Dear North Penn Athletics

I always knew it would come to an end. I just didn’t know it would come this soon.  One of the best things someone can be blessed with is a platform and that is what the Knight Crier gave me.  I have covered sports for the North Penn High School newspaper the last two years and it has provided me with some of greatest and most memorable experiences of my life.

I remember my first article.  The football game the night before was postponed to that Saturday because of a thunderstorm.  That thunderstorm truly showed why they call Crawford Stadium “The Swamp,” so, they moved the game to the turf field.  I had arrived to the turf field early and got there for the start of the boys soccer game that was taking place right before the football game.  My partner in the sports reporting business, Erik Jesberger, was going to write the article for the football game so I thought I might as well cover the soccer game.  And that was my first article.

The funny thing is, I didn’t know that much about soccer.  I only knew the basics so not only was I learning how to write sports articles, but I was also learning the game.  I continued to go to soccer games to report and when I wrote the article for each game, I would have Mike Chaffee, a senior on this year’s team, read over it to make sure everything made sense and was correct.  So, thank you Mike for all the help.

I am so glad I went to that soccer game that day because the boys’ soccer team gave me a lot memories.  This year, they obviously won the state championship and I get to say that I was there with them as I went on the bus rides throughout the district and state tournaments.  Then, their trip to Harrisburg came around and Coach Duddy invited me to come and that meant the world to me.  I want to thank Coach Duddy along with the rest of the coaches, as well as the all the players for letting me experience a magical run with you guys.

Everyone’s favorite high school sport, football, also was in the fall and I got to cover these games as well.  I covered the games from the press box where I color commentated the television broadcast alongside E.J.  It was just always a fun time, except for when it was cold and the Knights were up by 30, and I definitely will miss it.  The Knights traveled to CB South for a playoff game this year and this game I got to cover from the sideline.  For someone who had never been to a football game until high school, that was pretty cool to be that close to all the action.

Then came the winter season and basketball.  There are so many things I can talk about with basketball.  From Alli Lindsay’s incredible passing skills, to Rob Carangi’s poster, to Josh Jones pinning a basketball between the rim and backboard, or A.J. Mitchell scoring 35 points in a double overtime win.  I was courtside to witness everything and there’s nothing better than that.  I still remember the first time I brought a camera to a sporting event.  Mitchell, a 2019 graduate, went chasing for a basketball and had to dive into the crowd.  He came crashing into me and that’s when I realized what sitting courtside meant.  No cameras were harmed by the way.

I had the opportunity to cover a coach’s first season when Coach Carangi took over as head coach on the girls’ team.  I got to see the transformation from a rebuilding team to a state playoff team.  The boys team had just about as much magic as you can get this year.  After the girls’ game was done in the Navy gym, everyone took out their phones to watch the boys at Pennridge and we all saw Matt Swanson’s half court prayer sink through the net, as that shot sent the Knights to the playoffs.  Then it was Kolby Barrow’s turn to be the hero when he made a three to send the Knights to the state playoffs.  The reason I’m saying all this, is because these are moments and experiences you can’t replicate anywhere else.

I had a lot of excitement during the fall and winter, and there was still a good amount of that in the spring, but the spring was the time of the year I really just enjoyed.  Last year, Victoria Juckniewitz, a senior on the team this year, told me in our English class, that the softball team was looking for an announcer.  I thought public address announcing was so cool and it was also something I wanted to do so it wasn’t a hard decision for me.  I announced games for the Knights while still reporting on games.  I still remember when the team had two games in two days and both ended in walk-offs.  There’s that excitement I was talking about.  Playoff time came and I not only had the opportunity to travel with the team, but I got to sit in the dugout.  In fact, I sat right next to Coach Torresani as he called pitches and sometimes he would even discuss his decisions with me.  Another thing I remember is Mady Volpe, a future division one pitcher and junior this year, pitching some of the biggest games of her career and then coming back in the dugout and sitting next to me.  Mady and I laugh about that now because I never knew if I should say, “good inning out there,” or just keep filling out my scorebook.

North Penn Baseball.  I have had quite a relationship with the baseball program.  I still remember as a kid, attending baseball clinics in the auxiliary gym.  It had always been a dream of mine to be on the North Penn team, but something I eventually realized wouldn’t happen, or at least I thought.  My sophomore year I attended games as just as a regular fan in the bleachers.  Junior year, I was in the bullpen as a reporter.  This year, I got to experience what it’s like to be a part of a high school team as I was the manager.  Just think about that for a second.  I went from fan to in the dugout. Yeah, I know we won’t have a spring season and I feel terrible for my teammates along with all the other spring athletes.  But I still experienced a lot with the baseball team.  I got to see what a team meeting looked like.  I went to my first team dinner with the First Pitch Dinner.  I walked down Lansdale with the team as a part of the Mardi Gras parade.  I enjoyed the fall season a lot, just being around the guys during games and practices, celebrating Evin Sullivan’s walk-off home run that probably still hasn’t landed, and celebrating the fall championship.  I cannot thank all the coaches and players enough for letting me experience this year with you guys.

Before I wrap this up, I would be remiss if I didn’t say thank you to certain people.  First, thanks to all the coaches that I worked with, especially Coach Duddy, Coach Scheetz, Coach Beck, Coach Carangi, Coach Conrad, Coach Hilsey, and Coach Torresani.  North Penn sports is truly in great hands right now.

Coach and Mr. Manero, I can’t thank you enough.  I couldn’t ask for a better newspaper advisor, teacher, and coach.  I really have learned a lot from you.  When you named me Sports Editor my junior year, only a few weeks into me joining the newspaper, you entrusted me to handle everything sports related and you just let me be me.

To all other Knight Crier classmates, this year and last year, thank you.  You guys made my time in first period so enjoyable and I always looked forward to 7:21 because of you guys.  Erik Jesberger, thank you for being my competition and my motivation to be keep working hard and getting better.  And Marissa Werner, thank you for teaching me how to take sports photos.

I am appreciative for anyone who has read one of my articles, but I have to say thank you to the parents that read my work, you guys always thanked me for my game recaps and it’s my turn to thank you guys for reading them.  I could thank a lot of parents, but Mrs. Barrow is someone I have to thank.  She always commented, retweeted my stories, and honestly was probably my most loyal reader, which was always appreciated.

I have to thank the athletic department staff for letting me do whatever I needed to do to be successful at events and approving of me to travel with teams.

Lastly the players, thank you for all the cooperation and just making my time on a field or court enjoyable.  I always say my favorite part of covering sports is developing relationships with the players, so without you guys I don’t think I would have had as much fun doing this.

This in no way is my last article, in fact I’ve been working on a few more.  With the spring season being cancelled yesterday, I just thought this was the right time to reflect on these last two years.  To anyone who might want to get involved in high school reporting, do it.  You get to see a lot that you don’t see as just a regular student and your high school experience will probably be positively impacted.  Take the opportunity to have a platform and leave a mark on North Penn.  I’m onto Drexel University after this school year and I might be in the big city of Philadelphia, but my heart will always be in Towamencin bleeding Columbia and navy blue, forever.