As we enter the final week of January, the seasons for our Penn Charter winter sports teams are entering the home stretch. Let’s take a look back on all Jan. 17-22 athletic events to see how the Quakers fared during another exciting week of competition.
Penn Charter’s magical run continued last week, with the Quakers picking up a pair of Inter-Ac wins to run their current win streak to 10 games.
First up was a long bus ride out to Malvern Prep on Jan. 17 for a showdown with the Friars, one PC would have to win without one of its biggest contributors, as sophomore Kai Shinholster was under the weather. As a result, sophomore T.J. Bryson was next in line, and he confidently scored seven points during his increased minutes. The Quakers jumped out to a 21-8 lead after one quarter and were mostly in control throughout, even as the Friars shaved the deficit down to five points heading into the final quarter.
In addition to Bryson, senior Keith Gee had a big game with nine points, including a clutch three-pointer with four minutes to play in the fourth that pushed PC’s lead to 47-39. The Quakers ultimately left Malvern with a 55-52 victory, with seniors Mark Butler and Isaiah Grimes leading the way with 14 and 11 points, respectively, while fellow seniors Trey Shinholster (nine points) and Colin Schumm (five points) also contributed.
“It was ‘next men up,’ not ‘next man up,’” interim head coach Dave Bass said. “T.J. got some of Kai’s minutes and made the most of them.”
Added Bryson: “My confidence is skyrocketing.”
Sure enough, Bryson was right back in the mix a few nights later when Germantown Academy visited the Graham for Senior Night on Jan. 20. Even with Kai Shinholster back on the court, Bryson was one of four Quakers to reach double digits in points with 11 in the convincing 71-47 victory. Schumm and Grimes led the way with 15 points apiece, while Butler tallied 13.
Butler scored the first bucket of the game on a put-back and the Quakers never trailed, leading by eight after one, 12 at halftime and 17 heading into the final quarter.
“Sometimes it’s been hard to show what I can do when there’s so many players with more experience than me,” Bryson said. “But every day in practice they encourage and teach me. When I mess up, they are there to show me how I can improve. It’s been a fantastic experience, and I’m close to my best self right now.”
The wins over the Friars and Patriots pushed PC’s record to 19-1 overall and 5-0 in Inter-Ac play. Bookended around the team’s only loss this season — a 65-64 heartbreaker to Friends Select on Dec. 20 — are a nine-game win streak and now a 10-game counterpart. The Quakers have five league games left on the schedule, beginning with a Friday night road tilt at SCH Academy on Jan. 27 (7 p.m. tip). With Malvern still just one game behind in the standings, PC is approaching each contest as if it's a championship game.
“We aren’t looking ahead,” Bass said. “Just one game at a time. We know that everyone in the Inter-Ac is going to give us their best shot, so we need to be well-prepared.”
The girls basketball squad had three games last week, picking up critical Inter-Ac wins in two of them.
Agnes Irwin visited the Graham on Jan. 17, and despite a slow offensive start, the Quakers righted the ship en route to a 65-47 victory to run their league record to a perfect 6-0. Eighth grader Ryan Carter was the star of the show in compiling 20 points and 14 rebounds, while seniors Aleah Snead (19 points, seven rebounds, four assists) and Bella Toomey (10 points, six rebounds, three steals) also had great all-around games. Additionally, sophomore Kaylinn Bethea reached double figures with 12 points while adding eight rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Later that week, Germantown Academy visited the Graham on Jan. 20 and there would be no slow start in this one. A three-pointer from Bethea and two from Toomey on three straight possessions saw the Quakers jump out to an early 11-3 lead. From there, GA never got closer than six points the rest of the way, as PC led by nine after one, 10 at halftime and 17 after three quarters in the eventual 54-39 victory.
Snead led the way with 17 points while also chipping in six rebounds, five assists and three steals, while Toomey (11 points, six rebounds), Bethea (eight points, six rebounds, five assists) and Carter (eight points, three rebounds, three assists) were their normal dependable selves.
The Quakers also got a boost from three of their “glue players” who often eschew scoring in favor of rebounding, defense and hustle plays: senior Gracie Shoup, junior Aditi Foster and freshman Liv Vieira. Shoup led the way with seven points and six rebounds and provided grit on both ends of the court, while Vieira hit a second-quarter triple that pushed PC’s lead to 28-13 and Foster was a defensive force in contributing three rebounds and two steals.
“Being on the floor with four Division-I players, I know my job isn’t to score the most points,” said Shoup, PC’s fifth starter who will play lacrosse at Ohio State. “I’m here to be physical, get rebounds and keep us together as one. I never turn the engine off and just keep going the entire game.”
The contributions of players like Shoup, Foster and Vieira is not lost on coach Joe Maguire, even when they are not filling the box score with points.
“They star in their roles,” he said. “They are glue players, and we need them to win these games. Offensively, we trust them to shoot it when they are open and to make the right plays. They are all great teammates who don’t have me-first attitudes. They want to help the team win in any way they can.”
