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More Wrestling “Firsts”

February 12, 2024 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

I don’t want to belabor the point too much or too often about our new innovations for our ATVN Sports Department or keep alerting everyone every time Astound broadcasts “new” things, but there are a couple notes that I’m sure the local community will want to take note of over the next week on our television network.

“First” of all, I’d like to welcome a brand new wrestling announcer to our on-air team.

Shelby Hoppis is a graduate of Azusa Pacific University and Minnesota University with degrees in athletic training.

Hoppis jumped into the world of collegiate athletic training at the University of Maryland, where she was an intern athletic trainer during the 2006-07 school year, working closely with the men’s and women’s cross country/track & field teams.  Hoppis was elevated to assistant athletic trainer at Maryland after one season, providing care for the Terrapins’ wrestling and golf teams from 2007-10. She returned to school at the University of Minnesota in 2010 and earned her Master of Arts in kinesiology, with an emphasis on sport and exercise psychology in 2012.

Hoppis was a graduate assistant athletic trainer during her time in Minneapolis. She served as the primary trainer for the co-ed and women’s cheerleading squads, while also working with the football team.  Following her graduate work, Hoppis joined Bloomsburg as an assistant athletic trainer for the 2012-13 school year. She transitioned to Division I Princeton in 2013-14, spending the next six seasons with the Ivy League’s Tigers before moving into her current position with St. Luke’s. Between Bloomsburg and Princeton, Hoppis had the opportunity to work with numerous sports, including crew, field hockey, football, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, water polo and wrestling.

She applied her craft around the world with the United States’ junior and senior men’s and women’s national wrestling teams and men’s and women’s national squash teams. Hoppis’ past experiences includes accompanying Team USA women’s wrestling to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic Games, which were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hoppis is also a Licensed Athletic Trainer (LAT) and Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC).

Shelby will make his debut with the Astound TV Network this Sunday night.

Which brings us yet another “first.”

This Sunday, February 18th, ATVN will provide live coverage of the first ever District XI girls wrestling tournament.

After many years of attempting to do so, the PIAA sanctioned girls wrestling as an official sport last February and ATVN will be there for this inaugural championship to bring it to you!

This is just one of our sports broadcasts coming up–make sure you bookmark our website and check back throughout the winter sports season for more exciting postseason action for girls and boys basketball and wrestling!

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

 

“All-Underrated Awards” Winter ‘24 Edition

February 7, 2024 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

For a fair number of seasons, I would look back on the preceding sports regular season slate and reflect on some of the “honors” that I would see other people post.  Things like “most valuable player,” “player who scored the most points,” and similar categories and would usually see the same names and teams listed mentioned over and over in most spots.

I thought I would do something different by singling out players, coaches and teams who did NOT get a lot of press, were NOT the teams everyone was talking about and/or did things that often fly under the radar of many local sports fans and give them some props for doing the things that advance their particular sport.

Because the time between seasons started to get condensed a few years ago and transitioning from one regular season to the postseason to another sports season became busier with less time to prepare, I had gone away from doing that for the last couple of years.  However, this winter there were some outstanding performances that I don’t think got the publicity they deserved and so I thought I would bring back what I had once referred to as the “all underrated awards,” this winter.

If you like the idea or want to see more of this type of thing in our coverage of local high school sports, make sure you give us a like and spread the word.

ALL HUSTLE TEAM: NORTHAMPTON

I started making a list of all the top individual “hustle guys” I saw this season and quickly realized that a list of about 11 or 12 players was filled with a majority of Konkrete Kids.

Every time I saw Northampton this winter they were overmatched in size and height, yet showed tons of heart and grit and were in every game.  If you look closer at their roster, guys like JJ Kolumber, Tristian Pinnock, Brody Graf, Brady Simmock, Shakim Dunbar, Trent Moyer and Noah Walakovits were ALWAYS hustling after lose balls, boxing out on the boards and were matched up with taller players–yet never backed down.

Looking closer, they had great balance in scoring, forcing turnovers, hitting perimeter shots and rebounding…no one player “stood out” – statistically speaking – but as a unit, they worked extremely well together throughout the regular season.

