22 Penn Manor seniors commit to college athletics

Family and friends gathered Thursday in the Penn Manor High School library to honor 22 seniors who will participate in collegiate sports at 19 different colleges and universities next year.

The National Signing Day ceremony featured students who participate in 11 different sports. Four students plan to play field hockey or football, three will play soccer, two will participate in track & field, lacrosse or softball and one each will participate in gymnastics, cross-country, basketball, volleyball and baseball.

Five students will attend Division I schools, five are headed for Division II, and 12 will attend Division III colleges and universities.

According to Penn Manor athletic director Jeff Roth, the student athletes excelled in the classroom as well as on the playing field, earning a median grade-point average of 3.7.

Four of the five Division I athletes participated in two sports at Penn Manor, and the group includes four members of the Comets’ undefeated state and national championship field hockey team. Eleven students were part of a League, District or State Championship team at Penn Manor.

Congratulations and best wishes to these outstanding student athletes:

Division I 

Taraje Whitfield – Princeton University, track & field
Brittany Hook – University of South Florida, softball
Hannah Brown – James Madison University, field hockey
Casey McCollum – Lafayette College, football
Mischa Kolibas – Longwood University, lacrosse

Division II 

Mia Clancy – Kutztown University, field hockey
Autumn Gager – West Chester University, field hockey
Jared Harvey – Millersville University, soccer
Thorean McElheny – Seton Hill University, track & field
Brianna Reitnauer – West Virginia Wesleyan College, gymnastics

Division III 

Brooke Spezialetti – Alvernia University, field hockey
Brianna Ulaky – Eastern University, cross-country
Conlin Groft – Cabrinia College, soccer
Susan Porambo – Stockton University, soccer
Nasheyla Greggs – Alvernia University, basketball
Sydney Duplissey – Salisbury University, softball
Allison Hege – Lebanon Valley College, lacrosse
Ben Wright – Franklin & Marshall College, football
Mikiah Sangrey – Lebanon Valley College, volleyball
Paisun Harris – Delaware Valley University, football
Dylan Crook – Elizabethtown College, baseball
Cole Heckaman – Franklin & Marshall College, football

Group photo caption: Back row, from left: Paisun Harris, Ben Wright, Cole HeckamanTheoren McElhenyTaraje Whitfield, Brittany Hook, Mikiah Sangry, Casey McCollumConlin Groft, Dylan Crook and Jared Harvey.
Front row, from left: Susan Porambo, Brianna UlakyNesheyla Griggs, Sydney Duplissey, Allison Hege, Hannah Brown, Brooke Spezialetti, Mia Clancy, Brianne Reitnauer and Autumn Gager. (Missing: Mischa Kolibas)

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Emma DeBerdine, Matt Soto named Player, Coach of Year

Add two more honors to Penn Manor’s outstanding 2017-2018 field hockey team — it boasts the national coach and player of the year!

Max Field Hockey this week named Penn Manor junior Emma DeBerdine the National Player of the Year and the Pennsylvania/New Jersey Region Player of the Year.

It also named Penn Manor coach Matt Soto the National Coach of the Year and the PA/NJ Region and Pennsylvania State Coach of the Year.

Coach Soto led the Comets, the top-ranked team in the nation, to a perfect season in the toughest high school field hockey conference in the country, according to Max Field Hockey.

The Comets finished the season 28-0 as the PIAA AAA State Champions, District 3 Champions and Lancaster-Lebanon League Champions. It was the third state title in program history and the first time the team went undefeated.  The state title win over No. 3 Downingtown West was one of six victories by the Comets over teams that ranked in the Final National Top 25 Rankings.

Emma DeBerdine, a first team All-American and PennLive Player of the Year, contributed 27 goals and 30 assists for Penn Manor this fall.

“I believe Emma is the very best player in the country, and a complete player,” Soto said. “She recovers and plays defense with the same passion and urgency as any player I have ever seen or coached in 33 years.  She also is a great goal scorer.”

