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SportsZone for April 14

SportsZone for April 14

We have reached an exciting time in the spring sports season, with all seven teams that competed over the last week either beginning or continuing their league schedule against Inter-Ac rivals. Over the next month the Quakers will mostly square off against their Inter-Ac foes, so let’s take a look at how things have fared so far for each squad.

Note: This report covers athletic contests played between April 6-13.

Baseball

Penn Charter baseball

After ripping off seven straight wins at home to start their season, the Quakers have hit their first stretch of adversity as the team has dropped its last three. The first two defeats were a pair of one-run non-league road losses: 4-3 at Shipley on April 3 and a walk-off 3-2 decision at Holy Ghost Prep on April 5.

Following almost a week off, PC returned to action on April 11 with its league opener against SCH Academy. In another close thriller that unfortunately did not go Penn Charter’s way, the Blue Devils claimed a 5-2 win in nine innings. After playing to a 2-2 tie for the first eight, SCH scored three times in the top of the ninth, with the big blow being a two-run triple. The Quakers (7-3, 0-1) loaded the bases in the ninth but were unable to push any runs across.

The team’s pitching has remained stout during the losing streak, with the two biggest issues being a lack of timely hits and some inopportune defensive miscues. 

“The silver lining is that we’ve been beating ourselves,” head coach Justin Hanley said. “We made mental mistakes that cost us. It’s not ideal, but the sky isn’t falling.”

Hanley pointed to the fact that the Quakers lost their league opener in 2021 before winning the next eight in a row, something the head coach believes this team is capable of, especially with a stable of talented pitchers capable of shutting down lineups. The team’s top four pitchers — Scott Doran, Christian Clauss, Will Vieira and Ryan Conrad — have combined to give up just 11 earned runs in more than 60 combined innings of work. 

“Our pitching has remained rock solid,” Hanley said. “Offensively, we’re getting guys on base, but are just failing to get the big hit. We’re on the cusp, and if we break through then we’re going to win a lot of games in this league.”

Over the next week, the Quakers will travel to Haverford School on April 14 to play a Fords team that has started 11-2, host 9-2 Episcopal on April 18, then enter an April 21 contest at 12-1 Malvern Prep, the defending league champion. 

“There’s no shortage of confidence on this team,” Hanley said. “We’re getting good swings but we’re either missing or the timing is just off. That’s baseball. We’re trying to get them to focus more on the process than the result. Once they become obsessed with the preparation and little details, the miscues will dissipate and the wins will stack up.”

 

Softball

Penn Charter softball

After two straight losses to open the league schedule — including a 9-1 defeat to Episcopal on April 6 — first-year head coach Charles Warren picked up his first Inter-Ac victory with a 20-5 win over Notre Dame on April 11.

“It felt good but it was a big win for the girls, mostly,” Warren said. “They played as close to a flawless game as possible.”

Warren moved junior Macie Bergmann — one of his most experienced players — up one spot in the order to the three-hole so she could get more at-bats in RBI situations, and it worked wonders as Bergmann and those around her were part of an offensive explosion that included nine doubles. Lauren Gedraitis and Ryan Hatty (4-for-5, three doubles, five RBIs) hit back-to-back home runs, while Gedraitis also pitched a complete game while striking out four. Maddy Wray went 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles and five RBIs. 

Warren also used the lopsided score against the Irish as an opportunity to get some younger players a longer look. Some of those who impressed were sophomore Arielle Willis, whom Warren called “a defensive standout;” and junior Payton Handler, who stepped in to play first base for the first time in her life and made a defensive gem against the first batter of the game; freshman Liv Wolanin, who also made defensive contributions at a new position (second base) while continuing to show progress at the plate; and sophomore Taylor McMillan, who kept swinging a hot bat. This showed Warren that some of his youngsters outside of the more experienced “Fab Five” leaders — Bergmann, her younger sister Madelyn, Hatty, Gedraitis and Wray — are ready to play at the varsity level. 

“The collective energy and leadership from me and the Fab Five has been contagious in the right way,” Warren said. “Everybody is looking to contribute, no matter how big or small. Winning is great, but it’s about doing so consistently. It’s important for us to stay grounded while also understanding that we can run with any team, talent-wise. We’ll keep that mentality and continue to work hard while feeding off good feelings like the Notre Dame win.”

Penn Charter (3-3, 1-2) will next be in action at Baldwin on April 18 at 3:30 p.m. 
 

Boys Lacrosse

Penn Charter boys lax

Before the Quakers kicked off their league slate on April 11 against SCH Academy, they had a pair of immensely talented non-league foes on the schedule.

First up was Westtown School, who defeated PC 18-7 on April 6. Chet Kempinski was the only PC player to score more than one goal, with two, and it was his fourth multi-goal game in his last six contests. 

