July 17, 2023
This is the sixth of a series for the City Six athletic programs where we look back at the bright, shining stars from the athletic season.
We will name the Team of the year and Student Athlete of the year for each school. In addition we will list an honor roll for teams and student athletes. A team recognition will be noted by a championship, post season advancement, and / or a significant achievement. To be named as a player one should have a national award or honor, a league accolade, significant achievement, or team record.
Let’s take a look back at this past season on the at Franklin Field, The Palestra, Penn Park, Rhodes Fields, Tommy Lasorda Field at Meiklejohn Stadium, and the rivers, here and abroad, and the links for The University of Pennsylvania.
Co-Teams of the Year
In the previous season the team had a sub-.500 record and did not qualify for the Ivy League Tournament for the first time. The team had a good, young core group. Coach Karin Corbett gathered her senior leaders and alumni to remind the players of what it takes to be a Penn Women’s Lacrosse player. And that message got through to the delight of the coach. This Penn team won the Ivy League going undefeated in the Ancient Eight, then swept both games in the Ivy Tournament to land an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Penn defeated Connecticut in the first game before losing to eventual NCAA finalist Boston College 9 – 7 to end the season. The tournament championship is the 4th in program history. The team posted a 14 – 5 overall record, 7 – 0 in the Ivy League. The Quakers won 9-striaght before losing to BC. Along the way the Red and Blue played seven ranked teams in the regular season, winning three, in gaining a #14 ranking. Penn won the title with a thrilling 15 – 14 overtime win against Yale at Penn Park on a goal by Anna Brandt. Maria Themelis was named the Most Outstanding Player. In the league awards Niki Miles received the Attacker of the Year honor, Brandt being the Midfielder of the Year, and Izzy Rohr named as the Defensive Player of the Year. She had 35 Caused Turnovers. More details for those student athletes will follow. The Coach of the Year Award went to Corbett. Ten players were selected to All-Ivy teams. Nearly everyone returns for next season along with notable newcomers. Bright days lie ahead for Penn. With Coach giving them the reminder about what it will take.
The talk of the late spring college season revolved around the University of Pennsylvania baseball team who were poised to make a Super Regional, the first time for the program and the Ivy League. But the Quakers fell short losing twice to Southern Mississippi in the Auburn Regional. But the Red and Blue served notice that they were playing to win. They won their first two games starting with a 6 – 3, 11-inning win over host Auburn, their first regional victory since 1990. Penn beat Samford 5 – 4 to have an opportunity to advance. But just getting to the Regional called on the resolve of this team. They qualified for the Ivy Tournament, then got the number one seed and home field advantage by beating Columbia three times at the end of the season. Penn beat Columbia one more time, Harvard, and Princeton 16 – 3 to get the title and a trip to the NCAA Championship. Jarrett Pokrovsky was named the Most Outstanding Player. At the conclusion of the regular season the Red and Blue saw five players get named to the All-Ivy first team; Ryan Dromboski, who is the Pitcher of the Year, Cole Zaffiro (Pitcher), Jackson Appel (Catcher), Cole Palis (2B), and Wyatt Henseler (3B). More details on Dromboski and Hemseler will follow. John Yurkow coached the team to a 34 – 16 record, 16 – 5 in the league to win the Coach of the Year award.
Student Athletes of the Year
Jordan Dingle, Men’s Basketball who won the Arthur Kiefaber Most Valuable Player Award for the second straight season. Dingle earned the Ivy League and Big Five Player of the Year awards. He is the first player in program-history to be named the ECAC Player of the Year. Dingle is an All-Ivy First-Team selection. In the Big Five Dingle score 120 points over the four city series games to break a record that stood since 1966-67, and was the scoring champion. He averaged 23.4 points per game which ranked 2nd in the NCAA. Dingle tied for the league in made three-pointers draining 77. Over the season for the Red and Blue the junior guard led the team in Made Field Goals (218), Made Free Throws (143) and Steals (32).