“Emma could have easily scored many more goals in our games, but she has such a keen awareness of developing the entire team, she often passed when she could have gone to goal,” Soto said.  “She scored when she needed to, and she distributed when she needed to. This really helped with our overall success.”

Emma’s speed and quickness are “unmatched,” he said. “Her recovery speed helped break down the opposing teams’ best players, which allowed our defenders more time and space to make defensive plays.  Emma is the consummate team player/leader.”

Soto pointed out that the Comets did not give up a goal in the district or state playoffs and allowed only three shots in their last seven games.  “Emma is a key part of that,” he said.

Congratulations to two deserving members of one amazing team!

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Field hockey team ends year ranked No. 1 in the nation

First it was the league championship, then the district crown and the state title.

Now Penn Manor’s field hockey team has been ranked National Champions, earning the top spot in the MaxFieldHockey.com final national rankings of the 2017 season!

Penn Manor compiled a perfect 28-0 record, outscoring opponents by 148-5 and posting 23 shutouts. The team was the first in Penn Manor history to earn Lancaster-Lebanon League, District Three and state titles in a single season.

The Comets ended the season on Nov. 18 with a 2-0 win over Downingtown West to earn the PIAA Class 3A state championship.

Congrats, ladies, on yet another accolade on your amazing season!

Check out the rankings here

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Pink Out fight against cancer is under way

The shirts have arrived, and Penn Manor is in full Pink Out mode as the annual effort to raise funds to fight cancer is under way.

Pink “PM Comets Fight for a Cure” T-shirts are starting to arrive, and Penn Manor student athletes, staff and community members are raising funds for cancer care and research efforts.

Fall sports teams are selling T-shirts to support the cause and will raise additional funds at special Pink Out home games. Here’s the schedule:

  • Sept. 26 – girls’ tennis
  • Sept. 27 – varsity field hockey
  • Oct. 5 – middle school field hockey
  • Oct. 10 – girls’ volleyball
  • Oct. 30 – football/cheerleaders/Penn Manor Marching Unit

In addition, a district-wide Pink Out dress-down day will be held Oct. 19. Staff members can participate by purchasing and wearing a Pink Out T-shirt or donating $5 to the cause through their building secretaries.

High school students will have an opportunity to buy shirts during lunch the week of Oct. 9. Anyone who did not order a shirt in advance may purchase a shirt (sizes are limited) by calling 717-872-9540.

Over the past three years, the Pink Out raised more than $46,000, thanks to the generosity of students, staff and community members. The donations have benefited such organizations as The Children’s Miracle Network, Relay for Life, American Cancer Society and Help the Fight.

Let’s see how much we can raise this year!

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Practices under way for Penn Manor sports teams

Penn Manor student athletes hit the fields, courts, trails and golf course this week as practices officially began for the fall sports season.

Middle school athletic team practices begin next week.

Fall high school sports include field hockey, football, girls’ and boys’ cross country, girls’ volleyball, girls’ and boys’ soccer, coed golf, girls’ tennis and cheerleading.

Fall middle school/junior high sports include football, field hockey, boys’ and girls’ soccer, cross country and cheerleading.

The Penn Manor Marching Unit also has been practicing since Aug. 7 and will continue every day from 9 am to 5 pm until the first day of school. The band plays at football games and has its first competition Sept. 16.

New coaches this year are girls’ soccer head coach Jacob Marino and JV coach Danielle Landis, football assistant coaches Matt Schuck and Jon Boxleitner, boys’ soccer assistant varsity coach Mike Cortez and JV coach Danny Schmidt, and cheerleading junior high coach Kara Eshleman.

The golf season begins Friday, and the tennis team begins season play next week. Other sports begin their seasons in September. Printable 2017-2018 Penn Manor sports schedules are available by clicking here.

Online schedules are available here.

Fall sports calendars also are available on the Penn Manor cellphone app, which can be downloaded free from Google Play or the App Store.

Go Comets!