The win over GA pushed the Quakers to 11-8 overall and 7-0 in Inter-Ac play. With a two-game lead over both GA and Notre Dame in the standings, PC controls its own destiny with five league games remaining in its quest to become the first-ever repeat champions in program history.
“It’s exactly where we wanted to be,” Shoup said. “We love the pressure in these big games. We want to keep our foot on the gas, win out and secure back-to-back championships.”
The Quakers ended the week with a 61-33 loss to Lansdale Catholic in the Maggie Lucas Showcase at Jefferson University on Jan. 22.
Next week’s SportsZone report will review PC’s next two league showdowns: a 57-29 victory at SCH Academy on Jan. 24 and Friday, Jan. 27 for Senior Night versus Episcopal at the Graham (5:30 p.m. tip).
Boys Swimming & Diving
The boys swimming & diving team traveled to Malvern Prep on Jan. 17 to square off with a very talented Friars squad. Malvern ultimately came away with a 108-72 victory to drop the Quakers to 0-3 on the season, but even in defeat there were many commendable performances to highlight.
Senior Juan Tovar had a strong race in the 200 freestyle, placing second. Fellow senior Alex Zoldan’s successful season continued to pay dividends, as he won the 500 freestyle and finished second in the 200 individual medley.
For the second consecutive week, the diving contingent produced solid results, with senior Elliot Langford, sophomore Aidan Trautwein and freshman Harry Baker finishing first, second and fourth, respectively.
“Although the places may not have come through for the PC boys to pull out a win, they continued to post season-best times and have put themselves in a good position to continue to get faster as the season progresses,” coach Brian Hecker said.
Next week’s SportsZone will feature highlights from a pair of home meets: a tough 103-78 loss to Haverford on Jan. 24 as well as a non-league battle against Lawrenceville on Friday, Jan. 27 at 3:45 p.m.
Girls Swimming & Diving
The girls swimming and diving program also was at Malvern Prep on the same day last week to take on Notre Dame, with the Quakers picking up their second straight victory, a 108-75 decision over the Irish.
Junior Abby Steinbrook delivered a win in the 200 freestyle, while the triumvirate of sophomores Eva McIver-Jenkins and Georgia Baran and senior Aisling Brady finished first through third, respectively, in the 50 freestyle.
Penn Charter also earned top three finishes in the 100 freestyle from Steinbrook, eighth grader Molly Lo and Brady. Brady, sophomore Ava Coombs, freshman Ryan Zinser and Steinbrook claimed victory in the 200 freestyle relay, with the quartet of freshman Harbor Campbell, sophomore Ava Gonnella and eighth graders Arden Keitel and Eloisa Tovar finishing second right behind the victors.
Baran and Campbell were first and second in the 100 breaststroke, and McIver-Jenkins, Coombs, Lo and Steinbrook finished the meet with a win in the 400 freestyle relay. Elsewhere, junior Katie Fitzpatrick placed first in the diving event.
“The PC girls were able to pull away, demonstrating their incredibly strong depth against a talented Notre Dame team,” coach Brian Hecker said.
Penn Charter’s 103-50 victory over Agnes Irwin on Jan. 24 — as well as the upcoming non-league match-up versus Lawrenceville at home on Friday, Jan. 27 at 3:45 — will be featured in next week’s recap.
The excellent season for the Penn Charter wrestling squad continued with a pair of wins this past weekend.
First up, Haverford visited the Graham on Jan. 20 for a huge Inter-Ac battle, as both the Quakers and Fords entered with identical 1-1 league records. Following an extremely competitive bout, PC emerged with a 39-30 victory, pushing their overall record to 14-3 and 2-1.
The squad was back at the Graham the next morning to host the first-ever Penn Charter Invitational, beating out seven other schools to take first place with a total of 219 points. Roman Catholic was second with 151.5 points, followed by Central (139), Westtown (116), Academy Park (75), Palumbo (61), Friends Central (56) and Maryland-based West Nottingham Academy (32.5).
The Quakers produced seven champions on the day: junior Lucas Weinstein pinned Central’s Ethan Lam at 127 pounds; sophomore Hugh Maley won at 139 by pinning Palumbo’s Jayden O’Halloran; sophomore Greyson Catlow-Sidler continued his dominant season at 145 by pinning Central’s Alexandre Kerelashvili; junior Jack Bowen picked up a 20-5 fall of Palumbo’s Amir Faublas at 160; senior Pat Rullo pinned Westtown’s Nick Ross at 166; senior James Glomb pinned Central’s Ronald Cordero at 215; and junior C.J. English took care of business at 285, pinning Central’s Brandon Fenty.
Elsewhere, sophomore Leo Pritchett finished in second place at 152 pounds, while five Quakers secured third-place wins — eighth grader Carter Mangan at 114, sophomore Munir German at 121, freshman Simon Bethea at 152, freshman Augie Turner at 166 and junior James Joel at 189.
