Penn Charter athletes played hard at the 136th PC/GA Day on Nov. 12, ending the day-long, 10-sport competition in a tie with Germantown Academy, 5-5. A tie means the school that won the previous PC/GA Day retains the Competition Cup, so the trophy remains with PC in East Falls. The all-time record is now 87 PC wins, 38 losses, and 11 ties since 1887.
Honoring Darryl J. Ford Hon. 1689, P '20
In addition to the lively competitions and the support of many PC fans in the stands, on the sidelines and enjoying the day's other activities at the food trucks and family fun area, the day also marked the last PC/GA Day for PC Head of School Darryl J. Ford, as he is set to retire from PC at the end of the school year. Fittingly, GA's Head of School Rich Schellhas honored Darryl, accompanied by his wife Gail and son Jameson OPC '20, at halftime of the football game.
Schellhas, standing at midfield with Darryl and his family, shared kind words over the loudspeaker about Darryl's influence and impact before gifting Darryl a framed artistic rendering of the Competition Cup bordered on each side by blueprints of the famed PC clock tower. On the trophy's plaque are Darryl's name, title, and years of service as PC Head of School.
2022 PC/GA Day Results at a Glance
|MVP Awards to PC Students
|Boys Cross Country
|Girls Cross Country
|Boys Water Polo
|Girls Water Polo
2022 PC/GA Day Full Results
by Ed Morrone OPC '04
At the 136th annual PC/GA Day on the campus of Germantown Academy on Nov. 12 – an unseasonably warm day where temperatures crept into the 70s – both the Penn Charter and Germantown Academy communities showed up in droves to enjoy the sports, sunshine and four food trucks.
The Quaker and Patriot student-athletes always bring out the best in one another, which was reflected in the final results: five wins for Penn Charter and five wins for GA (including the Patriots’ 7-1 golf win back on Nov. 2, which officially kickstarted the festivities); as a result of the 5-5 tie, the Competition Cup remains on School House Lane since PC won last year's competition.
Let’s take a closer, team-by-team look at the day’s action in the order the events were played.
GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY — PC 22, GA 36 (Win)
The day began with a win for the Quakers, as both girls and boys cross country got things started at 9:30 a.m. As she has many times this season, sophomore Alli DeLisi was the first one to cross the finish line, doing so in 19:27, more than two minutes ahead of anyone else. It was the perfect way to kick off a successful morning for the Quaker teams, as the first four scheduled squads all picked up wins.
“PC/GA Day means so much to the school and the student-athletes on the cross country team,” head coach Candice Lee said. “We take pride in kicking off the day with our eyes set on winning the first competition to set the tone.”
Following DeLisi across the finish line were: eighth grader Nieve Keitel (second, 21:35), junior Grace Neuwirth (fifth, 22:13), senior Veronica Lentz (sixth, 22:14), freshmen Natalia Modzelewski (eighth, 23:03), Michaela Poland (ninth, 23:10), Sienna Loffer (11th, 24:34) and Emily Bierwith (13th, 25:07), and senior Isabella Brightbill (18th, 28:07). The win capped a strong season for Penn Charter, with second-place finishes in both the Inter-Ac and PAISAA championship, trailing only Notre Dame in both.
“Our season was a huge success,” Lee said. “I was concerned when our season concluded last year knowing I would lose five talented seniors, but our returning runners were able to step up and deliver great performances throughout the season. We were also able to add valued incoming freshmen that have a bright future ahead of them. I am very proud of their accomplishments.”
Almost everyone on the roster will return to take another run at the league and state crowns, although Lee and company will say goodbye to Lentz and Brightbill, who will both graduate in the spring.
“Veronica was an excellent leader that always led by example and encouraged everyone to do their best,” Lee said. “Isabella took the lead on key team bonding activities that helped develop key relationships between each individual athlete. We were our own biggest cheerleaders.”
BOYS CROSS COUNTRY — PC 21, GA 34 (Win)
Shortly after the girls cross country squad notched PC’s first win of the day, head coach Tim Zwall’s boys squad was quick to add another, the team’s third straight PC/GA Day victory. Despite being without senior captain Wes Trautwein (illness), the Quakers still had the top three finishers and four of the top five — sophomore Nate Johnson was first overall with a time of 17:58, followed by senior Jack Frank (second, 18:02), sophomore T.J. Zwall (third, 18:14) and freshman Peyton Burnett (fifth, 19:07).
“It was a big win in our final team race of the season,” Coach Zwall said. “It was a great feeling for our team to help get the scoring started for PC.”
