Breadcrumbs

SportsZone for March 1, 2024

That’s a wrap on the 2023-24 winter athletics season at Penn Charter! The temperatures crept up into the 60s this week, a sign that spring is just around the corner, but first, let’s check in on how our remaining squads closed out the winter proceedings: 

GIRLS INDOOR TRACK & FIELD

Junior Alli DeLisi capped off a stellar season by finishing her 800-meter run in the Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association State Championship with a nationally best time of 2:07:84 to capture the  state title on Feb. 25. 

“Alli was able to run a controlled, smart race,” head coach Candice Lee said.  “She is one of the best runners in PC history and holds several [program] records.”

Elsewhere, sophomore Michaela Poland picked up a 13th-place finish in the 200-meter dash, running the event in 25.53. Lee said that Poland has been able to consistently stay between 25 and 26 seconds in the 200, but with a few tweaks believes one of the team’s top performers can ultimately get her time under 25. 

“Michaela had a good race,” Lee said. “She was not intimidated by this being her first individual race at states and was able to step on the line and compete. A very solid indoor season for Michaela.”

Finally, DeLisi, Poland and seniors Haley Lewinski and Zady Hasse formed the 4x400 relay team that placed 16th, finishing the race in 4:06.60. Lee was pleased with the effort, especially for the senior duo that came a long way throughout the season.

“The 4x400 team showed heart,” she said. “Haley and Zady stepped up. The 400 is not either of their specialty events, but they accepted the challenge. Their split times were the fastest they had run all season.”


BOYS INDOOR TRACK & FIELD

The boys indoor program also competed at the PTFCA State Championship on Feb. 25, with a pair of juniors in action at Penn State University. 

T.J. Zwall ran to a 14th-place finish in the one-mile run, completing the race in a season-best time of 4:21.51. Elsewhere, Luis Rincon scored a top 20 finish in the pole vault, placing 19th with a height of 13 feet.

“T.J. ran a great time, and Luis did fine at 13 feet,” head coach Steve Bonnie said. “He’s done close to 14 this season, but that’s the way it goes in the pole vault. 

Bonnie now turns his gaze toward the outdoor season; he thinks the program will have a good mix of returning talent to pair with up-and-coming athletes. It’s still early,, but there is a general sense of optimism for this year’s squad.

“We’re rolling with a nice group of 40 guys in outdoor,” he said. “Not very many seniors, but there is more young talent with 12 ninth graders.”. 

The Quakers finished third in the Inter-Ac last spring, and Bonnie said the margin for error in a sport like track is much thinner.

“There’s more talent, and the junior class is very strong and comparable to some of the best we’ve ever had. We don’t have the depth yet, but guys like T.J. and Nate [Johnson] can be in the top echelon all-time,” he said.

Speaking of Johnson, Zwall’s classmate also competed in a race last weekend, running the two-mile run at the Ocean Breeze Elite Invitational in Staten Island, N.Y. on Feb. 24. Johnson produced a season-best time of 9:40.05, finishing ninth. 


WRESTLING

Penn Charter punctuated a spectacular season with a top 20 finish at the National Preps Tournament on Feb. 23 and 24. Junior Greyson Catlow-Sidler stood out, turning in the best showing of the tournament by placing eighth in his weight class and becoming the first PC All-American wrestler in almost 20 years. 

The tournament, held at Lehigh University, saw the Quakers placed 19th out of more than 130 teams with 47 team points, an improvement on their standing (27th) and point total (32) in last year’s event. PC had 11 wrestlers participate in the tournament, making them one of just 10 teams that brought 10 or more athletes to Lehigh. 

The 11 wrestlers who competed were: ninth grader Ryder Horan (106 pounds); eighth grader Matteo Pritchett (113); junior Munir German (126); senior Lucas Weinstein (138); junior Hugh Maley (144); sophomore Simon Bethea (150); junior Greyson Catlow-Sidler (157); junior Leo Pritchett (165); senior Jack Bowen (175); sophomore Tristan Padgett (215); and senior CJ English (285). Maley picked up a Round of 32 win, while Bowen and English each earned consolation bracket triumphs. 

The Inter-Ac also announced its All-League teams on Feb. 29. The Quakers had six selections, all on the Second Team: Maley, Catlow-Sidler, Bowen, Padgett, English and senior Michael Filoon. 

The Quakers finished 20-2 overall this season, securing a second-place Inter-Ac finish and placing third at the PA Prep State Tournament in addition to the strong effort at Nationals. 


BOYS SQUASH

The Quakers had a successful showing at the 2024 U.S. High School Squash Championships, going 2-2 during the three-day event from Feb. 23 to25 at the Penn Squash Center. PC was the fourth seed of the Boys’ III Division. There are seven total divisions containing 16 teams each from around the country. 

The team began its journey in Nationals on Feb. 23 with a 5-2 victory over 13th-seeded Moses Brown School (RI). Seniors Marko Vucetic and Griffin Yeatman each scored 3-0 individual victories from the second and third spots in the PC ladder, while eighth grader James Killinger and senior Jacob Kestenbaum notched 3-1 wins from four and six, respectively. Junior Nolan Duffy secured a five-game thriller from the seventh and final spot in the lineup. 