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Penn Manor bowlers headed for national competition

The state championship Penn Manor High School bowling team is now headed for national competition.

The Comets team, which won its second straight state title this year, will be competing in the 2017 U.S. High School Bowling National Championship in Smyrna, Tennessee, June 24 and 25.

Led by coach Chris Vital, the boys’ bowling team beat Ephrata March 18 to earn the 2017 PIAA Bowling Championship title at Dutch Lanes. It was the first time in history that a Penn Manor athletic team had won back-to-back state titles.

The bowlers headed for Nationals are Tanner Simet, Austin Curtiss, Nick Fisher, Kyle Shertz, Nick Mease, Dan Mease and Mark Smith, along with Vital and assistant coaches Ed Fisher, Alan Wakefield and Jordan Wakefield.

At least 24 states and 260 bowlers will be represented in the national competition, during which each competitor will bowl 10 to 12 games each day.  The team competition is June 24, and the individual title will be contested June 25.

“My team seems to understand the magnitude of this tourney, and they are all staying mentally prepared,” said Vital. “Having already won back-to-back state titles, this would be icing on the cake for us. We are looking forward to the challenge and hope to make Penn Manor very proud.”

Best wishes, and good luck on the national stage!

PM Pink Out is in full swing

Penn Manor’s annual Pink Out fund drive to fight cancer is in full swing!

Pink “Comets Unite to Fight” T-shirts are starting to arrive, and Penn Manor student athletes, staff and community members are raising funds for cancer care and research efforts.

Fall sports teams are selling T-shirts to support the cause and will raise additional funds at special Pink Out home games. Here’s the schedule:

  • Sept. 29, 6/7 p.m. – girls’ volleyball
  • Oct. 1, 2:30 p.m. – girls’ soccer
  • Oct. 3, 7 p.m. – field hockey
  • Oct. 6, 7 p.m. – boys soccer
  • Oct. 28, 7 p.m. – football/cheerleaders/Penn Manor Marching Unit

In addition, a district-wide Pink Out dress-down day will be held Oct. 28. Staff members can participate by purchasing and wearing a Pink Out T-shirt or donating $5 to the cause through their building secretaries. If you missed out on ordering a shirt, there is a limited selection available for purchase.  Please contact Krista Cox at 872-9540.

Over the past three years, the Pink Out raised more than $30,000, thanks to the generosity of students, staff and community members. The donations have benefited such organizations as The Children’s Miracle Network, Relay for Life, American Cancer Society and Help the Fight.

Let’s put on the pink again this year and see how much we can raise!

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PM’s Roth named District III Athletic Director of the Year

Congratulations to Penn Manor’s Jeff Roth for being named Athletic Director of the Year for District III of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association.

District III includes schools in Adams, Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry and York counties. Earlier this fall, Roth had been named Lancaster-Lebanon League Athletic Director of the Year.

Jeff’s peers in the L-L League and District III voted to award him the well-deserved honors.

Roth has been Penn Manor’s AD since 2001, directing the district’s athletic program and overseeing its 23 high school and 10 junior high sports. He also served as Penn Manor head girls’ basketball coach from 2001 to 2005 and has served as the L-L League Track and Field Chairperson since 2005.

In addition, Jeff chairs the A. Landis Brackbill Scholar-Athlete Scholarship Committee, which recognizes top student athletes in the L-L League.

“I’m honored to be selected by my peers, who are all deserving in a major way for helping their schools and our league excel on a local, district and state level,” he said of the award. “Our student athletes and teams have proven themselves winners on the field and in the classroom, year after year.”

Congratulations, Jeff, and thanks for your tireless efforts to promote Penn Manor athletics and our student athletes.

It is, indeed, a great day to be a Comet!

Kickoff Classic Sept. 1 at Comet Field

Comet Field will host the 2016 Kickoff Classic beginning at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1.

Chicken dinners will be served from 5 to 6:30 p.m., followed by performances by the Penn Manor Marching Unit and cheerleaders and introductions of Penn Manor’s fall sports teams.

