Comet Nation

by Matt Tulli

In the lower right corner of the south stands of Biemesderfer Stadium resides the NUMBER ONE student section in the Lancaster-Lebanon League. We call ourselves Comet Nation, and we’re louder and prouder than the competition.

Recently, Penn Manor was voted as the number one fan base in the L-L League, as Mr. Roth told us at the Homecoming pep rally on October 10th, and a large part of that is because of Comet Nation who shows up game in and game out, even going as far away as Dallastown to cheer on the Comets.

It all starts with the “Comet Boys”, who bring the energy each Friday night. Every year, the craziest and most spirited incoming seniors are designated as the “Comet Boys”; they write “COMETS!” across their chests and scream and yell their heads off for 48 minutes a game. The 2014 Comet Boys are: Jack Elliot (C), Mike Coakley (O), Nate Deberdine (M), Wyatt Barnett (E), Joey Dell’Estate (T), Nick Kirk (S), and Colin Groff (!). The Comet Boys are the leaders of chants, like “Let’s Go Comets,” “Move the Chains,” and of course, “Comet Nation!” Usually, the Comet Boys declare a theme for the members of Comet Nation to follow; for example, at the McCaskey game, we all wore silly hats. At the Lampeter-Strasburg game, the theme was Red, White, and Blue night in honor of the armed forces (it was Military Night), and at home against Manheim Township, the theme was pink for the district-wide breast cancer awareness week.

Not to mention, of course, how would these experiences be remembered if it wasn’t for our photographer, Will Forrey?

“I got asked to take pictures, and I wasn’t really up for the idea because I would have to focus on that more than the game itself,” Will says. “But I got a free Comet Nation T-Shirt for doing it and I was promised to be picked as a Comet Boy for next year, so I decided to do it.” Will takes hundreds of high-quality pictures per game and posts them on the Comet Nation 2014 Facebook page. The Comet Boys also run a Twitter account, @CometNation2014.

The game at Hempfield, in particular, was amazing. The theme was orange in memory of Greg Frey, and Comet Nation got a very large turnout, about the size of most of our home games. The Comets fell behind 17-7, but roared back in the second half. We were going crazy.

“I got so hype just because: number one, its Hempfield, but number two, it was a great game. Even though we didn’t play well in the first half, we bounced back and took over in the second half. But also the theme was in memory of Greg, so it was cool to see his parents taking pictures of us and seeming so happy of what we were doing,” remarked junior Jacob Herr.

Last year, as a freshman, I didn’t experience Comet Nation as much as I should have. I would occasionally venture into the back rows of it and stay there for only about a quarter per game. But this year, I’ve come to every game I could and screamed my throat sore (the only aftereffect of Friday nights). But freshman: I promise you this: Standing in the student section the entire game is much more fun than anything else you can do at a Penn Manor football game. But this year, I’ve been in the student section for every game except for the CV game, when I was on vacation. The atmosphere is amazing: you’ll meet new friends, support your Comets, and overall just have a good time.

The only thing that I don’t like about Comet Nation is that there is a very small turnout for basketball games. I remember back in many recent seasons (especially 2006-2007 when the Comets made it the whole way to the State Quarterfinals) when our basketball team was always at the top of the section, the Student Section almost always took up nearly the entire two section on the left side of the bleachers. The gym was packed with reporters, students, and fans alike. The atmosphere was always amazing in the East Gym. Now, we only take up maybe twelve rows of stands and we aren’t loud at all.

So this winter, I challenge Comet Nation to get the East Gym looking like this again:

Jordan vs. Chamberlain

by Matthew Tulli

In spite of the NBA Playoffs starting, I am debating who is the best basketball player to ever play the game. Over the past decade, there has been much debate over who is the best basketball player to ever play. More recently, LeBron James, arguably the best basketball player at the moment, proclaimed the four people on his NBA “Mount Rushmore,” or who he thinks are the four best players of all time.

