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RUN AS ONE, WIN AS ONE: It’s Been a Golden Age of Sports Success at Redbank Valley Recently With Multiple D9 Championships

NEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Displayed in Owen Clouse’s bedroom are trophies, plaques and medals from accolades both personal and collective.

Sometimes Clouse admires them — not out of vanity, but out of astonishment.

“Sometimes I just walk around my room, I see them, and I’m amazed by them,” Clouse said.

(Pictured above, members of the Redbank Valley boys and girls basketball team pose together after both captured District 9 crowns at Tippin Gymnasium on Saturday)

It’s been quite a run for Clouse and Redbank Valley as a whole. The school is enjoying something of a golden age of sports triumphs and Clouse, a senior, is right smack dab in the middle of it.

It started last spring when the baseball team snagged a District 9 title. Clouse was a big part of that championship.

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.

Then in the fall, Clouse did double duty, staring for the both the soccer and football teams at the school. Both claimed D9 crowns as Clouse surpassed 100 career goals on the pitch in his career, putting the scoring record so far out of reach for the Bulldogs it may never be challenged.

On March 2, Clouse added a fourth district title in four sports seasons with a basketball championship with Redbank.

“It feels great,” Clouse said. “I’m blessed for every moment of it and especially for all my teammates. All the hard work you put in, to see it pay off, is amazing.”

Boys teams as the school aren’t alone in the championship haul.

The girls basketball team won a third-consecutive D9 championship, also on March 2. The girls track and field team snagged a district title two years ago, and the volleyball team was also the queens of D9 in 2021.

Individually, Mylee Harmon — also a star for the girls basketball and volleyball teams at the school — sprinted to a championship in the 400-meter dash at the PIAA Track and Field Championships in Shippensburg in May of 2022.

The common thread has been the top athletes at Redbank Valley playing multiple sports.

“It’s just something unique,” Clouse said. “It’s pretty cool.”

Senior Izzy Bond has also ridden that wave of success.

She has three championships as a member of the basketball team and one in volleyball.

“It means a lot,” she said. “We get a lot of support from the community and obviously the school for both boys and girls. We’re always cheering each other on and that’s really special because not a lot of other schools have that, have that chemistry that the boys and girls here seem to have. It’s a special experience.”

(Pictures above, Owen Clouse’s four District 9 championship medals won in just the last nine months as a member of the Redbank Valley baseball, boys soccer, football and basketball teams)

After the Redbank Valley girls basketball team won the championship on Saturday, every member of the team remained at Tippin Gymnasium to watch the boys also win a title.

They posed for a picture together, gold medals dangling from their neck and smiles creasing their faces.

The teams also whipped up a joint slogan for the playoff push, which will blitz into the PIAA Class 2A playoffs this coming weekend.

Run as One.

“We got shirts made,” Bond said. “We did it because not every school has the ability to have both boys and girls teams make it that far. It was a chance for us to show our support for each other.”

Bond also said it is important to the athletes within the school to lend their talents to multiple sports.

“It’s really important that we do that,” she said. “I mean, our school is really small and we’re all always kind of in shape. I know the boys made that run in football and then they just dove right into basketball and it was kind of cool to see. They’re out there winning a championship in football and they come back into basketball with like no practices before the first game. They jump right in and win a basketball championship, too. It’s just really cool.”

Bond is doing what she can to contribute to multiple sports.

She’s even going to pick up a new one this spring: softball.

“I played when I was in the third grade up to the sixth grade,” Bond said. “But I stopped to play AAU basketball — it was at the same time as varsity softball. It’s my seniors year. I’m gonna come back out of retirement.”

For Bond, winning the D9 championship in basketball was a little sweeter.

She got to do it again with her younger sister, sophomore Addy Bond. She also got to do it with a team that entered the campaign with more than a few unknowns after graduation losses of stars like Alivia Huffman and Caylen Rearick.

Bond was the only senior on the roster — and she felt that onus.

“I’m just grateful for the opportunity to be able to get that with my team for three years,” Bond said. “You know, we had Alivia last year and Caylen and we lost five seniors. I really had to step up and be a leader. We were still able to do it and win a championship.”

The boys basketball team also had the same uncertainty. But even a loss in the Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference tournament couldn’t derail the Bulldogs’ run to a district title.

It may have, strangely, helped.

“That loss, that was the last game we could lose and still be able to play,” Clouse said. “So going forward, if we lost we were out and that was the mindset we had. We knew we had to go hard, 110% the whole time.

“This is probably one of the sports I least expected to win (a D9 title in),” Clouse added. “But for everyone to put the hard work in and all the long hours in the gym, it definitely paid off.”

Both Redbank Valley basketball teams feel like they aren’t done.

Both believe they can make big runs in the state tournament.

They’ll all be there, supporting each other.

“We’ve all grown up with these boys and girls,” Clouse said. “Just to be with them all the way is great. It’s great all around when we all do that for each other.”

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.