The Quakers advanced to take on fifth-seeded Blair Academy (NJ) the following morning, dropping a 5-2 decision that sent them to a consolation bracket. Vucetic (3-2) and Yeatman (3-0) each picked up two more individual wins in the loss. Later that same day, PC returned to take down eighth-seeded Loomis Chaffee School (CT), 4-3. Vucetic and Yeatman won again in three games, while Kestenbaum won his match in five games and Duffy secured a 3-0 sweep.

The team finished off its weekend on Feb. 25 against a familiar foe, dropping a tight 4-3 decision to No. 2 SCH. Vucetic and Yeatman completed a perfect 4-0 weekend with two more triumphs, while senior Grant Roshkoff won his final match 3-0 from the top spot on the ladder. The Quakers finished with an overall record of 6-11 on the season, and a sixth place finish in Division III at Nationals equates to 38th overall in the country.

“Marko and Griffin were both strong, going undefeated for the weekend,” assistant coach Peter Lubowitz said. “Grant had a satisfying win in the final match of the weekend, and James, Jacob and Nolan had crucial victories to put us over the top in our two wins. It was a fun finish to the season and a good sendoff for our four seniors.”


GIRLS SQUASH

The Penn Charter girls squash program also participated in Nationals last weekend, dropping all four of its matches but doing so against some of the top teams in the country. As the 14th seed of the Girls’ I Division, the Quakers understood the magnitude of the challenge at hand. All four of the losses were close, accentuating just how strong this year’s team was. PC split its matches between the Arlen Specter US Squash Center and Penn Squash Center, both located in University City.

The team opened its weekend on Feb. 23 with a 5-2 loss to third-seeded Lawrenceville School (NJ), a talented squad that also knocked off the Quakers during their regular season. Juniors Alex Jaffe (3-0) and Sam Jaffe (3-1) picked up individual wins from the top two spots in the lineup.

PC was back in action later that evening for a battle against 11th-seeded Pingry School (NJ), this time losing a 4-3 nailbiter. The Jaffe sisters each produced 3-0 wins, and ninth grader Paige Taub notched an impressive 3-2 victory in which she rallied from down two games. 

On Feb. 24, the Quakers lost their second of three straight 4-3 decisions, this time falling to No. 15 Bronxville School (NY) in another strong showing from the Jaffe sisters and Taub. Finally, PC concluded its weekend on Feb. 25 with a 4-3 loss to local rival and No. 13 seed Germantown Friends School. Alex and Sam Jaffe completed their perfect 4-0 weekend, while Taub won her third consecutive match by outlasting her opponent in another exciting 3-2 triumph. The Quakers finished 7-8 overall this season and finished in second place in a particularly strong Inter-Ac. 

“Across all of the matches, we as a whole competed well against really strong opposition,” head coach Damon Leedale-Brown said. “Sam and Alex were very consistent, and Paige had some particularly impressive performances. Losing three matches 4-3 shows the girls stayed positive and supported each other while they enjoyed being together as a team.”

The team will graduate seniors Frances Guenther and Savannah Abernethy but has the advantage of returning its top two players in Sam and Alex Jaffe, who between them lost one single game the entire season. Additionally, Paige Taub and her twin sister Libby will return as sophomores, and other players who made significant strides, such as sophomores Audrey Abernethy, Hope Goldman, Jordan Simon, Ana Buckley and Eva Kothari, will all be back in the mix in 2024-25.

“They will all work hard on their games during the spring, summer and fall,” Leedale-Brown said. “Their level of play will go up another notch, and all of them plan on competing in tournaments [in the offseason]. It’s exciting to have a young group of good athletes who are competitive and inspired to keep improving.”


BASKETBALL

Basketball season may be over, but both PC programs had three players receive All-League honors.

On the girls side, junior Kaylinn Bethea was named to the All-League First Team for the third consecutive year, while ninth grader Ryan Carter secured her second straight All-Inter-Ac selection and her first appearance on the First Team. Senior Ashlie Johnson earned All-League honors for the first time, nabbing a spot on the Second Team. 

For the boys, junior Matt Gilhool was named the Inter-Ac’s Most Valuable Player after averaging better than 17 points per game in the team’s 10 Inter-Ac contests. Fellow juniors Jake West (joining Gilhool on the First Team) and Kai Shinholster (Second Team) also were selected; Gilhool and West are first time honorees, while Shinholster earned his second consecutive selection to the Second Team.

 

SWIMMING & DIVING

The Inter-Ac also announced its Inter-Ac all-league selections this week, with six PC girls swimmers earning honors (there is only one All-League team in swimming): senior Abby Steinbrook, juniors Eliza Black, Eva McIver-Jenkins and Ava Coombs, sophomore Lili DeMartinis, and eighth grader Nola Waldbuesser. 

On the boys side, senior PJ Duffy secured All-League honors. 

Next up: the 2024 spring sports season! Visit the Penn Charter Athletics webpage for the most up-to-date game schedules and scores.


Written by: Ed Morrone OPC '04

Photos by: Zamani Feelings