Breadcrumbs

SportsZone for May 10, 2024

This edition of SportsZone covers Penn Charter athletic events played between May 2 and 8. 

Visit the Penn Charter Athletics webpage for the most up-to-date game schedules and scores.

CREW

After two weeks of practice and preparation, the Quakers competed in the Philadelphia Scholastic Rowing Association (PSRA) City Championship on May 4-5 on the Schuylkill River. 

Claire Lewis and Ellie Choate won the Girls Varsity 2x Final, becoming the first Penn Charter varsity boat to win a gold medal since Jack Kelly Jr. in 1945, according to assistant coach Michael Moulton. 

Sophia Toncich-Mandel and Miranda Dziedzic also won gold in the Girls Freshman/Novice 2x Final, the first victory in this category since 2012.

Jack Bowen raced to a third-place finish in the the Boys Varsity 1x Final, and his bronze medal was the first medal of any kind won in this category since Kelly in 1945. 

Penn Charter had 27 total rowers compete in 12 boats across 21 races (each race over the two-day period featured a time trial round and a semifinal round that preceded the final, which ultimately featured the top six boats that made it through trials and semis with the best times). Of those 12 boats, half were racing for the first time in their respective lineups and categories. 

“It was a pretty epic weekend for PC crew,” head coach Katherine Farrell York said. “We went into this weekend with many unknowns, so our expectations were tempered. These rowers blew us out of the water.”

Seven of the 12 boats advanced past time trials, and six of those seven made it to finals. Five of the six boats that qualified for the finals received medals (see results below). The team earned 11 medals, up from 10 last year and four in 2023. 

Additionally, York noted that one of the PC double boats is named Equality in honor of the late Cheryl Irving, Hon. 1689. Irving taught English at Penn Charter for three decades, and though she died in 2014, her legacy lives on in many ways: the Upper School’s Cheryl Irving Writing Center and the Cheryl Irving Student Diversity Conference, to name a few. Now, Equality can be added to the mix, as the boat came down the racecourse seven times last weekend, making it onto the medal dock three times. 

“Our rowers feel this boat has a special edge,” York said. “All our women’s doubles teams wanted to compete using this boat at City Champs. It gives me goosebumps to think that this female visionary continues to inspire and lift up young women in their efforts to achieve excellence.”

Below are the official PSRA results for races in which Penn Charter made it to the final round: 

  • Girls Freshman/Novice 2x: Sophia Toncich-Mandel/Miranda Dziedzic – first place, 6:23.69
  • Girls Novice 4x: Parker Grimes/Grace Choate/Libby Taub/Ava Gonnella – third place, 6:00.72
  • Girls JV 2x: Zoe Page/Grace Magee – second place, 6:03.87
  • Boys JV 2x: Ross Lee/Jack Davey – fourth place, 5:26.26
  • Boys Varsity 1x: Jack Bowen – third place, 5:44.22
  • Girls Varsity 2x: Claire Lewis/Ellie Choate – first place, 5:46.48

“We are so proud of how our rowers rose above outside circumstances and distractions to put their best selves forward,” York said. “Every boat learned something about themselves, racing, and the sport. We had a lot of courageous kids out there.”

The Quakers will be idle from competition this weekend as they prepare for their penultimate season race: the Stotesbury Cup Regatta, the world’s largest high school regatta, from May 17-18. 


GIRLS TRACK & FIELD

The Quakers brought a small group of athletes to compete in the Henderson Invitational at West Chester Henderson High School on May 3 as a final tune-up ahead of this weekend’s Inter-Ac Championship.

Zady Hasse was victorious in the 1600-meter run, finishing with a season-best time of 5:37.30. Hasse, a senior field hockey stalwart at PC, has come on strong as a track athlete in both the indoor winter and outdoor spring seasons.

“She has been building up her confidence,” head coach Candice Lee said. “I tell my athletes to believe in themselves as much as I believe in them. Zady has been working hard through indoor and outdoor seasons, and it has been showing on the track.”

Other top-10 finishers at Henderson included Michaela Poland in the 200-meter dash (seventh place, 26.02) and Mariah Mays in the shot put (10th, 33 feet 2 inches). 

Additionally, while some of her teammates in Pennsylvania competed at Henderson, junior Alli DeLisi traveled to participate in the Trials of Miles at Icahn Stadium in New York City on May 3. DeLisi finished in third place in the 800-meter run, running 2:06.97.

“Another great race from Alli,” Lee said. “She continues to improve on the track, and that is because she puts in the work at practice. She knows that’s what she needs to do to be successful.”

PC’s focus will now turn to the league championship meet on May 11, which Penn Charter will host. The Quakers will be looking to repeat as Inter-Ac champions for the third consecutive season.

“I feel good heading into champs,” Lee said. “For most of the team, this will be their first year competing in this meet. I am proud of the dedication the athletes have shown. To see them learn and start to love the sport as much as I do brings me joy.”


