They’re the best around … spring and overall winners announced [Northeast Times]

(Originally posted by the Northeast Times April 27, 2024)

It’s been a great year and it’s only getting better.

It’s time to name the best athletes from the spring season, and take a look back at some of the athletes who made massive impacts during the school year.

The winners will be honored May 15 at the 38th annual Northeast Times Sports Award Banquet. The event will be held at the FOP.

Here is a look at the winners.

Dave Rodriguez held La Salle to two runs in a complete game as Judge beat the Explorers last year to win the Catholic League championship. PHOTO: Dave Picariello

Spring Awards

Baseball

Catholic League Player of the Year

David Rodriguez

Father Judge

Last year, Rodriguez was the best baseball player in the state, leading the Crusaders to the state championship. This year, he’s picked up right where he left off.

The St. John’s signee has become one of the better hitters in the Catholic League this year, but he’s still old reliable on the mound. After a slow start, he’s picked up two Catholic League wins and has the Crusaders in position to defend their Catholic League championship.

Braedyn Clinton is hitting over .700 for Franklin Towne Charter. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Public League Player of the Year

Braedyn Clinton

Franklin Towne Charter

The Warriors have put together a stellar team this year, and their star outfielder is one of the main reasons.

The five-tool player can do anything Franklin Towne needs. He’s fast, has a great arm, can hit for power, hit for average and is one of the best at tracking down balls in the outfield.

Last year he helped the Warriors reach the Public League championship. The Widener commit is hoping he can do the same this year, and potentially win the title.

Coach of the Year

Juan Namnun

Frankford

The Pioneers were expected to be rebuilding this year, but sadly nobody told the team. Instead, Namnun has Frankford where it’s used to being – atop the Public League standings.

The young team is competing in Public League play, having suffered just one loss. This season should pay dividends for Frankford not just this year, but beyond.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Mya Diorio has two triples and a home run on the young season.

Softball

Catholic League Player of the Year 

Mya Diorio

Archbishop Ryan

Whenever the Ragdolls need a big hit, they turn to their senior power hitter.

Diorio, a first baseman and captain, is hitting .500 on the season and is one of the early favorites to win the MVP of the league.

Ryan is 6-0 on the season and should once again compete for a Catholic League championship.

Aubrey Seider is the ace of the staff for Franklin Towne. PHOTO: FRANKLIN TOWNE CHARTER

Public League Player of the Year

Aubrey Seider

Franklin Towne Charter

Ever since she arrived as a freshman, Seider has been the starting pitcher on the Warriors, and she’s been nothing but great the entire time.

Seider has not only led Franklin Towne to the postseason every year, the team has advanced to the championship every year.

This year, the Warriors are 6-1 on the strength of her arm, and should once again make a deep run in the Public League playoffs.

Coach of the Year

John Kidwell

Archbishop Ryan

It’s never easy to win in the Catholic League, but the Ragdolls are making it look easy this year.

Not only are they winning, they’re a perfect 6-0 in Catholic League play, and they’re doing it convincingly. Ryan has outscored foes 86-20.

Last year Ryan advanced to the championship and went on to make a run in the state playoffs. The team should once again be one of the favorites heading into Catholic League playoff action.

Overall awards

Holy Family Male Athlete

Kouto Anyika

Track

The sophomore from Penn Wood High School has enjoyed a great season during the winter with indoor track and is having just as much fun during the outdoor season.

Anyika qualified for All-American during the winter in the 400-meter final, where he broke his own school record with what at that point was the fourth-best time in Division II this year.

During the East Coast Conference indoor championships, Anyika won two individuals golds, in the 200m and 400m, and was also part of the 4x400m relay team that broke both a championship and near 10-year-old indoor school record after combining to finish in 3:20.60.

Holy Family Female Athlete

Maura Kilkenny

Soccer

The Little Flower graduate has been tearing it up at Holy Family since she got there.

The defender was twice named to All-Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference First Team, and once made second team.

This year she was also named to the CACC All-Tournament Team and won the 2023 Woman’s Soccer Alumni Scholarship. She finished the year with a goal and an assist.

Chris Coulter was All-Catholic in his first season competing in track. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Most Courageous Athlete

Chris Coulter 

Father Judge

If you’ve ever seen Coulter play football, you’d know why he’s courageous. The big guy was in the center of both the offensive and defensive lines, and he more than held his own against some of the best in the area. He also is one of the best shot put throwers in the state.

And Coulter did all of this without his biggest fan there for his senior year. Coulter’s father, Craig, passed away last year. Coulter always made his dad proud, and this year would have been no different.

Most Dedicated

Qadir Carr 

George Washington

When Carr joined the Washington football team, it wasn’t very good. It was in the middle of the pandemic, there weren’t many kids on the team and the Eagles needed some work.

With Carr leading the way, they put in that work, and then cruised to great seasons his junior and senior year.

Carr was the man leading that charge. He helped his younger teammates get acclimated to the game, and also served as almost a player-coach to make his teammates better.

He helped the Eagles finish 8-3 and guided them to the playoffs.

Seamus Hart can play anywhere he’s needed on the lacrosse field. PHOTO: Gil McGlynn

Sportsmanship Award

Seamus Hart

Father Judge

Some players are willing to go the extra mile for their team. Hart did it for his school.

