Northwestern Press

Friday, July 3, 2020

Cunningham excelled in three sports

Thursday, July 31, 2014 by TODD KRESS in Sports

Trista Cunningham's cousin, Tara Gemmel, was a 1,000-point scorer on the Catasauqua girls' basketball team.

With some encouragement from one of her middle school teachers, she decided to give basketball a shot. But when she started playing the sport in seventh grade, Cunningham was unsure of the success she may have going forward.

"I don't really have that good hand-eye coordination or shooting skills," Cunningham said. "I didn't think I would do well in that aspect. I wasn't really sure about how I would do in the paint with layups or anything.

"Once I finally got the hang of it, and actually got used to the game and what the rules were and everything, that's when I started to peak."

It may have been a learning curve on the court, but Cunningham evolved into one of the top players in the area with her stellar senior season. She averaged 12.5 points and seven rebounds per game for the Lady Tigers, who won the Colonial League championship this season, their first since 2007.

Additionally, Cunningham, this year's Northwestern Press Female Athlete of the Year, earned a second-place finish in the discus event at districts and 12th at the PIAA Track and Field Championships last spring. She was also a defender for the Lady Tigers' soccer team that won league and district championships.

"There are so many other people that have contributed," Cunningham said of the award. "It's not just me. It's all of my fantastic coaches. It's all of my awesome teammates and best friends. It's an honor, and I couldn't be happier."

Her play during her career, particularly as a senior, was awarded with the opportunity to continue her basketball career at Moravian College.

"I've been playing in a summer league with Moravian's team," Cunningham said. "It's for the more local girls, and some of the girls drive from far away. I really like it, and the girls are really nice."

Cunningham has endured plenty of success as a Lady Tiger. Twice she was named a Colonial League All-Star in basketball, and she earned First-Team honors as a defender in soccer last season.

With playing three sports in each season the past two years, she credits much of her success to her coaches and teammates along the way.

"I honestly have the best coaches over the years in all of my sports," Cunningham said. "They are all really easy to get along with, and they are great coaches. I've learned so much from them."

When soccer was moved to the fall season, there was an opportunity to play a sport in the spring months. With a suggestion from her father, who is also a track and field coach, she started the sport as a junior.

In just two seasons, she rose to become one of the top throwers in the area. In addition to her silver medal in discus at the District 11 Class AAA championships, she placed fourth in the shot put with a mark of 35-2 3/4.

Her initial plans were to become a hurdler in track.

"When I started doing track, my dad wanted me to be a hurdler," Cunningham said. "The throwing coach came up to me and was like, 'I think you would be really good at throwing. You should definitely try discus.' So, I gave it a try, and I actually ended up liking that the most out of track."

Cunningham will miss the times of playing sports at Northwestern as she embarks on the next chapter of her career. But she couldn't be more excited to get her collegiate journey started.

"I am a bit nervous considering that high school was so great for me, especially sports-wise," Cunningham said. "I'm kind of upset that I'm leaving Northwestern, and I'm going to miss it more than anything. I am a little nervous going into college, but I know I'll have fun."