If at first you don't succeed, try, try to beat Parkland.
That was the advice Freedom cross country coach, Bob Thear, gave to his boys team, in a manner of speaking, prior to the PIAA State Cross Country championships last weekend at Parkview Cross Country Course in Hershey, Pa.
So, for the fourth time this season, the Patriots defeated the Trojans on Saturday, placing 16th overall to Parkland's 17th.
"For such a young team and having never been to states before, I tried to tell them what it would be like, but you really can't," said Thear.
Bethlehem Catholic cross country runner, John Donchez, relied on his recent past experiences at leagues and districts to get through the unusually hilly Parkview Cross Country Course at the PIAA State Cross Country Championships last weekend in Hershey, Pa.
The Class AA state qualifier completed the race in 18:10, taking 145th.
"For the course, [my time] was pretty good, better than last year at states. I thought I ran a good race," Donchez said.
First-time cross country state qualifier, Shaina Palmer, represented the Freedom Patriots and District XI, placing in the top 100 at the Class AAA PIAA State Cross County Championships last weekend at Parkview Golf Course in Hershey, Pa.
"I'm pretty happy. My goal was top 80, top 75," said Palmer.
The Freedom sophomore finished the race in 83rd place with a time of 20:21.
"She ran great. She worked superhard and had a fantastic time. It was one of her best races," said Freedom coach Bob Thear.
While Liberty celebrated its district playoff victory in the middle of the soccer field at BASD Stadium, Freedom coaches maneuvered their way through the Hurricanes to lift the heartbroken Patriots to their feet after their 1-0 loss last Wednesday night.
In the first round of District XI Class AAA playoffs, the archrivals would meet for the third time this season. Freedom won the first match in September, and both teams played to a 1-1 tie earlier this month, but this time, it was Liberty who landed on top.
Freedom cross country runner, Shaina Palmer, won a trip to the PIAA State Meet after taking sixth place at the District XI Class AAA Cross Country Championships last week at Bethlehem Municipal Golf Course.
"I tried to start out strong but not too hard. I didn't really notice the hills, actually. I didn't go up as fast, but I kept my speed up to get over them. I just gave it as much as I had," Palmer said.
Palmer finished the race in 20:06.
As a team, the Patriot girls placed seventh with 185 points.
The Freedom Patriot boys cross country team earned the final jewel in the crown, becoming District XI Class AAA champions last week, after also winning an LVC Championship and a 2012 Dual Meet Championship earlier this month.
"We were definitely on edge, but we were ready for this. It's just the perfect way to go out. It's so great that it caught on with this group of guys. It's the culmination of talent and hard work," said Freedom captain, Robbie Bogardo.
The Patriots took first place with 65 points. Parkland was second with 79.
After just missing a district playoff berth last season, Bethlehem Catholic's girls soccer team not only made districts this year, but won its first district playoff game in school history with a 4-0 victory over Notre Dame East Stroudsburg last Thursday.
"We are so happy. It's been frustrating the last few years," said Becahi forward, Brighde Foley.
Under first-year head coach, Chris Bastidas, the Hawks scored the first goal of the game in the last three minutes of the first half.
Bethlehem Catholic's girls soccer team scored a 5-0 victory over Freedom last week, and for the first time in several years, beat both the Patriots and Liberty twice in the same season. They also clinched a District 11 playoff berth Monday afternoon.
"We like to win against people in our own city," said Becahi forward, Brighde Foley.
Foley scored two goals against the Patriots, Mackenzie Bento scored two goals, and Abby Guman scored one.
Foley's first goal came in the first half on an assist from Guman.
Freedom's boys cross country team protected its perfect season record with victories over Liberty, Allen, and Dieruff last week.
Freedom senior cross country runner, Robbie Bogardo, said, "It's amazing. Our cross country team has never done that well. It's unreal."
The Patriots topped the Hurricanes, 15-48, the Huskies, 15-50, and the Canaries, 15-50.
"We lost two of our best runners from last year, and we had a lot of kids come out of nowhere, and they've really excelled and supported the team. It's awesome," said Bogardo.
When Liberty defender, Ian Larimer, prepared for his penalty kick against Easton last week, the Hurricane senior experienced a case of deja vu.
Earlier this season, a penalty kick by Larimer resulted in a 2-1 victory over the Red Rovers. Last week, Larimer's kick resulted in the same score and ultimately, another victory over Easton.
"I had a feeling this keeper would remember, and he started to edge toward one side, so I went the other way," said Larimer. "I got mobbed."
The penalty involved Liberty's Ryan Santoro who had the ball and was hauled down from behind.