If the Northwestern boys and girls track and field teams are looking to replicate a similar performance to last season's unbeaten league schedule, they'll have to do so without some of the area's best performers.
But with the graduation of certain athletes, the opportunity arises for others to take their places throughout the spring months.
The Tigers get their first look at those athletes in an actual meet come Thursday when Northwestern travels to Wilson for a tri meet with Catasauqua.
A year removed from finishing 7-9 in the Colonial League and falling in the first round of the District 11 Class AAA tournament, the Northwestern softball team is looking to take another step forward in 2015.
The Tigers hope that success comes under first-year head coach Josh Zimmerman, who spent five seasons as the Tigers' assistant coach behind Jen Horner. And despite graduating a number of vital members from last year's team, the Tigers do return a number of conference all-stars that will look to help lead Northwestern on another postseason run.
For someone that didn't begin swimming on the high school scene until his sophomore season, Northwestern senior Trey Shackleton has produced quite a successful career.
Shackleton, who swims on the Parkland Aquatic Team year round, missed the opportunity at competing at the PIAA swimming meet as a freshman due to a large number of club meets.
But last week, Shackleton made the most of his last state trip and closed the door on his high school swimming career in an emphatic way.
The spring sports season is already upon us.
The debut for two new Northwestern spring sports head coaches is on the horizon as well.
Joshua Zimmerman, who has been a part of either the Tigers' softball or baseball coaching staffs since 2005, now has his opportunity as the Northwestern softball head coach. Chuck Groller takes over as the Northwestern girls' track and field head coach, replacing Dave Kerschner.
Southern Lehigh's Travis Edmond and Whitehall's Jacob Buskirk were separated by one seat at Sunday's Lehigh Valley Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame banquet.
By the end of the 55th annual awards ceremony at Northampton Community Center, the two shared the evening's prestigious award.
Of the 34 high school football scholar-athlete nominees, Edmond and Buskirk were recognized as the award winners. It was the first time since 2011, when Bangor's Scott LaValva and Nazareth's Chuck Dibilio won the award, that two athletes shared the honor.
The day after calendars turned over to March, high school spring sports practices were scheduled to begin on March 2 in preparation for the upcoming season.
But like a number of years in the past, snowfall as the end of winter hits has put a damper on those practice plans in early March.
Two separate storms last week, including Thursday's winter blast that saw much of the Lehigh Valley receive over six inches of snow, covered playing surfaces across the region. That put to rest any idea of baseball, lacrosse, tennis or track and field teams from practicing outside.
Following a district quarterfinal win over the weekend, Northwestern took a look at the seemingly impossible task that lied ahead.
The only thing standing between the Tigers and a chance at playing for their first district title since 2006 was top-seeded Bethlehem Catholic.
Head coach Chris Deutsch and the Tigers knew how tough it would be to face the No. 3 ranked team in the state in Class AAA, along with all-state performer Kalista Walters.
When Wednesday's semifinals matchup got underway, teh Hawks dominated from the beginning.
It wasn't quite the start Northwestern got against Saucon Valley in the Colonial League quarterfinals, but when the two teams met in the first round of districts, the Tigers got off to a quick start once again.
The result was particularly similar to the Tigers' dominant 21-point victory against the Panthers in the league tournament.
Number 5 seed Northwestern, which built a quick 13-4 lead and led by 10 at halftime, led by as much as 18 in the fourth quarter over No. 4 Saucon Valley.
Sure, Northwestern seniors Sabrina Mertz and Sarah Segan, both Colonial League Second Team all-stars, are two of the main reasons in how the Northwestern girls basketball turned around its season.
But the Tigers realize that without each and every one of their players, from the JV squad all the way up, none of that success would have been possible.
Last Friday's Colonial League girls' championship against Notre Dame (Green Pond) wasn't the best time for Northwestern to have one of its more difficult shooting performances of the season.
But the No. 5 seeded Lady Tigers' shots weren't falling when they took the court in the season's biggest game to date at Freedom High School. That display of shooting and costly turnovers resulted in a 51-36 defeat to the top-seeded Crusaders.