For the best player of all time, the majority of people will say Michael Jordan, some will say Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, some will say Magic Johnson, and some will say Larry Bird, as well as a few others. But in my mind the best basketball player to ever play was Wilt Chamberlain. Chamberlain holds an astounding 71 NBA records, 63 of which are individual records. Luckily, my friend and basketball fanatic Alex Krahulik is here to debate this. He believes that Michael Jordan is the best player of all time.

Alex: So Wilt put up some big stats, but lets also look at the time period he played in. Rebounds were no big deal at the time. There were many other players that put up rebounding numbers on a night to night basis that would make them the best in the league right now with no competition. That’s because back in Wilt’s era they took way more shots per game. They shot so much that in the 14 years that Wilt played, only one team ever shot over 50%. Usually only four players in the entire league would shoot over 50% every year. So his rebounding numbers aren’t as spectacular as they may seem.

Matt: Wilt also played Bill Russell, one of the top centers of all time, 12 times in his incredible 1961-1962 season. Now, Boston and Philadelphia only play each other four times per season. Also, rebounds may not have been a big deal, he averaged 27.2 rebounds in his second season. Also, he pulled down 55 rebounds against Bill Russell. There’s no doubt the rebounds were less impressive back then, but there’s no denying that he was the best rebounder of all time.

Alex: Wilt had many hall of famers in his era, but a very small number of them were guards. The game was almost completely dominated by big men, meaning that he would get the ball almost every time on offense just for the sake of he was big. While Chamberlain played against some of the greatest big men to ever play basketball, he also had more support too, and didn’t have nearly as much success as MJ. He played with a total of eight HOF players: Tom Gola, Paul Arizin, Nate Thurmond, Hal Greer, Billy Cunningham, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, and Gail Goodrich. And yet with his dominance and their help, he went 2-5 in the finals.
Wilt played poorly in the playoffs. All of his statistical numbers dropped in the postseason and he only snagged the trophy 2 out of the 7 chances he got at it.

Matt: Well thanks for proving my point by saying “the game was dominated by big men.” Can you imagine a Wilt Chamberlain going up against some of the centers of today? It was rare if Chamberlain played against a bad center, since there were only nine teams. The talent of players had to be better if they wanted to make it to the NBA.
Also, Wilt only played with his Tom Gola and Paul Arizin for three seasons and two seasons, respectively. He played with Elgin Baylor for three seasons and Jerry West for four seasons, and he won a championship in one of those seasons, as well. Yes, he played with many great players, but those stats are a little bit inflated.

Alex: I can see where you come from. I guess the Hall of Fame stats were a little bit inflated but Wilt still had many opportunities with great teams, but didn’t convert. Now let’s turn it over to Michael Jeffrey Jordan, the greatest player of all time. Your turn to start.

Matt: There’s no denying that Michael Jordan was an incredible player. I call him the second best of all time, and here’s why. Jordan played in a time period that was easier to win championships. When Jordan played in the late 80’s and 90’s, there were twenty-seven teams. That’s three times the players as there were when Wilt had the best single-season ever. It was easier for MJ to score because he was constantly playing against average players. Wilt had to play against the other eight best centers that were in the league at the time.

Alex: Wilt had some absolutely amazing centers to play against, but there were also some amazing guards MJ had to play against, like Gary Payton, Clyde Drexler, and Reggie Miller. Wilt lived in an era that revolved around big men, so he got more touches and therefore extreme stats. MJ put up some extremely impressive statistics with fewer opportunities to make plays than Wilt had. Also, MJ, unlike Wilt, only played with two hall of famers his whole career but had great success. His regular season numbers were amazing, and his postseason even more impressive. MJ averaged 33 ppg in the postseason for his entire career, more than anybody ever (Wilt dropped to 27 a game during playoff time). He also reached the finals 6 times, and every time he converted. He didn’t back down from the pressure like Wilt did to Bill Russell and others.

Matt (closing argument): Wilt led the league in assists in 1972 as a center, while also shooting an insane 68% from the floor while shooting 14 times a game. Leading the league in assists is an incredible feat, especially as a center. This is something that MJ never did, even though there was only one team ever shot over 50% over Wilt’s entire career. Longtime 76ers statistician Harvey Pollack said that one game he kept track of blocked shots, and he recorded 26 blocked shots for Wilt. Wilt could literally do anything he wanted to on the basketball court, and all of these reasons are why Wilt was the best player to ever play.