The lacrosse star is one of the top athletes in the school, and he’s been a leader on the team since his sophomore year when he was named captain. But Hart also helps other teams, including the basketball squad, where he was a manager.

Hart is also a credit in the classroom, where he is the president of student council and is also ranked in the top 10 percent of his senior class.

Mike DuBeck and Elizabeth Haney star in Elf at Archbishop Ryan High School. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Leadership Award 

Elizabeth Haney

Archbishop Ryan

The Ryan senior field hockey player is a leader in everything she does. This year she was not only a captain in her sport, she was the student body president.

A member of the musical theater, she served as the president this year and is co-editor-in-chief of the yearbook. She also helped start Tribe a THON, a fundraiser. She’s also in jazz band, where she won three vocal awards.

Next year, she’ll continue her education at Scranton.

Spirit Award

Caitlin Cranston

St. Hubert

Cheerleaders naturally light up a room, but few shine as bright as Cranston. She is a four-year member of the Hubert’s cheerleading team that won two state championships and a national championship during her career. She also led the Bambies to a pair of second-place finishes at nationals.

Cranston also shows her Bambie spirit in other ways.

She’s a member of the National Honor Society and also plays on the school’s flag football team. She will likely continue cheering in college.

Unsung Hero

Jaden Murray

Archbishop Ryan

When you play on a team with two of the best players in Southeastern Pennsylvania, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. That never happened to Murray mostly because he was the guy who did whatever the Raiders needed.

A capable scorer, Murray deferred to his teammates at times for the good of the team. And he’s one of the main reasons the Raiders were playing in late March.

Teammates of the Year

Frankie Monaco and Owen Stock

Archbishop Ryan

One of these guys had to get the award, and after everything they’ve done in their careers, it only makes sense they get it together.

Both defenders, Monaco and Stock came into high school and were promoted directly to the varsity team. After helping the team get back on track during their first two years, the duo led Ryan to its first Catholic League championship in 19 years.

This year, after watching most of the championship team graduate, they helped the Raiders get to the semifinals before falling to eventual champions La Salle.

Monaco and Stock have been playing soccer together their entire lives.

Northeast Philadelphian Award (Male)

Zach Curtin

Penn Charter

The Normandy native has been putting up huge numbers at Penn Charter for years.

This year he was the featured back, and he also helped out in the defensive backfield. The Quakers finished 4-5, but had some huge wins, including beating Inter-Ac rival Germantown Academy.

Curtin also plays lacrosse, and maintains a 3.8 grade point average in the classroom.

A second-team All-Inter-Ac selection, he’ll continue his career at Amherst College.

Northeast Philadelphian Award (Female)

Kendall Gayton

Villa Joseph Marie

The Jems senior doesn’t get a lot of rest.

The Mayfair natives’s best sport is soccer, where she plays centerback and midfield. She’s also a star basketball player during the winter and has become a star lacrosse player in the spring.

On top of playing three sports, she’s also a star in the classroom and a member of Athletes Helping Athletes.

She hopes to play soccer next year and will major in occupational therapy.

Zoe Steinmetz swam the individual medley at the state individual championships. PHOTO: JEFF SHORT

Female Scholar-Athlete

Zoe Steinmetz

Little Flower

It really didn’t matter what the Sentinels needed, they had the perfect person. Steinmetz did virtually every race there is to do, and at the same time did anything she could to help her teammates.

As great as she did in the pool, she was even better in the classroom.

Steinmetz is ranked atop her senior class at Little Flower and is the valedictorian of her senior class.

Next year, she’ll study at Penn State.

Tim Gress won 11 games with a 1.76 ERA last year for the Catholic League champs. Photo: Dave Picariello

Male Scholar-Athlete

Tim Gress

Father Judge

Best known for being one of the best pitchers in the Catholic League, but it’s not even his best sport. Gress is also a great golfer, and hopes to play that sport in college. That means he’ll give up baseball, and he’s having a great final year on the mound. Just as he did last year, Gress has been mowing down batters all year.

When he’s not excelling in sports, he’s starring in the classroom. He’s a Diocesan Scholar, has earned first-honors every marking period and is ranked in the top 20 of his senior class.

Devon Cheeseman scored two goals during the Pandas’ playoff run. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Female Athlete of the Year 

Devon Cheeseman

Nazareth Academy

Nazareth Academy came into the season looking to find its way in the Catholic League. Not only did the Pandas hold their own, they went to the Catholic League championship game. All year, they were led by their senior captain, who went on to make All-Catholic.

Cheeseman is also one of the leaders on the Pandas lacrosse team.

Next year, she’ll continue her soccer career at Muhlenberg.

Thomas Sorber enjoyed a terrific senior season. MARK ZIMMARO / TIMES PHOTO

Male Athlete of the Year 

Thomas Sorber

Archbishop Ryan

It’s hard to dominate in the Catholic League, but the Ryan senior big man found a way to do it. And because of his efforts, he was named the Most Valuable Player of the PCL. He also led Ryan to the Catholic League championship game, and the semifinals of the state playoffs.

In three years, Sorber made two Catholic League championships and two deep runs in the state playoffs.

Next year he’ll continue his career at Georgetown.

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