Although the summer represents a period of downtime for high school athletics, a handful of Penn Charter swimmers have been hard at work.
Senior Reece Whitley, the nation’s top swim recruit who committed to swim collegiately to the University of California, Berkeley this summer, will have a busy month of August before his final year at Penn Charter officially begins.
First up for Whitley will be U.S. Junior Nationals in Long Island from Aug. 8-12, where he will be swimming in multiple events. Then, later in the month, Whitley will be representing Team USA at the Junior World Championships in Indianapolis from Aug. 23-28, where he will swim in the 50, 100 and 200m breaststroke events. It will be Whitley’s third time wearing the American flag on his cap, as he also participated in the 2015 Junior Worlds in Singapore and the U.S. Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Maui last year.
“To wear that cap with the U.S. flag is pretty amazing, and Reece will have done it three times by the time he was 17 years old,” said Crystal Keelan, the head coach of the Penn Charter Aquatic Club, a USA Swimming-affiliated club where Whitley trains year-round and allows him to qualify for national and international meets. “It’s super exciting.
Whitley was also recently named Male High School Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World for the 2016-17 season. The Penn Charter senior ranked No. 1 in two events: the 100m breaststroke and 200 individual medley.
Whitley will have company at the Junior Nationals in Long Island in the form of former PC teammate Evan McFadden, who graduated in June. McFadden will swim and the 100 and 200m breaststroke events before heading off to his freshman year at Ohio State University, where he will swim at the Division I level.
“I started coaching Evan two years ago and he was not one of the top swimmers at the time,” said Keelan, also an assistant coach for the PC swim team. “He took to my style of coaching and was always asking questions as to how he could get better. He squeaked into qualifying at his first Junior Nationals last December, then became a finalist in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes, swimming a 56.1.
“He won Senior Champs out of nowhere to the point where other coaches were like, ‘Who is this kid?’ It’s very exciting because he hasn’t come close to hitting his ceiling yet, and I’m excited to see what the next four years bring for him.”
Elsewhere, Penn Charter sophomore sisters Gabriella and Marissa Lopez-Ona each qualified for the Futures Championships from Aug. 3-6 in Geneva, Ohio. Gabriella will swim the 100 and 200m fly events, while Marissa will compete in both the 100 and 200m breaststroke.
“Both of them did awesome at Eastern Championships and represented PC really well,” Keelan said. “The Futures will be a really big event to attend for both of them. They have a great, healthy competition with each other in practice, and they’re not just really fast for no reason … they’ve worked for everything they have achieved.”
Last but not least is Camille Weiss (on right, with Gabby Lopez-Ona), an incoming PC freshman and one of the youngest swimmers to attend the Senior Championship meet, according to Keelan. There, Weiss was one of PC’s top scorers, making the finals in the 100 & 200m fly, the 50, 100, 200 and 400m freestyle events, as well as the 200m individual medley and 800m freestyle.
“She’s our little bullet, she’s just nonstop in practice to the point where she gives Reece a run for his money sometimes,” Keelan said. “She doesn’t have a specialty yet and we’re not locking her into any one event since she’s both our fastest and longest-distance sprinter. Clearly there’s not much we need to change with her right now.”
Keelan said Weiss also participated in the Junior Olympics, an event for swimmers 14 and under. There, Weiss finished with the fifth-highest score despite the fact that she only swam on two of the event’s four days.
Keelan also had some good news to report herself, as she was named an assistant to the men’s staff for the Junior Worlds in Indianapolis. It will be the second time she represents Team USA as a coach, having done so at the Pan Pacific Championships in Hawaii last year.
“It’s such an honor,” Keelan said. “I’m used to being around Reece, so this will be an opportunity to be around a bunch of swimmers of his caliber who have worked so hard to get to this level. To see them be so successful at such a young age is incredible. I look forward to representing both Penn Charter and Team USA!”
Each year, 80 of the top American amateur baseball players under the age of 18 gather to participate in the USA Baseball Tournament of Stars. The national exposure helps players who hope to open eyes and succeed at the next level.