Kayla Padilla, Women’s Basketball who earned first-team All-Big Five and Ivy League honors. Padilla set all three of the three-point records while at Penn. She set the single-game record last season for made three-point baskets with nine. The single-season record was written this season by Padilla with 81, and that allowed her to set the career-mark with 210. The Californian averaged 2.79 three-pointers per game. The guard averaged 17.7 points per game. In the league she had a conference-best 20.1 in the fourteen Ivy contests. Padilla held the team-lead in minutes (1,042) and assists handing out 101 this season. As a student the Wharton grad was the recipient of the Trustees Council of Penn Women Female Athlete of the Year Award. She received the Fathers’ Trophy. However, the most unforgettable moment came a graduation this year. Speaker Idina Menzel asked those gathered in attendance to shout, sing, or sign pretending they are at the Palestra and Kayla Padilla just sank a three-pointer. And they did.
Niki Miles, Women’s Lacrosse who set the school single-season record for most goals netting 63. She led the Ivy League in goals and ranked 14th in the nation. Miles had 78 points to lead the league as she earned the Attacking Player of the Year in the Ancient Eight. Miles also earned first-team All-Region by the IWLCA and honorable mention All-America by Inside Lacrosse. The senior moved into the Penn top-20 in goals with 81 and points at 118.
Honor Roll Teams
In a memorable season the team won the Ivy League Championship outright and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. It was an award winning season for the Red and Blue who posted a 13 – 3 – 2 record, 6 – 1 in the Ivy League. Penn won its first round NCAA Tournament game at home 3- 0 over Rutgers. The campaign came to an end in the second round with an overtime 2 – 1 loss at Syracuse. Stas Korzeniowski won the league Offensive Player of the Year award while Leo Burney was named the Defensive Player of the Year. Coach Brian Gill earned the Coach of the Year honor. Burney and Korzeniowski are the first teammates and sophomores to be the award winners in the same year since the league split the honors into the two categories in 2013. Isaac McGinnis made first team All-Ivy. In the Philadelphia Soccer Six, Penn was named the team of the Year. Gill also won Coach of the Year honors. Ben Stitz received the Chris Jones Player of Year Award. Ben Do added to the list of honorees being named the Bill Wilkinson Rookie of the Year. Another sweep of awards for the Red and Blue. The Soccer Six All-Star team had a Penn player on half of the twelve spots. Cited were; Korzeniowski, Burney, Stitz, Nick Schimbeno, McGinnis, and Nick Christoffersen. Do and Brandon Curran made the All-Rookie team. More details about Stitz and Korzeniowski will follow. Stitz and Korzeniowski became the first Penn players in over 25 years to score more than 10 goals in a single-season.
The football team bounced back from a three win 2021 season to an 8 – 2 record this past season, and finished 8 – 2 overall, 5 – 2 in the Ancient Eight. The Quakers ended up tied for second place with Princeton, a game-behind league champion Yale. And the Quakers defeated the Bulldogs in October. Coach Ray Priore was named one of 16 finalists for the Stats Perform FCS Eddie Robinson Award, presented to the National Coach of the Year in NCAA FCS football. The Red and Blue had seven players named to the All-Ivy League First Team, two on offense, three on defense and two special teamers. The Quakers are; Trevor Radosevich (OL), Trey Flowers (RB), Jake Heimlicher (DL), Garrett Morris (LB), Kendren Smith (DB), Ben Krimm (P), and Julien Stokes (RS). More information about Heimlicher and the Penn defense is found below. Stokes led the Ivy League in Kick Returns running out 10 for 296 yards and a touchdown, a 97-yard return. Krimm punted 44 times for a total of 1,829 yards. His longest traveled 60 yards, and no punts were blocked. The largest offensive output for Penn was a 59-point outburst against Georgetown. The defense recorded a shutout in the Lafayette game.
It is back-to-back titles for Penn who won the 2023 Gymnastics East Conference Championship. The Quakers posted a season-high score in Floor at 49.075 en route to the crown getting six routines of 9.8 or more. The Red and Blue scored 48.775 on the Beam, 48.525 in Vault, and 48.550 on Bars. This is the sixth conference title in program history. The team capped the season with four major league awards. McCaleigh Marr was named Co-Specialist of the Year. She went on to compete in the NCAA Championships on the Balance Beam. Marr scored 9.775 and tied for 19th place. Marissa Lassiter earned the GEC Newcomer of the Year honor. Coach Kirsten Becker won Coach of the Year and assistants Casey Rohrbach and Cassie Hageman were named as the Assistant Coach of the Year.
