The Lehigh Valley is blessed with some big rivalries. There's the Lehigh/Lafayette and Muhlenberg/Moravian football games in college. And high school football has Easton/Phillipsburg, but for pure competiveness, tradition and fun, the rivalry between the Emmaus and Parkland swimming programs is something to witness. The event brings former students and their families back year-after-year even when they no longer have family members swimming in the meet, but that's just the beginning.
The Parkland swim teams came away from their annual meet with Emmaus gaining split results. The girls picked up a key 100.5-85.5 win while the boys dropped a 133-53 decision.
The win kept the girls team undefeated at 4-0 this season, while the boys fell to 1-3 on the year.
The girls got off to a strong start with their A team of Siena Salvaggio, Erika Freeman, Kira Karopoulos and Erin Jordan in the 200-yard medley relay. The Trojans won by almost 17 seconds over Emmaus' top teams.
After a season-opening loss to powerhouse Bethlehem Catholic, the Parkland girls basketball team bounced back nicely to grab a 40-26 win over Nazareth to even its record at 1-1 on the season.
The fact that they were able to shake off that opening loss to Beca was partly because of how the Lady Trojans approached the game coming in, refusing to let any one game define their season.
Parkland swimming coach Rob Robitaille is impressed with how his teams have opened the season.
Possibly the best part of the early season for Robitaille has been that he's getting good results all around and doesn't have to rely on just a few swimmers to carry the team.
"I believe that both teams have been swimming very well against our early competition," he said.
"It's difficult to single out any single performance seeing as it takes every athlete pushing the other at practice to drive the times we've seen to this point."
The Parkland swimming program opened the 2013-14 season with a split decision against the visiting Souderton Indians. The girls picked up an impressive 122-64 win, while the boys fell to the Indians 115-71.
The Parkland girls swimming program comes into the season looking to defend yet another District 11 championship. The team has garnered five straight titles and nine of the last 10.
The boys team has been close, but just as the girls keep grabbing district titles away from rival Emmaus, the Hornets have held an edge over the Parkland boys.
The Parkland girls program is used to losing key players to graduation. They have consistently lost two or three of their leading scorers and have bounced back.
Last season, the Lady Trojans replaced four of their five starters because of graduation and still finished 20-8 on the season. For his next trick, coach Wes Spence will look to replace all five starters from last year's team and still keep his team competitive. Odds are that the trick will work wonderfully.
Parkland's girls soccer team was in a position to exact some revenge against Easton for its loss to the Red Rovers in the Lehigh Valley Conference finals. But the Lady Trojans wound up on the short end of a 2-1 score in last week's District 11 Class AAA title game.
The game was a different style game than the two teams played for the LVC championship, which went to penalty kicks before Easton was awarded a 1-0 win, beating the Trojans 5-4 on kicks.
The Parkland and Emmaus boys soccer teams are no strangers to each other and their meeting in the District 11 finals wound up being a hard-fought 2-0 win for Parkland that propelled the Trojans into the PIAA Tournament.
Picking up the win was especially satisfying for Parkland, because it was without senior Belal Mohamed due to injury that he suffered in the semifinal game. The Trojans also had a couple other players banged up and suffered some injuries during the game, but were still able to come out on top.
Parkland started the season with a young team after losing a number of key players to graduation. The team's youth showed early in the season, but as time went on, the Lady Trojans started to gel and wound up not only reaching the Lehigh Valley Conference playoffs, but also playing for the LVC title.
In their way was nine-time defending champion Emmaus, which fought off the up-and-coming Lady Trojans in a 5-0 game.
Parkland opened the season losing two of its first three games but then rattled off five straight wins and stayed strong through the rest of the regular season.