With the amount of schools that we cover, it’s nearly impossible for one school to completely dominate the Player of the Year voting in a fall season. There are simply too many teams with too many good athletes for one school to stand out so far above the rest.
Or so we thought until last year’s fall season, where a certain school in Nether Providence kind of went crazy. We tapped into our history archive — OK, so maybe we just asked Daily Times historians like Harry Chaykun and Terry Toohey — and no one can remember a fall season where one school snared so many POY honors.
Hannah Grossman made Delco history again by finishing second at the PIAA meet, the highest finish for a girl in Delco history. Grossman nearly won the event, but faltered a little bit late. It was still good enough for her second straight Runner of the Year Award. She was also selected as the Daily Times Female Athlete of the Year by the athletes who attended the All-Delco banquet.
Jess Keller put forth an incredible volleyball season that included the first trip to the state tournament in school history for the Panthers. She set a school record for kills in a season, was named Central League MVP and All-State, and helped Strath Haven win the Central League playoff. In doing so, she became the second straight Panther to win Player of the Year honors after Emma Deininger did it in 2010.
And if soccer was the game, the POY belonged to Strath Haven yet again. Thomas Shiiba edged out Haverford School sniper Brett Campbell for the POY nod with his 16 goals and eight assists and almost led the Panthers to the state tournament. For her part, Gina DiTaranto easily defended her POY selection from the year before with her 12 goals and five assists. DiTaranto’s standout play helped the Panthers win back-to-back Central League titles and make the state tournament.
So the question is, can any school put together that kind of haul again? If so, who’s it going to be?
– MATT CHANDIK