BOYS TRACK & FIELD

The boys program also brought a small group to West Chester on May 3 for the Henderson Invitational.

TJ Zwall ran a season-best time of 4:21.40 in the 1600-meter run to finish in third place. Nate Johnson was not far behind, capturing sixth place in 4:23.01.

The only two other top-15 finishers from PC athletes at Henderson were Michael Gambone in the shot put (13th place, 45 feet 10.5 inches) and the 4x100 relay team, which also nabbed a 13th-place finish in 45.07.

The biggest priority for the Quakers is health heading into the Inter-Ac Championship at Penn Charter on May 11. Head coach Steve Bonnie said a few key team members, namely Eddie Kennedy and Zahir Kalam Id-Din, are “dinged up” and working their way back to the track. The team has to get through a preliminary round of trials before Saturday’s main event.

“We want to get through that and get guys qualified,” Bonnie said. “Generally, the good guys will qualify and the other guys will give it a good effort. Our distance runners look good, while our jumpers are very young and starry-eyed going into their first champs meet.”

In addition to Zwall and Johnson in distance events, Bonnie said he was hopeful for Gambone to have a strong shot put performance on Saturday. It’s also hard to predict how things will go with a roster so young and inexperienced compared to a veteran team such as Episcopal Academy, the odds-on favorite heading into the weekend.

“Remember, we only have four seniors on this team,” Bonnie said. “We have 12 freshmen, who by next year are going to be pretty good. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re getting there. If they stay healthy, next year’s team will be dangerous.”  


BOYS LACROSSE

Penn Charter dropped a pair of Inter-Ac contests over the last week, most recently a 21-7 defeat at the hands of Malvern Prep on May 7. 

Charlie Kraus made 20 saves in goal to prevent the potent Friars offensive attack from scoring even more. Gavin Michener scored a team-high two goals, while Zack Curtin, Ben Zabierek, Lucas Weinstein, Charlie Rullo and James Joel all scored as well. Zabierek, Weinstein and Joel all had assists, with Joel winning half of his 32 face-offs.

On May 3, the Quakers dropped a high-scoring 20-14 decision to SCH Academy. Michener (five goals, four assists) and Casey Felter (five goals, two assists) each produced explosive offensive performances, and Michael Banks also registered multiple goals with two of his own. Joel and Zabierek had the other scoring tallies, and Kraus came up with another 13 saves in the cage.

The Quakers (3-14, 1-8) will close out their regular season with a 4 p.m. home game against Germantown Academy on May 10. 


GIRLS LACROSSE

The Quakers got back on track by winning four straight games over the past week.

Most recently, PC picked up a 15-6 triumph over Hill School on May 8. Aditi Foster had a huge game with five goals and four assists, while Grace Walter tallied a team-high six goals. Also scoring for the Quakers were Harbor Campbell, Ava Egan, Elissa Hsu and Kenighan Mattice. Toni Plunkett and Maeve Magarity teamed up to make four saves in goal.

Prior to that, the Quakers traveled to Connecticut for a Saturday doubleheader on May 4. PC won the morning game 18-12 against New Hampshire’s Phillips Exeter Academy. Foster and Walter again led the attack with five goals apiece. Mattice (three goals), Molly Dougherty (three goals, assist) and Ana Buckley (two goals, assist) also posted multi-goal efforts. Magarity made three saves and caused two turnovers between the posts.

Later that afternoon, PC claimed a 12-6 victory over host Greenwich Academy. Foster scored four times, while Mattice, Dougherty and Walter scored twice. Campbell and Cate Wall rounded out the scoring. Magarity recorded eight saves, and Makenna Myers had a strong all-around game with four caused turnovers, three ground balls and four draw controls. 

A day earlier, Penn Charter (13-7, 6-3) picked up its lone Inter-Ac triumph of the week, a 14-7 decision over SCH Academy. This time, Buckley showcased the team’s depth by leading the way with three goals, and Campbell, Dougherty, Foster (two assists, eight draw controls) and Walter all added two each. Wall and Caroline Tullo rounded out the scoring, while Magarity made six saves and caused three turnovers.

The team has just two games left on its regular season schedule: May 10 at Gwynedd Mercy Academy and May 14 at home versus Germantown Academy.


BOYS LACROSSE

Penn Charter dropped a pair of Inter-Ac contests over the last week, most recently a 21-7 defeat at the hands of Malvern Prep on May 7. 

Charlie Kraus made 20 saves in goal to prevent the potent Friars offensive attack from scoring even more. Gavin Michener scored a team-high two goals, while Zack Curtin, Ben Zabierek, Lucas Weinstein, Charlie Rullo and James Joel all scored as well. Zabierek, Weinstein and Joel all had assists, with Joel winning half of his 32 face-offs.

