As May approaches, we’ve reached the unofficial halfway point of the spring athletics season at Penn Charter. Let’s take a look back at the last week of competition to see how our eight Upper School varsity squads fared.
Note: This report covers athletic events that were played between April 13 and April 19.
After an 0-4 start to their season against some extremely tough competition, the Quakers have found their mojo by winning six of their last seven games. The scariest part for the rest of the opponents on the team’s schedule is that head coach Colleen Kelly still thinks PC has another gear to hit.
The Quakers won three non-league games in the past week. On April 13, PC hosted Georgetown Visitation Prep from Washington, D.C., a squad on the fringes of the top-25 national rankings that has a win on its resume against McDonogh (MD), currently the No. 2-ranked team in the country. Penn Charter raced out to a 9-3 lead before holding on to secure a thrilling 12-11 double overtime victory, with junior Grace Walter scoring the game-winning goal, her only tally of the game. Aditi Foster had four goals and Bea Buckley three.
“Our confidence is definitely the highest it's been after that game,” Kelly said. “But even after that, I know we can play better. Part of being a competitor is never settling and always wanting more. We’re confident, while also knowing we haven’t reached the top — not even close.”
The Quakers followed that victory with a pair of wins over two talented teams from the area: 12-8 over Lawrenceville on April 15 and 9-6 over The Hill School on April 17. Foster had four goals, Gracie Shoup three and Alex Glomb two against Lawrenceville, while Kayla Joyce made a season-high 17 saves in goal. Against Hill, Foster scored three more times, while Ava Diaz found the back of the net twice—Diaz’s fourth straight game with at least one goal. In her first season with the program, Foster has a team-leading 41 goals and has scored in every game this season, with all but one being multi-goal efforts.
“I think we could have won both games by wider margins if we played at full speed the entire game,” Kelly said. “We’re still figuring out how to keep that momentum going, but we’re getting closer to reaching our potential, which is exciting.”
Next up for the Quakers (6-5, 1-2) is a huge home game against Agnes Irwin at 3:30 on April 21. The Owls entered this week as the top team in the area, having started their season 7-0 before losing 5-4 to defending league champion Episcopal on April 18. PC and Agnes Irwin have played some close, spirited battles over the last few seasons, and Kelly is hoping a win will get the team back in the league title conversation (EA leads the Inter-Ac with a 4-0 record, followed by Agnes Irwin at 3-1 and SCH Academy at 4-2).
“All league games matter, but this one is super important for us,” Kelly said. “A win would make things more exciting going forward, and we’ve developed a huge rivalry recently with Agnes Irwin. We need to play a complete game.”
The Quakers have played three games since our last weekly check-in, sandwiching a non-league victory around a pair of Inter-Ac losses.
On April 14, PC fell 15-4 to Haverford School, a team currently on a five-game winning streak, including a 3-0 start to league play. The Fords are the only unbeaten team left in the Inter-Ac and are looking to unseat Malvern Prep as league champion. Gavin Michener, Owen Black, Nick Walter and George Glomb all scored for PC, while goalie Noah Dacanay matched his season-high with 19 saves.
The next day, Penn Charter rebounded with a thrilling 11-10 victory over Moorestown High. Michener scored four times, as did Chet Kempinski, who tallied the game-winning goal. Black scored twice, while Walter had a goal and two assists.
Finally, the Quakers hosted Episcopal Academy on April 18, competing hard but ultimately dropping the game 11-7. Walter continued his strong week by scoring three times, while Lucas Weinstein had his first multi-goal effort of the season with two. Michener and Kempinski, the team’s two leading scorers with 36 and 22 goals, respectively, each scored for PC (5-8, 0-3). Michener has scored at least one goal in all 13 games this season. Dacanay made 11 saves against the Churchmen to move over 100 for the season, while George Glomb won 14 of 22 faceoffs (he’s won almost 72 percent of his draws this year).
Following a 20-5 loss to Malvern on April 20, the Quakers will look to bounce back when they return home on April 25 against Germantown Academy at 4 p.m.
Girls Track & Field
An already strong season for the Quakers continued last weekend in the Fords Track Classic at Haverford High School on April 15 with a plethora of impressive finishes:
Michaela Poland finished in first place in the 400 (59.08) and second in the 100 (12.91).
Alli DeLisi set a school and personal record (PR) in the 800, winning the event in 2:10.72.
Nieve Keitel placed first in the 1600 in 5:27.46, a then-PR for her.
Veronica Lentz was second in both the 100 hurdles (15.65, PR) and 300 hurdles (48.05).
Mariah Mays earned three top-five finishes in throwing events: second in shot put (34-11); fourth in javelin (84-10); and fifth in discus (89-3.5).
Zsuzsi Pollock also had a strong day, finishing sixth in javelin (68-0) despite it being her first time ever participating in the event. Pollock was also eighth in the shot put (26-10.7) and 17th in the 100 (14.55), both of which were PRs for her.