The rest of the PC runners finished as follows: senior James Glomb (10th, 19:53); freshman Liam Stewart (11th, 19:58); freshman Alex Coupas (12th, 20:28); junior Elijah Leckerman (14th, 20:38); freshman Myles Jacobs (15th, 21:33); and sophomore Ross Lee (17th, 22:08).
The win capped a strong season for the Quakers, who finished second in the Inter-Ac behind Episcopal, who won the league for the third straight year, and third in the PAISAA race behind EA and Germantown Friends. PC will graduate three key runners — Trautwein, Frank and Glomb — but will still return lots of young talent next fall, headlined by Johnson, T.J. Zwall and a multitude of freshmen.
“It was an incredible season for our program,” Coach Zwall said. “We have been consistently improving over the last couple of years. I have a goal of building one of the best programs in the state, and we took a step closer to that goal. We had three first team All-Inter Ac selections and one on the second team. We also saw a great amount of growth from our four freshmen.
“What I will remember the most about this group is our senior captains. Wes, Jack and James set the tone for our season from day one. Their leadership made us a great team. As a coach, I could not have asked for a better group. Their work ethic was second to none. Wes has been with me since he was a freshman. Watching him grow into a great athlete and leader over his four years is very satisfying. I am looking forward to coaching Wes and Jack during both indoor and outdoor track.”
BOYS SOCCER — PC 1, GA 0 (Win)
Owen Black came into his senior soccer season with an injured left ankle, and then he hurt his right one during the season, making it extremely difficult for him to even get on the field at times.
That’s why Saturday’s ending was so sweet. Black broke a scoreless tie with 7:08 remaining in regulation, scoring the game’s only goal and delivering Penn Charter a thrilling 1-0 victory. It happened a little more than a week after Black scored the game’s only goal with less than a minute left in PC’s 1-0 opening-round PAISAA victory at the Westtown School.
“It means a ton, because it’s the last time I’ll be playing with these guys … the last time I’ll be playing soccer at all,” said Black, who is bound for the University of Delaware to play lacrosse. “It was great to finish it off with a goal and a win, especially given how much of a challenge it was for me just to get on the field and be able to run.”
Black, one of nine seniors on the PC roster, delivered the team’s first PC/GA Day win since his freshman year. He said afterward that he made sure to look into the eyes of his senior teammates in the pregame huddle, as well as to the sidelines and into the stands to soak in all the support from current students, alumni, families and everyone else that packed into Carey Stadium for the 10 a.m. kickoff.
“This place means so much to me,” Black said. “I heard a lot about this day coming into my freshman year, and it felt good to get back and end it the same way I started. Just to be able to end it with a win — we will never forget this. We’ll be talking about it today, tonight, tomorrow and the rest of the school year.”
The 13 wins for PC (13-8-1, 5-4-1) were 11 more than the team had a year ago. Although the Quakers fell short of winning a league title, Black and his fellow seniors are leaving the program in good shape as they pass the baton to talented youngsters such as freshmen Willem van Beelen and Will Adair, sophomore Tazio Perkins and juniors Pete Punchello, Britton Armbrister and Jimmy Melnick, to name a few.
Aside from Black, who was named MVP of the game, the graduating seniors are Chet Kempinski, Shawn Flynn, Lance Kay, Liam McMahon, Julian Stevenson, Quinn Coyle, Nick Bolden and Cam Kraemer. Kay, who has been out all season with an injury, got to be on the field for the opening kickoff before being subbed out by the coaching staff.
“We’ve gone through so many injuries this year all across the board, so winning this game means a lot,” Black said. “It took almost 80 minutes, but we got it done.”
GIRLS WATER POLO — PC 12, GA 2 (Win)
Head coach Brian Hecker’s girls water polo team capped off a fantastic season with a dominant win over GA, PC’s sixth straight PC/GA Day triumph. The Quakers completed their season with a 14-4 overall record — which included two five-game winning streaks — and were consistently strong from start to finish.
Against the Patriots, the first quarter was a defensive struggle, with PC ultimately holding a 2-0 lead. When the second quarter began, the Quakers started to find the back of the net more consistently and extended the lead to 6-0 at halftime. The girls never looked back, and kept GA scoreless until the final two minutes of the game. Eighth grader Chelsea Gadsden, sophomore Lauren Gedraitis and junior Macie Bergmann all contributed to the team’s stellar net in goal. Seniors Merrill Gadsden and Lindsay Gadsden, juniors Abby Steinbrook and Ellie Choate and sophomores Eliza Black and Ava Coombs all chipped in to the solid defensive effort with two steals apiece.
