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The SportsTalk Shop: 2014 Year-in-Review (Part 2)

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A very merry season’s greetings and happy new year to everyone!  Chris Michael is on vacation for the next week, so “RCN SportsTalk” co-host Joseph Lynnwood Craig will be manning the “SportsTalk Shop” around the holidays.  Joe gives his weekly views on the Thursday night show and this time, he gives his views on some local high school sports issues over the past year.  Don’t forget, you can get more views and opinions on the top teams, players, games, moments and other special highlights over the past 12 months by watching the “SportsTalk: 2014 Year-in-Review” program that will air on RCN-TV several times before and after New Year’s Day and is also available to watch at anytime for free on RCN On-Demand!

Now, here’s “Joe’s Take” on local championship teams and other outstanding programs in the Lehigh Valley area.

As 2014 comes to a close, a few observations about high school championships seem to be in order.  Keep in mind that last school year’s winter and spring seasons combine with the fall season of this school year to form the 2014 lineup.
First of all, 22 high schools in District XI have won team championships in the year 2014.  There have been 52 champions crowned in 21 sports; 10 boys sports, 10 girls sports and one co-ed sport (golf).
Parkland has overwhelmingly crowned the most champions with 11.  The following list contains the schools with the number of team champions from each school:

Parkland – 11                          Allentown CC – 2                Mahanoy – 1                Pius X – 1
Beth. Cath. – 5                        Notre Dame G.P – 2           Salisbury – 1                Saucon – 1
Emmaus – 4                             Minersville – 2                    Nazareth – 1                 Whitehall – 1
Southern Lehigh – 4              Marion Cath. – 2               Tamaqua – 1                Pine Grove – 1
Moravian Acad. – 4               Easton – 2                            Sch. Haven – 1
Northwestern – 3                  Notre Dame ES – 2             Pen Argyl – 1

A person would wonder how does one school win so many championships as Parkland has?   Surely the athletes are not any bigger, stronger, faster, or more skilled than their counterparts at other schools.  I’m sure that they eat similar foods, drink similar water, dress the same way and enjoy the same activities as any other teenagers. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I suspect it has a lot to do with off-season preparation, camps, and facilities available to them, along with the community support that is provided in feeder programs across the board. Whatever it is, the other schools and communities better take note.  They all need to step up if they want to compete with Parkland.

Another comment would be to notice the number of championships that a small school like Moravian Academy has won.  They’ve won four championships while many other schools have won none.  That’s amazing when you think about it.  Granted they have won in small school classifications but in three of their titles they beat many schools in the AA classification.  Those sports were Boys Tennis, Golf, and Girls Tennis.  They also won in A classification Boys Soccer.  By the way, they were the champs in that category.  I think that is noteworthy.

There have been some great teams from District XI this past year, so here are a few that come to mind.  The following teams have won State championships this past year: Bethlehem Catholic in wrestling (AA), Parkland Girls Volleyball (AA), and Moravian Academy Boys Soccer (AA).  There will be a lot of discussion in local media over the next  few weeks regarding great games and great performances by teams and individuals and we sure have had our share.  District XI has plenty of great high school athletes this year and a history of some of the best in the state.  Perhaps we will get into these in the future.
Until then, that’s Joe’s Take!