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Rinfret a two-sport star in the spring

  • bob ford/times news Casey Rinfret has been busy splitting her time between the Palmerton track and soccer teams this spring.
    bob ford/times news Casey Rinfret has been busy splitting her time between the Palmerton track and soccer teams this spring.
Published April 21. 2011 05:21PM

The opportunity was there for Casey Rinfret.

With one last chance to play sports for Palmerton High School, Rinfret decided to sign up for two sports rather than just one.

"I like playing soccer and I definitely love running track," Rinfret said. "So, my mom was like, 'It's your last year at Palmerton. You're not going to be able to play with these girls again. It would be a good idea to go and play the game with them again.'

"I decided that was definitely a good idea and I'm really glad that I came out for both sports this season."

So after concentrating solely on track the past two seasons, the Palmerton senior decided to return to the soccer field for the first time since her freshman year and no one has excelled more at being a two-sport athlete this spring than Rinfret.

Fresh off an outstanding basketball season that saw her land Colonial League All-Star honors, Rinfret has continued to shine in the spring.

On the soccer field, she has scored 11 of the Bombers' 14 goals this season, including two hat tricks. On the track, Rinfret is the Bombers' top sprinter and also stars in the long jump. In Palmerton's two Colonial League meets this season, she has already picked up three individual firsts and a pair relay firsts.

While Rinfret is tackling the double-sport spring scenario for the first time, it's something that classmate Sarah Andrews has been doing it since her sophomore season.

"I have always been interested in track and coach [Mike] Gombert was actually my teacher my sophomore year and we got talking about it," Andrews said. "He told me he would be willing to work with me to do both sports. So, I figured I would try it out.

"I have been playing soccer for so long it's just like second nature so I couldn't give it up. On the other hand, I wanted to try something new, so I tried track and field and I found out that I loved it just as much as I love soccer."

Rinfret and Andrews join junior Lindsey Pekurney as the three Blue Bombers take on the challenge of splitting their time after school every day between practicing on the soccer field and the track.

Rinfret and Andrews both run the 100 and 200 meter dashes, while Pekurney attacks the 200 and 400 meter dashes. The two seniors are also key members of a successful 400 meter relay team while Pekurney runs one of the legs on the 1600 meter relay team. Rinfret also competes in the long jump and Andrews competes in the high jump.

After an hour or so with the track team, they shift gears to soccer practice where Rinfret and Pekurney strengthen Palmerton girls' soccer coach Barry Hahn's offensive unit while Andrews adds experience to the defense.

At a small school like Palmerton, a AA classification in District 11, Gombert feels it's important to take advantage of the athletic ability of athletes who are capable of playing more than one sport.

"In the spring, track and soccer lend themself quite well for shared athletes, especially runners, who will benefit from both sports," Gombert said. "As a track coach it's easy for me to say that sharing athletes is good idea. Other than relays, track is an individual sport. If an athlete approaches me to compete in track as well as another sport, it is a much easier transition to add her to the track team.

"On the other hand, a team-oriented sport may frown at such a consideration since team chemistry is of the utmost importance. The three girls who currently play two sports attend each practice daily, spending half of the time with each sport if the practices are at the same time."

Hahn said that chemistry hasn't been a problem for the soccer team as Rinfret, Andrews and Perkurney have blended in perfectly.

"They're all definitely an asset to the program. In fact, we really missed Casey the last two years when she didn't play the game," said Hahn. "They're all good quality players and definitely mean something to the soccer team.

"The way we have handled it is that each girl has to pick a primary team. So if there is a track meet and a soccer game same day, they would go to their primary sport first.

Hahn said that the "double event" situation has occured one time so far this season.

"We definitely did miss them for our Catasauqua game," said Hahn. "Casey and Lindsey were at a track meet and Sarah had a sprained ankle and couldn't play. Missing three talented players for a game, definitely hurt us. So obviously that's one of the drawbacks of having to share athletes, but for the most part it's been a win-win situation for the girls, the track team and the soccer team."

Which is exactly what Rinfret was hoping for when she made the decision to play both sports.


SEEING DOUBLES ..... Those in attendance at last Thursday's Lehighton-East Stroudsburg North tennis match may have been taking plenty of "double takes" when watching the No. 2 doubles match.

In a rare occurence for any sporting event, the doubles match featured two sets of identical twins. The Indians doubles team was comprised of seniors Debra and Jessica Lobien while juniors Joe and Sean Leone played for the host team.

When it was all over, the Leone twins walked off the court with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over the Lobien sisters. It was the second time the pair of twins played against each other this season.

The result of the first match between the twins?

Fittingly, the Timberwolves' underclassmen won by the "identical" score of 6-1, 6-2.


HAT-TRICK PLUS ONE ..... On Saturday, Jordyn Homyak was able to double her season total of goals in a single game.

The Indian senior moved her number of goals from four to eight in a matter of 80-minutes of play. Homyak accounted for four of the Indians' goals in a 6-3 non-league victory over Catasauqua.

Prior to the four goal game against the Roughies, Homyak only had one other game with multiple goals. She had two goals in a 2-1 win over East Stroudsburg North last Thursday.


TEN LOVE .... Gonzalo Hernandez Cascante's first stint with the Tamaqua boys' tennis team keeps getting better and better.

Despite the Raiders' struggles as a team they sport a 1-9 overall record Hernandez Cascante has been perfect on the season.

After dropping just one game in three matches this past week, the Blue Raider senior moved his undefeated record to 10-0 on the year.

Hernandez-Cascante also has two doubles victories under his belt as well with teammate Evan Stoll.


ZEROES ACROSS THE BOARD ..... Over their combined 20 games played, the Northwestern and Pleasant Valley girls' soccer team have seen their fair share of shutouts.

Northwestern currently stands at 8-2 on the season. In five of those 10 games, the Tigers and keeper Kelly Boyd have blanked the opposition. In addition, the Tigers' two losses this season were also shutouts losing 2-0 to Saucon Valley and 1-0 to Palisades.

Pleasant Valley sports a 7-3 overall record right now. The Bears have been part of eight shutouts in their first 10 games. In her first season as the Bears' full-time keeper, Sara Elmontacir, along with the assistance of her seasoned core of defenders have already posted six shutouts. The Bears have also been shutout twice themselves a 2-0 loss to non-conference foe Nazareth and a 1-0 MVC loss to Pocono Mountain East.


ROAD WARRIORS ..... The Palmerton baseball team has spent its entire season on the road thus far since it's baseball field resembles a Southern Swamp instead of an actual diamond.

Seven games have been played with the Bombers compiling a 1-6 record. Despite the losing record, it hasn't stopped senior Christian Marcin from putting up some big numbers at the plate. Marcin is hitting with a .522 batting average, has 11 RB, seven runs scored three home runs and a .871 slugging percentage. Aaron Cook is also hitting at a .550 clip, has scored nine runs and has a.450 slugging percentage as a leadoff hitter. Tyler Svetik is hitting .455 and has scored three runs.

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