Head coach Billy Hallman and his Tiger boys basketball team experienced much of everything in the recent Stellar "Catch A Rising Star" Basketball Showcase.
There was a close, competitive game against a out-of-the-area team in Twin Valley. There was a decisive victory against a fellow Colonial League foe in Pen Argyl. And there was a matchup against a far more talented and athletic squad from out of the area in Bonner Prendergast.
You've heard the old Abbott and Costello "Who's on First?" routine. Well, the Northern Valley Chargers have played a version of that almost all season and Tuesday night, their pitcher was their catcher and it helped to produce a strong outing for the pitcher.
For the first time in about four months, Dante Salerno put on catching gear and went behind the plate. He's spent most of his time on the mound, but coach Brad Rauch needed him more behind the plate and that's where Salerno wound up.
Northwestern head coach Billy Hallman would've liked a more impressive finish than the 2-9 record his team posted over the past two months in the Stellar Construction Summer Basketball League. But he also noted plenty of positives over the seven weeks of play.
Last week's season finale against Warren Hills was another example of that.
The Lehigh Valley and Berks-Schuylkill Legion All-Star teams battled to a 5-5 tie in 10 innings of baseball at Reading's FirstEnergy Stadium Monday night. Both teams had opportunities to win the game, but just when one team would gain an advantage, the other would come fighting back.
Tamaqua's Matt Roberts started for Schuylkill-Berks and put down Lehigh Valley in order in the top of the first and North Parkland's Nate Kern did the same against Schuylkill-Berks in the bottom of the inning.
Northern Valley isn't the kind of team that likes to make things easy.
Heading into their final four games of the season, the Chargers felt they needed at least two wins to secure a postseason berth. That remaining schedule included the league's last place team as well as three of the Lehigh Valley League's top four teams.
Even without nearly half of his team's starters in last week's summer game, one thing remained constant from last fall's squad-leading goal-scorer JD Haff.
Against an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference (EPC) team in Liberty last Wednesday, Haaf was one of just a handful of Northwestern starters from last season that were in uniform. But that didn't stop the Tigers from pulling out a gritty overtime victory after allowing a late equalizing goal in the final minutes.
If there's one thing Len Smith wants to be remembered for, it's that the program has always been about the players. While he was at the helm for more than three decades, the team was always at the forefront.
That's why Smith kept it to himself all season. He had serious thoughts about retiring from coaching early in preseason, but he didn't share those thoughts until well after the season.
"This isn't about me," he said. "This is about the kids. I didn't want the focus during the season to be on me. I wanted the focus to be on the kids."
The NYAA program had been pushing to get a volleyball team at the high school level for six years before it finally happened in the fall of 2012.
When it finally did become a sport at Northwestern Lehigh High School three years ago, the interest grew so much that around 40 girls went out for roughly 20-25 varsity and junior varsity spots combined.
"Every year we would go to school board meetings and try to convince them," said Jenny Von Holt, who played two seasons for Northwestern. "And finally in my junior year there was enough interest."
The jump from high school to college is a difficult one. The path is even more demanding when students choose to continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level.
Lauren Horner, a 2012 graduate of Northwestern Lehigh High School, is no different. Following a remarkable field hockey career with the Lady Tigers, she used her first season at Monmouth University as one to acclimate herself with the change in scenery, like all collegiate athletes.
A year ago, Horner was polishing her skills to cement a position switch to left back on the Hawks' defensive line.
A season ago, the DeSales University womens cross country team finished third in the Middle Atlantic Conference Championships and 21st out of 52 teams in the NCAA Division III Mid-East Regional Championships.
With the Lady Bulldogs looking to take a few steps forward this season, as they have raced in three meets thus far, head coach Gordon Hornig made a few changes to his team's offseason preparation. In addition to an increase in distance the team was asked to run, the Bulldogs' practices have been more intense than recent years.