If this past weekend's District 11 Class AA tournament proved one thing, it's that the Northwestern wrestling program is back.
The Tigers left Freedom High School with one champion, two silver medalists and a total of six wrestlers advancing to this weekend's Southeast Regional event.
One of the many highlights of the tournament for Northwestern was freshman Caleb Clymer's stunning performance to claim the 138-pound title.
Coming into the tournament as the fifth seed, Clymer's championship may have caught some off guard.
Northwestern competed in the District 11 team wrestling tournament last week.
The Tigers, which earned the fifth seed in Class AA, beat 12-seed Williams Valley, 40-30 in the opener before losing to Northern Lehigh last Thursday at Panther Valley High School in Lansford.
The Tigers returned to battle through the losers bracket Saturday at Freedom High School in Bethlehem. They survived two matches with wins over Panther Valley, 40-25, and North Schuylkill, 39-22, before falling to top-seeded Saucon Valley in the loser's bracket final.
The Tigers proved to be more than up to the challenge against the top-seeded Saucon Valley at Tuesday's Colonial League team wrestling championships.
Northwestern, the No. 4 seed in the four-team event, took an early 10-5 lead after a pin by Jarret White (126) and a major decision by Caleb Clymer (138).
But three straight bonus point wins by Dylan Yonney (145), Nate Harka (152) and Brett Suites (160) gave Saucon Valley a 19-10 lead, an advantage that it would never surrender en route to a 35-30 win.
HERSHEY - For the fourth straight year, the Northwestern Lehigh girls cross country team qualified for the PIAA Cross Country Championships.
And for the second consecutive season, the Lady Tigers came home with a fourth-place finish in the Class AA team standings.
The Northwestern girls cross country team has been unbeatable for as long as most on the team can remember.
The Lady Tigers haven't lost a duel meet since 2010, and have won the last four Colonial League regular season and league meet championships in convincing fashion en route to three straight District 11 Class AA titles.
But a fourth district crown seemed unlikely last Thursday after Allentown Central Catholic took the top three spots in the race, with Colleen Dady finishing first in 19:17.
Runners are usually pretty durable athletes. When it comes to distance running, that resiliency tends to be even more crucial, especially throughout the long grind of a track or cross country season.
Most athletes are racing multiple times per week while logging additional miles training when they're not competing.
As with most anything else, it takes an appropriate balance of activity to make it through the year unscathed.
Regardless of one's skill or experience level, injuries happen, and are often unavoidable.
Close games and Northwestern softball have gone hand-in-hand this season.
Entering play Monday, the Lady Tigers had been in four extra-inning affairs, all of which were decided by two runs or less. The team also split two games that ended in regulation which were decided by the same margin.
Facing a Lehighton team that was coming off two dominant wins in which it averaged over 19 runs per game, it seemed unlikely that the Cardiac Cats could risk playing catch up once again.
Talent, depth and leadership are all traits that have separated the Northwestern Lehigh track and field program from its peers over the past few seasons.
Those skills were on full display last Thursday as Northwestern swept Colonial League rival Palmerton, with the boys picking up an 84-66 win and the girls claiming a 104.5-40.5 victory.
The Tigers (5-0) claimed victory in a highly competitive boys' meet by placing at least two in the points-earning places in seven events and by sweeping all three relays.
The words of Northwestern baseball coach Len Smith were a perfect summation of the Tigers' Colonial League clash against rival Northern Lehigh.
"That's why you play the game," he said of his team's 6-5, come-from-behind win on Tuesday.
Trailing 5-2 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, Northwestern manufactured four runs and five hits, capped by Josh Williamson's game-winning RBI single to claim a remarkable 6-5 win.
"I tell the kids to never give up until that final out," said Smith. "We're very fortunate that the kids hung in there and battled back.
The Northwestern wrestling team has been through quite a bit this season.
An outbreak of impetigo early in the year decimated the lineup and forced the team to constantly adjust. All while maintaining some form of routine and order, no small task for a squad that features zero seniors.
But no matter the circumstances, the Tigers kept fighting and never quit.