The team saved its best for last at the Ivy League Women’s Golf Championships. Penn held a one-stroke lead shooting a team total 303 on the Sunday round, the best team round of the day, and best final round score by the Red and Blue since 2011. The final margin of victory was four strokes, 906 – 910, over Harvard. This is the second Ivy Championship for the program. Bridget O’Keefe shot a 224 over the championships for a third place finish to lead Penn. Natalie Cao had a 229 to place 6th. Then Penn had three players, Selina Li, Julie Shin, and Susan Xiao tie for 10th place at 232. O’Keefe had the lowest score at 72 on Round Two. Shin and Li tied with two other players with a low round 73 in the Third Round. All five players were named All-Ivy League. The Coach of the Year award went to Mark Anderson. The Quakers went on the NCAA Championships and shot a 910 to finish 11th of 12 teams. Again, the team played its best on the final round with a 298, the best score in program history in NCAA competition. Li shot a 233 to tie for 33rd place. Xiao shot a team-best 72 on the final round, three strokes behind the round low.
It was quite a season for the team. The Red and Blue finished third in the Ivy Championship with 66 points. The Varsity 8 earned a silver medal rowing a 6:03.72. In the Second Varsity 8 the Quakers won a bronze medal recording a 6:17.240 time. The league announced All-Ivy Teams. Josie Konopka and Samy Morton garnered First-Team honors. Wesley Ng received Coach of the Year honors. The cause for celebration came when the team received an at-large bid to the NCAA Rowing Championships for the second straight year. Penn totaled 92 points at the NCAA meet. The Varsity 8 took fourth place with a time of 6:28.860. The Second Varsity 8 placed third in the Petite Final and was 9th overall rowing a 6:37.563. The Varsity 4 was 16th overall posting a 7:35.315 time. But the season was not over as the Red and Blue headed to Henley-on-Thames to race in the Henley Royal Regatta. The Penn B Boat advanced to the second round, but were eliminated by Oxford Brookes. The Varsity 8 won against Nottingham to move on, then defeated Northeastern with a time of of 7:42. Stanford loomed next in an all-American semifinal. The Quakers won by 1.5 lengths with a 7:12, a second more than their best time on the Thames. Time for the Island Cup final between Penn and Oxford Brookes, the reigning British University champions. It was a great effort, but the Red and Blue could not overtake their British opponent who won with a time of 7:18. The Penn Boat rowers were; Sophia Poersch (coxswain), Josie Konopka (stroke), Amelia Demopoulas, Brooke Caragher, Alex Wiley, Hannah Lemanowicz, Catherine Moore, Alessandra Bennion, and Caroline Soska (bow). A memorable time on three rivers.
Women’s Track 4 x 400 Relay Team
The quartet of Isabella Whittaker, Jocelyn Miemiec, Moforehan Abinusawa, and Christiana Nwachuku ran a season-best time of 3:33.43 in Heat 1 of the NCAA Semifinals to place fourth, but did not qualify for the final race. Their time is the second-best in program-history, just one second behind the leaders. The Penn team earned a Second-Team All-American honor.
Honor Roll Student Athletes
Jake Heimlicher, Football who was named a first-team All-Ivy League selection and a finalist for the Stats Perform Buck Buchanan Award presented to the FCS National Defensive Player of the Year. Heimlicher recorded 9 sacks to lead the league, a half-sack behind Mike Germino for the program-record. That number earned the defensive end 10th place in the FCS. Penn allowed the fewest yards rushing in the league at 89.4 yards, second fewest behind FCS leader South Dakota State. Heimlicher led the Red and Blue in Tackles for a Loss of 13 setting the opposition back 39 yards. He was tops in Quarterback Hurries at 10. For his career Heimlicher recorded 17.5 sacks to place in the top-twenty in program-history.
Ben Stitz, Men’s Soccer who was named the Player of the Year for the Philadelphia Soccer Six. He had 11 goals and 8 assists for 30 points, team-leading in the latter two categories. He also led Penn with 28 shots on goal. His point total was the most in the league and in the top-twenty nationally. Stitz scored in seven consecutive games from September to October, the longest streak for a Quaker player since 1977. Stitz had 2 goals in the NCAA win over Rutgers.