Up next for the sizzling Quakers is a league showdown on the road at SCH Academy on Jan. 27 at 5 p.m.
The boys squash program had one match last week, hitting the road for a showdown with a highly-regarded Conestoga team. The Quakers competed admirably but ultimately left with an 8-1 defeat.
Senior captain Ramsay Killinger kept it rolling from the top spot in PC’s ladder, claiming another quality 3-0 win. Junior Grant Roshkoff also fought hard in his match in a 3-1 defeat.
“A tough loss to one of the top teams in the area,” assistant coach Peter Lubowitz said. “Ramsay is playing the best squash of his career, while Grant’s game has taken a huge leap from last year when he was playing JV.”
Yesterday, the boys defeated Malvern Prep 7-0.
Next week, SportsZone will take a look back at a busy week for the Quakers, now 4-3 after defeating Malvern, and will take on Shipley on Jan. 26 at the Kline & Specter Squash Center (4 p.m. start).
The girls squash squad opened its week on Jan. 17 against an Agnes Irwin team that finished last season ranked fourth nationally, ultimately dropping a tough 7-2 match to an Owls squad that looks just as strong in 2022-23.
Both of the Quaker wins on the day came from sophomores Sam and Alex Jaffe, who continued their dominant seasons with another pair of convincing 3-0 victories from the top two positions on the PC ladder.
“Despite losing, senior captain Alex Glomb put in a very competitive performance at the number six position and continues to improve as a player each week,” head coach Damon Leedale-Brown said.
The Quakers were back in action two days later when they squared off against Harriton High School at the Cynwyd Club. This time, Leedale-Brown’s squad was able to snap a three-match losing streak en route to a flawless 9-0 triumph. Over the nine matches, the team did not lose a single game, improving its record to 3-3 overall this season.
“After a series of matches against top-ranked teams in the country, it was great to come back with a convincing win,” Leedale-Brown said. “Many of the themes we have been working on in practice came through on the court.”
Next week, SportsZone will revisit a pair of girls squash matches — the team’s 10-1 win on Jan. 24 over Conestoga and Jan. 25 at Baldwin.
Boys Indoor Track & Field
For the first time this season, the boys indoor track & field squad competed in Glen Mills at The Indoor Fieldhouse after the Quakers had run the majority of their TFCAofGP races at Lehigh University. With just a few meets remaining before the Meet of Champs on Feb. 18, several PC runners produced strong performances.
Junior Britton Armbrister continued his recent string of success, finishing second in the 55m hurdles with a season-best time of 8.83. Elsewhere, senior Christian Black remained consistent in the long jump, placing fourth at 18-3.75. The 4x200 relay team of junior Zahir Kalam Id-Din, freshman Jaden Black and juniors Eian Kilpatrick and Gavin Michener finished just outside of the top-five, placing sixth with a time of 1:42.61.
Elsewhere, sophomore Jaxon Adams earned a 10th-place finish in the 200m dash (26.39), while fellow sophomore Mason Knight was 15th in the 400m dash at 1:02.21.
The Quakers have qualified for the Meet of Champs in five events so far: Armbrister in the hurdles, Kalam Id-Din in the 60m, sophomore Luis Rincon in the pole vault, as well as in the distance medley (senior Jack Frank, sophomore Nate Johnson, Knight, sophomore TJ Zwall) and 4x800 (Zwall, Frank, senior Wes Trautwein, Johnson) relays.
Head coach Steve Bonnie’s team will be back in action at Glen Mills on Friday, Jan. 27 for the next TFCAofGP meet at 5 p.m.
Girls Track & Field
After competing in DVGTCA meets primarily at Alvernia University up until this point in the season, the indoor girls track & field squad coached by Candice Lee was at Lehigh on Jan. 20 for its next scheduled competition. In a strong showing the Quakers qualified for five more events in the Meet of Champs on Feb. 18.
Junior Olivia Roland had the best overall performance, winning the high jump at 4-11. Senior Veronica Lentz placed second in the 60m hurdles (9.75), while sophomore Mariah Mays continued her consistency in shot put by finishing fourth (32-8.5). The 4x200 relay team of junior Nora Maione, Roland, junior Haley Lewinski and freshman Michaela Poland completed their race in fourth place with a time of 1:51.86, while senior Dani Shipon placed eighth in the 400m dash at 1:03.07.
Elsewhere that same weekend, sophomore Alli DeLisi returned to compete at The Armory Track & Field Center in New York City for the fourth consecutive week, this time for the U.S. Army Officials Hall of Fame Invitational on Jan. 21. DeLisi earned a pair of sixth-place finishes in the 1500m run (4:45.59) and one-mile run (5:06.38).
Next week’s edition of SportsZone will take a look back at the final DVGTCA meet of the season, which will take place on Friday, Jan. 27 at Lehigh at 6:30 p.m.