“BOUNCE BACK” TEAM AWARD: SAUCON VALLEY

After playing in (and splitting) two exhilarating playoff games against favored Notre Dame-Green Pond last year, most people had written off the Panthers after graduating most of its players for the 2024 season.  Then, a tough early schedule and injuries to key returning players took Saucon Valley further off the local sports scene’s radar.

But just like a year ago, the Panthers have played great fundamentally sound basketball and have been coming on strong at just the right time–looking to peek in the postseason again.

The Crusaders are once again the ‘team to beat’ in the Colonial League playoffs, but don’t expect Saucon Valley not to show up and deliver strong performances in the League and district postseason action.

MVP ON A NON-PLAYOFF TEAM: PEN ARGYL’S CHASE KENNEDY

The Green Knights also lost a ton of players from last year’s squad–both from graduation and other returning players electing not to come back, yet there was no bigger loss than when Kennedy missed time in December with an injury.

Pen Argyl made great strides improving the program under Kennedy in 2023 and when he returned this season, the team played much better and looked like they were back on the path to bigger and better opportunities in the near future.

“DARK HORSE” TEAM TO BEAT: NAZARETH

Perhaps no playoff team is trending in the WRONG direction more than the Blue Eagles heading into the playoffs.

But also consider: no team may have more talent in the top four spots on their roster.  Sina Ramin, Mason Kuehner and Owen Banghart have been one of the strongest, senior “big 3” scoring combinations in the league (with a solid “4th” option in Owen Hasker.  They won 12 of their first 16 games this year, beating some strong teams and have a HISTORY of big performances on gigantic stages in their collective histories.  They have up-and-coming sophomores like Gavin Kushner and Logan Hahn that have played well at the varsity level in limited time so far.  I believe in them and think they can find that “something” they’ve always had…and if I’m right, we’ll see it in the postseason.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN UNDERCLASSMAN: LIBERTY’S BLAKE HARGROVE

In games that I personally witnessed, no underclassman stepped up more in the spotlight than the Hurricanes’s sophomore against Parkland in a non-conference game on January 24th at the Memorial Gym.

Playing against the top two defenders on one of the state’s strongest large school teams, Hargrove stepped up and made big shot after big shot, sending the game into overtime.  After a great freshman season, he’s improved his game in all facets and showed coolness during tense moments of that game.  He is a big reason I’m expecting Liberty to have even more success in the playoffs than they did last year.

IT’S UP TO YOU!  Shoot us a “like” if you enjoyed the return of this “underrated” list of awards and if we should keep searching for and identifying standout players, coaches and teams.

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Video Highlights & Playoff ‘24 Preview

February 5, 2024 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

First, we continue our look at local recent high school basketball and wrestling action for events seen on the Astound TV Network as we approach the playoff season.

Astound Sports: Pen Argyl vs. Wilson (12/23)

Astound Sports:  Allentown Central Catholic vs. Whitehall (1/24)

Astound Sports: Emmaus vs. Allen (12/23)

Astound Sports: Bethlehem Catholic vs. Freedom (10/23)

Astound Sports: Notre Dame Green Pond vs. Saucon Valley (12/23)

A reminder that these and other recent broadcasts on ATVN are available for Astound video customers to watch for free for up to two months from their original airing date.


Now a look at the upcoming basketball playoff picture heading into the final two days of the regular season.

Most playoff spots have been clinched for both league and district postseason action.  However, a number of teams can still move up–or down–in the standings.

There are several key games as teams make their final push for playoff positioning and ATVN will feature several of those teams.  On Monday night we’ll have Nazareth at Liberty boys (both teams looking to get a leg up on the other for both league and district playoff seeding) AND Central Catholic and the Easton girls – both are fighting for the top spot in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.

On Tuesday, two teams battling for the final Colonial League playoff berths play each other–Salisbury vs. Southern Lehigh.  Both teams are looking to finish the regular season strong and carry momentum into the postseason.

Make sure you tune in for all the action!