Alex (closing argument): Michael Jordan was the greatest player of all time because he played in an era far beyond the era that Chamberlain played in. Players were better shooters, they were more athletic, and they were just overall better basketball teams. MJ also played much better in the clutch, winning all six of his NBA Finals appearances. He also won back-to-back-to-back championships on two separate occasions with a worse supporting cast than Wilt had. Lastly, MJ had less opportunities to put up stats than Chamberlain did. Wilt took 39 shots per game when he scored 50 points. The game was run through big men, and Wilt did basically everything for his teams. Sorry Matt, but Michael Jordan was a far superior all-around basketball player than Chamberlain.

Comet boys basketball wraps up season, looks ahead

By Matt Tulli

The 2013-2014 boys basketball season came to a conclusion on February  6 with a 54-19 loss against Lancaster Lebanon League Champion Cedar Crest.

“There were some good points of the season, like beating Lebanon, but there were also some bad points, like last night [Cedar Crest game],” said senior guard and captain Micah Brown.

The Comets started three sophomores for most of the season: Nick Lord, Sam Greenslade and Ryan Atkinson. The rest of the sophomore class will play a big role for next season’s team, since there was only one junior on the roster, Jack Elliot. This means another young team is expected next year.

The JV team also had three freshman: Cameron Lovett, Doug Kramer and Alex Krahulik. All three started the majority of their season. The younger players on both Varsity and JV had a ton of playing experience. Because of that, you can expect some big things from the boys basketball program in the upcoming years — one player to watch out for who was on the JV team is Micah Brown’s younger brother, sophomore guard Nate, who averaged 18 points per game on the season.

The team ended up with a 8-14 record this season, including wins against Lebanon and Warwick. The team was led by Brown, who will attend Messiah College next year and averaged 16 points per game, including games of 30 and 27 points. He also poured in 32 threes on the season.

Six- foot, nine-inch senior center David Carmichael averaged 11 points per game in addition to his multiple blocks per game. Sophomore forward Lord contributed 46 three pointers this season, helping him average eight points per game. Lord had four games in which he hit four threes.

Greenslade showed growth in his first season as a starter, averaging four points per game. He played a big part in holding down the middle with Carmichael, with his many blocks and rebounds. Atkinson was solid in his first year as a starting point guard and averaged three points per game.

Senior Brett Caggiano was excellent, both starting and coming off the bench for the Comets. In his 10 games played, he put up five points per game, and brought energy to the court with his hustle and nonstop motor. He was mainly utilized as a defensive stopper, as he was typically matched up against the other teams’ best player.

On the JV team, Nate Brown, Micah’s younger brother, scored 18 points per game.

The young players who will return next year have potential and will face increased expectations.

“I think the team is going to be really good in a few years,” said Micah Brown. “They will have a shot at going to states.”

Comet football granted opportunity to play in Ireland

By Matt Tulli

Comet football could play here at Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland in August 2014.

Comet football could play here at Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland in August 2014.

Penn Manor will possibly be scheduled against Cedar Cliff next year, but the location of the game is not exactly where you would expect.

The Global Ireland Football Tournament (GIFT) has chosen 12 schools across the country to play a game overseas at Croke Park Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, and Penn Manor is one of those 12.

Last year, seven high school football teams, two Canadian high school teams, two Division III college teams and a United Kingdom All-Star team all participated in GIFT. GIFT has produced over 100 games in 20  countries since 1996. Last year, it produced games in Italy, Mexico, Finland, Greece, Panama and France.

American Football has gained popularity in the British Isles over the past few years — the NFL has had an annual game in England every year since 2007, and Ireland hosted an NCAA game in 2012 featuring Notre Dame and Navy. Next year, Penn State will play Central Florida at Croke Park on August 30.

GIFT started talking with Cedar Cliff because of that team’s relationships with Penn State, like freshman tight end Adam Breneman who played at Cedar Cliff, and Scott Lackey, the Cedar Cliff defensive coordinator and former Penn Manor coach.

