The Liberty Hurricanes have gaps to fill, but have plenty of players from which to choose as the 2012 girls basketball season begins this weekend.
Entering her third season as head coach, Amy Yencho is still looking to fill open spots left by graduates Jody Chickey, CJ Hilliard, and JJ Hilliard.
"They're up for grabs. I have a bunch of returning seniors with limited playing time, so any of them could have the opportunity to step into one of three roles," Yencho said.
Low in numbers but high in quality, Bethlehem Catholic's girls basketball team will rely on size and experience for the 2012 season.
Key returners for the Hawks are senior forward/center, Bridget Smith, junior guard, Janelle Robinson, sophomore guard, Nicole Lacherza, and sophomore forward/guard, Kalista Walters.
Other seniors include forwards, Cecilia Perez, Ashley Brader, and Rachel Mulicka.
"We return six girls to our entire program. Our numbers are not what I'd like them to be, but we have some quality kids and 16 freshmen," said Coach Bill Lanscek.
When Northampton Community College volleyball player, Anna Domyan, heard that her former Becahi teammate, Ashley McCauley, was reconsidering her choice to play volleyball at Cabrini College, Domyan wasted no time.
"I was very excited, and I called to tell her we needed a setter. We didn't have anybody, but everything worked out, and everything fell into place," said Domyan.
McCauley transferred in the nick of time, registering for classes on the last day possible.
In their first official competition of the season, Bethlehem Catholic's cheerleaders won a bid to nationals on Nov. 18 at a competition in Toms River, NJ.
"It felt amazing," said Becahi captain, Rachel Rosa.
After an unusually long wait to perform, the Hawks competed in the small/medium varsity division and took fifth place.
"It was hard to wait. We were second-to-last in our division. We were really nervous. It was one of the biggest competitions we've ever been to, and the national champion was there," Rosa said.
In preparation for competition season, Bethlehem Catholic's competition cheerleading squad participated in a cheerleading showcase on Nov. 11 at Shawnee Middle School in Easton.
Evaluated by UCA judges, the Hawks were credited with "natural spirit."
Becahi's competition routine begins with standing tucks and ends with a pyramid.
"We've been working on it for awhile, and we had the full routine last week. The dance is really cool. All the music is made up of songs no one knows. That's why it's different. The dance is fierce," said Becahi co-captain, Haley Varju.
Freedom's competition cheerleading squad is preparing for its first competition on Dec. 8 at the Cheersport Philly Grand Competition at Villanova University.
The Patriots' routine begins with tumbling and a jump sequence and ends with a dance.
"We're using a lot of Celine Dion songs; a lot of old stuff; a lot of throwbacks this year," said Freedom captain, Emilee Strange.
The Patriots went to a cheerleading camp in July, when they first started working on their routine.
There is no love lost between Liberty High School's tennis teams and the filthy, crumbling tennis courts on which they are forced to play.
In 2007, Liberty tennis coach, Leo Schnalzer, decided to do something about it. Little did he know, his hands would be tied, and five years later, he continues to wait and hope and fight for any repairs to be made.
The good news is that it appears as though the tennis courts will be resurfaced this summer, according to Mark Stein, Director of Facilities and Operations for the Bethlehem Area School District.
Freedom graduate and Cabrini College freshman, Jen Grenauer, completed her first volleyball season as an outside hitter for the Cavaliers.
"It was definitely different than high school. There was different speed, different tactics. Everybody's tall. In high school, I was the tallest one. When we first started, we played against Johns Hopkins and DeSales. It was so fast- paced. High school wasn't like that at all," Grenauer said.
Coached by Eric Schaefer, Grenauer had her fair share of starts and playing time.
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.