Liberty may have won the Lehigh Valley Conference title last week, but Freedom won the seeding puzzle that comes together once the District 11 brackets are assembled.
The Hurricanes (17-7), who play in the district's toughest conference, scheduled the most competitive nonleague dates this season and who completely dominated the LVC tournament last week en route to the championship, have to settle for a second-seed in this year's 4A bracket.
That's because Pocono Mountain West (19-4), winners of the Mountain Valley Conference, took the top spot.
Maybe Liberty was built for tournament runs, or perhaps the Hurricanes are just putting things together at the right time. But there was no disputing who was the better team on the court last week in the Lehigh Valley Conference playoffs, as the 'Canes made things look easy with wins over Central Catholic and Parkland en route to claiming their third LVC title in the past five years.
Last Friday night at Easton Area Middle School, Liberty was on cruise control in a dominating 66-48 victory over the second-seeded Trojans.
So what will Bethlehem Catholic do for an encore at this year's District 11 2A wrestling tournament?
After advancing a district record 10 wrestlers to the finals a year ago and crowning seven champions, how will the Hawks fare when this weekend's tournament kicks off on Friday afternoon at Freedom, but ends Saturday evening at Liberty with both the 3A and 2A finals.
Head coach Jeff Karam doesn't know if this year's team can replicate advancing 10 wrestlers to regionals, but he won't put it past them.
Depth was the key to Liberty's girls Valentine's Day victory over neighboring rival Freedom, as the Hurricanes defeated the Patriots 98-87 in their final regular season swim meet.
Adding to the love of one of the friendliest rivalry meets in high school sports was the father-son coaching rivalry of Liberty and Freedom, respectively.
Competing against his son for the first time, Liberty coach Reik Foust said, "I wanted to win everything: every event and both meets [girls and boys]. There were some really close races, and it was high energy."
The District 11 3A wrestling tournament is always a spin on the roulette wheel.
Liberty and Freedom just hope the work they put in throughout the season pays off when things kickoff at Memorial Gymnasium this weekend.
Both programs have aspirations of bringing home a district champion and those duties will be rested upon Liberty senior Grimaldi Gonzalez (126) and Freedom senior Evan Kauffman (220).
Both figure to be the top dogs in their respective weight classes and both are looking to find themselves back in the finals, just like last year.
The Freedom Patriots ended their season with a record of 8-14 under new head coach Ron Garza, doubling their wins from the previous season.
"If we ended better than we started- that was our ultimate goal. We got a late start, considering I was hired mid to late October, but the kids got better, and the team got better. What more can you ask for? I think we had an awesome season," Garza said.
The Lehigh Valley Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame is having the Football Scholar Athlete Banquet on Sunday, March 3, at 4:30 p.m. at the Northampton Community Center.
The speaker this year is Penn State coach Bill O'Brien. Tickets are $30. Contact Herb Barrall at 484-515-6530.
The following are this year's nominees:
HIGH SCHOOL SCHOLAR-
ATHLETES OF LEHIGH VALLEY
Allen - Zakary Joseph Dakes
The top priority for Bethlehem Catholic's 2012-2013 season has been fulfilled, but they aren't done yet.
The Golden Hawks defeated Easton last Saturday 65-62 to clinch a berth in the District 11 3A tournament.
This year's 3A bracket may be one of the most competitive in recent history, with Central Catholic (20-2) leading the way, along with the likes of an upstart Wilson (21-1).
Pottsville (18-4) and Blue Mountain (18-4) are always capable of throwing a wrench in a team's plan, but Becahi (11-10) isn't worried about that yet.
When a team is hot and confidence is rolling, there really aren't any boundaries on what you can accomplish.
And when Freedom takes the court tonight at Easton Area Middle School for the opening night of the Lehigh Valley Conference basketball tournament, it'll be a chance for the Patriots to make amends for not winning the league crown a year ago.
Freedom (15-7, 10-4) enters the tournament as the third-seed and open with second-seeded Parkland (15-5, 11-2) at 6 p.m. tonight in the LVC semifinals.
The Parkland Trojans handed Liberty's girls swim team its first loss this season, 105-81, last week.
"We kind of knew if they swam us in an eight-lane pool, we could win, but since it was a six-lane, we were hoping," said Liberty captain, Maggie Olock.
Olock was the only first-place finisher in individual events for the Hurrricanes, winning the 50 free in 25.43.
"I just swam my race. It's not my best time, but it's one of my better ones, so I did what I could," she said.