On May 3, the Quakers dropped a high-scoring 20-14 decision to SCH Academy. Michener (five goals, four assists) and Casey Felter (five goals, two assists) each produced explosive offensive performances, and Michael Banks also registered multiple goals with two of his own. Joel and Zabierek had the other scoring tallies, and Kraus came up with another 13 saves in the cage.

The Quakers (3-14, 1-8) will close out their regular season with a 4 p.m. home game against Germantown Academy on May 10. 


SOFTBALL

Following a recent stretch where it had won seven of its last nine games, PC dropped a pair of games over the last week to Nazareth Academy and SCH Academy.

Against Nazareth on May 6, the team managed just three hits in a 10-0, five-inning loss to the Pandas. Arielle Willis had two doubles and a stolen base, while Payton Handler stepped into the pitching circle to toss 5 ⅓ innings. The team is dealing with injuries to key players Ryan Hatty, Maddy Wray and Lauren Gedraitis, which has made it difficult to live up to the high expectations the Quakers have for themselves.

“Those are three important pieces to our defense and offense,” head coach Charles Warren said of the inopportune injuries. “Other than that, I’m not upset or bothered. We’ve been playing very good softball despite the last two scores. We need to adjust to the missing personnel with more timely hits by capitalizing on runners in scoring position.”

The Quakers fell behind early against SCH on May 3 before spotting the Blue Devils five runs in the top of the sixth to turn a close game into a rout. Ellie McKernan was 1-for-2 with a walk and an RBI, while Handler walked and scored PC’s only run. Handler again gave her team seven much-needed innings in the pitching circle.

“Payton did her job of getting them to put the ball in play,” Warren said. “Once you get once or twice through a lineup, the other team makes adjustments and starts figuring it out, which is when we’ve got to be able to get our offense going. We always try to remain optimistic and figure out that chemistry and connection again while missing one-third of our starting lineup.”

Warren said the good news is that, hopefully, the team will return at least two of those injured players before the start of the PAISAA Tournament next week. Before getting there, the Quakers (9-9, 4-4) will close out the regular season at Baldwin on May 10 and against Germantown Academy on May 14 at home (both are 4 p.m. starts). 

“We remain excited for the postseason,” Warren said. “We’ll never count ourselves out, and we’re emphasizing to them to be present in the moment and not look too far ahead. It’s still one of our goals to win a PAISAA title, but our focus is one at a time since every game feels like PAISAA win-or-go-home for us right now.”


BASEBALL

The Quakers played a competitive game against a very strong Malvern Prep team on May 7, ultimately dropping a 6-2 decision on the road. PC took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on a two-run single off the bat of Mason Avrigian. Unfortunately, the Quaker bats went silent from there, collecting three hits in the first inning and just one the rest of the game. 

Starting pitcher Will Vieira struggled with his control in allowing four walks, but he still powered through 3.2 innings. Reliever Kevin Cotton then tossed 2.1 scoreless innings, an impressive showing against a loaded Malvern lineup.

The Quakers dropped a 10-0 non-league loss to Perkiomen School on May 4. Kyle McKernan had two of the team’s three hits and stole a base. Ryan Conrad got the start on the mound and was hit hard over 3.1 innings before Cotton came in to post another strong relief effort of 1.2 scoreless frames.

The day before, Penn Charter lost an 11-1 game to SCH Academy. The game was tied 1-1 through two innings before the Blue Devils scored two in the third, three in the fourth and five in the sixth. Joey DiBenedetto knocked in the lone PC run, while McKernan and Garrett Mathias collected the only two hits. Rowan Griffith stole a base for the Quakers (7-16, 2-7).

The team has three more regular season opportunities to return to the win column before the PAISAA Tournament begins. First up is a 4 p.m. home date with Germantown Academy on May 10.

“Our execution is a bit off, so we have to grind out at-bats by working deep counts, dropping some bunts and using our speed to steal bases,” Hanley said. “That will allow us to string together more runs. If we can score a run an inning, that takes the pressure off of our pitching staff. We want to finish strong and be in a good spot to head into the PAISAA Tournament with some confidence. 

“We’ve had subpar seasons in the past, only to make a deep run once PAISAAs started. That’s still our goal.”


BOYS TENNIS

After a successful showing at the Inter-Ac Singles Championship and the Shafer Doubles Tournament, the Quakers returned to league play with a pair of matches over the last week. 

First up was an exhilarating 4-3 win at SCH Academy on May 2. It marked the team's second Inter-Ac victory of the season. The Quakers will have the opportunity to sweep the season at home against the Blue Devils on May 13 at 4 p.m. 

Malvern Prep exacted some payback on PC after a loss earlier in the season, defeating the Quakers 5-2 on May 7.

In addition to the SCH Academy match next week, Penn Charter (3-7, 2-5) has two other league matches remaining during the regular season, both against Germantown Academy on May 10 (home) and May 15 (away). 
 


Written by: Ed Morrone OPC '04

Photos by: Zamani Feelings