All good things must come to an end, and the 2023 Penn Charter spring athletics season is no different. The last few months have been filled with some thrilling competition, but now the school year enters its final sprint toward the finish line. Let’s take one final look at how our eight varsity Upper School teams wrapped things up.
Note: This report covers PC athletic events between May 19-25.
Girls Track and Field
After capturing their second consecutive Inter-Ac championship on May 13, the Quakers made it 2-for-2 by winning the program’s second straight PAISAA title on May 20 at Malvern Prep. PC finished with 150 points, 31 ahead of second-place Episcopal Academy.
Sophomore Alli DeLisi captured first place in both the 800 and 1600, while freshman Michaela Poland secured top-three finishes in the 100 (third), 200 (third) and 400 (second). Sophomore Alex Jaffe finished third in the 400 and sixth in the 800, while senior Dani Shipon earned top-five finishes in the 800 (fifth) and 1600 (fourth). Eighth-grader Nieve Keitel was third in the 1600 and second in the 3200, and juniors Grace Neuwirth (fourth) and Zady Hasse (fifth) also produced strong showings in the 3200.
Senior Veronica Lentz and junior Olivia Roland were both excellent in the hurdles events—Lentz placed second and Roland fifth in the 100 hurdles, while Roland was second and Lentz third in the 300 hurdles.
The Quakers had three exceptional relay performances, with the 4x400 and 4x800 squads each winning their events, with the 4x100 team placing second.
Finally, in field events, Roland placed third in the high jump, while sophomore Mariah Mays achieved three top-five finishes as a thrower—third in shot put, fourth in javelin and fifth in discus.
“Repeating as champs means that we are developing an all-around track program,” head coach Candice Lee said. “We have athletes that are able to run, jump and throw, which makes us a complete team. The leadership of this group was exceptional, leading by example and holding each other accountable every day.”
The Quakers had plenty of representation on the All Inter-Ac Teams. DeLisi earned First Team honors in the 800 and 1600, while Poland did so in the 400. DeLisi, Poland, Shipon and sophomore Sam Jaffe also earned First Team honors in the 4x400 relay, while Hasse, Alex Jaffe, Neuwirth and senior Aisling Brady were First Team honorees in the 4x800. Mays was a First Team selection as a thrower. Meanwhile, the Second Team consisted of Lentz, Roland, senior Ci’Nya Vincent, junior Haley Lewinski and sophomore Kaylinn Bethea.
The graduating seniors are Brady, Lentz, Shipon, Vincent, Dabney Baum, Ashlee Bucksar, Davina Kennedy, Annie Maley, Emelia Malhotra, Sydney Raza and Aleah Snead. While Lee has much to look forward to in 2024 with a plethora of returning talent, she was especially fond of this senior class.
“They were the first group of freshmen that I coached,” she said. “I have watched them grow and develop over four years and have seen their confidence and drive to compete increase.”
Boys Track and Field
The boys track & field squad also competed in the PAISAA Championship on May 20 at Malvern Prep, ending a promising season with several strong performances.
The 4x800 relay team took first place, while the 4x400 quartet placed third. Sophomore Nate Johnson secured a second-place finish in the 3200, while freshman Ben Berger placed eighth in the same event. Zahir Kalam Id-Din concluded his promising junior season with top-10 finishes in both the 100 (fifth) and 200 (eighth). Junior Britton Armbrister and sophomore Oliver Jackson each finished in seventh place in the 110 and 300 hurdles, respectively. Elsewhere, sophomore Luis Rincon finished eighth in pole vault and junior Matthew Martz eighth in javelin.
The team made tremendous strides from a last-place finish at league championships a year ago, placing third at the May 13 event. The strong finish to the season has longtime head coach Steve Bonnie already excited for 2024.
“It was very encouraging, and I think we are on our way back,” Bonne said. “By next year, this could be a pretty good track team.”
Bonnie pointed out that he was without one of his top runners in junior Eddie Kennedy and one of his most talented jumpers in senior Christian Black for most of the season due to injury, and yet the Quakers still made immense progress, with several student-athletes stepping up and embracing bigger roles.
