Erika's Busy Autumn
Erika Huffman was a very busy girl this past autumn.
The Wyalusing Valley junior competed for the Lady Rams in both cross country and volleyball, a rare double at the school.
Despite an often hectic schedule, Huffman was successful in both sports.
In cross country, she won the District Four, Class AA cross country championship, earning a spot in the PIAA championship meet in Hershey where she finished 27th, just two places away from a medal.
Along the way, Huffman earned Northern Tier League Female Runner of the Year honors as she went undefeated in league meets and helped Wyalusing claim a share of the championship with an 8-1 record.
Quite an accomplishment, considering she had never run cross country before.
On the volleyball court, where she was coached by her mother, Gayle, she helped the Lady Rams to a 7-9 record. Wyalusing was in contention for a District Four playoff berth right up to the final match of the season, a 3-2 loss at Wellsboro.
During the season, Huffman had 118 points, including 36 aces. She also handed out 185 assists and made 147 kills, 104 digs and 16 blocks.
For the second straight year, she was named to the NTL East second-team in all-star voting by the coaches. In 2010, she also made the District Four, Class A all-star team.
“They’ve been crazy,” Huffman said of the previous 13 weeks moments after she completed her final race of the season at Hershey.
“Now that everything is over, I’ll get back to a slower pace,” she said, noting that she’ll continue to train for both sports and the upcoming track and field season.
As good as she was this past season in two sports, she had a breakout season in track last spring, winning the District Four, Class AA titles in both the 800 and 1600-meter runs to earn a spot at the PIAA championship meet. She also won her second straight 800 title in the NTL Large School meet, helping Wyalusing to the team championship.
While her schedule varied according to both teams’ slates, she usually did her cross country training run in the morning and practiced for the volleyball team after school.
“Sometimes I couldn’t get up in the morning, but I had to,” she said.
While volleyball took precedence—Huffman missed the first cross country invitational at Dallas to play in the volleyball tournament at Lock Haven—there were times during the league campaign she had to pull double duty.
The night the Lady Rams clinched a share of the cross country championship with a sweep of Towanda and Wellsboro at Towanda, she also had a volleyball match at Northeast Bradford.
Hitching a ride with junior high coach Karen Potter, who’s daughter JoAnna played volleyball, Huffman had to cut the championship celebration short.
“It was quite fun,” Huffman said of the nights of double duty.
About the only person who may have logged more miles for Wyalusing’s sports teams this past fall was bus driver Jerry Kipp.
During the season, Huffman made two trips each to Hershey and Bloomsburg for cross country. She also had to go to Cowanesque Valley for both sports. There were trips to Scranton, Canton, Athens, Towanda and Northeast Bradford for cross country. Besides the usual NTL East stops, the volleyball schedule included road games at Galeton, Wellsboro and Lock Haven.
Her father, Jim, is the Rams’ head football coach and she also tried to make as many of his games as she could. She did miss games at South Williamsport and Cowanesque Valley. She also had to miss the season finale at Towanda, but that was because she was in Hershey for the next day’s state cross country meet.
Somewhere in that schedule she had to find time to spend with her friend, Curt Jewett, a Northeast Bradford standout in cross country.
“It was really busy,” she said. “I don’t know how I did it.”