A number of area teams have already qualified for the district playoffs even though that tournament is still a month down the road. The Allen and Emmaus boys basketball teams, both who are ranked in the state Class 6A rankings, have already cemented a spot.
But when those district tournaments do tip off starting on February 21, the scene will look slightly different than in years past. The biggest change fans will notice is the increase from four PIAA classifications to six based on student enrollment numbers.
The Parkland ice hockey team has taken the ice 12 times this season. And 12 times it has come away with victory, all largely in the same fashion.
Last Monday at Lehigh Valley Ice Arena, Freedom was Parkland’s latest victim. The Trojans (12-0) stayed unbeaten with a dominant 6-1 victory over the Patriots (4-5-3). The way Parkland won on Monday—in convincing fashion—is how it has been all season long.
Wins haven’t been easy to come by for the Parkland boys basketball team.
But just a couple of days into 2017, the Trojans earned their most impressive win of the young season.
Parkland (4-5 overall, 2-4 in EPC) had doubled-up Northampton late in the second quarter with a 24-12 lead, was ahead by as much as 31 points in the third quarter before holding on to beat the Konkrete Kids (3-4 overall, 1-4 in EPC), 55-35, on Tuesday night.
The Parkland ice hockey team found itself in an unfamiliar position in last week’s game against Northampton. Throughout their perfect season thus far, the Trojans had been pretty much cruising to victories.
Last Friday night, however, Northampton trailed by just a goal with five minutes to play after three unanswered scores. Nerves started to settle in for Parkland, but the Trojans never lost their cool on the ice at Lehigh Valley Ice Arena.
Arguably the biggest test standing between Parkland and a potential perfect regular season figures to come on Friday night when the Trojans face off against Northampton (4-3-1). Parkland could have easily looked ahead when it faced Liberty early this week, but instead the Trojans kept their focus on the Hurricanes.
It’s been quite some time since Parkland boys basketball lost to a conference foe in the regular season on its home court. Trojan head coach Andy Stephens couldn’t recall the last time his Trojans walked off the court in that scenario against an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference or Lehigh Valley League opponent.
That all changed on Tuesday night when Parkland stepped on its home court for the first time this season after starting with four straight road games.
Parkland’s golf season officially came to an end just over two weeks ago. And although none of the Trojan golfers advanced to the PIAA Regional qualifier, there was plenty of positive play at the District 11 Golf Championships.
Kevin Zimmerman led all Trojan participants with a round of 88 at districts to earn a 16th place finish back on October 10 at Locust Valley Golf Club. Alec Cwienkala (91) finished close behind in a tie for 20th and Ben Hembel (98) came in 28th.
For Zimmerman, his round at districts ended a solid high school golf career that he won’t soon forget.
Alec Cwienkala holds himself to a high standard. When he set a lofty goal of finishing in the top five of last week’s Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Golf Championships, there was no question that he couldn’t achieve it. It was all a matter of how he executed his game plan.
After a slow start to the round, he proved he was up to the challenge. Cwienkala shot an 80 last Monday at Bethlehem Golf Club to earn fifth place in the conference championships. The top-five finish exempted him from having to play in the district-qualifying round.
A number of animals sharpen their own teeth for when they attack their prey. So, despite playing to a draw in their season opener to Emmaus, the metaphor Parkland boys’ soccer head coach Patrick Birns used to describe his squad is pretty spot on.
“There were a lot of kids that sharpened their teeth for the first time on the varsity level, against Emmaus,” Birns said after Friday’s scoreless draw. “So the speed and the pace we played with, I was super happy with that.”
Several former Parkland High School athletes will be competing on college teams this fall.
Lafayette College’s Jacob Bissell got his college football career off on the right foot last fall. In connecting on eight of his 14 field goals and handling kickoffs for the Leopards, Bissell was named an All-Patriot League Second Team selection in 2015. He returns for his sophomore season that starts in a matter of weeks.