The 4x800 relay team of Johnson, Zwall and seniors Jack Frank and Wesley Trautwein were selected to the All-League First Team, as was the 4x100 squad of Kalam Id-Din and seniors Mark Butler, Isaiah Grimes and Davin Barnett.
In addition to Black, Trautwein, Frank, Butler, Grimes and Barnett, other members of the senior class set to graduate this month are Christian Austin, Jaydon Faison, Cam Kraemer and Trey Shinholster.
“This team was a group that was serious, hard-working and pleasant to be around and work with,” Bonnie said. ‘Their willingness to try new things and sincerity of purpose were two key things, and they all put in a lot of hard work day after day.”
Despite the loss of 12 seniors from the 2022 team and an 0-4 start to the 2023 campaign, the Quakers found themselves back in the PAISAA championship game for the second straight year seeking a second straight championship. Unfortunately, PC came up just short this time around, falling 7-6 in overtime to top-seeded Agnes Irwin on May 25 at Cabrini University.
Penn Charter held three two-goal leads throughout the title game, but the Owls answered each time. The Quakers led 6-4 after freshman Molly Dougherty’s goal with 10:47 remaining in the second half, but Agnes Irwin cut it to one less than two minutes later and knotted the score at 6 with 5:57 to play. The Owls controlled possession for most of the overtime period before tallying the game-winner with 22.6 seconds to go. The Quakers finished their strong season with an overall record of 15-10.
“I thought we played a good game overall and just didn't execute some plays down the stretch,” head coach Colleen Kelly said. “This game could have gone either way. Whoever made the right play at the end of the game in a pressure situation was going to win, and they were able to do that. l am really proud of our team.”
The second-seeded Quakers advanced to the title game thanks to a dominant 14-4 victory over Notre Dame on May 19, followed by a 13-12 thriller over Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in the semifinals. Against the Owls, junior Grace Walter had two goals and an assist, while senior Gracie Shoup and junior Aditi Foster each had a goal and an assist. Senior Bea Buckley also netted a goal in her final game as a PC lacrosse player, while fellow senior Kayla Joyce made three saves in goal. Foster, Shoup and Joyce were First Team All-League selections, while Buckley made the Second Team.
The 2022 championship-winning season was a tough act to follow, but the Quakers found their groove after the tough start by winning 15 of their final 21 games. Kelly challenged them with high expectations, and the group continuously answered the bell against strong competition local and outside of the area.
“We kept building and getting better, and we learned from our losses,” Kelly said. “They were always willing to work and learn. I appreciate how they never got down and never surrendered to losing. They never quit, and it would've been easy to throw in the towel to a losing season after the start they had. The future is super bright for PC lacrosse.”
A year after losing a dozen seniors, Kelly will say goodbye to eight more this time around—Shoup, Buckley, Joyce, Sydney DelBello, Alex Glomb, Bella Toomey, Casey Jones and Olivia Summers.
“I’m so proud of the way our senior class played and led,” Kelly said. “They are leaving a great legacy behind for the next senior class. They were phenomenal and made such a big impact on the program.”
The softball season came to an end on May 19 when the third-seeded Quakers were defeated by Baldwin in the PAISAA quarterfinals. The 4-1 defeat snapped a five-game win streak for Penn Charter, and the team finished with an overall record of 10-8 in head coach Charles Warren’s first season at the helm.
The visiting Bears scored three runs in the top of the first inning and never looked back. Ryan Hatty delivered a run-scoring triple in the bottom of the first and Lauren Gedraitis had a double and triple with the bases empty but was stranded each time. Hatty started the game in the pitching circle before Gedraitis relieved her for the rest of the game, pitching 1 ⅔ scoreless innings.
“We just didn’t capitalize on the opportunities we had,” Warren said. “We had runners in scoring position multiple times but were unable to cash in. In the playoffs, that’s what it’s all about. It’s absolutely a motivating factor to do better next season.”
The 10 wins were a four-game improvement from the 2022 season, and Warren is lucky in the sense that all of his key contributors will return for the 2024 campaign. Hatty and Gedraitis are only sophomores and should again be key two-way players next season—they hit .554 and .471, respectively, while logging all but five innings in the pitching circle.