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Mid-Season Wrestling ‘24 Update (Part 2)

January 29, 2024 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

We continue our look at local high school wrestling at the midway point of the regular season (if you don’t see your favorite teams below, check last week’s blog).

Here are more the top highlights of sports events broadcast on the Astound TV Network.

Astound Sports: Easton vs. Nazareth (12/23)

Astound Sports: Northampton vs. Emmaus (12/23)

Astound Sports: Liberty vs. Dieruff (12/23)

Astound Sports: Bethlehem Catholic vs. Allentown Central Catholic (12/23)


Astound Sports: Emmaus vs Bethlehem Catholic (9/23)


Some of the notable wrestling action this winter has included Easton posting big wins over perennial powers, Bethlehem Catholic and Nazareth; Whitehall has defeated Parkland and Emmaus (the latter hasn’t happened in six years); Notre Dame dominating the tradition Colonial League rivalry with Saucon Valley, an improving Nazareth girls team battling with a strong Northampton program, and our network’s first ever “stand alone” girls wrestling broadcast featuring Parkland and Freedom resulted in a big win by the Trojans.

We have also introduced live, in-match reporting for several of our matches this winter.

Coming up on this Thursday’s “SportsTalk,” we’ll preview this weekend’s District XI team wrestling tournament featuring new Golden Hawk Head Coach Mike Cole and some of his wrestlers.  You can also see Saturday’s district wrestling final live on ATVN.

Also on this week’s show is former DCSAA Coach of the Year and Sidwell Friends (DC) HS Head Basketball Coach Eric Singletary, discussing another competitive year in the DMV, his thoughts on AAU basketball and the upcoming playoff push.

Make sure you tune in for all the action and live sports conversations for fans in the Astound viewing areas!

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

VIDEOS: Mid-Season Wrestling ‘24 Update (Part 1)

January 25, 2024 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

The first year of PIAA sanctioned girls wrestling has not disappointed as there have been a TON of competitive matches on both the girls and boys squads so far this winter!

Here’s a look back at some of the top wrestling action from recent weeks as seen on the Astound TV Network (many of these matches were live streamed for free on the Astound TV Network’s YouTube channel this season).

Astound Sports: Bangor vs. Southern Lehigh (1/24)

Astound Sports: Nazareth vs. Northampton (1/24)

Astound Sports: Northampton vs Nazareth Boys (1/24)

Astound Sports: Parkland vs. Liberty Boys (12/23)

Astound Sports: Parkland vs. Liberty Girls (12/23)

 

Astound has already broadcast a record number of wrestling matches, featuring boys and girls teams from both the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and Colonial Leagues this winter, with many more wrestling events coming up!

Check back to “The SportsTalk Shop” next week for more wrestling highlights from recent broadcasts.

Astound video customers can watch all sports productions at any time through ATVN On-Demand for up to two months from the initial air date.

DVD copies are also available for our sports productions by contacting the ATVN studio.

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

 

VIDEOS: Mid-Season Hoops ‘24 Update (Part 2)

January 22, 2024 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

We continue our look at local high school basketball at the midway point of the regular season.

First of all, here are the top highlights of recent sports events broadcast on the Astound TV Network, featuring the Liberty, Becahi, Parkland and Whitehall boys and the Easton, Emmaus, Central Catholic and Nazareth girls basketball teams…

Astound Sports: Liberty at Bethlehem Catholic (12/23)

Astound Sports Nazareth vs Emmaus (12/23)

Astound Sports: Allentown Central Catholic vs. Easton (12/23)

Astound Sports: Allen vs. Whitehall (12/23)

Astound Sports: Parkland vs. Emmaus (1/24)

 

Later this week here at “The SportsTalk Shop,” we’ll focus on local wrestling news and highlights.


PROGRAMMING NOTE:

It’s a busy week of basketball coming up for the ATVN Sports Department!

On Monday, we’ll have two of the top boys teams in the District XI 5A and 4A classifications squaring off against each other (Whitehall/Allentown Central Catholic), followed by two rivals in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference’s East Division (Nazareth/Freedom). 