Siani was one of those 80 players selected this year to participate in the Tournament of Stars. Siani, the Quakers’ starting center fielder and a University of Virginia verbal commit, was a member of Team United. On Saturday in the bronze medal game against Team Brave in Cary, N.C., Siani made an unbelievable running, diving catch on a ball that looked certain to sail over his head in center. It’s one you have to see to truly believe.
MLB.com has the video.
Siani also batted leadoff for Team United, going 2-for-4 with a stolen base in the 7-2 loss to Team Brave.
Senior Reece Whitley is headed to the 2017 U.S. Nationals/World Championships Swimming Trials in Indiana this week.
The Washington Post profiled Whitley and his impact on the sport thus far, his drive to swim his best times, how he navigates the reality of being one of the few African Americans stars in the sport, and the added importance of winning.
Read the full story and check your local listings for broadcasts of the Trials. Reece, who has just announced a verbal commitment to Cal Berkeley, is expected to swim the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke and the 200 individual medley.
Go Reece! Go Charter!
Three Penn Charter softball players were selected to play in the Carpenter Cup Classic, a high school all-star tournament sponsored by the Phillies that pits 16 teams from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware against each other.
Rising junior Abby Manion (left) and rising seniors Ava Nicolucci and Chloe Master (center and right) competed with the Inter-Ac squad, which went 1-for-3 in the double-elimination tournament.
The Inter-Ac squad lost its first contest to Chester County, 4-0 on Tuesday morning, a game in which Nicolucci pitched two innings in relief. Needing a win to stay alive in the afternoon, the Inter-Ac team responded with a 9-6 victory over Olympic Colonial. This time Nicolucci contributed three innings in the pitching circle and ended up the winning pitcher after her teammates broke a 5-5 tie in the eighth inning.
Nicolucci, Manion and Master moved on to their third game of the day, needing another win to advance to the next day. However, it wasn’t meant to be, as the Inter-Ac team fell 10-1 to Delaware County East. Manion knocked in her team’s only run with a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning, and Nicolucci logged 2 2/3 more innings in the pitching circle.
The trio will return to the softball diamond for Penn Charter in 2018, where they will try to lead the Quakers to a fourth consecutive PAISAA championship.
Reece Whitley, Penn Charter Class of 2018 and the top-ranked high school swimming recruit in the country, has verbally committed to the University of California, Berkeley.
Whitley made the announcement on his Twitter page over the weekend.
Whitley, of Lafayette Hill, participated at the Eastern Invitational Swimming Championships at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster in February. There, the then-Penn Charter junior broke a national record in the 100-meter breaststroke. Whitley, a breaststroke specialist, swam the event in 52.35 seconds, beating the previous time of 52.65.
Then, later that night, Whitley swam it again in 51.84 seconds to break his own record.
According to SwimSwam.com, Whitley was a semifinalist at the 2016 Olympic Trials in both breaststroke events, “placing 13th and 14th overall respectively and gaining valuable experience.”
Whitley will continue to gain valuable experience when he matriculates at Cal, a swim program known nationally for attracting top talent at the prep level.
Coaches honored Middle School spring athletes Wednesday morning at an assembly in Balderston Commons. In awarding the Sportsmanship and Dedication awards, coaches spoke about their teams and about the contributions of specific student-athletes.
