The Northeast Times has named its spring athletes of the year as the Sports Award Banquet is just weeks away.
Remember a few weeks back when we were getting ready for the fall season and football camp was about to start? Yeah, that was almost nine months ago.
Another school year has come and almost gone, which means it’s time for the annual Northeast Times Sports Award Banquet.
This year’s banquet will take place May 17 at Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, and we’ll hand out the plaques to the fall, winter, spring and overall winners.
As always, the competition was fierce. The Northeast is filled with great athletes who make things happen on and off the field. We’ve had champions, individual achievements and, more importantly, great kids participating in these sports, which means we had tough decisions in every category.
We did our research and narrowed it down to the best, and here they are.
Catholic League Baseball Player of the Year
Chuck Kelley, Judge
For the second year in a row, the talented pitcher has been a force for the Crusaders. In fact, the winner of this award last year has been even more dominant this year. He maintains a 3–1 record with 32 strikeouts in 23 innings pitched. He’s been incredibly stingy, holding opponents to a 0.30 earned run average while opponents are hitting just .138 against him.
He’s also done it with the stick. He has a .435 batting average with seven RBIs in seven Catholic League games.
Next year, Kelley will continue his baseball career at Harford College.
Public League Baseball Player of the Year
Luis Ramos, Frankford
Luis Ramos had an amazing sophomore year for Frankford. This year, he’s picked up right where he left off.
Ramos is a perfect 3–0 on the year with a 0.75 earned run average. He also has a ridiculous 42 strikeouts in 18 innings pitched. If you count last year, Ramos is 10–0 with a 0.82 earned run average.
And although he’s only a junior, this year he has become the leader of the young Pioneers, who are looking to win their second straight Public League and city championship.
Baseball Coach of the Year
Juan Namnun, Frankford
Going into the season, the Pioneers had a lot of question marks. Sure, they had a great pitcher, but the team graduated a lot of great players who helped the team win the Public League championship and shock St. Joe’s Prep in the city title game. Even Namnun wasn’t sure what to expect this year.
But expectations have been surpassed. The Pioneers remain undefeated in Public League play and despite having a bull’s-eye on their backs, they’ve answered the challenge of the other great teams in the Public League.
Led by their coach, the Pioneers once again have hopes of winning the Public League crown and going on to the state tournament.
Catholic League Softball Player of the Year
Kate Ostaszewski, Ryan
The Archbishop Ryan softball team has had a great run as of late, and it seems like there’s always an Ostaszewski leading the way.
This year will be the final year they’ll have one, and Kate Ostaszewski is doing her best to make sure the Ragdolls go out with a great season.
Ostaszewski, the team’s starting shortstop, is one of the most feared hitters in the Catholic League. She maintains a .412 average with a .489 on-base percentage. The leadoff hitter also has 12 runs, three doubles, a triple and a home run to her credit.
Behind her leadership, the Ragdolls are 9–1 in Catholic League play.
Next year, she’ll play at Kutztown.
Public League Softball Player of the Year
Hannah Higgins, Philadelphia Academy Charter
The Chargers are having a very successful spring, and Hannah Higgins is one of the main reasons.
Philadelphia Academy Charter is 10–0 in Public League play and has even turned back the №2 team in the league, Central. Higgins, the starting shortstop, has been a huge key to the Chargers’ success.
The four-year varsity player is hitting .611 with three doubles, a triple and two home runs. She’s also had a strong season in the field. She’s yet to commit an error and has helped turn five double plays.
Next year, she’ll continue her softball career at the University of the Sciences.
Softball Coach of the Year
John Kidwell Archbishop Ryan
John Kidwell has been collecting championships at Archbishop Ryan. Going into last year, he had guided the Ragdolls to three Catholic League championships in a row. Last year, the young Ragdolls shocked some people by making it to the PCL semifinals. As great as last year’s season was, this year’s might be even better.
Ryan is 9–1 in a very balanced Catholic League, and the Ragdolls have managed to win close games against top competition. And when they’ve played weaker competition, they’ve won convincingly.
Thanks to the strong regular season, the Ragdolls have put themselves in position to get back to the championship game.
Bob Peffle, Frankford
It would be pretty hard to sum up what Bob Peffle has meant to Frankford. It would be equally as hard to say exactly how much he has done for La Salle.
Peffle was the longtime baseball and wrestling coach at Frankford and boys soccer coach at La Salle. He collected championships like they were baseball cards, winning 11 wrestling titles, seven soccer crowns and five baseball championships. And his winning percentage in all three sports borders on ridiculous.