Meanwhile, on offense, Merrill Gadsden scored four goals and had two assists and was named the game’s MVP. Steinbrook and Black each scored twice, while Choate, sophomores Grace Magee and Zoe Page and freshman Caroline Sumner all contributed to the across-the-board effort by scoring a goal.
“The girls were proud to bring home a point towards the Competition Cup for PC,” Hecker said. “That's what the day is all about.”
The girls accomplished all three of their goals this season — they became the second team in PC history to qualify for Flight I of the Beast of the East Tournament; they repeated as Eastern Prep Tournament champions; and they pushed their PC/GA Day win streak to a half dozen.
“All three goals were met this season because of the focus and dedication each and every player showed,” Hecker said. “The team competed in every game and proved they are a powerful program that other schools in the area are starting to talk about. I will remember this team as hardworking and tough, one that was willing to go nose-to-nose with anybody they got in the pool with.”
With just two seniors on the roster, the sky's the limit for the program’s future. That being said, the Quakers will graduate two of their most dynamic players in Merrill (bound for Columbia University next year to row crew) and Lindsay Gadsden (Williams College, crew).
“They helped move this program forward,” Hecker said. “Since they started as freshmen, they helped take the team to Flight I of Beast of the East two out of the last three years. They also helped bring the second and third Eastern Prep championships to PC. The love of the game was apparent for anyone who came in contact with the Gadsdens."
FIELD HOCKEY — GA 3, PC 2 (Loss)
Saturday’s season finale was a thrilling one for field hockey, who for the second time this season found themselves locked into a competitive battle with the Patriots. Penn Charter scored the first goal of the game and led 1-0 after one period before GA rallied to tie the game at 1 at halftime.
GA took its first lead of the game with three minutes left in the third and pushed across another in the fourth to increase the advantage to 3-1. But the resilient Quakers never stopped fighting, scoring a late goal and keeping the pressure on the home team until the final seconds.
“The game was very exciting,” head coach Gretta Ehret said. “We knew going in that it would be close because the last time we played them at our home field, they won 2-1. The girls looked forward to going out there and trying to get their first Inter-Ac win. They put their whole heads and hearts into the game plan.”
Ehret, a 2005 Penn Charter graduate who played field hockey for the Quakers, was able to draw on her personal PC/GA Day experience to help keep her team focused amidst the hoopla and bigger crowds that the day brings.
“The day itself is loud, fun and busy, and the crowd is huge, which can be distracting,” Ehret said. “It was important to have a game plan that kept us focused on the game and in the moment. It can feel bigger, and having a plan grounded us. The crowd was great and so was the game, one to remember for sure.”
And although the Quakers (6-12, 0-10) fell just short of that elusive league win, Ehret stressed that this season was about setting the foundation to build something for the future. It was always something that was going to take time, and the success of the year was measured beyond wins and losses.
“I couldn't have handpicked a better group of girls, each of whom wanted to improve every game,” Ehret said. “We talked about it toward the end that this never felt like a ‘losing season.’ The energy and vibes were so positive, and that’s a testament to the girls.”
The graduating field hockey seniors are: Maya Brightbill, Emerson Drake, Bea Buckley, Sydney DelBello, Ashlee Bucksar, Alex Glomb, Emelia Malhotra, Simone Paredes, Raphaela Sage, Charlotte Baker, Aisling Brady, Dabney Baum, Brooklyn Trevisan and Chloe Pinto.
BOYS WATER POLO — GA 12, PC 11 (Loss)
The boys water polo team fell to GA in a back-and-forth affair that turned into an instant classic. The game was tied at 4 after one quarter, with the Patriots taking a slim 6-5 halftime lead before PC fought back to lock it up at 10 after the third.
As they have all season, the boys fought hard the entire game. Senior Cormac Stevens led the offensive attack with five of PC’s goals, while fellow senior Juan Tovar tallied three. Sophomore James Walters had a strong performance with eight saves in goal.
“The loss was disappointing but the game was very exciting — it was close the whole way,” head coach Bobby Wurtz said. “Playing on PC/GA Day is a special experience that our team looks forward to all year. It's tough to end the season on a loss, but it's humbling to be a part of such a time-honored tradition.”
