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Closer to normal, spring season ready to start for Delco athletes

Free of masks and vaccination mandates, the 2022 spring sports season in Delaware County is upon us, much like the old days.

It begins in earnest for the major spring team sports on Friday, when PIAA competition officially begins.

The Radnor boys and girls are defending PIAA Class 3A lacrosse champions, an amazing feat for any school. The bullseye is on them.

Archbishop Carroll is coming off its second Class 2A state girls’ lacrosse title and 24th Catholic League championship.

In softball, the Haverford girls are eager to return to the PIAA Class 6A championship game, where they to North Penn, a team they had beaten earlier in the season.

It could be season to remember in baseball. PIAA Class 4A semifinalist Bonner-Prendergast returns young talent. Class 5A state qualifiers Strath Haven, the Central League champions, and Marple Newtown are back for more. And Delco Christian celebrated a District 1 Class A championship last year.

And of course, this sure looks like it will be the first time in 35 years that Paul Bogosian won’t be coaching the Haverford High baseball team, having stepped down to enjoy retirement. O’Hara graduate Mike Essery is the new coach.

“He knows baseball,” Bogosian said. “He should be a successful coach.”

Not far off on the spring sports scene is track, where All-Delco pole vaulter Daniel Munro of Penncrest recently cleared 15 feet and All-Delco shot putter Patrick Donaher of Haverford School is approaching 55 feet. Next level stuff, for sure.

In boys’ lacrosse, it will be tough to match the will of Radnor, which routed Kennett on the way to its second PIAA title and 23rd win of the season. First-team All-Delco Ryan Goldstein, now a senior, helped fuel the championship attack. But it won’t be the same without Daily Times Player of the Year Grant Pierce, who has moved on to the college ranks.

Max Busenkell, the All-Delco at Garnet Valley who led the county in scoring as a junior last year, is back after netting 69 goals, 49 assists and 118 points to help the Jaguars finish second in the District 1 Class 3A playoffs and reach the state semifinals. The latter game ended with a disputed goal that may have been tallied after the final horn.

Springfield was the District 1 Class 3A champion, and that was due in no small part to the play of long-stick midfielder Ryan O’Connor, who was an All-Delco. Penncrest won the District 1 Class 2A championship and reached the elite eight in the 2A state playoffs.

In the Inter-Ac, All-Delco FOGO Andrew McMeekin sparked Episcopal Academy. The Churchmen averaged 12.1 goals per game in a 13-game stretch that included a pair of wins over Haverford School.

Girls’ lacrosse should be every bit as formidable, although Radnor will miss four first-team All-Delco seniors who helped them celebrate a title in Margaret Mooney, Tori DiCarlo, Ellie Rinehart and Elise Palmer.

Across King of Prussia Road, Archbishop Carroll is coming off a 14-6 win over Strath Haven for the 2A state title. It will be without the services of Daily Times Player of the Year Keri Barnett, who has moved on to the next level of competition, although All-Delco Kiley Mottice played a big role in helping make the title happen.

Villa Maria and Cardinal O’Hara, with help from All-Delco junior attack Ellie Miller, made the elite eight in the 2A state playoffs. Episcopal Academy went 12-0 in the Inter-Ac in the regular season.

In softball, ace left-handed pitcher Emma Taylor, the Daily Times player of the year at Haverford High, is back. The Fords played for the PIAA Class 6A championship. All-Delco third baseman Kerri McCallum also helped them get there, and she returns, as well. Haverford (23-5) is just the third Delco team to play for a state softball title in PIAA’s highest classification.

Ridley won a piece of the Central League title and reached the second round of the District 1 Class 6A tournament. Then sophomore second baseman Haley McMenamin was first-team All-Delco with a .483 batting average, a .551 on-base percentage, five triples, three home runs, 20 RBIs and 27 runs scored. Springfield made the District 1 Class 5A final and reached the second round of the state tournament.

In baseball it should be an interesting season for Bonner-Prendergast, which was beaten, 5-4, in the PIAA Class 4A semifinals by Wyoming Area. First-team All-Delco shortstop and Auburn commit Kevin McGonigle, as a sophomore, was the Catholic League offensive player of the year with a .519 batting average, seven home runs, five doubles, two triples, 23 RBIs and 28 runs scored.

Strath Haven and Marple Newtown of the Central League qualified for the state Class 5A playoffs, the Tigers losing to PIAA runner up Redlands. But the Panthers will have a tough time replacing Daily Times Player of the Year Koll Peichel. All-Delco pitcher Owen Mathes helped lead Marple Newtown.

At Delco Christian, All-Delco Josh Dell’Arciprete, a pitcher and infielder, rewrote the school record book starting with a .560 batting average.Chichester is the defending Del Val League champ, and Haverford School won 18 games.

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