But if you talk to anyone about Peffle, championships and wins won’t be the first thing they talk about.
Peffle was a teacher first and his teachings are what led to the championships. He’s also been a fantastic mentor to his players, and he still serves as that mentor to Frankford baseball coach Juan Namnun and wrestling coach Joe Farina. He coached both of those men when they were in high school and they continue to carry out his legacy every year.
Now Peffle is enjoying his retirement by hanging out with his wife, sons and granddaughters, but he stays active at Frankford, where he threw out the first pitch this year on the baseball team. He also stays around La Salle, where he teaches one class this year.
Holy Family University Female Athlete of the Year
Brianna Rock, Soccer
For the second year in a row, Brianna Rock was one of the best women’s soccer players in the nation.
For the second straight year, she was named the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Player of the Year and this year she made the Conference Commissioner’s Association Division II Women’s Soccer All-America first team.
Rock, a junior, scored 16 goals and picked up nine assists for 41 points, which established a single-season school record in the NCAA era. Behind Rock’s solid year, Holy Family made the CACC tournament for the second straight year and finished the year with a 14–6–0 record, 10–2 in conference play.
Holy Family University Male Athlete of the Year
Taurai Augustin, Track
Taurai Augustin isn’t having a great season. He’s having a great three seasons.
The talented runner from St. Lucia enjoyed a strong cross country season before really flourishing in indoor track, where he provisionally qualified for the NCAA Division II Championship in the 800-meter race. He also shattered eight school records while running for the Tigers. This spring, the senior is up to his old tricks on the outdoor track. Last weekend, he had a hand in two relay teams that broke school records at the Penn Relays. Also last month, he won the 800-meter race at all three of the school’s meets.
As good as his times on the track are, he’s a better student in the classroom. This year, he earned his first B, which lowered his grade point average to a 3.97. He is majoring in biology.
Ryan Doherty, St. Hubert
Ryan Doherty is one of the most popular athletes at St. Hubert’s and it’s not just because she’s one of the top athletes in the school. This year, she was one of the top golfers in the Catholic League. Also, she’s a star on the track team, where she’s among the top pole vaulters in the Catholic League despite picking up the event just a year ago.
Doherty also goes out of her way to help all of her teammates, especially the younger players on the team.
When she’s not starring in sports, she’s doing great in the classroom, where she is among the top students in her class. She brings the same leadership to the school that she does to athletics.
Next year, Doherty will attend Drexel.
Unsung Hero Award
Devon Vargas, Archbishop Ryan
Last year, Devon Vargas was a key reserve on the Raiders team that advanced to the semifinals of the state tournament. This year, he opened the year as a starter, but after a few games he moved back to the bench.
This wasn’t a punishment, it was because it allowed Vargas do what he did best. When Joe Zeglinski would put him in the game, which usually happened within a few minutes of the opening tip, Vargas would provide nonstop energy. He would sell out on defense and give everything he had on offense, too.
Vargas also brought leadership to this year’s team, which was badly needed because most of the players from last year’s team had graduated.
Most Courageous Athlete
Gianna Roddy, St. Hubert
Coming back from an injury can be hard. Coming back from the same injury can be even harder.
But that’s what Gianna Roddy did when she was cheerleading for the Bambies this year. She tore her ACL during her freshman year and then suffered the same injury again last year. She could have just stayed on the team as a spectator, but instead she put in the grueling rehab and returned to the team for her senior year. Not only did she make it back, but she was named the Most Valuable Player of the Catholic League in cheerleading and guided the Bambies to nationals in Florida. Next year, Roddy will continue her cheerleading career at Penn State.
Male Northeast Philadelphian Award
Brett Werner, La Salle
Brett Werner could get consideration for this award for what he’s done on the St. Anselm CYO basketball team. But what got him the award was his play on the La Salle soccer team.
Werner was named the Catholic League Most Valuable Player in the fall, when he led the Explorers to the Catholic League championship and a city championship. It was the second year in a row the team won those crowns. Werner started 22 games this year and notched shutouts in 12 of them, including an 11–1 record in Catholic League play. Next year, Werner will continue his career at La Salle University.
Female Northeast Philadelphian Award
Jules Gura, St. Basil
Jules Gura, a Rhawnhurst native, got a late start on basketball this year. That’s because while most basketball players were in the gym working on their jump shots, she was helping the Basil soccer team advance to the state championship game. She was a defender in soccer.