Penn Manor was chosen because of its recent success (winning percentage of 70 percent and 55 All-Section 1 All Stars). Also, Penn Manor and Cedar Cliff squared off in the District Three AAAA playoff in 2012, with Penn Manor coming out victorious 43-10.

One important factor will be raising the money to travel to Ireland.

“The cost is about $3,400  per player/coach,” said Athletic Director Jeff Roth. “And none of the money would come through Penn Manor School District.”

The funds will be raised by events like a chicken BBQ, raffles and a Cadillac dinner.

The cost for a family member or friend to attend is $3,499 . The funding that the teams come up with will be used to fund airfare, accommodations, tours and a ticket to the Penn State-Central Florida matchup. Alumni and supporters of the high schools would also be able to travel with the teams if they purchased a ticket.

The trip will last from Tuesday, August 26 until the departure on Sunday, August 31.

Roth said that all varsity and junior varsity players who “commit to trip, help raise funds, and stay committed through the spring and summer will be able to attend.”

The projected roster is roughly 50 players, 12 coaches (varsity, JV and freshmen), a trainer, an equipment manager and a webcaster. That will probably be about 75 players and coaches. It will be all current freshman, sophomores and juniors.

Runner Greta Lindsley reflects on final cross country season

By Alexis Cunningham

Senior Greta Lindsley crossed the Lancaster-Lebanon League finish line first all four years of her high school cross country career. (Photo provided by Greta Lindsley)

Senior Greta Lindsley crossed the Lancaster-Lebanon League finish line first all four years of her high school cross country career. (Photo provided by Greta Lindsley)

Greta Lindsley chuckles when she reflects on her best memory of cross country here at Penn Manor.

It was when she won Leagues as a freshman. This was the beginning of her undefeated varsity cross country career. Lindsley stated that runners, coaches and fans underestimated her because she was little and inexperienced.  She smiled during this remembrance, saying that she was determined and that’s what won her race that day.

Nearly three years after this race occurred, Lindsley prepares for her final PIAA cross country state championship on Saturday, November 2. She continues to practice every day for physical training; she is also eating healthier, getting more sleep and trying not to stress.

She qualified for states by placing second at the PIAA District 3 cross country championships with a time of 18:58. Penn Manor girl’s cross country runners, Katya Anders, Hannah Willig, Rachel Stover and Liyah Banzhof also ran at district’s; Lindsley is the only Penn Manor girls cross country runner who will compete at states.

Lindsley states that she’s nervous about trying to repeat what she’s been successfully doing for so many years.

“The more experience you have, the more pressure there is,” said Lindsley.

Lindsley hopes to qualify for nationals during Saturday’s race. Despite her high expectations, she also wants to have fun, focus on her pace, breathing and, of course, smiling.

Lindsley said that she is always filled with relief after every race. When she crosses the finish line, the first thing that crosses her mind is, “Where’s the water jug?”

Lindsley has been undefeated in the league all four years of running varsity cross country. Her best season was her sophomore year when she was undefeated in all races, including invitationals, except states where she placed eighth.

Lindsley’s personal record was set at the Carlisle Invitational her junior year with a time of 18:13.

Lindsley said that it’s a bittersweet feeling that her last cross country season is coming to a close, but she is looking forward to running cross country in college.

“I’m proud, and I wouldn’t trade it (running) for anything,” Lindsley said of her accomplishments.

As the off season approaches, Lindsley, who prefers track running, racks up more mileage and participates in cross training to prepare for the upcoming track and field season. Her favorite running workout is 200 and 400 meter repeats around the track.

Lindsley’s goals for her final track season are to win the 1600 meters race at states and qualify for Penn Relays in the girl’s mile.

Lindsley commented on what she loves the most about running.

“I love how I feel when I’m done running and to see how much I’ve progressed throughout the season.”

Lindsley also shared that she is grateful for the friends and opportunities running has given her.

“It (running) means a lot to me. It’s always nice to get away from stress and regular teenage problems. Running is a nice outlet and the fact that I’m good at it is a plus. Even if I wasn’t as good as I am, I would still do it because I love running.”