On Tuesday, we will feature the two top Colonial League girls basketball teams facing each other (Notre Dame-Green Pond versus Northwestern Lehigh).

On Wednesday, we’ll see Parkland travel to Liberty–another matchup of top District XI 6A boys teams.

Then on Friday, another doubleheader as Northampton plays Central in boys basketball and Dieruff faces Liberty in a girls 6A matchup.

Make sure you tune in for all the action!

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

 

Mid-Season Hoops ‘24 Update (Part 1)

January 17, 2024 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

In addition to being an historic season from a broadcast perspective here at ATVN, it’s been a wild winter season on the boys basketball courts so far this season (for more on local GIRLS high school basketball, look to last week’s blog for more).

With the exception of Notre Dame-Green Pond dominating Colonial League play and Parkland currently undefeated in Eastern Pennsylvania Conference action (as of “press-time”), there haven’t been any additional teams that have clearly stood out as clear ‘teams to beat’ as we reached the halfway point of the regular season of local league basketball play.

That being said, there’s still a bunch of teams that have legitimate shots at winning playoff titles when the post-season gets underway a month from now.

Here are the top highlights of recent sports events broadcast on the Astound TV Network, including impressive victories from the Nazareth and Northampton boys teams, as well as the Parkland, Pen Argyl and Dieruff girls teams…

Astound Sports: Nazareth vs. Dieruff  (1/24)

Astound Sports: Whitehall vs. Northampton (1/24)

Astound Sports: Pen Argyl vs. Northwestern Lehigh (1/24)

Astound Sports: Dieruff vs. Nazareth (1/24)

Astound Sports: Parkland vs. Northampton (12/23)

Check back to “The SportsTalk Shop” for more highlights and insights on the current sports seasons.

Astound video customers can watch all sports productions at any time through ATVN On-Demand for up to two months from the initial air date.

DVD copies are also available for our sports productions by contacting the ATVN studio.

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

 

PA Girls Wrestling Is Here To Stay by Cameron Nunez

January 15, 2024 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

February 14th, 2023 will be not only a life-changing day in my book but for young girls all across Pennsylvania (PA). It was the day the PIAA board voted to sanction high school wrestling as an official PIAA sport. Girls across PA now have the opportunity to represent their beloved high schools and compete against each other in official dual matches. As much as I wish I could be a part of these new beginnings, I will be forever grateful for helping to drive for this sanctioning, as well as to all of the people I have met through my high school years. I’m even more thankful that I got to wrestle in one of the toughest districts in PA: District11.

The Lehigh Valley is not only creating some solid boy wrestlers but now girl wrestlers.  District 11 wrestling teams, especially in the Lehigh Valley, have always been a powerhouse in PA wrestling. In the past three years, many of these powerhouses have created girls’ teams. Some of these teams include Bethlehem Catholic Golden Hawks, Bethlehem

Freedom Patriots, Bethlehem Liberty Hurricanes, Easton Red Rovers, Emmaus Green Hornets, Nazareth Blue Eagles, Northampton Konkrete Kids, Parkland Trojans, Pocono Mountain East Cardinals, and Pocono Mountain West Panthers. It is incredible how fast girls wrestling is growing in the Lehigh Valley.

Even though it is a newly sanctioned sport, many of these teams already have some studs on their rosters.

According to “PA-Wrestling.com” 1 , these are the rankings as of December 12, 2023.

Parkland has many studs this season which include: 

#2 Shannon Fratus, Sr (170 lbs),

#4 Kelsey Gelb, Sr (155 lbs), 

#5 Ella Hesener, Jr (106 lbs), and

#3 Lily Snook, Jr (100 lbs). 

My alma mater, Easton, has #1 Aubre Krazer, Jr (130lbs) who is also the #1 Pound-for-Pound wrestler in the state. I was fortunate enough to be able to see Aubre blossom into not only a remarkable and hard-working wrestler but a great person. Some other studs who received Honorable Mentions (HM) are Liberty-Doniya Anwari, Jr. (136 lbs), Northampton-Mylea Lambert, Jr., (170lbs), and Pocono Mountain West-Summerose Fotit, Jr. (170lbs).      