On April 19, the Quakers returned to Inter-Ac competition with a dual meet at Notre Dame, winning by a score of 106-43. PC has now earned convincing league victories over Notre Dame, Agnes Irwin, Baldwin and Germantown Academy. Against the Irish, Keitel made it two PRs in one week in the 1600, this time finishing in 5:27 flat. Grace Neuwirth was victorious in the 3200, while Mays established a PR in the javelin at 97-3.75.
“We had a very successful meet and are looking forward to the upcoming meet on Saturday,” head coach Candice Lee said.
Penn Charter will compete in the Father Judge Relays on April 22, the team’s final tune-up heading into the historic Penn Relays the following weekend, now in its 127th year. Speaking of the Penn Relays, the Quakers have already qualified in the following events:
4x100 relay: McCusker, Bethea, Roland, Poland
4x400 relay: Lentz, Shipon, Poland, DeLisi
Distance medley relay: Shipon, Poland, A. Jaffe, DeLisi
Boys Track & Field
The boys track & field team also competed at the Fords Track Classic on April 15, continuing to improve as the season progresses. Some standout performances included:
Zahir Kalam Id-Din won the 200 in 23.07 and continues developing as one of the team’s best sprinters.
T.J. Zwall, one of the top distance runners for PC, won the 3200 in 9:54.73. Ben Berger secured an eighth-place finish in the same event (10:58.79); Zwall also captured second place in the 1600 at 4:22.74, while Wes Trautwein was eighth (4:30.57).
The 4x100 relay team of Mark Butler, Kalam Id-Din, Davin Barnett and Isaiah Grimes finished in second place (44.65), while the 4x400 crew of Jaxon Adams, Mason Knight, Kalam Id-Din and Oliver Jackson placed fourth (3:33.38).
Adams was fifth in the 400 at 52.69.
Jackson finished in fifth place in the 300 hurdles at 43.10.
Luis Rincon secured a second-place finish in the pole vault (11-0), while Aiden Trautwein was fourth (9-0).
Grimes finished third in the long jump (20-8.5), while Butler placed eighth (19-2).
Barnett earned a top-five finish in the triple jump, placing fourth at 38-10.2.
“It was an amazing team effort and there were some outstanding performances for the day,” assistant coach Dave Tidey said. “A majority of our athletes ran personal bests, and it is a testament to all the hard work and progress we have made thus far.”
Like the girls team, Penn Charter will be at Father Judge on April 22, the team’s final event before the Penn Relays the following weekend, where the 4x400 and 4x800 teams will compete.
During a three-game losing streak from March 29 through April 6, the Quakers scored just four total runs. In the four games since—three of which ended in wins—Penn Charter has scored 56. It’s safe to say the team’s lineup has gotten into a groove.
After a 20-5 win over Notre Dame on April 11, PC kept bringing the thunder with its bats by picking up a pair of non-league victories over Friends Select and Villa Joseph Marie on April 13 and 17, respectively.
Against Friends Select, Ryan Hatty tossed a complete game with six strikeouts in an 11-3 win. On offense, the Quakers posted five runs in the first inning and never looked back, highlighted by back-to-back doubles from Lauren Gedraitis and Hatty. Maddie Wray had a strong day at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a triple and two runs scored.
Hatty picked up where she left off the next time out at Villa Joseph Marie, pitching another complete game, this time with 10 punchouts in a 13-5 triumph. Offensively, Macie Bergmann went 4-for-5 with a 2-run homer and three RBI, while Maddie Bergmann hit a bases-clearing triple. Eighth-grader Ellie McKernan scored four runs.
“We found a lineup that works, and the girls are feeding off each other,” head coach Charles Warren said. “Hitting is contagious, and it helps the offensive explosion when you’re consistently able to look up and there always seems to be runners in scoring position.”
The Quakers traveled to Baldwin on April 18, and while the team lost 12-8, the runs still continued to pile up. Gedraitis went 3-for-3 with a pair of home runs and a double, knocking in five. Hatty was 3-for-3 with three doubles while recording the final five outs in relief as Penn Charter (4-4, 1-3) attempted to rally.
“Shoutout to Baldwin for sure,” Warren said. “They had a girl who hit a three-run home run in each of her first two at-bats. Going down 6-1 early took the wind out of our sails, and our rally was a little too late.”
The Quakers will host Archbishop Carroll on April 21 before returning to league play on April 25 against Germantown Academy. Both games are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.
The Quakers played twice over the course of last week, splitting a pair of league matchups with Haverford School and Episcopal Academy.
The team snapped a three-game losing streak with a 14-7 victory at Haverford on April 14. The Quakers scored a combined seven runs in those three defeats, and head coach Justin Hanley had lamented last week that PC was having good at-bats and getting on base yet struggling to find timely hits that put some crooked numbers on the scoreboard.
