A Huge Fall Season for Middle School Sports!
Penn Charter Middle School athletics had an outstanding fall season.
- Girls and boys cross country both won Inter-Ac titles.
- The Middle School boys varsity soccer and the football team both were undefeated.
- A whopping 80 percent of students participated in fall sports.
What a season!
Students, teachers and coaches gathered on Friday to celebrate with awards, speeches and a pizza party. With the whole division gathered in Balderston Commons, coaches spoke of season highlights, memories, and commendable athletes at assembly in the morning.
Each team was applauded, and cheers rang out when the Dedication and Sportsmanship award winners were named for each team. And to top it off, everyone enjoyed a pizza party during lunch and the Athletics department surprised the participating athletes with t-shirts celebrating the highly successful season.
Director of Middle School Wilson Felter was pleased to hear that many athletes were willing to play any position to help the team, a real sign of sportsmanship, a focus on collective good, and, of course, the breadth and depth of skill of our Middle School athletes. Further, the eighth graders supported and encouraged the younger players to work hard and get better.
“When our boys JV soccer team lost their first three Inter-Ac games, they did not get down on themselves, but became more motivated to improve as a team,” Felter said. “When the JV boys played those teams a second time, they earned a win and two ties. What a great example of resilience!”
Penn Charter has begun a renewed focus on player development – for both skill and character – for several teams. The success in Middle School this year has positive implications for Upper School sports teams into the future.
“The effort toward more vertically integrated athletic programs has meant that coaches meet student athletes where they are and work to improve the skill set of the individual. This leads to the growth and development of the team,” said Jim Phillips, director of Middle School athletics. “This process – and our success – should help feed greater success at the high school level for both individual players and our teams.”
Middle School boys varsity soccer coaches Paul Blackwood and Josh Oberfield praised the undefeated team and said it was one of the best groups they have ever seen at Penn Charter. “You exemplified what it means to be a team,” Blackwood said. “Even when we struggled against Episcopal, you, as a team, just decided you would win the game. And you played hard and together and you did win.”
Girls cross country coaches Renee Skelly and Eve Schwartz commended their runners for being empowering, welcoming and committed. “A cross country team thrives when runners from the top of the leaderboard to the bottom give maximum effort and support each other,” Skelly said.
Deputy Director of Middle School Jim Fiorile said of his boys cross country team, “When something is hard, new or uncomfortable and you aren’t the fastest runner on the team, it takes guts just to stand at the starting line and run. We won Inter-Ac, but everyone on the team should also take pride in the guts you showed.”
Each team gave awards for dedication and sportsmanship. The Sportsmanship Award was given to the athlete who demonstrated the qualities of good sportsmanship. He or she is a player who demonstrated a positive attitude towards their teammates, coaches and opponents, which led to the success of the team. The Dedication Award is given to the athlete who has demonstrated commitment to his or her sport and team through a persistent daily effort and hard work. The athlete exemplifies the determination that allows the team and themselves to be successful.
Director of Athletics and Athletic Planning John Thiel said athletics in Middle School, “is an integral part of our educational program. Middle School is when our students learn what sports they are interested in and where their talents can best be applied. They learn how to be teammates and leaders while learning about respect, responsibility, hard work, integrity and self-reflection. We had a great fall this year and hope it becomes the norm at Penn Charter.”
A full list of the winners is below.
|Varsity Girls Soccer|
|JV Girls Soccer|
|Varsity Boys Soccer|
William Fleming, Jude Shorr-Parks and
|JV Boys Soccer|
|Girls Cross Country|
|Boys Cross Country|
|Noah Evans & Akeel Blake||Sportsmanship|
The Coaches' All-Inter-Ac Football Team has been released and nine Penn Charter players have received recognition. One, Jake McCain, has been honored on both sides of the ball.
Offense: Harold Anderson, lineman, junior; Evan Ferrell, receiver, senior; Mike "Neeko" Hnatkowsky, quarterback, junior.
Defense: Jake McCain, linebacker, senior
Offense: Jake McCain, running back, senior; Cody Sweeney, receiver, senior.
Defense: Kenny Bergmann, lineman, senior; Brendan Pell, linebacker, junior; Denarii Beard, back, junior; John Washington, back, sophomore.
Senior offensive lineman Sean Foley, who missed league play due to a shoulder injury, received special recognition from the coaches.
Congratulations to all!
View the complete team here.
Still thinking about that amazing PC/GA Day victory? Us too.
Football Top 7 Rushing, Passing and Receiving
Here are Penn Charter's Top 7 performances in rushing, passing and receiving in the last 34 varsity football meetings (1982-2015) vs. Germantown Academy. Three were achieved last Saturday in the Quakers' 45-17 victory.
Career Totals for Select Seniors
Rushing: 344 carries for 1,706 yards, 15 TDs
Receiving: 42 catches for 472 yards, 3 TDs
Overall Scoring: 18 TDs, 1 conversion, 110 points
Receiving: 51 catches for 828 yards, 13 TDs
Rushing: 56 carries for 212 yards, 4 TDs
Receiving: 27 catches for 482 yards, 6 TDs
Kick Scoring: 48 PAT, 9 FGs, 75 points
Literally and figuratively, the boys soccer varsity's postseason parade got rained on Thursday. Under serious precip, along with semi-heavy winds in the second half, the visiting Quakers fell to Haverford School, 3-1, in the semifinal round of the PAISAA tournament.
