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Kids keeping Cement Belt

Another Cement Bowl Challenge is in the books with Northampton retaining the Cement Belt Championship for another year.

The rivalry series, which was conceived in the 2016-17 school year, has seen the Kids from Laubach Avenue win the first three installments of the challenge.

Even with Whitehall’s outstanding spring where three of their teams reached the district finals, they still couldn’t muster enough points to seize the belt from the Kids. However, the wins that the Zephs had in the postseason did not factor in the final standings. The rivalry is limited to the regular season.

Points are awarded in each of the 20 sports where these two teams oppose one another. This year Northampton earned 18 points, while Whitehall finished with nine. Each victory is worth a point, while .5 points are awarded in case there’s a tie.

The series is meant to foster a friendly, neighborly rivalry between the two Eastern Pennsylvania Conference member schools in all sports in which they compete.

“The Cement Belt Challenge has proved to be a great rivalry series between Whitehall and Northampton for the past three years and I feel both sets of student-athletes have really benefited from the neighborly rivalry between the two schools,” said Northampton Athletic Director Shaun Murray. “There really is an increased anticipation within our communities for all of our contests throughout the school year which was one of the main goals in developing the series. Win or lose, we look forward to bringing our students together year after year to promote our athletes and good sportsmanship.”

Northampton was consistent throughout the three sports seasons this year. They held a 7-4 advantage after the fall season, and followed that with a strong 6-2 margin in the winter, and wrapped up the year with a 5-3 decision in their head-to-head matches in the spring. The Kids won every season, and that enabled them to keep the belt for another year.

Last year the Kids won by a razor-thin margin, defeating the Zephyrs by a point, 15-14. (That first two years of the series, a football win was worth 2 points). The kickoff year, Northampton won by the same score, defeating the Zephs 15-14.