For one day, that issue was abated in PC’s first league win of the season. The Quakers actually fell behind 4-0 early in the game but rallied back thanks to a pair of two-run singles by sophomores Kyle McKernan and Rowan Griffith. Penn Charter scored four in the sixth inning and five more in the seventh, as senior Colin Schumm hit a pair of home runs and now has a team-leading four round-trippers on the season. Tim Ford and Garrett Mathias also homered, while Ryan Conrad picked up a win in relief, allowing just two hits and one run while striking out three in four innings of work.
“After falling behind, the kids realized the sky was not falling and that no lead was safe at Haverford’s field, which has shorter dimensions,” Hanley said. “The confidence we picked up as the game went on spread through the lineup, and credit to them for being aggressive and finishing strong.”
On April 18, the Quakers unfortunately ran into one of the hottest teams in the area in Episcopal, a squad that has won 11 of its 13 games thus far. The score was 2-1 Churchmen after six innings, so PC was right with them before EA broke through for three runs in the top of the seventh. Penn Charter’s top starting pitcher, senior Scott Doran, threw five quality innings on the mound.
“We didn’t come up with the big hit when needed, and also committed some defensive miscues,” Hanley said.
There will be no let-up for the Quakers (8-4, 1-2), who will hit the road on April 21 for a game at defending league champ Malvern Prep. The Friars are one of—if not the top—teams in the area, having won 16 of their 18 games this season. However, they did lose a 5-2 game to Episcopal, so Hanley knows his team can keep it close just like it did against EA through six innings. And, as the head coach said, if you want to have any chance to win a title in the Inter-Ac, you’ll have to figure out a way to beat Malvern.
“The margin for error against them is so thin,” he said. “If you give them extra outs and are not clean and crisp on defense, they start smelling blood in the water. I think against EA we laid the groundwork for a game plan on how to beat them. Our league is incredibly tough, and I love the fact that every game matters so much.”
Following a week off from competition, the crew team was back on the water for the 4th Flick on April 16. A highlight of the event, according to head coach Katherine York, was the 4th Flick serving as the first race for the team’s two novice squads.
The Girls Novice 4x Flight 2 boat consisted of Caroline Sumner, Hannah Aldinger, Penelope Gray and Liliana DeMartinis, while the Boys Freshman 4x Flight 1 boat featured Liam Haines, Tiernan Perkins, Alexander Brown and Rainer Malhotra.
“Our goal for our two novice boats was just to make it down the course safely, which they did,” York said. “Both boats learned a lot about steering, racing and rowing together.”
Additionally, Penn Charter had first- and second-place finishes in a pair of races: The Girls JV 2x Flight 1 boat featuring Zoe Page and Grace Magee was first with a time of 6:27.28, while the tandem of Claire Lewis and Grace Agosto was right behind at 6:31.61. Elsewhere, in the Girls Varsity 2x Flight 3 race, Ellie Choate and Ella Bretschneider placed first with a time of 6:01.44 and the duo of Charlotte Baker and Lindsay Gadsden were second at 6:20.00.
“We were better prepared at the starting line, and more ably handled the quick start,” York said. “Boats reported feeling more confident to row at higher ratings. We can still improve at getting off the starting line quickly. It's good to have closing speed, but it's beneficial to get up and stay up, so we'll be working on that in practice.”
On the boys side, the Varsity Pair Flight 4 with Eli Moulton, James Foley, Jack Bowen and Mac Haines finished second at 5:47.91 and the JV Quad Flight 2 with James Glomb and Scott Sweeney finished second at 5:04.97.
Penn Charter will next compete in the 5th Flick on the Schuylkill River on April 23.
Last week, head coach Philip Stevens lauded the efforts of No. 1 doubles team Eric Liriano and Jake Morgan when the duo clinched a 4-3 PC win at Malvern Prep by capturing a pressure-packed third set tiebreaker. Stevens said that he hoped the team’s other three doubles teams—who, like Liriano and Morgan, started with a strong first set against the Friars before losing in three sets—learned by watching how their teammates conducted themselves under pressure with all eyes on them.
Stevens said when the pressure ratchets up for more inexperienced tennis players, they have a tendency to make unforced errors and play into the opponent’s strengths rather than exploiting weaknesses. It’s a natural human instinct, but the way that Liriano and Morgan started strong, then struggled only to finish strong and deliver a crucial win could have a trickle-down effect on the rest of the doubles teams.
On April 18, a short-handed Quakers squad fell 5-2 to SCH Academy, but more progress was made on the doubles side. The No. 2 team of seniors Ryan Packel and Ethan Cohen “won a dramatic third set tiebreaker to cap their 1-6, 7-5, 16-14 comeback victory,” according to Stevens. Additionally, the third doubles squad of juniors Ege Gungor and Jevyn Dyer scored a more decisive 6-2, 6-1 win for Penn Charter (2-5, 1-3).
The Quakers will host Haverford School on April 21 at 4 p.m. before spending the remainder of the weekend competing in the Shafer Doubles Tournament at Episcopal Academy. The Fords defeated PC 6-1 at Haverford on April 4.