Kudos to Athletes, Coaches
What great fun and success we have had this year. Five teams won Inter-Ac championships: boys and girls soccer, girls tennis, baseball, and boys track and field. Softball and boys track and field won PAISAA state titles, and boys golf and soccer were runners-up in PAISAA. The state title was the third in a row for softball, for boys track and field it was a first.
Our student participation rate continues to be very high. Twenty-five percent of our students play three sports. Forty-four percent play in two seasons. Ninety-one percent of our students surveyed have had a positive athletic experience; seven and a half percent average; and less than two percent said they had a negative experience. Though we are disappointed if any student does not have a positive experience, it is quite remarkable that 91percent of students have a positive experience. Thirty-six of our seniors are planning to go on to play in college. That is great!
We especially want to recognize our four-year, three-sport athletes – Billy Costello, Mireyah Davis, Lexi Hnatkowsky, Michael Hnatkowsky, Mary Jane McGlinchey, Macaul Mellor and Emily Zurcher. Each was given a blue or yellow blanket representing their color team at the recent Athletics Banquet. At that same event we recognized two athletes named Most Valuable Players for the Inter-Ac: senior Joey Lancellotti in baseball and junior Gi DeMarco in girls soccer.
We recognized these students, plus the winners of the spring athletics awards, pictured above, and all of our 2016-2017 athletes at the Athletics Banquet on May 25.
Here is a look back at the highlights of the spring season.
Boys Track and Field
Boys track and field made a clean sweep – an Inter-Ac and a state title. Seniors Akeem Blake and Chris Tucker won two events apiece to lead the boys to an Inter-Ac championship by a wide margin over the rest of the league and our first-ever PAISAA championship. In the Inter-Ac meet Blake seized first in the long jump (23-7, tying the Inter-Ac record) and triple jump (44-8 1/2) and placed second in the high jump at 6-9. In the high jump, Akeem briefly owned the Inter-Ac record when he cleared 6-9 before eventually finishing second. Tucker won the 100 (11.02) and 200 (22.00) and sophomore Edward Saydee was second and third, respectively. Freshman Marcellus Poland (50.34) and junior Matt Barkann finished 1-2 in the 400, senior Dylan Burnett placed third in both hurdles events, freshman Akeel Blake and junior Tzion Jones enabled PC to finish 1-2-3 in the triple jump and senior Edgar McIlvaine soared to third in the pole vault. Blake, Poland and Tucker were named All-Inter-Ac.
In the PAISAA meet, Tucker (10.96 in the 100 and 22.34 in the 200) and Blake (6-4 in the high jump and 44-3 in the triple jump) were double winners. Blake was also second in the long jump (22-5 1/2). Senior Dylan Burnett claimed second in both hurdles (14.80 high, 41.50 intermediate). McIlvaine (11-0) and Chris Johnson (10-6) tied for fifth and seventh, respectively, in the pole vault, and Harper Pollio-Barbee finished sixth in the 800 (2:01.90). Akeel Blake was third in the triple jump (41-6) and fourth in the high jump (5-10), Patrick Gabor was third in the high jump (6-2), Poland was fourth in the 400 (50.99), Jones was fifth in the triple jump (40-7 1/2) and Matt Barkann was sixth in the high hurdles (16.34).
This spring we had a remarkable season. Two Inter-Ac and two PAISAA championships. Our baseball team, lead by senior, UNC-bound, Inter-Ac MVP Joey Lancellotti, posted one of the best seasons in school history, finishing 25-2 and with an Inter-Ac championship. The team was dominated by 14 seniors, 10 of whom are going on to play in college. The infield was all seniors; Lancellotti or Andrew Cohen at first, Brendan Pell at second, Adam Holland at short, and Dom Toso at third. Seniors James Gabor anchored left field and Steve Lorenz was the DH. Lancellotti, Matt Gorman and Brendan Cellucci dominated on the mound. Lancelotti, Cellucci, Michael Siani, Toso, Gabor, Holland, Lorenz, and Sammy Siani made the first- or second-team All-Inter-Ac Team. The PC team was ranked as high as 14th in the nation by USA Today.
Our softball team finished with a 22-5 record. Over the last three years the team has an incredible 66-9 record, three PAISAA championships and two Inter-Ac titles. This year’s team was lead by Brigitte Gutpelet at shortstop and pitcher Faith Fenton. The girls were disappointed that they did not repeat as Inter-Ac champions but it was evident that that loss gave them additional drive when PAISAA playoffs started. The girls played exceptional softball to three-peat in the state competition. The Quakers are the first school to win three straight PAISAA softball championships. Two underclass women stood out: catcher Grace Stansfield and third baseman Abigail Quinn. Both were exceptional in the field and at the plate. Gutpelet, Fenton, Stansfield and Quinn made first- or second-team All-Inter-Ac.