U.S. Olympic field hockey team member Jill Witmer, who played for Penn Manor from 2006 to 2010, will be the special guest.

Dinners are $9 and include a half chicken, potato, apple sauce, roll and drink. Tickets can be purchased in advance from student athletes or at the event. Proceeds benefit Penn Manor athletic scholarships.

Come out and support our talented student athletes and musicians!

 

Practices begin for Penn Manor HS fall teams

Sports practices officially got under way Monday, Aug. 15, as the fall athletics season kicked off for Penn Manor High School student athletes.

Middle school students begin their practices next week.

Penn Manor fall high school sports include field hockey, football, girls’ and boys’ cross country, girls’ volleyball, girls’ and boys’ soccer, coed golf, girls’ tennis and cheerleading.

Fall middle school/junior high sports include football, field hockey, boys’ and girls’ soccer and cheerleading.

Printable 2016-2017 Penn Manor sports schedules are available on the athletics website or by clicking here.

ScheduleStar calendars are here.

Schedules also are available on the Penn Manor cellphone app, which can be downloaded free from Google Play or the App Store.

Best wishes for a great season!

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Alecxih presents HS with Super Bowl football

Penn Manor alumnus and pro football player Chas Alecxih returned to Penn Manor High School Wednesday to formally present a very special gift to his alma mater.

Alecxih gave the high school a Wilson Golden Football as part of an NFL program that honors schools and communities that contributed to Super Bowl history.

Penn Manor received the ball because Alecxih, a 2007 graduate, participated in the 2016 Super Bowl as a member of the Carolina Panthers.

Penn Manor is among the more than 2,000 high schools around the world recognized this year with a gold ball featuring the school’s name and location, the honoree’s name, and the Super Bowl(s) in which the honoree appeared.

Alecxih was among the nearly 3,000 players and head coaches honored. During Wednesday’s presentation at the high school, he was joined by current Comets football players and coach John Brubaker.

Earlier this year, Alecxih had another Penn Manor homecoming when he visited his second-grade classroom at Central Manor Elementary School at the request of teacher Beth Mader.

He talked with Mader’s students about their career dreams and shared how he was able to accomplish his goal of playing professional football, a dream he’s had since he was a second-grader.

After graduating from Penn Manor, he attended the University of Pittsburgh, where he played in 42 games as a defensive tackle. He played on three different NFL teams before joining the Panthers.

Alecxih told students that his NFL career was marked by many challenges as he fought back from injuries while playing for different teams. The Super Bowl was a “surreal” experience, he told them.

Thanks, Chas, for giving us yet another reason to be “Penn Manor Proud!”

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Boys’ volleyball team earns silver medal at States

In a match for the ages, the Penn Manor boys’ volleyball team earned a silver medal Saturday after falling to Hempfield, 3-2, in the PIAA Class AAA championship match at Penn State.

The Comets led the Black Knights, 2-0, after two games, but Hempfield rebounded to take the next three to earn the state title and the gold medal.

The loss marked the end of an impressive season for the Comets. The team compiled a 21-4 record and clinched the District III title, defeating Hempfield in the championship match.

On Saturday, the games could hardly have been closer as Penn Manor won the first two (25-23 and 27-25) and Hempfield won out (26-24, 25-22 and 15-10).

Comets coach Chris Telesco told LNP he was proud of his team, the first-ever Penn Manor squad to play for a state title.

“It’s a dream for every team,” he said. “For them to be in the state finals alone is a huge, huge achievement. I’m just so proud of them.”

Congratulations on a great year and a strong finish!

silver medal

State champion bowlers honored by school board

Penn Manor school board Monday honored members of the high school bowling team for their championship season.

The Comets compiled a record of 77-14 and were named Lancaster-Lebanon League Section I and L-L League champions and placed second in the PA Eastern Regionals.

The Penn Manor boys’ team went on to win the state title, a first for any bowling team in Lancaster County history. The team finished third in the state in 2015 and has been competitive for several years, so it was nice to finally end up No. 1, said assistant coach Neal Vital.