Junior Macie Bergmann led the team with a .585 batting average and was tied for the lead with Hatty in both hits (31) and doubles (11). Freshman Maddie Bergmann batted .333 and led the team with eight stolen bases, while fellow freshman Maddy Wray hit .471 and scored a team-high 27 runs. Juniors Payton Handler and Francesca Luzi, sophomores Arielle Willis and Taylor McMillan, freshmen Jordan Simon and Avery Goodheart and eighth-grader Ellie McKernan all got valuable varsity experience that should make them stronger, more confident players in 2024.
Macie Bergmann and Hatty were named First Team All-League selections, while Gedraitis was selected to the Second Team.
“We have a lot to look forward to,” Warren said. “The players all challenged me to adapt and rise to the occasion, and collectively they all contributed to the success of our season. They all progressed from day one and should be proud of how we finished. We’ll return a year older and more mature, and they’ve already created a buzz about Penn Charter softball again.”
For the second consecutive year, the Quakers made a deep run into the PAISAA semifinals before bowing out to a league rival. Although PC fell two victories shy of a championship, the team won 19 games in 2023, a seven-game improvement from last year. The future remains bright for a program that finished tied for second in the Inter-Ac, just two games behind co-champions Malvern Prep and SCH Academy.
The sixth-seeded Quakers began the PAISAA tournament with an opening-round 6-1 win over visiting Shipley on May 19, the team that dealt PC its first loss of the season. Junior Will Vieira pitched a complete game on the mound with six strikeouts, and the offense provided him plenty of support during a four-run fourth inning. Senior Liam Rowan belted a two-run triple, while sophomore Gavin Ruta had two hits in the game, including an RBI double. Senior Colin Schumm, junior Joey DiBenedetto and sophomore Garrett Mathias each knocked in a run.
Up next for the Quakers was a May 23 quarterfinals game at league-rival Haverford School, the tournament’s No. 3 seed. The two teams split a pair of regular season contests, with each winning on the road, and PC had added motivation to take the season series after getting eliminated by Haverford in last year’s tournament.
PC again broke through on the Fords’ home field, shaking off an early 2-0 deficit to score three times in the sixth inning and twice more in the seventh en route to a 5-2 victory. Rowan’s go-ahead two-run triple in the sixth put the Quakers in front for good, while Mathias also came through again with a run-scoring hit. Junior Christian Clauss got the start on the mound and pitched 4 ⅔ quality innings with five strikeouts, while senior Scott Doran recorded the final seven outs in relief, striking out the side in the home seventh to secure the win.
“We felt underseeded, especially considering we split with them during the regular season and had the same league record (5-5), so we used that as motivation,” head coach Justin Hanley said. “It was a very emotional win, and it put our confidence at an all-time high heading into the semifinals.”
Unfortunately for Hanley and the Quakers, the season came to an end at Malvern Prep on May 25. Schumm and Mathias hit back-to-back solo home runs in the first inning to stake PC to an early 2-0 lead, but the Friars matched that total in the home first and put up four more in the second to take a 6-2 lead that they never relinquished. Malvern scored in every inning en route to a 13-5 win, and the eventual 2023 PAISAA champion Friars won all three games against the Quakers this season.
“Everything that could have gone wrong did,” Hanley lamented. “That’s baseball sometimes. We had two close ones with them in the regular season, but this time around the wheels fell off. We came in a little flat and ran out of steam.”
Schumm and Vieira were First Team All-League selections, while Rowan and Doran were named to the Second Team. Schumm, who didn’t play baseball as a junior, returned to bat .313 with four home runs while playing exceptional defense in the PC infield. Vieira went 4-1 with a 1.19 ERA, striking out 38 in 35 ⅓ innings and Rowan hit .341 with 25 RBI, 15 steals and a .500 batting average with runners in scoring position, all while playing an exceptional center field. Doran went 3-1 with a 1.98 ERA, punching out 52 batters in 46 innings while also securing two saves out of the bullpen.
Joining Schumm, Rowan and Doran as soon-to-be PC graduates are Oliver Zulick, Shawn Flynn, Cliff Harling and Tim Ford.
“Just an incredible group of seniors who all played a huge part in our run,” Hanley said. “They gave us their hearts and I’ll never forget them for that. I will always cherish the effort these phenomenal young men all gave until the end.”
