehem Catholic girls basketball coach Bill Lanscek had a surprise up his sleeve in the Golden Hawks' 60-43 victory over Bonner Prendergast in the first round of the Class 3A PIAA state championships on Saturday, when he started junior guard, Janelle Robinson, after shoulder surgery had kept her on the bench for the past several weeks.
"The girls were thrilled to have her back. She takes the pressure off the other guards, and she was a great pick-me-up for the team. She's not 100%, but she is healed," Lanscek said.
2012 Liberty graduate and Washington College freshman, Eric Burcin, won five medals, including two gold, and broke several school records at the Centennial Conference Championship Swim Meet last month at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa.
Burcin's first gold medal came in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 58.54, breaking the school record he had set in preliminaries with a time of 58.68. Burcin's new record had not been broken in 16 years.
The Freedom Patriots competition cheerleading squad got a huge boost last weekend with a first place victory in the Level 4 Division, and an overall grand champion victory at the Mardi Gras Cheerleading Competition in Hershey, Pa.
The Pates are currently on their way to Disneyworld, where they will compete at the Americheer International Competition March 13-16.
"We always like Mardi Gras because we are four-time returning champs," said Freedom cheerleader, Sarah Callahan.
Freedom swimmers, Peter Conzola, Scott DelFranco, Connor Harrigan, Eric Lawrence, and Sam Magnan will represent the Patriots at the PIAA State Swimming Championships on March 13-16 at Bucknell University after their winning performances at the District XI swim meet last weekend.
Conzola, who was named the male Swimmer of the Meet at districts, won the 100 butterfly in 51:02 and the 100 backstroke in 49.21. Conzola's backstroke broke the district record, previously held by Emmaus's Romain DeCrop of Emmaus, whose time was 50.28 in 2009.
Freedom swimmers Carly DelFranco, Helen Hsu, Brooke Munion, and Shannon Howell took first place in the 200 medley relay in 1:48.70 at the District XI Swimming Championships last weekend, and that was only the beginning for the Patriots.
In individual events, Hsu won the 100 free in 51.91.
Freedom coach Reik Foust said, "It was her mind-blowing speed. It's always impressive to win a district event, and she also broke a school record. In the medley relay, she had the second fastest time in the breaststroke."
Liberty and Freedom had four divers in the top ten at the District 11 Diving Championships on Feb. 23 at Emmaus High School.
Liberty diver, Brenna McCornac, took fifth place with a score of 325.55. Freedom diver, Kaycee Stoudt, took seventh place with a score of 307.00. McCornac's teammates, Victoria Carter, Rachel Steiner, and Rachel Finn placed eighth, ninth, and 14th respectively.
"It's the best I've done all season," said Stoudt.
Bethlehem Catholic wasn't taking any chances in its 60-41 district quarterfinal victory over Palmerton on Saturday at Catasauqua High School.
A starting line-up change from the LVC semifinal and full-court pressure from the start propelled the Hawks to an early 11-2 lead.
"In pressure defense, Jordynn Jones is more similar to Janelle [Robinson]. She's quick and fast and strong, and her athleticism will get her through that," said Becahi coach Bill Lanscek.
Jones, a freshman, replaced Robinson, a junior, who is injured.
Liberty's run in district playoffs came to an end last week, but not without a fight, before the Hurricanes fell to Nazareth, 48-42.
In the fourth quarter of the district quarterfinal at Allen High School, the Hurricanes pulled to within two points of the Blue Eagles three times, but Nazareth had an answer for each attempt.
Nazareth's Kassie Behler and Morgan Calabrese had back-to-back three pointers, and Behler and Lennon Kramer made six foul shots in the final minute of the game.
Bethlehem Catholic's varsity competition cheerleading squad recently returned from the 2013 National High School Cheerleading Championships in Orlando, Fl., ending the 2012-2013 competition season for the Hawks.
"Our main goals were to score 30 or higher in the cheer and to get to semifinals, which we did," said Becahi captain, Ali Wildman.
Out of 42 teams representing 13 states, the Hawks placed 18th.
"I am so proud of the team," said Becahi cheerleading coach Brenda Michalska.
Liberty diver, Rachel Steiner, took fourth place at the LVC Diving Meet on Feb. 16 at Parkland High School.
The Hurricane junior scored 335.80 points at the eleven-dive meet.
"I definitely came into it expecting the best from the other girls, so I did better," said Steiner, who had placed eighth at an eleven-dive meet in January.
Steiner said her best dive on Feb. 16 was her inward dive pike.
"I got really good scores on it. My back dive also gets good scores. I try to get a five or above," Steiner said.
Steiner had some difficulty with her front double.