|Varsity Baseball||Sportsmanship||Jake Siani & Josh Felter|
|Varsity Baseball||Dedication||Dean Bergmann|
|JV Baseball||Sportsmanship||Alex Nadol|
|JV Baseball||Dedication||Aidan Mehta|
|Varsity Boys Lacrosse||Sportsmanship||Antonio DeMarco|
|Varsity Boys Lacrosse||Dedication||Jonathan Brady|
|JV Boys Lacrosse||Sportsmanship||Cliff Harling|
|JV Boys Lacrosse||Dedication||Oliver Leedale-Brown|
|Varsity Girls Lacrosse||Sportsmanship||Kaitlynn Haughey & Lila Worgan|
|Varsity Girls Lacrosse||Dedication||Ava Cole|
|JV Girls Lacrosse||Sportsmanship||Sydney Wood|
|JV Girls Lacrosse||Dedication||Hailey Dykstra|
|Varsity Softball||Sportsmanship||Sophia Reagan|
|Varsity Softball||Dedication||Averie Schnupp & Amanda Raphael|
|Varsity Tennis||Sportsmanship||Eric Liriano|
|Varsity Tennis||Dedication||Will Lubowitz|
|Coed Track||Sportsmanship||Noah Brooks & Mallory Schwartz|
|Coed Track||Dedication||Kees Lynch & Milan Poland|
Athletics Banquet Recognizes Student Athletes
The end-of-year Athletics Banquet honored athletes, coaches and teams, and celebrated an exciting year in athletics that earned PC five Inter-Ac championships – in boys and girls soccer, girls tennis, baseball, and boys track and field – plus state championships in softball and boys track and field. Go, Charter!
The evening included shout-outs to four-year, three-sport athletes – Billy Costello, Mireyah Davis, Lexi Hnatkowsky, Michael Hnatkowsky, Mary Jane McGlinchey, Macaul Mellor, Emily Zurcher – and the students who will move on to play their sport in college.
The athletes honored by PC coaches were:
|Matthew Gorman||Baseball||Coaches' Award|
|Brendan Pell||Baseball||Coaches' Award|
|Stephen Flemming||Crew||Coaches' Award|
|Matthew Kestenbaum||Crew||Coaches' Award|
|Tristan Laurencio||Crew||Coaches' Award|
|Emma Grugan||Crew||Coaches' Award|
|Maria Perry||Crew||Coaches' Award|
|Kelsey White||Crew||Coaches' Award|
|Courtney Cubbin||Lacrosse||Coaches' Award|
|Hannah Kuper||Lacrosse||Coaches' Award|
|Macaul Mellor||Lacrosse||Coaches' Award|
|Nick DiCicco||Lacrosse||Coaches' Award|
|Luke Stansfield||Lacrosse||Coaches' Award|
|Gavin Tygh||Lacrosse||Coaches' Award|
|Brigitte Gutpelet||Softball||Coaches' Award|
|Abby Manion||Softball||Coaches' Award|
|Grace Stansfield||Softball||Coaches' Award|
|Scott Hanson||Tennis||Coaches' Award|
|Tyler Schwartz||Tennis||Coaches' Award|
|Ben Swanson||Tennis||Coaches' Award|
|Akeem Blake||Track & Field||Coaches' Award|
|Dylan Burnett||Track & Field||Coaches' Award|
|Chris Tucker||Track & Field||Coaches' Award|
|Alexis Hnatkowsky||Track & Field||Coaches' Award|
|Ainyae Holmes||Track & Field||Coaches' Award|
|Felicia Robinson||Track & Field||Coaches' Award|
Penn Charter has provided student athletes with resources to match their talents. On 47 acres, Penn Charter offers its players and fans:
- five grass playing fields, two synthetic turf fields, one all-weather, eight-lane track, seven tennis courts, 10 squash courts, four basketball courts, and one swimming pool.
- PC has four buildings designated for athletics: Graham Athletics Center — with the new Blaine A. Steinberg OPC '11 Center for Fitness and Performance — Kline & Specter Squash Center, Ray Dooney Field House, and the Old Gym.
The spirit of Penn Charter athletics is built on a storied tradition of excellence and the belief that the interplay of academics, arts and athletics leads to strong, creative, resilient and flexible people.
Skilled teachers and coaches help our students understand – whether on the playing field or in the classroom – how to collaborate and compete, how to win with grace, and how to handle challenges and setbacks.
Our school cheer is: Go Charter!
We appreciate the student athletes who are now powering PC to great feats, and look forward to welcoming those who will do so in the future. Also, of course, we eternally appreciate the efforts of all OPCs!