A number of local high schools recently finished another regular season in the Northeast Pennsylvania Scholastic Rifle League. But one major change surfaced in 2018 that schools had to become accustomed to for the winter.
Salisbury, which finished 0-9 in the regular season, was one of 10 league teams that experienced a new shooting target this past season. The change resulted in a much more competitive NEPARL field from top to bottom.
Not many football players from Salisbury have the opportunity to play in college.
The first Falcon scholarship football player in at least a decade will take the field next fall.
Salisbury senior lineman Michael Killiri, a member of two district teams as a Falcon, recently singed a letter of intent to play football at Bucknell University. He’s not the first Falcon to play football at the Division I level, but the first to receive a scholarship to date.
This past winter season was an abnormal one for the Salisbury boys basketball team and head coach Jason Weaver.
During his first nine years at Salisbury, Weaver led his Falcons to eight district tournament appearances and five trips to the PIAA playoffs. In this his 10th season at the helm, a rare occurrence resurfaced for the postseason-friendly Falcons.
Despite finishing with a below-.500 record, the Salisbury girls’ basketball team has qualified for the District 11 Class 3A tournament.
The Falcons (8-14 overall, 7-11 in Colonial League) earned the eighth and final seed in the tournament after Palmerton defeated Northern Lehigh last Thursday night. Salisbury, however, isn’t entering the postseason on particularly a high note.
Salisbury didn’t enter the winter basketball season with many seniors on its roster. But as of late, the Falcons haven’t had a single senior take the court.
Jack Reichenbach and Oliver Stewart were the lone two seniors for Salisbury when it tipped off this season. But both have not been on the court over the past few games. Those absences have opened the door for a number of underclassmen to shine, and the Falcons have been surprisingly effective in what has been a tough season.
Last Friday night was dedicated to Salisbury’s five senior girls basketball players: Anna Bishop, Alicia Burkhardt, Olivia Dragovits, Kelly Gardus and Sarah McGee. After the players were honored prior to the start of the game, the Falcons played arguably their best game of the season on Senior Night.
The Falcons made their first seven shots against visiting Catasauqua, led 20-0 after the first quarter, and never looked back. Salisbury (8-10 overall; 6-7 in Colonial League), led by a starting group of five seniors that played the entire first half, defeated the Rough Riders 55-17.
Tyler Keller’s college diving career was put on hold before he even took one bounce off the board.
During a pick-up basketball game with some friends in September, the Lehigh freshman broke his fifth metatarsal. Surgery kept Keller out for the first half of the winter diving season.
“About a week later I got surgery, and three screws and one plate were installed on my foot to hold the bone in place,” Keller said.
For almost a decade, Jonah Niesenbaum’s athletic career revolved around ice hockey.
But after nine years, Niesenbaum traded in his skates for wrestling headgear. Since the transition during his sophomore year at Salisbury, the Falcon junior has not looked back.
“By the end of it, I had a good ice hockey season and it was a pretty tough wrestling season my first year, but I just fell in love with it,” Niesenbaum said. “It is weird because ice hockey is my go-to sport and I’ve built a foundation there. But wrestling is so independent and so intense, and I love that.”
Due to unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances, a number of Salisbury girls basketball underclassmen were forced into larger roles than the coaching staff had planned for this season.
After losing two starters to injury in leading scorer Sarah McGee and Salisbury’s tallest player in Madison Bettuccio, voids were left. But a number of freshmen and sophomores have filled in nicely for head coach Joe Mladosich.
Salisbury junior Sarah Bobeck fully dedicated her future to swimming prior to her sophomore year. And since then, she’s become one of the area’s most consistent high school swimmers.
Bobeck, after earning two top-four finishes at districts as a freshman, took leaps in her second season. She won the 500-yard freestyle as a sophomore at districts and placed in the top 25 swimmers in two events at the PIAA Class 2A Championships last winter.
Much of that credit goes to her full attention that she has given to swimming over the past couple of years.