The Quakers competed in the Stotesbury Cup Regatta on May 19-20, the program’s final event of the 2023 season. Penn Charter entered 11 boats into the competition and participated in 22 races across the two-day event.
Three boats concluded the weekend in the time trial stage:
Girls JV 4x — Ali Sweeney, Safiyah Muhammad, Brea Turner and Inaya Edwards finished 20th and made tremendous progress throughout the season.
Boys JV 1x — Jack Davey finished 29th in an extremely competitive event.
Boys Varsity 4x — Harrison Signorello, James Foley, Jack Bowen and Matt Clarke finished 17th, a new lineup that finished ahead of multiple crews that had been rowing together all season.
The other eight boats moved on to the semifinals, and the weekend for four of them ended there:
Boys Freshman 4x — Liam Haines, Tiernan Perkins, Alexander Brown and Rainer Malhotra finished fourth, with the eighth-fastest overall semifinal time. The group made big gains after finishing 12th in time trials.
Girls JV 2x — Claire Lewis and Zoe Page finished third with the seventh-fastest overall time, improving their time from City Champs by a full 10 seconds.
Girls Varsity 4x — Lindsay Gadsden, Merrill Gadsden, Grace Magee and Grace Agosto finished 12th, a new lineup of juniors and seniors that “rose to the challenge and raced with joy,” according to head coach Katherine York.
Girls Varsity 1x — Charlotte Baker finished fourth with the 13th-fastest time. “Ultimate bragging rights, as she is now an international superstar who beat a boat from Canada,” York said.
The other four semi-finalists advanced to the finals, with PC placing more boats in that round than any other Inter-Ac school:
Girls Freshman 4x — Caroline Sumner, Hannah Aldinger, Penelope Gray and Liliana DeMartinis advanced straight from time trials to the finals and finished sixth. This group closed the gap on local rivals SCH Academy and Germantown Friends (GFS) by more than 10 seconds in comparison to their showing at City Champs the week before.
Boys JV 2x — Elias Moulton and Mac Haines finished fourth, less than two seconds from third place and held their own against some very fast boats.
Girls Varsity 2x — Ellie Choate and Ella Bretschneider finished fourth, the fastest local school in this event.
Boys Varsity 2x — James Glomb and Scott Sweeney took fourth place, one spot ahead of GFS after GFS had finished three places in front of PC at City Champs.
On the boys side, the seniors who are set to graduate soon are Clarke, Glomb, Signorello, Scott Sweeney and Duncan Riley, while the senior girls are Baker, Bretschneider and Lindsay and Merrill Gadsden.
“So much of our success is due to our truly outstanding and dedicated senior class,” York said. “They are without a doubt leaving this program better for having been a part of it.”
Since the tennis team’s final match on May 11, sophomore Nate Arnold was named the Inter-Ac’s Most Valuable Player. A First Team All-League selection for the second consecutive year, Arnold played dominant tennis as PC’s No. 1 singles player and won the Inter-Ac Singles Championship back on April 27.
Senior Justin Cockerham was named to the Second Team after a strong season as the Quakers’ No. 2 singles player. Along with Cockerham, seniors Steven Bernstein, Ethan Cohen, Eric Liriano and Ryan Packel have all played their last match as PC student-athletes.
The boys lacrosse season ended on May 12, but since that time the Inter-Ac announced its 2023 All-League Team. Seniors Owen Black and George Glomb and junior Gavin Michener earned All-League honors for the Quakers. Michener, who scored his 100th career goal during the season, led the team with 51 goals, 23 assists and 74 points. Black scored 37 goals and registered 17 assists for 54 points, all of which ranked second for PC. Glomb scored five goals and was reliable all season in the faceoff circle, winning better than 70 percent of his attempts.
Joining Black and Glomb as seniors set to graduate later this month are Patrick Rullo, Seamus McCain, Patrick McDonough, Nick Walter, David Comitale, Ryan Egan, Noah Dacanay, Lance Kay and Chet Kempinski. Kempinski and Walter scored 35 and 31 goals, respectively, while Dacanay was again solid as the team’s starting goalie in 2023.