The Parkland boys lacrosse team finished one win shy of a District 11 championship a year ago, going 15-7 overall and winning the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference West Division.
The Trojans have the pieces returning to get back to the title game in 2017. It will all start up front, with experience coming back in some pivotal offensive positions.
Sometimes athletes benefit from waiting their turns and learning from older players. That was exactly the case with Parkland senior volleyball players Sam Graver and Morgan Sherwin. During their four-year high school careers, the two Trojans were a part of teams that won districts four times and were state champions twice.
But up until this past season, Graver and Sherwin were role players, contributing in any way they could. In 2016, the evolved into much more more than just role players.
Not all decisions work out in one’s favor, but the college choice for Moravian College freshman Nadine Ewald has been a good one for the 2016 Parkland High School graduate.
Ewald has found a second home in Bethlehem, and a second family in the women’s basketball team.
“My first semester of college was awesome,” said Ewald. “The transition wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be because I had a lot of help from my teammates and coaches. The coaches made sure we were at study hall doing our work, so in the future we know how to balance classes and basketball.”
The 2016-17 basketball season has been different than past years for Kutztown University senior guard Austin Beidelman. The 2013 Parkland High School graduate arrived on the Berks County campus and was immediately inserted into the Golden Bears’ lineup.
During his first three years in the program, Beidelman started in 81 of the 84 games he played.
But this year, his senior season, that hasn’t been the case. And, like a good teammate would, he accepted the change and adapted to what was asked of him.
Kyle Stout played his final basketball game on the high school level in a PIAA state quarterfinal loss to the eventual state champion Roman Catholic.
The 2016 Parkland graduate was a four-time district champion as a member of the Trojans program, and just eight months after squaring off against the Cahillites, Stout and his Lafayette team stood across the court from the reigning National Champions in the Villanova Wildcats, fresh off a stunning championship.
It has been a different type of season thus far for the Parkland boys basketball team. A program that is used to being on top of the standings has started 4-5 overall and 2-4 in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, which is good for fifth place in the Skyline Division out of six teams.
But the basketball regular season ends in early February, not in January, and the Trojans have time to figure things out and add some more victories to their resume.
After all, the five-time defending District 11 champions lost the core of their team after last year, including four starters.
Hannah Gombos found the back of the net with frequency during her playing days at Parkland High School. The 2013 graduate was the leading scorer her last two years on a Trojans team that won two Lehigh Valley Conference and District 11 championships.
The expectation was that she was going to provide the same scoring punch during her career at East Stroudsburg University, but those plans changed in year two on campus.
Practice makes perfect is a saying often used in sports. Parkland graduate and current Penn State senior Kate Granahan has done plenty of practicing on the golf course.
Outside of competing in tournaments and matches for the Nitany Lions, Granahan competed in amateur tournaments while working on internships on the east coast (New Jersey and Delaware), and out west (Colorado).
Parkland wrestling coach Ryan Nunamaker will look down his lineup card and see a good amount of youth this season.
The 13th-year head coach will also have plenty of experience to mix in that will bring the type of leadership needed to compete in a strong Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, and District 11 field that includes state powers Bethlehem Catholic and Northampton, along with Nazareth.
The Moravian College football team has enjoyed recruiting local stand out high school athletes for years. Out of the 86 players on the roster, head coach Jeff Pukszyn and his staff have brought in 30 student-athletes that had played their high school ball in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference or the Colonial League.