Due to these rankings, the Trojans are ranked the #5 team in PA with #10 Pocono Mountain West Panthers not too far behind. Some honorable mentions for teams are the Bethlehem Liberty Hurricanes and Easton Red Rovers.

On December 7th, the Easton Lady Red Rovers had their first match of the season defeating the Nazareth Lady Blue Eagles 66-12. The Lady Rovers won 11 out of the 13 matches that night. Two of the coaches who led the Lady Rovers to their first win of the season are Jordan Kutler and Ryan Pomrinca. I was very fortunate enough to wrestle my senior year under these two not only amazing coaches but people. 

Meanwhile, the Lady Blue Eagles are led by John Fidelibus, whose kids I was also fortunate to grow up with in the wrestling community. Seven days later on December 14th, the Lady Trojans got an impressive 60-6 win over the Emmaus Lady Hornets. Parkland won 11 out of the 12 matches that night.

It is so exciting that these girls now have their own dual matches and now have the chance in March to compete at the famous Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

The weekends of Pennsylvania Wrestling States have always been some of my favorite memories. During my high school days, girls wrestling states were in a high school gym in late March. As much as I loved it there, it never compared to the electric environment of Giant Center in early March. It was so incredible to witness every year I went to watch. Now, this year from March 7th – 9th, 2024; girls across the state now get to experience this incredible electric environment. I definitely will not miss the opportunity to witness this thrilling new beginning.  The growth these past three years has been amazing to see. I’m very thankful and happy to be still a part of the growing PA girls wrestling. So now all I can say is “PA Girls Wrestling is Here to Stay!”

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

CARNES’ CORNER-Season 2/Episode 2

January 11, 2024 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

We are one month into the girls high school basketball season and Jarrett Carnes is back with us once again for his second video podcast of the season.

In this edition of “Coach Carnes’ Corner,” the Liberty head coach takes a look at Dieruff’s big win last week over Nazareth, the Bethlehem Catholic coaching transition and a preview of the big Easton/Parkland showdown coming up on January 16th (the game will be broadcast live on ATVN and also streamed for free on ATVN’s YouTube channel).  Follow the link here on our website and sign-up to get notifications when we are going “live” with our programming.

Coach Carnes also debuts a brand new segment this week called the “Players’ Spotlight” in which he gives shout-outs to players with exceptional performances so far this winter in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.

Here’s episode two…

Check back for more of Coach Carnes’ insights and highlights on girls basketball in a few weeks!

Also, check back to “The Shop” in a few days for more local sports news and opinions on other sports including more news on the first-ever season of girls wrestling in Pennsylvania, plus highlights of recent games broadcast on ATVN!

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Best Plays of ‘23 (Part 4)

January 8, 2024 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

Before we take our last look at the top football plays from the 2023 season, an important sports programming note for our network.

We officially welcomed Cameron Nunez to our on-air broadcasting family as she made her broadcasting debut with our Parkland vs. Liberty girls/boys wrestling event.  In addition to doing another great job for us through her wrestling blogs here on our website this winter,  Cameron has added a new dimension to our broadcasting coverage with “between match” and “between bout” interviews during our live doubleheader broadcasts of local high school wrestling– something that has never been attempted before. 

It continues to be an historic season for ATVN viewers this winter–don’t miss a minute of the action and keep checking back to our website for the latest broadcast schedules!


Now, our final look back on the gridiron of best plays from this fall’s high school football season as seen on the Astound TV Network this past year.

Enjoy…

Astound Sports: Parkland vs. Emmaus (10/23)

Astound Sports:  Nazareth vs. Saint Joseph’s Prep (11/23)

Astound Sports: Northampton vs. Whitehall (10/23)

Astound Sports: Dieruff vs. Liberty (8/23)

Astound Sports: Easton vs. Freedom (10/23)

Check back to “The SportsTalk Shop” for more highlights from the past year over the next several weeks!

And don’t forget … with the winter sports season underway, a reminder all live regular season games/matches will be streamed for free at youtube.com/@AstoundTVNetwork.

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

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