When that season was over, she wasted no time in getting ready for basketball. For the time she missed at the beginning of the year, she made up for it in the playoffs, where the point guard helped the team made the state quarterfinals.
Gura was the heart and soul of the basketball team, and during the fall she provided the soccer team with the leadership it needed to make the run.
Next year, Gura will continue her basketball career at the University of the Sciences.
Female Scholar Athlete of the Year
Lauren Powell, Nazareth Academy
Lauren Powell has done it all.
This year, she was arguably the best player on the Pandas soccer team, where she saw time at midfield and forward. Then during the spring, she excels in hurdles and sprints on the Nazareth track team, where she also chips in on all of the relay teams.
In track, she puts up low numbers, but in the classroom it’s the exact opposite.
She’s maintained a 4.2 grade point average during her four years at Nazareth and this year she has a 4.5 GPA. Next year, she’s plans on running track at Lehigh University.
Male Scholar Athlete of the Year
Chris Reed, Archbishop Ryan
Chris Reed proved hard work can pay off. For him, it’s worked in school and sports.
Reed is a first-honors student at Ryan and is ranked near the top of his senior class. He works hard for his grades, and he does the same on the football field.
Last year, Reed became the starting quarterback on the Ryan team, but this year he gladly gave the position to junior Jahlil Sanders. Reed moved to receiver and linebacker, and went out of his way to help Sanders get comfortable with the offense.
In the spring, Reed is an outfielder on the baseball team, and has turned into one of the better players on the Raiders. Reed plans on going to Elizabethtown College, where he will major in electrical engineering.
Female Athlete of the Year
Maura Coleman, Little Flower
Playing one sport is hard. Playing three is exceptionally challenging.
Maura Coleman is a four-sport star, competing in swimming, field hockey, cross country and lacrosse. And even more amazingly, she’s earned All-Catholic honors in all of them.
Coleman was second-team All-Catholic in field hockey, and during the same season, she earned first-team All-Catholic in cross country.
Swimming may have been her best sport. She was a team captain, was named All-Catholic and qualified for the state championships. She did this while competing in any race she was asked to swim.
Away from sports, she was even more successful. She is ranked 20th in her senior class and serves as a Little Flower ambassador.
Male Athlete of the Year
DeShawn McCarthy, Northeast
DeShawn McCarthy didn’t have a lot of time to train between seasons because, all year, he was competing.
During the fall, McCarthy started at tight end and defensive end for the Vikings, who won the Public League 6A championship. McCarthy was a ferocious blocker on the offensive end and he presented all kinds of problems along the defensive line.
And he’s fast for a lineman. Need proof? Well, during the spring, he’s a sprinter on the track team and is one of the best in the Public League.
Football is his main sport, and track helps him get better for football, but during the winter McCarthy plays for the basketball team. He provides toughness and an inside presence and is a strong rebounder. He averaged about four points per game in Public League play.
Next year, McCarthy will continue his football career at Maine. ••
If you go…
The Northeast Sports Awards Banquet will be held Thursday, May 17, at Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, at 11630 Caroline Road. Tickets can be purchased online. Cost is $25. Winners are admitted free. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit nmg.ticketleap.com/hssports.
Additional winners to be honored at the event include: Catholic League Football Player of the Year Timmy Moulton (Archbishop Ryan), Public League Football Player of the Year Sam Karr (Abraham Lincoln), Football Coach of the Year Phil Gormley (Northeast), Catholic League Boys Soccer Player of the Year Will Stackhouse (Ryan), Public League Boys Soccer Player of the Year Mohammed Khalafalla (Northeast), Soccer Coach of the Year Kraig Feldman (Northeast), Catholic League Girls Soccer Player of the Year Hailey O’Neill (Ryan), Public League Girls Soccer Player of the Year Arryanna Coleman (Franklin Towne Charter) and Girls Soccer Coach of the Year Jon Geist (Ryan), Catholic League Boys Basketball Player of the Year Tom Quarry (Father Judge), Public League Boys Basketball Player of the Year Shikeir Morrison, Lincoln, Boys Basketball Coach of the Year Al Brown (Lincoln), Catholic League Girls Basketball Player of the Year Monee Moore (Ryan), Public League Girls Basketball Player of the Year Isabella Vazquez (George Washington), Girls Basketball Coach of the Year Mike McCusker (Ryan), Catholic League Wrestler of the Year Caesar Fountain (Judge), Public League Wrestler of the Year Jameel Coles (Northeast) and Wrestling Coach of the Year John Swift (Ryan). ••