The Emmaus Hornets are often known for being a dynasty in sports such as field hockey, soccer, swimming and even cross country. Those teams have taken home District XI and PIAA State titles year after year, as the banners in the school gymnasium proudly declare.
But one team that is overlooked, and that some may not even know exists, is the fitness team.
Led by longtime head coach George Gibbs, the Hornets recently brought home national titles in both the girls and boys event.
The boys won the event for the fourth year in a row overall and the girls for the third time.
The competition, which is formally called the Marine Corps Physical Fitness National Championship Competition, was held in San Diego, Calif., on May 21.
The boys were led by senior Jake O’Donnell, who was the first to ever score a perfect 500. O’Donnell attributes his success to his coaches.
“My coaches such as Mr. Gibbs, Mr. Corch, and Scott Bobo were very helpful to me. I couldn't have done it without them," said O'Donnell. Corch specializes in running and lifting, he said.
He also attributes his interest to his older brother, Nate, who used to be on the team, and to his dad.
To prepare for the competition, the team trained in a variety of ways in practice.
Events included sprints, pull ups, sit ups, push ups and jumping. In order to be well prepared for game days, the team overworked in practice so that the competitions themselves would be much easier. The team also ran almost every day, whether it was sprints up hills or on the soccer field.
O'Donnell most enjoyed the broad jump because it gave him extra rest time, and he had a special ability for jumping far.
He plans to continue his intense training after high school when he joins the Marine Corps.
But the boys were not the only ones to impress. The girls placed first in the competition for the third year in a row behind the solid performance of Alex Fruhwirth who scored a 408.
The team looks to be strong for years to come as Fruhwirth is only a sophomore, and O'Donnell's brother, Sam, is also only a sophomore. He placed third overall with a score of 478.