Team members also earned the following individual honors:

  • Jordan Wakefield – 2nd place in L-L singles
  • Nick Fisher – 4th in L-L singles
  • Zach Bowers – 2nd in District III singles
  • Tannet Simet – 7th in District Regional singles
  • Jodan Wakefield, Zach Bowers and Nick Fisher – LNP Bowlers of the Week.

The school board formally recognized the accomplishments of the team with a resolution presented Monday night.

Congratulations, and best wishes for next season!

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Penn Manor honors senior student athletes

More than 60 Penn Manor High School student athletes were honored May 16 during the Senior Sports Awards Social in the high school cafeteria.

The top athletic awards went to Collin Whiteside and Morgan Edwards, recipients of the All-Around Male and Female Athlete awards, and Zach Bowers and Emily Robb, named the Outstanding Penn Manor Male and Female Athletes.

Collin Whiteside was captain of the baseball and soccer teams and a Section 1 first team All-Star in both sports. His coaches praised him as a team leader who was humble on and off the playing field.

Morgan Edwards was captain of the lacrosse team and co-captain of the volleyball team her junior and senior years. Despite missing most of her senior volleyball season as a result of injuries, she was awarded the team’s Most Improved Player Award.

Emily Robb received multiple honors as a member of the field hockey team. She was named to the L-L League All-Star, first team All-State, and All Academic teams and the National Academic team. Her coach praised Emily as a team leader and role model for younger players.

Zach Bowers helped the bowling team compile a 77-14 regular season record and was a major contributor to the team’s state championship. He was named L-L League Section 1 Most Valuable Player and earned an average score of 216 for the season.

Also honored May 16 was Comets softball coach Dave Stokes, named Penn Manor Coach of the Year. Stokes led the team to a 20-3 record and a spot in the District 3 playoffs.

Congratulations to all Penn Manor student athletes and coaches, and best wishes on your future athletic and academic endeavors!

Here is a full list of the athletic awards:

2016 PM athletic awards

From left, Morgan Edwards, Emily Robb, Collin Whiteside, Zach Bowers.
From left, Morgan Edwards, Emily Robb, Collin Whiteside, Zach Bowers.
Softball coach Dave Stokes
Softball coach Dave Stokes

 

Alecxih returns to his roots, visits CM students

Wednesday’s lesson in Beth Mader’s second-grade class at Central Manor Elementary School was about “dreaming big” — and a very big person helped her deliver it.

Chas Alecxih, a 6-foot-4, 295-lb. defensive tackle for the NFL Carolina Panthers, visited the class to encourage students to set realistic goals, work hard and learn to overcome obstacles.

It was a homecoming for Alecxih, a 2007 Penn Manor High School graduate who was a member of Mrs. Mader’s second-grade class 19 years ago.

Her students told Alecxih about their career dreams, and he shared how he was able to accomplish his goal of playing professional football, a dream he’s had since he, too, was a second-grader.

Alecxih played for Penn Manor and earned a scholarship to attend the University of Pittsburgh, where he played in 42 games as a defensive tackle.

He told students that his NFL career was marked by many challenges as he fought back from injuries while playing on four different teams.

A year ago, he was out of work following an injury. But Alecxih recovered and was signed to the Carolina Panthers practice squad, traveling with the team to the Super Bowl, an experience he described as “surreal.”

Mader kept in touch with Alecxih over the years and invited him to her class to talk about how a big career dream can become a reality.

“I had told my class what type of student Chas had been — compassionate, helpful, hard-working,” she said.

“So for his visit, I wanted them to actually meet him in person; then he could verify all the things I told them — that he played by the rules, welcomed everyone into the games at recess, listened to teachers and coaches.”

“They definitely connected to him. He is so sweet and down to earth,” Mader said. “He made them feel comfortable, and they looked at him with such admiration.”

Thanks, Chas, for inspiring our students to “dream big”!

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