Like most outdoor enthusiasts, James Soldridge III knew how to use a rod and reel by around the same time he could walk. His father had him out at local streams early in his life and young James fell in love with the sport.
But unlike most anglers, he took it to another level. During his freshman year of high school, Soldridge joined the Lehigh Valley Junior Bassmasters and began fishing competitively.
Through that program he competed in many fishing tournaments with success, mostly around eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. This year he earned his biggest title to date.
The top senior high school football players in the Lehigh Valley got one last chance to suit up and take the field last Thursday night in the 47th Annual McDonald’s Lehigh Valley All-Star Football Classic.
Four Parkland players were part of the Red team, which lost 37-34 to the Gold team.
“I knew people who played in it and I was hoping I would get picked,” said Parkland offensive lineman Palmer Kerch. “This is a huge honor to play in this game.”
Kerch was joined in the game by Trojan teammates Patrick Ferry, Nick Suriel and DJ Hohman.
The Parkland baseball team already has one title under its belt this season. With Tuesday’s 10-3 win over Pocono Mountain East, the Trojans earned the right to play for two more.
The win put them in Wednesday’s district title game against Liberty and earned them a spot in next week’s state playoff tournament.
Parkland got another great pitching performance from Mike Jenkins and its offense exploded for 11 hits off Pocono Mountain East starter Zach McCambley.
After finishing eighth in last year’s PIAA Track and Field Championship Meet, Morgan Sherwin knew she was capable of bringing home another state medal this spring when she attended the annual meet at Shippensburg University.
But she even surprised herself when she got to climb up to the second-place level on the podium Saturday after clearing 5 feet, five inches in the high jump.
Parkland and Whitehall have had some epic matches this season.
Tuesday’s District 11 Class 3A semifinal was the third time the teams have met in the past three weeks and not once has the match been settled in three games.
Tuesday’s night’s game had a bit more on the line than the last two meetings, with the winner advancing to the state playoffs and Thursday’s district title match against top-seeded Emmaus.
The Zephyrs came out on top Tuesday, 3-1 (25-28, 24-26, 25-18, 25-13) behind a 28-kill effort from senior middle outsider hitter Logan McGinley.
There are a lot of positives about the race Parkland’s boys 3200-meter relay team ran at last week’s District 11 Championship Meet.
For one thing, the team earned the gold medal with a winning time of 8:08.24. On top of that, the group knows it can run even faster in this weekend’s PIAA Class 3A Championship at Shippensburg University.
“It was just a good team effort all around,” said sophomore Riley Williamson. “We all knew what we had to do and we all did it. We didn’t all run our best time, but we did what we had to do to win.”
Sam Morgan had a busy week last week.
The Parkland junior who plays two varsity sports in the spring had his lacrosse season finale last Monday when his team beat rival Emmaus, setting up another match up against the Hornets in the league playoffs on Thursday.
In between those games Morgan competed in the Eastern Pennsylvania Track and Field Championships, earning a gold medal for the 1600-meter run and a silver medal as part of a relay team.
Parkland and Northampton could meet one more time this season, depending how the district playoff brackets shakes out. If that happens, the Kids will surely hope Trojan starting pitcher Mike Jenkins isn’t on the mound again.
The LaSalle-bound senior beat Northampton for the third time this year when he held the Kids to four hits Monday in a 4-0 Eastern Pennsylvania Conference semifinal win.
In three games this season against Northampton, Jenkins has allowed no runs on 11 hits over 21 innings. Parkland won the regular season meetings 8-0 (on April 11) and 3-0 (on May 8).
After going undefeated through the regular season, the Parkland softball team continued to roll as the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference playoffs got underway last week.
The Trojans earned the top seed and cruised past Northampton last Friday, 9-1 in a quarterfinal game. They followed that with a win over Bethlehem Catholic Monday, 4-1.
After the win over Northampton, Parkland third baseman Chelsea Morgan said there’s no added pressure protecting an unblemished record in the postseason. The team just tries to win each inning and plays game by game.
Parkland ended the boys lacrosse regular season Monday night with another statement win and a nearly unblemished record that will go into the books as the team’s best ever.
The Trojans finished 17-1 overall and 12-1 in Eastern Pennsylvania Conference play. Since a loss to Central Catholic in the second game of the regular season, back on March 30, they’ve reeled off 16 straight wins.
The win streak includes a payback win against the Vikings last week as well as wins over perennial state tournament teams like Cumberland Valley, Hershey and Manheim Township.