This fall was very competitive and exciting for Penn Charter Athletics, culminating in a dominating performance on PC/GA Day when the Quakers brought home the Competition Cup with a point tally of 7.5 to 2.5. To quote Coach Bryan Skelly, "Competing with your high school friends on a rivalry day, and winning... nothing tops it."
Several of our teams competed to the very end for Inter-Academic League titles, and girls soccer and cross country both won league championships. The cross country team also went on to win the state independent school (PAISAA) title in dominant fashion.
Football and boys cross country each had very strong seasons. Football finished the season 8-2 overall, 4-1 in league for a second place finish in the Inter-Ac. Boys cross country had a breakout year behind a strong group of young runners and finished second in the Inter-AC, just one point behind the champion. Boys soccer finished 4-3-3 and competed for the championship right up to the last week of play. Girls tennis struggled this fall but had a very strong season from its singles players. Golf was rebuilding this year but came up big with a win over GA at the end of the season. Girls water polo had an outstanding season, fighting through injuries to its best record in many years. Boys water polo and girls field hockey are rebuilding around several young players and we are looking forward to their continued development.
"All in all we had a great fall and we are looking forward to the winter," said John Thiel, Director of Athletics and Athletic Planning.
Below, Thiel and the fall coaches summarize the season's highlights.
BOYS CROSS COUNTRY
Boys cross country had a great season. Following a season where breaking 20 minutes made varsity, this year we routinely had a top-five team average of under 18 minutes. We competed against many of the best schools in the area at Tennant and Paul Short and held our own, especially considering we were rolling out mostly first-year runners, freshmen and sophomores. We had an amazing 1-2 punch with first-year PCXC runners Ollie Leedale-Brown and Finn Glew. It's easy to say that they are just talented, but that undermines the amount of work and focus and energy they poured into the season. The team's second place Inter-Ac finish (by just 1 point!) gives us a great excitement for next fall. It's a testament to the team's hard work that they have finished the last two seasons with PC/GA Day wins (by a combined total of 1 point). The celebration at the end of the PC/GA Day victories will be memories that they will treasure for a lifetime.
GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY
Girls' cross country had a dominant season. The team was the strongest team in the Philadelphia area and among the very best in Southeast Pennsylvania and the state. They completed the Inter-Ac season undefeated and won both the George School and William Tennent Invitationals. The team won both the Inter-Ac and independent school state championship (PAISAA), placing all seven racers in the top 12 in Inter-Ac and top 20 at PAISAA. To finish the season with emphasis, they dominated PC/GA Day.
The team boasted five first-team and two second-team all-league selections. In addition, they had one first-team and three second-team all-PAISAA selections. Sophomore Emma Zwall won the George School, William Tennent, Inter-Ac, and dominated PC/GA Day races. The 2018 season was the best in the history of girls cross country at Penn Charter, and the team fully intends to repeat its performance in 2019.
After graduating eight seniors from the 2017-18 Penn Charter golf team, we knew we were entering a rebuilding phase in our program. We welcomed five new members to the team, and several returning players participated in competitive matches for the first time. In Inter-Ac play, we earned a sixth place finish in the league's team standings, and the team finished strong in the independent school state tournament, earning a fifth place finish.
A significant highlight of the season was our seventh consecutive victory over Germantown Academy in our PC/GA Day competition. In a match-play format, our top eight golfers compete individually against the top eight from GA. We achieved a 4.5 to 3.5 victory with wins in four matches: sophomore Patrick Isztwan, senior Dylan Topaz, sophomore Yun du Toit, eighth grader Holden Hummel, plus a half in one match, sophomore Josh Felter. In his third year on the team, Patrick Isztwan had another great season. Patrick's Inter-Ac scoring average was 38.0, and he finished ninth in the league regular season standings and tied for seventh place in the Inter-Ac individual championship. Patrick also tied for fourth place in the independent school state tournament. With a new young core around which to build, we are looking forward to more competitive seasons in the very near future.
The 2018 field hockey season was a great learning experience. The athletes on this team were able to positively change things around and gave a great deal of effort to try something different under new head coach Maiyah Brown. From double sessions in the summer to intense practices in the fall, they fought hard in what has become the one of the strongest field hockey leagues in the country.
We also had a variety of age groups on this team and each group brought something different to practice and competition. The underclassmen were extremely open-minded and came to practice ready to learn. While the seniors were also great learners, they helped by guiding and leading off the field. The girls learned a lot about hard work and determination. They pushed themselves beyond their comfort zones and found success through their effort. They have what it takes to do better, be better and become elite. We are looking forward to their continuing development.
Football achieved another outstanding season, finishing second in the Inter-Ac (8-2 overall, 4-1 league) with wins against three teams ranked in the Southeast Pennsylvania (SEPA) top 25. The team finished the season ranked 13th in SEPA, third in Pennsylvania District 2A, and 29th overall in the state. We averaged 33.2 points per game, the second highest total in school history and the highest since 1891. We were the first team since 1905-06 to have 17 wins over two consecutive seasons.
Running back Edward Saydee set school records with 3,514 yards career rushing yards, 1,446 rushing yards in a season, 19 rushing touchdowns in a season, 25 overall touchdowns in a season, and 150 points in a season. He finished his career as the all-time leading scorer in Inter-Ac history, with 168 points.
