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.
Matt Husek opened up the fourth quarter of last Friday's PIAA 3A first-round matchup against Pope John Paul II with a jumper that gave Bethlehem Catholic their largest lead of the night at 45-38.
Everything then seemed to go downhill for the Hawks.
The Golden Panthers (16-9), District 1's number two seed, went on to score 12 of the next 16 points to go ahead by one with 1:33 left to play. And despite a costly Hawks turnover with 1:02 remaining, Becahi (13-12) still clung to life in the final seconds.
Bethlehem Catholic's Darian Cruz completed his high school career with a 16-4 major decision over Bedford's Ryan Easter to capture his second consecutive PIAA Class 2A title, this time at 120 pounds.
Cruz won the title at 106 pounds last year.
Cruz had never wrestled Easter before, but adjusted quickly en route to the title.
"I had no time to feel him (Easter) out or figure out what he knows how to do best," Cruz said. "I just tried to do what I know how to do best and it turned out well, thank God."
Via of the Lehigh Valley is pleased to announce the keynote speaker sponsored by the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem for the Via All-Star Basketball Banquet, an sports event honoring the finest basketball talent from the 35 high schools in the greater Lehigh Valley. Bill Walton, all-star basketball legend, two time NBA and NCAA Champion, and NBA MVP, is the keynote speaker for what promises to be an exciting night to honor Lehigh Valley basketball. The banquet will take place Wednesday, March 27 at 6:30 p.m. Ticket sales end on Monday, March 18.
It wasn't talked about outside of Freedom's wrestling circles during the season, but with the PIAA championships wrapping up over the weekend in Hershey, Jake Young can finally rest.
Freedom head coach Brandon Hall kept Young's injuries quiet. The sophomore himself wasn't about to make excuses either, but dealing with a torn meniscus in his right knee and an injured shoulder would have shut down most wrestler's seasons.
Not for Young however.
It was the end of the road for Liberty's basketball team over the weekend, as the Hurricanes lost to Williamsport 62-60 in the opening round of the PIAA 4A tournament.
It was a rough weekend for Bethlehem teams, as Freedom and Bethlehem Catholic saw their seasons end as well in the state tournament.
Liberty head coach Chad Landis felt that 2013 was a successful year for his crew despite having an early exit from states, but wished Saturday's affair would have ended differently.
Freedom head coach Joe Stellato and the Patriots envisioned Saturday's District 11 4A boys championship game against Parkland differently than how it actually panned out.
The Patriots, who trailed by 12 going into halftime, saw their deficit grow to as much as 22 in the third quarter of their 65-50 defeat to the Trojans over the weekend.
"I don't know what to say," said Stellato. "We just didn't get it tonight. It was their night."
It was obviously disappointing. We all thought we could do this, and we all wanted to do it so bad. It just didn't work out."
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.
Bethlehem may have had a heavy contingent in the boys' basketball playoff scene, but the city came away empty-handed over the weekend when Freedom and Bethlehem Catholic both fell in the 4A and 3A finals.
Freedom was outgunned by Parkland in a 65-50 contest on Saturday night, while Becahi was overwhelmed by Central Catholic 87-61 on Friday.
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."