Two days later the team secured a 12-7 win over Allentown-based Parkland High. Kempinski kept rolling in that one by netting six goals, and Gavin Michener (three) and Owen Black (two) also scored times for PC. Noah Dacanay made 14 saves in goal, while George Glomb won 18 of 22 face-offs, continuing a stellar season in which he has won better than 73 percent of the draws he has taken. 

“It was a really good outing for Chet, and George does such a great job with face-offs — he’s awesome,” head coach Pat McDonough said. “Noah continues to be real good in goal and made some good saves and continues to be a solid piece for us..”

The Quakers (4-6, 0-1) had a tough showing against SCH to open league play, falling 19-11.. Michener, Black, Nick Walter and Patrick McDonough all scored twice while Dacanay made 11 saves, but the Blue Devils had too much firepower to overcome.

“Not a good outing for us,” Coach McDonough said. “The effort was there, but I was disappointed with the execution. We just need to stick to basic principles and just be better. We’re getting shots but just not putting the ball where it needs to be. We’re continuing to learn along the way, and we have to be able to find ways to value the progress we are making, which may not always be reflected on the scoreboard. If you only base success on wins and losses, that’s a hard way to live.”

The Quakers will be at Haverford on April 14 before returning home to face Episcopal on April 18 (both games are at 4 p.m.), two league squads who are off to strong starts this season.


Girls Lacrosse

Penn Charter Girls Lax

The Quakers split a pair of league contests over the past week, losing 13-5 to defending Inter-Ac champion Episcopal on April 6 before bouncing back with a 17-11 victory over Notre Dame on April 11. 

Against EA, the Quakers turned the ball over often and were never really in the contest. Bea Buckley scored three of the five PC goals, while Kayla Joyce made 15 saves in goal.

“You can’t beat a real good team in this league when you have 26 turnovers,” head coach Colleen Kelly said. “We didn’t play to the standard we hold ourselves to. Our defense and Kayla Joyce deserve a giant shout-out because it could have been way worse. The positive thing is that it’s all things we can control, and we know that if we focus on the intangibles then goals will come.”

They certainly came against Notre Dame, as Aditi Foster notched six goals to push her team-leading total to 30. The junior has scored multiple goals in every game this season except the EA loss. Buckley and Gracie Shoup tallied three each, while Alex Glomb netted two. Harbor Campbell, Grace Walter and Ava Diaz all scored once, while Shoup led the way with five assists. Joyce and Toni Plunkett split goalkeeping duties and combined to make 15 saves for the Quakers (4-5, 1-2), who have won four out of five after starting the season 0-4. 

“Notre Dame was a tiny step forward toward where we want to be,” Kelly said. “It’s a pretty brand new team compared to last year, so we’re getting back to basics and playing Penn Charter lacrosse. As coaches, we need to help our leaders lead and help the younger players know what to do. We have to get them to believe, and if they do good things will come..”

The team is taking a brief pause in its Inter-Ac schedule to play a trio of non-league contests between April 13-17, and the Baldwin game on April 18 is a JV-only contest since the Bears don’t have a varsity team. Thus, these home contests, starting with the 12-11 double overtime victory against Georgetown Visitation Prep (D.C.) on April 13 and followed by Lawrenceville on April 15 and The Hill School on April 17, will serve as tune-ups for the next Inter-Ac battle, a 3:30 home date with still-unbeaten Agnes Irwin on April 21. Kelly is looking forward to these games against highly-regarded opponents because playing against the strong competition will only help the Quakers in the long term.

“We’ve had more good things happen than bad ones,” Kelly said. “We set such high standards and have seen them play so well in segments. The potential for what they can achieve is right there, and we want to play great all the time.”

 

Boys Tennis

Penn Charter boys tennis

The Quakers split a pair of league matches in the last week, dropping a 5-2 decision at Episcopal on April 6 before rebounding with a 4-3 thriller at Malvern Prep on April 11. The team’s top three singles players — Nate Arnold, Justin Cockerham and Justin Gantz — continue to serve as PC’s strength, but the more inexperienced doubles players have started to make strides in their progress as well.

Against the Churchmen, Arnold (No. 1) and Gantz (No. 3) picked up big victories against a strong team, while Cockerham took a tough three-set defeat but showed a lot of fight in the process.

The Quakers (2-4, 1-2) got dominant wins from all three singles players against Malvern, but the No. 1 doubles team of Eric Liriano and Jake Morgan stole the show by clinching the match for PC in a second-set tiebreaker. Liriano and Morgan, as well as the number two doubles team of Ethan Cohen and Ryan Packel, cruised through their first set before dropping the second when the wind picked up. And while Cohen and Packel fell just short in their match, they got to watch Liriano and Morgan persevere after experiencing similar adversity. 