Girls Track and Field
The highlight for the girls was an undefeated Inter-Ac dual meet season, a remarkable achievement. The girls placed fifth with 64 points in the Inter-Ac championship meet hosted here on campus. Headliners: senior Felicia Robinson, first in the triple jump (35-9 1/2); soph Ainyae Holmes, second in the 100 (13.03); senior Lexi Hnatkowsky, third in the intermediate hurdles (51.73); and senior Amira Martin, third in the long jump (15-3 1/4). Robinson was named All-Inter-Ac. In the PAISAA state meet, the girls placed 10th. Junior Jernee Watson turned in the best performance, clearing 8-0 in the pole vault to tie for second. Fourths were garnered by Ainyae Holmes in the 200 (27.32), Carmen Williams (tie) in the high jump (4-8) and Anne Flemming in the triple jump (31-11). Ninth grader Sara Shipon set a school record in the 1600 (5:12.30).
After losing four of our top seven players from last year’s team, the boys tennis team needed players to step up to fill new and higher positions on the ladder. Junior Ben Swanson stepped up to captain the team and play in the #1 singles slot. Eighth grader Joshua John and freshman Charlie Jordan-Weinstein stepped up to fill the #2 and #3 singles spots, respectively. A more seasoned doubles line featuring Tom Bradbeer, Justin Ko, Alex Shipon, Jake Cutler, Tyler Schwartz, Josh Toll, Rohan Bhambhani and Scott Hanson competed hard and found ways to win matches.
There was no magic formula for winning matches this year, and every win seemed to come from different places in the lineup. A windswept GA match featured close wins from Swanson and Jordan-Weinstein, Bradbeer/Shipon, Cutler/Schwartz and Hanson/Toll; a nail-biting win over GFS (4-3) required a sweep of all the doubles matches; the win against Shipley was anchored with a sweep of the singles matches. Overall, the team finished with an 8-3 record, losing to only the Haverford School and Episcopal Academy. In late April, the team traveled to the New England and Mid-Atlantic Doubles Invitational. Out of the 16 prep schools assembled, PC secured a top-six finish. Ben Swanson was named to the All-Inter-Ac team, his third such honor in three years.
The girls lacrosse season was definitely a growing year for the program, led by a strong senior class. The starting lineup consisted of eight underclassmen. We improved drastically throughout the season, shown by the big wins against Germantown Academy, Springside and Baldwin in the second half of the season. We lost three one-goal games to top teams: Abington in overtime, Downingtown West in overtime and Manheim Township. The last game of the season we showed a lot of hustle and heart in a tough battle against Notre Dame in the PAISSA playoffs. We suffered a 9-6 loss, but the girls walked off with their heads held high as they knew they gave an all-out team effort.
Senior captain Macaul Mellor led the team in goals, assists, ground balls and draw controls. Courtney Cubbin, also a senior captain, was right behind Macaul in goals and draw controls and always stepped up when we needed her. Senior Perri Keefhuss was a spark on attack, and Alex Kuper was an aggressive, tough addition to that defensive unit. Hannah Griffith was our fifth senior and acted as a great leader and role model for the team.
Junior Alexis Joseph had a standout season, showing her versatility in the midfield scoring the third most goals while anchoring the defense all season. Hayley Hunt was a star in the cage, having multiple games with 10 plus saves and a career high of 17 in our win against Wissahickon.
Next year we have a lot of returning players and they have been stepping up their game, especially toward the end of the season. Macaul Mellor, Alexis Joseph and Hayley Hunt made first- or second-team All-Inter Ac. Courtney Cubbin earned PASLA All-Academic recognition.
Boys lacrosse finished with a final record of 11 wins and 12 losses. With a new assistant coaching staff led by veteran head coach Pat McDonough and supported by OPCs Joey Sankey (2011) and John Moderski (2012), along with Bobby Tait and Michael Tabasso, the team was very young, with a large number of contributing freshmen and sophomores. A new offensive scheme yielded the highest number of goals since 2012 and an increase of goals per game from 5.6 over the past three years to 9.1 in 2017. This increased production from the offense was balanced by an extremely strong and talented defense.
Mid-spring something clicked within the boys lacrosse team. The season had started with ups and downs – winning some, losing some. But then we faced Haverford. The boys came out ready to play and won a hard-fought game for the program’s first win versus the Fords since 2001. The next game was against another nationally ranked Inter-Ac team, Malvern Prep. The boys again played outstanding lacrosse, taking the game to overtime before falling 9-8. The team went on to have one of its most successful Inter-Ac campaigns, finishing 5-5 in the league. The Inter-Ac season by all measures was successful, with strong wins over #1 Haverford, Episcopal Academy and a close loss in overtime to Malvern Prep.
Not afraid to challenge themselves, the squad also competed in non-league games against top nationally ranked teams such as the Hill Academy and St. Anne's Belfield. Out of 3,901 high school programs nationally, Penn Charter’s strength-of-schedule ranked #42, according to LaxPower. Players were rewarded with All-Inter-Ac recognition going to Luke Stansfield, Gavin Tygh, Dylan Schwartz, Blake Target, Nick DiCicco and Sam Keyser.
Please enjoy more photos of our athletes, mostly seniors, by Zamani Feelings.