She says that running has impacted her life the most by giving her the chance to go to her dream college. Lindsley has narrowed down her colleges of choice to Syracuse University, Georgetown University, Penn State University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She wants to major in communications and journalism.

Lindsley is grateful to her coaches who always believed in her and worked her hard, but most of all, she credits her father who always tells her to be a gracious and humble person. Her father, Todd Lindsley, is a runner as well and has helped train his daughter in pacing and strategy.

“My dad reminds me why I run,” said Lindsley.

 

Penn Manor adds new varsity coaches for fall season

By Makaila Deptula

Penn Manor has started the year off with two new varsity coaches: Tim Joyce who coaches the girls volleyball team and Brenda Spicer, new head cheerleading coach.

After serving as assistant coach for almost 10 years, Joyce, also an English teacher at Penn Manor has now stepped up to the head coach for the girls varsity volleyball team.

“I intend to continue with the traditions that have made this program so successful,” said Coach Joyce.

His passion for volleyball started when he played in high school.

“Coaching seemed like a good way to stay involved in the game,” said Joyce.

Not many changes have been made this season other than having a team-wide conditioning program. His expectations is become the strongest team that they can be through this season.

The cheerleaders new coach, Brenda Spicer has had experience coaching an All Star cheerleading team and now has taken over Penn Manors cheer team.

Coach Spicer  said that strives for crowd participation. She has made changes like having all teams including JV, varsity and freshman all  practice together to “ strengthen the bond as an organization as a whole.”

The girls kept tradition and went to overnight cheer camp over the summer and gained a lot of new material to use this new season.

Boys soccer team hopes to qualify for playoffs

 

Senior Ben Jennings goes for a header in a match against Conestoga Valley.

Senior Ben Jennings goes for a header in a match against Conestoga Valley.

By Cameron Rebman

For the 10 seniors on the Penn Manor boys soccer team, this season is their last opportunity at making a run for the league title. Head coach of the team, Steven McCabe, says he hopes this season could be a bounce back from previous years.

With a tough schedule ahead of the team, Coach McCabe says that playing stronger opponents is the only way to improve.

‘’We want to reach both district and league playoffs,’’ said Coach McCabe.

The team had  three straight wins in the middle of September against, McCaskey, Warwick and Cocalico.

Second year captain, senior Ian Byrnes, said that he would also like to make the Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs. He stated that he wants the team to work hard, and pull out a win in close games down the stretch.

When asked how it feels to be a captain of the team, Byrnes said, ‘’It means a lot. Knowing that the guys trust me, and respect me enough to lead them on the field really means a lot, and I’m thankful for that.’’

With a record of 4-8-1, the guys play McCaskey Thursday afternoon at McCaskey.

Penn Manor football starts season strong

Penn Manor huddling before a play during the game against Hempfield.

Penn Manor huddling before a play during the game against Hempfield. (Photo by Wyatt Stoeckl)

By Wyatt Stoeckl

Many people gather on Friday nights to watch the Penn Manor boys play football. So when the first game against Solanco came,  expectations were high from last year’s record 10-2. Starting the season out well Penn Manor beat Solanco 42-0. They also tallied up wins over  Lampeter-Strasburg 28-14, Dallastown 13-10 and Hempfield 34-20.

Senior Brett Caggiano and junior Tyler Spangler, both starting players, were injured in a scrimmage against Manheim Central in the beginning of the season. Charlie Bell and Logan Kinser, seniors and starting players, both agree that the season is going well, despite the injuries.

The student section supports the Comets against Hempfield.

The student section supports the Comets against Hempfield. (Photo by Wyatt Stoeckl)

Head Coach Todd Mealy tells Lancaster Online, “My message was to focus on the standard we already hold ourselves to — the ability to move on to the next play. That’s how we look at this.”

“It has been a setback with two starting players not being able to be on the field, but I feel we have done a great job overcoming this obstacle,” says Bell.

Kinser also agrees and says that it will be a setback during bigger games.

“I feel very confident about the team this season and that we have a solid offense and a strong defense,” says Kinser.

