Brandon Hall isn't ready to pronounce that this wrestling season will be one of Freedom's best campaigns in a long time. He'd rather have you check back in the middle of March to make that distinction.
The Patriots enter this winter with hype and momentum, but as Hall enters his third year as head coach of the program, he also approaches the heightened expectations with tempered optimism.
Mike Frew would prefer to have his Bethlehem Catholic basketball team fly under the radar.
After a 5-17 season a year ago, coupled with being lumped in the Lehigh Valley Conference's East division alongside Liberty, Freedom and Easton, flying under the radar is right where the Golden Hawks find themselves in the midst of the 2012 season.
But as Frew enters his second season at Becahi, a cautious optimism is noticeable from a program that has enjoyed many good years, only to fall on hard times most recently.
Freedom's basketball team will have similar staples from last year's team, but if there's one thing that the program doesn't want to have from a year agoit's an empty trophy case.
After a 21-5 season a year ago that ended in a gut wrenching 47-45 loss to Parkland in the District 11 4A quarterfinals, the Patriots were left without an LVC title or a district title in one of their best seasons ever.
Now the Patriots hope to be back in contention on both ends with a team that returns starting senior big men Derike Chiclana (C-6'4) and Nyreef Jackson (F-6'3).
Last year, Liberty's wrestling team went the entire season without taking a second of injury time.
It's a statistic that doesn't show up often, but one that got the attention of Penn State head coach and arguably the greatest collegiate wrestler of all-time, Cael Sanderson.
Sanderson retweeted the National Wrestling Coaches Association's original message last March on also posted it on his Facebook site. From an outsider's perspective, gaining recognition from one of the most respected wrestling idols is, well, pretty cool.
Chad Landis has been the boss of Liberty's boys' basketball program for five years and as he described last year's 14-9 season record, the word "dismal" was accompanied.
Competing for the Lehigh Valley Conference and District 11 4A championships is in the DNA of Liberty's program and those chromosomes were absent last season, as the Hurricanes didn't qualify for the LVC tournament and lost in the first round of districts to Allen.
It was the most disappointing season of Landis' tenure and he doesn't want to replicate those results anytime soon.
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.
District 11 named its volleyball all-stars recently.
In Class AA, Becahi's Lauren Hess, Maddie Titus and Kelsey Mowrey made the first team.
In Class AAA, Liberty's Brooke Priestas was named to the first team. The second team featured Freedom's Rylie Haas as the only local player.
@Body.bd.cntr:DISTRICT 11 VOLLEYBALL
Most Valuable Player
Mary Kate Sherkness (Marian Catholic, 12th, Outside Hitter)
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.