The Fords scored twice roughly two minutes apart starting with 14:30 remaining in the first half, then added the clincher, on a penalty kick, three minutes before game's end. PC's goal was scored five minutes earlier when junior defender Conrad Williams converted a rebound after a shot by senior forward Sean McKee resulted in a save.
Junior goalie Jay Jennings was unavailable for this one due to a concussion suffered in Tuesday's quarterfinal win over Hill School.
Coach Bob DiBenedetto's squad included seven seniors aside from McKee: starters Harrison Williams (Conrad's brother) and Drew Shaifer; subs Adam Takle, James Frye, Kobi Galvis, Michael Kearney and Iggy Quinn. Best wishes to all going forward.
Penn Charter junior quarterback Mike "Neeko" Hnatkowsky continues to garner awards.
After winning football's Geis Memorial MVP Trophy for his performance Saturday vs. Germantown Academy (466 scrimmage yards, involvement in five TDs), on Monday he was named the Player of the Week by the Philadelphia Daily News.
Players from Public, Catholic and Inter-Ac schools — 48 schools in all — are eligible. Read it here.
One can only imagine how much joy was being experienced Tuesday night in the Williams home in Voorhees, N.J.
Inside were three guys who'd helped Penn Charter's boys soccer varsity top visiting Hill School, 2-0, in the quarterfinal round of the PAISAA state tournament.
Brothers Conrad and Harrison Williams were major players on the second-half goals — Conrad scored No. 1 on an assist from Andrew Morris, and Harrison made an impressive leap for a head ball (he plays basketball and, yes, he can dunk) to set up Sean McKee for No. 2. Both tallies were directed into the lower left corner.
In goal most of the way was Jay Jennings. Jay's parents are based in Boston this school year, so Jay is living with the Williams family. He was able to complete the shutout after yielding to freshman Kyle Earley, due to an injury, for about six minutes semi-early in the second half. Kyle was flawless and, upon returning with about 13 minutes left, Jay sprawled to his left to make a sparkling stop on a penalty kick.
In a semi, coach Bob DiBenedetto's squad will travel to Haverford School. Details TBA.
These players were PC's starters:
Goalie: junior Jay Jennings
Defenders: juniors Conrad Williams and Dylan Schwartz, sophs Griffin Barnes and Connor Sullivan, freshman Billy Melnick
Midfielders: seniors Harrison Williams and Drew Shaifer, junior Max Jacobs, soph Andrew Morris
Forward: senior Sean McKee
Girls varsity soccer also was involved in a PAISAA quarterfinal Tuesday. The visiting Quakers and Friends' Central did not score through 80 minutes of regulation play and 10 overtime minutes, then FC won on penalty kicks.
Darci Borski's starters were:
Goalie: sophomore Mackenzie Listman
Defenders: senior Hannah Fox, juniors Macaul Mellor, Alex Hnatkowsky and Brigitte Gutpelet
Midfielders: seniors Dominique DeMarco and Devon Loftus, junior Alex Kuper, soph Gi DeMarco
Forwards: ninth graders Allyson Paul and Emma Maley
Penn Charter claimed the Competition Cup at the conclusion of the 129th PC-GA Day thanks to a 5.5 to 4.5 advantage in the 10 competitions that are now part of this rivalry. Which team, you ask, faced the least competition?
Let's go with girls varsity tennis. That outfit rolled to a 6-1 win. Singles wins were claimed by No. 1 Schuyler Le Barge (junior), No. 2 Brinlea LeBarge (her sister) and No. 3 Leila Sor; Brinlea and Leila are both ninth graders. The Nos. 1, 3 and 4 doubles combos also won. Their names/grades, in order: senior Paige Hodges and junior Natalie Williams; sophs Chloe Master and Meredith Bernstein; soph Lizzie Drebin and junior Hunter Smith. Hodges and Williams, who finished the season unbeaten (major props!), earned MVP honors.
Boys varsity water polo powered its way to a 16-7 victory as senior Jake Brogan, the game MVP, fired home eight goals. Boys varsity soccer appeared headed to overtime as the game rolled on and on with neither team finding the net. Then it happened. With roughly three minutes left, junior Max Jacobs (game MVP) accepted a right-to-left pass from soph Andrew Morris, gained control by flicking the ball to himself and, from roughly the left post, made sure to direct it into an open portion of the goal. Junior Jay Jennings earned the shutout and the players celebrated by racing across the field to share the joy with energized student supporters.
Earning an important half-point was girls soccer varsity. That team battled to a 2-2 tie through 90 minutes. And remained tied after double OT. Maggie Boyes, an eighth grader, scored both goals by lofting semi-far shots over the goalie's reaching-up hands. Dominique DeMarco won PC's share of the MVP trophy.