When asked on who the toughest team will be this year Kinser replied, “Wilson, no doubt.” Kinser says that he wants to end the season undefeated.

The Comets play Lancaster Catholic tonight at Lancaster Catholic High School.

2013 NFL Draft Preview

nfl draftBy Jon West

It’s that time of year again, football fans. The NFL Draft is back.

The draft is time for teams to hopefully rebuild and improve their respective roasters from last years season and free agency. However, the opposite is still true as well. Fans have watched in horror as their team wastes a high draft pick on a player who turns out to be a bust when he transitions to the pro game.

As we countdown the days and hours before the draft kicks off on Thursday night, fans are becoming antsy, trying to anticipate what players will come off the board first.

“Waiting for the draft is tough,” said senior Jordan Williams. “You never are really sure what player your team is going to get and this draft class makes it that much more difficult to predict.”

This year’s draft is a strange one to analyze. It is not a weak draft class in any sense, but the lack of one or two superstar players is certainly making the draft complicated, unlike last year’s draft when the first two picks (Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III) were a sure bet.

Unglamorous positions such as offensive tackle and defensive ends are littered all over the place. Positions such as quarterback and running back are lacking. Players who were once considered the cream of the crop have fallen from potential ‘Top 10’ status to ‘early second round’. Mock drafts are in a state of constant flux.

“I have watched the draft as long as I can remember and not once was I this confused of who will end up where”, said senior Richard Schultz. “I just have no clue at this point.”

Many analysts are having the same problem as well. Not one of their predicted drafts is remotely similar to another. Not to mention the trades between teams during draft day that will shake up an already unpredictable draft.

In the end, though, this is what the draft is all about. Knowing who will get whom before it actually happens ruins the fun of it all. And this draft will be no different. We won’t know for certain until a player puts on the cap and is called to the front of the stage.

Its good to see that what was once considered by many fans as a sideshow to actual football games has evolved into a March Madness like affair.

The first round of the 2013 NFL Draft will be broadcast on the NFL Network Thursday, April 25 at 8 p.m.,followed by the second and third rounds on Friday, April 26 at 6:30 p.m. Rounds 4-7 will be held Saturday, April 27 at noon.

Penn Manor’s Ultimate secret

ultimate frisbee

Mike Leaman, on the left, reaches for the frisbee, as Ben Moore, on the right, catches it. (Photo provided)

By Lauren Hillegas

Football. Basketball. Baseball.  Soccer. Lacrosse. These are some teams at Penn Manor you’re probably familiar with.

But what about Ultimate Frisbee?

That’s right. Penn Manor has its own Ultimate Frisbee team, although the team is not officially associated with the school.

Ultimate Frisbee combines features of soccer, basketball, football and Netball into a demanding game involving a Frisbee. According to Sports and Fitness Industry Association, ultimate is one of the fastest growing team sports in the country.

The 20 members of the co-ed Ultimate team compete in a league against Lampeter-Strasburg, Solanco and Lancaster Country Day School, as well as a home school team.

Although the team has no official coach, junior Mark Hoffer along with others has created the team successfully at Penn Manor.

Hoffer said that his expectations for the season are “just to start the team, get founded among the league, and get it started for future years to come.”

Hoffer had originally been part of the team at Lampeter-Strasburg before he moved to Penn Manor. At Lampeter Strasburg, he played an active role in the team that had been developed there two years ago. Once settled at his new high school, Hoffer gathered friends to form an Ultimate team here at Penn Manor.

frisbee game

Penn Manor (in white) took on Lampeter-Strasburg on April 17.

The Ultimate Frisbee team competed in its first game of the season on Wednesday April 17, against Lampeter-Strasburg. According to one of the team players, Justina Mylin, the team lost but played a good game.

According to Hoffer, the team plans to get uniforms for the games, but the uniforms are still in progress.

Something unique about the Ultimate game itself? The players referee themselves.

“It’s not difficult to referee yourself,” said Hoffer. He added that most people tend to display good sportsmanship.

The team practices three times a week at Millersville Borough Park.

Although Hoffer will leave the team next year to attend Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, junior Ben Moore plans to take over for next year and continue the team.