The Quakers finished their season 12-15 overall with a 3-5 Inter-Ac record, finishing a game behind Episcopal and GA in the standings. All three teams trailed league-winner Haverford, who went 17-3 and 8-0. Wurtz classified it as a successful season overall, with the Quakers earning their highest finishes in eight years at both the Beast of the East Tournament (first in Fight III) and the Eastern Prep Tournament (fourth). Stevens is now fourth all-time in program history for the most points in a single season.
The Quakers will graduate four key seniors — Stevens, Tovar, Scott Sweeney and Jackson Kemner — all of whom Wurtz praised for their continued dedication.
“What I will remember most from this year is the sense of family we had on the team,” Wurtz said. “Everyone treated each other with love and respect, and we were always there to support one another. Our seniors — Cormac, Juan, Scott and Jackson — were fantastic leaders both in and out of the pool.”
TENNIS — PC 6, GA 1 (Win)
Tennis was supposed to be the first event of the day, but rain from the night before pushed the 9 a.m. scheduled start back two hours to give the courts a little more time to dry. It was well worth the wait, as Penn Charter completed its season sweep of GA, winning both matches 6-1.
Senior Lexi Bari, the team’s no. 1 singles player, was named MVP of the match, winning in straight sets 6-2, 6-2. Sophomore Mariah Mays took care of second singles (7-5, 6-0), while fellow sophomore Karya Karabucak also claimed a straight set victory from the no. 3 singles slot at 6-2, 6-4.
On the doubles side, PC’s first three teams all won in straight sets: sophomore Leila Feldman and Bridgette Gold prevailed 6-3, 6-3 from the top spot; juniors Savannah Abernethy and Frances Guenther won 6-1, 7-5 at second doubles; and the third tandem of senior Grace Jordan-Weinstein and freshman Jordan Simon wrapped things up with a 6-4, 6-3 triumph. Senior Ella Parke and sophomore Sarah Gross battled hard in the fourth doubles slot, dropping a highly competitive match-up and still representing PC proudly.
One year after finishing 4-12 overall and 2-10 in league play, the Quakers rebounded in a major way in 2022, finishing 13-4 and 8-4, good for third place behind league stalwarts Episcopal and Baldwin. Bari, Jordan-Weinstein and Parke are the only seniors on the roster, so while they will all be difficult to replace, there is still a lot of talent returning in 2023 for the resurgent Quakers.
GIRLS SOCCER — GA 4, PC 3 (Loss)
The first half of Saturday’s penultimate event was mostly a physical defensive struggle, so when PC junior Olivia Linus scored on a penalty kick (stemming from a GA hand ball in the box) with 4:40 left, it almost felt like it could end up being the game’s only goal.
Then, the fireworks started. The Patriots opened the second half with two goals in the first 10 minutes, both by freshman Ginny Weber. The score remained 2-1 GA until PC sophomore Jul Toomey buried a rebound with 15:28 remaining.
Linus struck again with her second score of the game less than three minutes later to give Penn Charter a 3-2 advantage, but the Patriots tied it right back up within 45 seconds. It appeared that this one was destined to be deadlocked at 3 after 80 minutes of regulation, but then Weber struck for the third and final time with 1:11 left on the clock. The Quakers (8-10-1, 4-8) very nearly scored in the final seconds to tie it up again but fell just short, and the Patriots earned a thrilling 4-3 victory.
“We asked them to leave it all on the field, and that’s what they did,” head coach Ashley Maher said. “It was a really great game where everyone played their hearts out, and that’s all you can ask for."
Maher specifically shouted out freshman Carly Lewinski’s stellar play on the back line, and fellow freshmen such as Lucy Sokoloff and Cassidy McCusker also played major roles. Sophomores Toomey and Tristan Raymond were huge pieces of the puzzle, as were juniors Linus and Haley Lewinski, just to name a few.
“By the end, four or five of them were out there constantly,” Maher said. “We had strong freshman and sophomore classes, and they came so far. It was really great to see their confidence grow, and I’m really excited for the future.”
“Us seniors have been together for so long, and we built the team chemistry in part because we were always with each other,” Bella Toomey said. “We knew it was coming to an end, so we kept reminding ourselves to take it all in. It’s insane how good this team is going to be within two years, and I can’t wait to come back and see it.”
FOOTBALL — GA 28, PC 27 (Loss)
After a long day of thrilling competition, it was only fitting that PC/GA’s final event would come down to the final minute.
PC junior Zack Curtin got the Quakers on the board with a touchdown run with 2:05 remaining in the first quarter for a 7-0 advantage. Not long after, senior quarterback Seamus McCain hit fellow senior Liam Rowan with a 23-yard touchdown pass to give PC a 14-0 lead. But the Patriots would not lay down, and senior Evan Spivey’s second touchdown of the first half with just 10 seconds on the clock sent the teams to halftime deadlocked at 14.