The team started the season with a demanding non-league schedule and finished 4-1. The Quakers started the Inter-Ac season with a tough loss to Malvern but rebounded with four straight wins, three in dominating fashion over SCH, Haverford and GA. EA had a very strong team this year and on a rainy Friday evening at EA we may have played one of the best high school football games this season. The teams battled in the cold and wet, exchanging the lead several times before a dramatic drive late in the fourth quarter put it away for PC. We finished the season at GA in high winds and cold. The game was close early but was blown open at the start of the third quarter and we never looked back. It was a great way to culminate a fantastic day for Penn Charter.
After graduating a few key team members last season, many counted out the Quaker boys soccer team this year. But, somebody forgot to tell the team that. The 2018 boys varsity soccer team exceeded expectations and put together a great season in what was called, by most, one of the toughest leagues in the country. Three Inter-Ac teams were ranked nationally at one time or another this season. PC knocked out two of those three top 25 teams with wins against Episcopal and Springside Chestnut Hill. The third and only remaining nationally ranked league opponent was the Fords from the Haverford School and they could not beat our Quakers, tying twice in two tries.
Penn Charter was led by three strong captains this year: Billy Melnick, Kyle Earley and Ethan Cripe kept the boys together and kept pushing the younger guys through a difficult start that had the team winless through five games. At the midway point, transformed the team and they only dropping one game in their final seven matches; that loss was to the Hill School in the state quarterfinals. With a good crop of young talent returning next season we should be a force in the league again in 2019.
The 2018 season was filled with many exciting moments and big achievements for the girls soccer team. We won the Inter Ac with a record of 9-1-2 and finished the year with an overall record of 15-2-2. We were dominant offensively creating countless scoring opportunities each game. We were solid and tough defensively playing with only three defenders Toni Linus, Kait Hnatkowsky and Kaylee Murphy. We had a great performance in goal by Riley McDade and clicked as team on and off the field.
The Inter-Ac is a very high level league and this year was no different. Each and every game was a battle. Our girls played with courage, heart, toughness and skill. We were strong in every single position and had depth on our bench allowing many players to see action and keep the level high.
We had three players chosen to 1st team All Inter-Ac, sophomore Janae Stewart who was voted league MVP and led the league in scoring with 23 goals. Junior Sara Shipon and sophomore Kait Haughey rounded out the first team selections. Our midfield was creative and strong with three players capturing 2nd team honors, seniors Emma Maley and Ally Paul, and junior India Barnes. We look forward to what the future holds for Penn Charter soccer.
The girls tennis team began preseason at the Legacy Youth Tennis Education while our courts were being resurfaced. Despite being unable to practice on our home courts for this initial time, the teammates trained just as hard with the same conditioning and drills as always. The team's hard work during this time was clearly demonstrated by 7-0 wins in the first three matches. As the season progressed, the winning streak was replaced with very close matches that resulted in close losses.
During the Inter-Ac Championships, at the Episcopal Academy, all three singles players made it to the semifinals and were nominated to the Inter-Ac team. Both first and third singles reached the finals as well. Our final obstacle remained Germantown Academy at PC/GA Day. We had lost to GA previously by just one tiebreaker, so the possibility of winning was well within reach. All the players played their hearts out despite the extremely cold weather. Our final win was both relieving and exciting. Being able to contribute a point to Penn Charter was a great accomplishment.
BOYS WATER POLO
Boys Water Polo had a good season and continues the rebuilding process under new head coach Bobby Wurtz OPC '12. The team enjoyed working with new players and seeing them develop and grow throughout every game. The team bonded in and out of the pool; one of the year's highlights included going to Baltimore to play in the Philmore Cup, an annual competition between teams from Philadelphia and Baltimore. Furthermore, in the games against Friends Central, every player scored a goal or registered an assist. Finally, the team's 11-6 win over Perkiomen Valley at Beast of the East saw seven different players tally a goal or an assist. We return almost everyone and look forward to continued growth next season.
GIRLS WATER POLO
This year's girls water polo team was the strongest in recent history at PC. The team had an overall record of 12-6, which marked a great improvement over last years 8-12 record. The team got off to a fast start with big wins over Wissahickon High School, Hill School and Episcopal Academy. Unfortunately, injuries and illness hit the team halfway through the season and from the eighth game of the season until the final game of the season, the starting lineup never was fully intact. Every player on the team should be commended as they took the next-girl-up philosophy and admirably filled in whatever role they were called upon to serve.
This year's team was lead by seniors Molly Visco, Natalie Driscoll, Stella Singer, Abbey Quinn and Zoe Tierno. All five seniors played important roles on the team throughout the year. The juniors were the biggest and fastest class: Hayley Hunt, Sam Boyes, Leah Sax, Sally Foley, Gabby Lopez-Ona, Maddie Solow and Maddie Riley all contributed throughout the season. Hayley and Sam lead were the leading goal scorers with 68 and 39 a piece. Sally Foley demolished the single-season record for steals this season with 82. The coaching staff is very excited about the 10th and ninth grade players; they continue to show growth and will be ready to make a strong impact on the varsity level.
Congratulations to all fall athletes and teams, and kudos to the fall sports award winners and honorees! See the full list on PC SportsZone.
Looking for more photographs of our athletes in action? View a gallery of fall sports photography on penncharter.com/athletics.