Chris Stitzel gathered his team, much like he does before every race.
But this time was different.
The Northwestern cross country coach knew what was on the line. Coming off Colonial League and District 11 titles, Stitzel was well aware the Tigers entered Saturday’s PIAA Cross Country Championships with a realistic opportunity to contend in the Class 2A field.
The Northwestern girls cross country team regularly qualifies for the PIAA Championships. But this year, with a change in the number of teams that qualify from District 11, things were just a little more difficult.
Just one team from the district would qualify for states this year, so the Tigers had to win the whole thing in order to advance. And they did just that last Wednesday at Bethlehem Municipal Golf Course.
The Tigers ran in a tight pack, placing their top five runners in the top 20 to earn the program’s first district title since 2014.
Lissa Opolsky didn’t have to look far for a reminder.
“We looked up at the board that’s on our field the other day when we were practicing, and the last district championship that’s posted on there is from 2004,” said the Northwestern field hockey head coach.
The Tigers moved one step closer to ending that drought on Monday, powering past Wilson 4-0 in the District 11 Class A semifinals.
Northwestern will play No. 1 seed Lehighton in the final.
PHILADELPHIA – Northwestern waited nearly 30 years for another district baseball championship.
Trevor Schreiner and Tyler Wiik made sure the Tigers didn’t have to wait quite that long to make a little more history.
Schreiner and Wiik launched back-to-back first inning homers to power Northwestern to an 8-0 rout of Monsignor Bonner Monday in a PIAA Class 4A First Round contest at George Washington High School.
Playing their first game in over eight days, the Tigers (18-7) didn’t seem to suffer from the long layoff.
Chuck Groller knew about the experience. And he saw the youthful exuberance.
The Northwestern track and field head coach was aware that his boys and girls squads had an abundance of both.
But Groller also recognized the Tigers’ talent.
Northwestern showed that ability once again on Tuesday, with both the boys and girls sweeping Northern Lehigh and Catasauqua in a Colonial League meet.
Maybe it was destiny.
Perhaps it was simply good fortune.
The reality, though, was that Caleb Clymer always controlled his own future.
Born into a family rich in wrestling tradition, Clymer was almost a household name before he even stepped onto the mat for Northwestern.
Caleb grew up watching brothers Ben, Scott and Bobby set the standard. All three were District 11 champions. Scott and Ben were two-time regional champions, and both also won state titles. Scott accomplished the feat in 2006, while Ben did so in 2008.
After previously leading only the girls team the past four years, Chuck Groller takes over as the boys head coach after the departure of Tim Cunningham.
The Northwestern boys team will have to replace Trevor Cunningham, who advanced to the state meet with a second-place finish in the Class 3A 300-meter hurdles, crossing the line in 39.51. Cunningham also was a Colonial League runner-up in the 110 and 300 hurdles.
The Northwestern girls track and field team returns a wealth of talent from last year’s team that went 9-2 in the Colonial League.
Caleb Clymer saved his best for last.
A dominant force throughout this season and his career, the Northwestern senior turned in a virtuoso performance Saturday at the PIAA Championships.
Clymer was masterful in his 160-pound final against Port Allegany’s Jacob Kallenborn, rolling to an 8-0 major decision victory and his first state title.
Caleb Clymer might not have liked his start. But the Northwestern senior loved the finish.
Clymer shook off a sluggish start to power past Northern Lebanon’s Blaise Bressler 9-7 in the 160-pound final Saturday at the PIAA Class 2A Southeast Regional wrestling tournament. The win gave Clymer his first regional title after runner-up finishes last year and as a freshman.