“I don’t know what their third down conversion rate was, but I was told at halftime they converted seven straight to end the half,” head coach Tom Coyle said. “We took a 14-0 lead and by our own fault we allowed them back into the game. They went into halftime feeling good, and we were disappointed about our missed opportunities. They took advantage on their end.”
The Patriots got the ball to start the second half and drove all the way down to the PC 18 before turning it over on downs thanks to a huge Rowan tackle on 4th-and-1. Beginning at their own 19, the Quakers (5-5, 1-4) needed just three plays to reach the end zone — McCain scrambled for 14 yards on first down before connecting with senior wideout Isaiah Grimes for a 65-yard pass that took the ball down to the GA 2. Senior running back Ohifame Ijeboi put the Quakers back on top 21-14 with a 2-yard TD run on the next play.
Rowan recovered a GA fumble on the next drive, giving PC favorable field position but the team couldn’t convert on a 32-yard field goal attempt. Patriots junior Tripp Capers tied the score at 21 on a 31-yard TD run with 9:17 left in the fourth quarter, and GA had a massive fumble recovery on PC’s next possession that allowed the hosts to begin their drive at the Penn Charter 33. Seven plays later, Capers scored again, this time on a 1-yard run that put GA in front for the first time all game at 28-21 with 4:36 remaining.
Things looked bleak after McCain was picked off on the first play of the next drive, giving the Patriots the ball on their own 48 with a seven-point lead. But Rowan made another enormous defensive play, getting a strip sack on third down. GA recovered the fumble but lost 18 yards on the play and had to punt, and the Quakers took over on their own 42 thanks to a 15-yard penalty against the Patriots.
McCain hit Grimes with a 32-yard pass on first down that moved the ball down to the GA 11, and the next three plays went incompletion, McCain nine-yard run and Ijeboi six-yard loss on a run from the 2. On 4th-and-6 from the GA 7, McCain muscled his way past the Patriots defense into the end zone for a touchdown with 40 seconds remaining. Unfortunately, the extra point was blocked, and GA entered victory formation after recovering the onside kick, ultimately claiming a nail-biting 28-27 win. It was just PC’s third miss in 30 extra point attempts this season, and Coyle was adamant about looking beyond that as a reason for the loss.
“A lot of things go into losing a game like that,” said Coyle, pointing out the team’s three turnovers. “We’ve been on the other side of it. It just didn’t go our way today."
McCain went 9-for-15 for 169 passing yards and a touchdown while also rushing 12 times for 62 yards and another score. Curtin racked up 60 yards on 11 carries and finished his junior season with 10 touchdowns (eight rushing, two receiving). Rowan caught three passes for 52 yards and his eighth receiving TD of the season (five more came against SCH Academy the week before), while Grimes ended his career with a five-catch, 112-yard performance. He had five receiving TD’s this season, while Colin Schumm led the team with three interceptions. McCain and Rowan led the defense with 4.5 and 3.5 sacks, respectively, while sophomore Hugh Maley led the way with 57 total tackles. Junior Jimmy Melnick and senior Quinn Coyle combined to go 27-for-30 on extra points, and Melnick also made two field goals.
Although the day ended in 5-5 tie, Penn Charter still holds a huge advantage in the football series — the tally is now 87 wins for the Quakers and 38 for the Patriots, with 11 of the games ending in ties. It was GA’s first football victory since 2019, and PC has still won four of the last six.
“It’s hard to get three wins in a row in this game, so we knew it would be difficult,” Coyle said.
Coyle made sure to thank the program’s seniors, of which there were many key contributors. The players who will graduate in the spring are: McCain, Rowan, Grimes, Schumm, Coyle, Davin Barnett, Patrick Rullo, Patrick McDonough, David Comitale, Andrew Rosania, Chase Sahingur, Cliff Harling and Christian Austin.
“We spoke briefly to them and thanked them all,” Coyle said. “It’s disappointing to finish like this, and at 5-5 we had some ups and downs, but overall we played good, competitive football. The seniors got to experience two really good wins over GA, and today they got to feel what it’s like to fall on the short end of that.
"I give the kids credit for standing up and putting themselves out there. There’s some disappointment that we’ll all share. Our younger returners will have to work hard and figure out how they will be defined as football players within this program. The kids that are leaving will do so with their heads held high knowing that they contributed to some great wins during their time here.”