You can say the Northwestern wrestling team was behind the eight ball as soon as the season started.
Two state-qualifiers from 2014, Matt Peters and Caleb Clymer, have been out of action for much of the season. Peters has wrestled four matches, according to head coach Tom Moll; Clymber hasn’t taken the mat yet this winter. Both are expected back in January after recovering from growth plate issues.
Northwestern took 18th place at the Flo-Excalibur Wrestling Tournament last weekend at Wilkes University.
Wyoming Seminary won the event with Bound Brook and Benton in second and third place, respectively, out of 28 teams in the tournament.
At 120, unseeded Baily knocked off the tournament’s No. 7 seed in the second round then fell to top-seeded Jack Davis in a quarterfinal match. He wrestled back for fifth place.
Quentin Bernhard (126) lost his opening bout but won four straight in the consolation bracket before finishing eighth.
Saturday, Dec. 19
Northwestern at Flo Tournament at Wilkes University
The Tigers finished eighth in a field that included some of the top teams in the state and others from outside of Pennsylvania.
For individual results from the event, see story above.
Wednesday, Dec. 16
Northwestern cruised to a win over Catasauqua, 63-6.
After taking a step forward last season, the Northwestern boys basketball program looks to keep up the progress this year.
It won’t be easy. The Tigers graduated 10 seniors, including five of their top seven scorers from last season.
On the bright side, last year’s leading scorer is back in senior guard Parker Jones.
“Parker has to do everything for us,” said third-year head coach Billy Hallman. “He’s going to make us go. He was a starter last year and was really the main guy last year.”
Jones, a 5-10 guard, averaged 11.14 points last year.
It all came to an end just over a month ago. At least for her collegiate playing days, that is.
Lauren Horner, a 2012 graduate of Northwestern High School, capped her four-year field hockey career at Monmouth University in early November in the Hawks’ MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) Tournament semifinal loss to Fairfield. That November 6 defeat was Horner’s final start on the Hawks’ defensive front.
Head coach Billy Hallman knew it would be a test early on in the Colonial League hoops landscape. And for the first quarter, Northwestern seemed up for the challenge.
But when all was said and done, Southern Lehigh and its experience proved to be too much over the final three quarters.
It appeared that Northwestern was going to hold for the final shot of the game, trailing by a single point with just over a minute remaining.
It turned out the Tigers were just waiting for the right shot.
After about 45 seconds ran off of the clock, Erika Thomas eventually found Leighanna Lister in the paint for the go-ahead bucket with just 18 seconds remaining.
Lehigh University freshman Sabrina Mertz has already made a name for herself on the women’s soccer team and in the entire Patriot League. In starting all 18 game this season, Mertz scored a team-high seven goals and added three assists for the Mountain Hawks. Those seven goals were fourth in the entire conference, and she more than doubled the next Mountain Hawk in terms of points on the season with 17.
It’s not the first time Northwestern head coach Chris Deutsch has seen a large portion of his team graduate. And it might not be the last.
The Tigers graduated three key players from last year and saw another one transfer, leaving the team with just two seniors and two players with starting experience at the varsity level.
“For our group, it’s going to take some time to jell together,” said Deutsch. “I really believe as the season goes along we’re going to get much better. And our patience will be tested as a staff. We have to be patient and let the process work out.
Just about every high school sports program goes through some down times. Northwestern had a few years where numbers were low and results showed it.
Those days seem to be over.
The Tigers returned to the district team tournament last season for the first time since 2010. They sent seven wrestlers to regionals and four to states last winter.
This year, with all but one of those regional qualifiers back with the team, the Tigers set a goal of winning their first district title sicne 2008.