Stan Korzeniowski, Men’s Soccer who was named the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year, and was a unanimous first-team league selection. In conference play the sophomore scored 10 goals and assisted 6 times for 26 points, the most for a Penn player in 25 years. Overall Korzeniowski tied for the team-best with 11 goals. He was second in assists with 7 for 29 points, second on the squad. Korzienowski scored goals in five of the last seven games that included four of the last five Ivy contests. He was named All-Region.
Maeve Stiles, Women’s Cross Country and Track who placed 4th in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Cross Country Regionals. She ran a 20:15.3 to propel the Red and Blue to a third place finish, a program record. In the outdoor season Stiles won the Heptagonal 10,000 meters in 34.05.80. She qualified for the East Regional in the event. Her best time over this distance is 33:49.19 set this season at the Raleigh Relays.
Anna Brandt, Women’s Lacrosse who was named the Ivy League Midfielder of the Year and was a unanimous conference first-team selectee. Brandt scored 54 goals, fourth in the Ancient Eight. She had 58 points to rank 9th in the Ivy League. She led the team in draw controls with 62. Brandt ranked 27th in the country with an average of 0.84 free position goals per game.
Sam Handley, Men’s Lacrosse who was named to three All-American teams. He was a unanimous All-Ivy First-Team selection. Handley was a Tewaaraton Award semifinalist. Over the season Handley scored a team-high 55 points with 30 goals and 25 assists. Three times the senior had game-winning scores, two in overtime. He had a 6 goal, 8 point game against Albany. Handley ends his career with 194 points, the fourth most in program-history. He is a three-time unanimous first-team All-Ivy selection.
Anna Kalandadze, Women’s Swimming who set two school records this past season, and gained second-team All-American status for her performance in the 1,650-yard Free at the NCAA Swimming Championships. The senior from Ardmore, PA claimed two Ivy League titles. She won the 1,650 Free in an Ivy League record time of 15:53.88, a record that stood for 14 years. Kalandadze also won gold in the 500-yard Free in 4:38.86 in setting a facility-record. At the Ivy Meet she set another Penn-record of 4:15.13 in the 400 IM. Kalandadze was a member of the 800m Free Relay team. For her efforts she was named All-Ivy League First-Team, her second consecutive honor. At the NCAA Championships the senior placed 10th in the 1,650 Free with a time of 15:55.60. She was 25th in the 500 Free. Kalandadze is invited to swim for the United States team at the World University Games in China.
Matthew Fallon, Men’s Swimming who won the U.S. National Championship in the 200m breaststroke. This is his second consecutive title in the event. With the time of 2:07.71 is the sixth fastest time in U.S. time history. He qualifies for the National World Championships in Japan.
Ryan Dromboski, Baseball who was named the Ivy League Pitcher of the Year. He made First-Team All-Ivy League. He led the conference in wins getting 7 against 3 losses. He pitched 71 innings and started 13 games, appearing in 14. He had an ERA of 3.17. Dromboski led the Ivy League in the batting average against by pitchers that met the minimum requirement at .197. He fanned 97 batters to lead the league. The sophomore gave up 30 runs, 25 earned and walked 35 batters. Dromboski set program single-game record striking out 15 over 7.2 innings in the Ivy League win over Princeton in April. He also threw a complete-game three-hitter, striking out 12 in conference win over Brown that same month.
Wyatt Henseler, Baseball who holds the program-record for most career home runs. In a game against Cornell Henseler hit season home run number 13 which gave him 27 career homers. His single-season record is 18 which occurred this season. He holds the record for home runs with 32 and RBI’s at 133. The third baseman is an All-Ivy League first team selectee, and was named to the All-Tournament team. Henseler led the Quakers in batting average (.321), hits (69) and doubles with 17. The junior had a 15-game hitting streak twice this season. The last streak came in the final fifteen games of the season, April 26 to June 5. In fourteen of those games Henseler got an extra-base hit. He batted .388 (26 for 67) with 10 doubles, six home runs, 16 runs batted in, and scored 22 runs during that span.