“The first doubles match ended up being the last one of the day, with plenty of pressure and everyone standing around watching it play out,” head coach Philip Stevens said. “It felt good to be able to put that one in the win column, and it was a reminder that there are no gimmes in this league. The number one [doubles] team was able to minimize errors and put pressure on the other team, and when they did that they broke through. Hopefully, the second, third, and fourth doubles teams watched that and convinced themselves to stay focused and keep grinding.”

Stevens said he expects his singles players to have a chance to win every match they play, and on days they do, only one doubles team needs to push through for the entire team to earn a victory, which is exactly what happened against the Friars.

“When those three are playing, nobody will blow them off the court,” Stevens said. “Hopefully with a little more practice and experience, we’ll be able to look further down the lineup into doubles to see guys step up and carry through on the game plan even when things get tight and nervous.”

The Quakers will head to SCH Academy to take on the Blue Devils on April 18 before returning home to face Haverford on April 21, a team that beat PC 6-1 earlier this season. Both matches begin at 4 p.m.

 

Girls Track & Field

Penn Charter girls track

After a strong showing to open the season at the North Penn Open on April 1, Penn Charter began its Inter-Ac schedule with a pair of meets on April 6 and April 12. 

First up was a tri-meet against Agnes Irwin and Baldwin, with the Quakers securing a 138-35 win over the Owls and a 127-51 victory against the Bears. Head coach Candice Lee said a highlight from that meet was her entering four different 4x100 meter relay teams to compete against one another, with one of the teams consisting of athletes who typically compete only in throwing events. The four teams did well enough that Lee said she will have a difficult choice in deciding which 4x100 team will run at the Penn Relays the last weekend in April.

Additionally, on the same day as the tri-meet, Lee sent a distance medley relay team of Alex Jaffe, Michaela Poland, Dani Shipon and Alli DeLisi to compete at the Jim Kelly Invitational at Hatboro-Horsham High School. The quartet finished in second place out of six teams with a time of 12:33.01, allowing them to qualify for the Penn Relays.

On April 12, PC welcomed Germantown Academy to campus and came away with an impressive 124-51 dual meet victory. Highlights, according to Lee, were: Mariah Mays continued to perform well in throwing events; Lucy Sokoloff and Cassidy McCusker, a pair of freshmen, took more than half a second off their times in the 100 meters; Veronica Lentz and Olivia Roland competed against one another in the 300-meter hurdles, finishing with stellar times of 45.7 and 46.8 seconds, respectively; Roland also cleared 5-3 in the high jump; Kaylinn Bethea and Michaela Poland battled each other in the 200 meters, with Bethea finishing a half second ahead of Poland as the two continue to push one another; and Louella Whitaker cleared seven feet in the pole vault, “a great accomplishment for her,” according to Lee.

“Many of our athletes have set personal records in these past two meets,” Lee said. “We have a strong sprinter group, the jumping group is starting to see some success, and the throwers all are improving from week to week.”

The Quakers will next compete in the Fords Track Classic at Haverford High School on April 15.

 

Boys Track and Field

Penn Charter boys track

A year removed from finishing last in the league, the Quakers continued to make strides and improve on their overall performance. The team dropped a narrow 66-61 dual meet decision against Haverford on April 6 before rebounding to defeat Germantown Academy 68-59 on April 12. 

Against the Fords, Britton Armbrister was a double winner in the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles, while Mark Butler won the long jump and was a member of the winning 4x100-meter relay team. Christian Austin won the shot put event and Wes Trautwein was victorious in the 1600 while also running on the 4x400 relay team that finished in the first place.

Earlier in the day on April 6, Trautwein, along with Jack Frank, T.J. Zwall and Nate Johnson (the same quartet who ran the 4x400 above) placed first in the 4x800 relay at the Jim Kelly Invitational with a time of 8:12.01. The result allowed the group to qualify for the Penn Relays.

“We’re more on the edge of qualifying than ready to win the thing, but for them to qualify for the Penn Relays this way was an honor,” head coach Steve Bonnie said. 

Against GA, Jaxon Adams was first in the 400 at 53.4 seconds; Zwall won the mile in 4:34; Zahir Kalam Id-Din won the 200 in 23 seconds and was also a member of the winning 4x100 relay squad, along with Butler, Isaiah Grimes and Davin Barnett; Butler finished second in the long jump at 20-8.5, while Trey Shinholster secured a win in the high jump at 5-8; Ben Berger captured victory in the 3200 at 11:08.50; and Frank, Zwall, Trautwein and Johnson continued their success by winning the 4x400.

“We have definitely improved and are still improving,” Bonnie said..”

The Quakers will next compete in the Fords Track Classic at Haverford High School on April 15.

 

Crew

Crew was off from competition last week and will next be in action on April 16 at the 4th Flick on the Schuylkill River. 

 

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