Over the weekend, Cathy McCullough received a quick glimpse of the past. She then received an up-close and personal view of the present state of the Northwestern field hockey program.
The opportunity for the legendary Tigers field hockey coach all came about as current players, their coaching staff, their parents and the Northwestern High School Athletic Department took it upon themselves to honor the 20th anniversary of the 1990 PIAA 2A State Championship team which McCullough coached.
Before Saturday's home game against backyard rival Northern Lehigh, McCullough and several field hockey alumni were honored for attaining some special feats.
The state championship team recorded the program's first-ever triple crown, winning the Centennial League, District 11 Class 2A and PIAA Class 2A championships. In addition to that, the Tigers compiled the school's first-ever field hockey undefeated season with a 22-0 overall record.
It wasn't about her team being recognized for its accomplishments 20 years ago (scoring the most goals in league play (49 goals in 14 CL games) or recording the most shut outs in one season (17) or allowing the least goals scored against Northwestern in league play (two in 14 games) that mattered to McCullough, who served 23 years as the Tigers' coach before retiring back in 2004.
"We were all touched," McCullough said. " It was a great gesture. It was a great kind of camaraderie actually between young and old. We were kind of honored to be there, but watching the team play against Northern Lehigh, I was pretty impressed on how skilled we are."
"It think it was kind of fun because they fed off of us being there I think a little bit. I thought they played exceptionally well."
It instantly sparked some fond memories for McCullough of some of the good old days as a coach herself, especially that special day back at Ursinus College in the early '90's.
"Whenever the 1990 team gathers, the one thing that always pops into my mind is the state championship game," McCullough said. "It's the over the top excitement when it's the final game, it winds up being a tie game, and then we have to go into overtime. And, then, it even goes into a shootout.
"And at the end of that game, when we won, there was a giant pile on and all of the kids that where there jumped on top of my girls."
While that is something that will always remain close to her heart, McCullough enjoyed the simple thought of seeing her players once again on the hockey field the most.
"It was even better than all of expected because it was just so much fun to see each other again," McCullough said. "Once in awhile, I will see somebody. But, when something like that happens, it gets a bigger group of us together. So, it was awesome. It was fun. We were laughing and just talking about all the stuff we used to do back in the day. It was great reminiscing with everybody."
Still serving as a physical education teacher in the school district, as soon as McCullough and her 1990 state champions were recognized for their notable accomplishment, she immediately turned into a fan of the present team, who finished the memorable day off by scoring a 2-1 Colonial League victory over Northern Lehigh.
"There are some really good kids on the team, hard-working, nice kids," said McCullough, who does have some of the players in her class. "So, they're the kind of kids we want to root for.
"It was a nice gesture in both directions. We felt really nice and honored that we were invited, but I think it kind of also gave the extra push to the girls who were on the field."
DIG PINK ... On Thursday, Pottsville Nativity will host Marian in a showdown between two of the top small school volleyball programs in the state. But this meeting between the Green Wave and the Fillies will be about more than just volleyball.
The teams will be taking part in "The Dig Pink" event a fundraiser to raise money for the Side-Out Foundation whose goal is to fight the battle against breast cancer. Since October is breast cancer awareness month, both Nativity and Marian are attempting to not only raise money for this good cause but to also enhance awareness as to the perils of this disease.
For the match on October 21st, Nativity and Marian will wear pink uniforms while fans are also encouraged to assist in raising awareness by wearing pink. Both teams are raising money by selling t-shirts and by seeking donations and sponsors.
Anyone interested in supporting this endeavor by purchasing a t-shirt, making a donation, or becoming a sponsor can contact Nativity coach Maria Serina at coachesSERINAandSERINA@hotmail.com .
Besides skin cancers, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States, and the incidence rate is 1 in 8. Breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer besides lung cancer. A woman's risk of breast cancer approximately doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Heightened awareness of breast cancer risks in the past decades have led to an increase in the number of women undergoing mammography for screening, leading to detection of cancers in earlier stages and a resultant improvement in survival rates. Still, breast cancer is the most common cause of death in women between the ages of 45 and 55. With advances in screening, diagnosis, and treatment, the death rate for breast cancer has declined by about 20% over the past decade, and research is ongoing to develop even more effective screening and treatment programs.
MVC GOLF TOURNAMENT ... Last Tuesday, the Mountain Valley Conference Golf Tournament took place at the par-71 Great Bear Golf Course.
Stroudsburg captured the team championship finishing with a score of 494. Among TIMES NEWS area teams, Pleasant Valley recorded a score of 545 to finish in third place, while Lehighton carded a 589 to finish in sixth place.
Stroudsburg's Chance Snyder captured the overall individual title winning the championship flight with a medalist score of 73.
Pleasant Valley's Alex Kaye earned a second-place finish in the first flight with a score of 83, while teammate Brian Denaro finished in third in the second flight with a score of 90. Kyle Adamonis and Colin Cook finished fourth and fifth respectively in the second flight with scores of 91 and 93.
Derek Heffelfinger led the Indians with a fourth-place finish in the third flight with a score of 96, while PJ Salerno added a sixth-place finish in the second flight with a score of 94. Teammate Jake Hoats ended up in seventh in the first flight with a score of 91.