Are athletes overpaid?

Do professional athletes earn too much?
photo credit: Tracy O via photopin cc

By Mike Eshleman

Many athletes are begging for new contracts after putting up big performances. Take Joe Flacco for example. After winning the Super Bowl as quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens, Flacco received a record-breaking contract even though he had a mediocre regular season.

Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo also recently received a huge new contract, becoming the highest paid player in franchise history. However, Romo has only won one playoff game in seven years as starting quarterback of the Cowboys. Although he usually puts up good numbers in the regular season, he has shown that he will usually choke in key games that he needs to win.

According to, Romo’s contract is for six years and $108 million, with around $55 million guaranteed. Meanwhile, players like quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers, who is a Super Bowl MVP and regular season MVP, are making considerably less. Is it fair for Romo, who has had little to no playoff success, to make a lot more money than a player who has proven himself to be among the league’s elite quarterbacks?

Even Penn Manor senior Deryk Morales, who has been a huge Dallas Cowboys fan for a long time, does not think Romo deserved his brand new extension.

“He has not done enough in his career to be paid as much as other players at his position that have done far more,” Morales said. “Win a Super Bowl, MVP, or lead the league in passing and then maybe you would deserve that kind of money.”

Should athletes even be paid this much money to begin with? Players in the NBA, NFL, MLB and other professional sports make millions of dollars every year, and some make even more off of major endorsements. Should they be making more money than doctors, police, firefighters or other people who protect the lives of the American citizens?

An argument could be made for football players. In order to provide entertainment for many people around the world, these NFL players are putting their bodies on the line every week of the season. These players risk major injuries such as concussions, torn ACLs or even something as severe as paralysis. These injuries have been known to end the careers of players in the NFL and even change their lives forever.

Take former NFL tight end Kevin Everett from the Buffalo Bills for example. Everett sustained a life-threatening spinal-cord injury back in the 2007 season after a helmet-to-helmet hit with Denver Broncos’ wide receiver Domenik Hixon. At first, doctors said that the chances for Everett to ever walk again were not good. However, Everett defied these predictions and was able to walk a few months after surgery. His life was changed forever, however, and he will not be able to play football again.

Players in the NBA and MLB make a lot of money as well, but the risk of injury in their profession is much smaller than that of the NFL. NBA and MLB players still have the risk of injury while playing their sport, but they are not putting their bodies on the line like players in the NFL are. Concussions and major injuries are not as common in the NBA and MLB as they are in the NFL.

This will be a major debate for a long time, but it looks like professional athletes, who make millions of dollars a year playing a game, will continue to make ridiculous amounts of money for years to come.

High hopes for track and field team

The Penn Manor track and field team practices on March 26.
The Penn Manor track and field team practices on March 26. (Photo by Alexis Cunningham)

By Alexis Cunningham

A new season is a new start to this spring’s school sports. Penn Manor’s track team hopes to have a decent season and send multiple events to the state championship.

Head coach Art Morris leads a team of coaches including throwing coaches Joe Herman and Allie Girvin, long distance running coach Lauren Finn and sprint/ jumping coaches Dan Massey, Jana Richards and Tom Simpson.

Penn Manor’s Athletic Director Jeff Roth comments that this season’s potential depends a lot on the field events. He is confident that the runners will have a good season.

According to Roth, Penn Manor has had a strong track and field team in previous seasons. “Sprinters and distance runners will be strong this year,” he said.

Long distance runner Greta Lindsley, a junior, prepared for the upcoming spring season by participating in winter track. Lindsley runs 45-50 miles per week. This season she is running the 3200, 800 and 1600 meter races.

Lindsley commented on her goals for this season, “I like to run the 1600 (meters) so I can break my personal goal of 4:50.” Lindsley’s record mile time is currently 4:57.

Head Coach Art Morris, who ran middle distance events in both high school and college and has been coaching track and field for 15 years, is confident in the middle distance running events.

“On the boys side we should be strong in the middle distance with seniors Harrison Schettler, Jonathon Bitner, Travis Wells and Shadrack Kiprop leading the way,” Coach Coach Morris said.  “The boys also have strength in the sprints and jumps with LeVonta Jones and Adrian Viruet. Javelin throwers Nate Binkley and Luis Marcelino will be factors.”

“On the girls side, Greta Lindsley and Meghan Maisano are experienced returnees who will be key factors in the middle distance,” said Morris. “Katie Stringer is a strong thrower in both shot and discus.”

Coach Morris said that the season is hard to predict due to the fact that the majority of the team is on the younger side.

“We have pretty young teams (only one senior on the girls team) so I expect many of our athletes to experience nice improvements as the season progresses,”  Coach Morris said.

Penn Manor girls team defeated McCaskey 79-69 and the boys team lost 57-93 their first meet on March 22. On March 27, both teams lost to Hempfield.

Witmer starts play with National Field Hockey team

Jill Witmer, right, poses with Team USA teammate. (Photo provided by Jill Witmer)
Jill Witmer, right, poses with Team USA teammate. (Photo provided by Jill Witmer)

By Nick Tulli

Jill Witmer’s field hockey career began in eighth grade, although reluctantly.

“We had a gym built on our farm for my dad’s boss’s daughters to play field hockey in,” said Witmer. “My parents knew I had an athletic ability and they thought I would love to play field hockey and thought I should give it a try,”

Initially, Jill refused.

“My parents knew my personality and knew that I didn’t want to play because I was afraid to try something new,” she said.

Her parents kept after her, and she finally agreed to try out for the eighth grade team.

“That fall season I hated the sport, and I honestly did not understand the rules. My parents still did not give up and told me to try it one more year because there was a new high school coach [Soto].” Jill agreed, made the varsity team in her freshman year, and has loved the sport ever since.

All of her hard work paid off in late February when the 2010 Penn Manor graduate was named to the the roster of the United States National Field Hockey Team. Witmer, 21, is one of 18 girls to be named to the team, and is one of the only college underclassmen to ever become part of the team.

Witmer made her debut during the teams’ March 4 6-0 win over Brazil in the first round of the International Hockey Federation’s World League tournament. In round two on March 10, Witmer scored her first goal since joining the national team and helped the team to a 6-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago.

This win advances the team to World League Round Three, to be held this summer in London; playing in Round Three will give the team the opportunity to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

USA Field Hockey announced in January that the national team will be based in Lancaster through a partnership with Spooky Nook Sports. The team will be located at Nook Sports, a new complex on Spooky Nook Road.

While at Penn Manor, Witmer was named to the all Lancaster Lebanon-League Team in 2008, 2009 and 2010. She led her team to league, district and state titles in 2010, won gold medals at the 2009 Indoor Keystone Games and the 2009 National Field Hockey Festival and became Penn Manor’s all-time leading scorer with 112 goals. Witmer also played on the United States Under-19 and Under-21 teams that toured Argentina. In 2009, she was the featured athlete on ESPN’s The Rise magazine, targeting talented students at the high school level.

Penn Manor senior and Boston College recruit Eryn McCoy cites Witmer’s play on the United States Under-19 and Under-21 teams as a motivating factor.

“I always thought that it was really cool how she got to go to Argentina and play with the U-19 National Team, and I wanted to have an opportunity to do something like that too. It seemed like a really cool experience,” said McCoy.

When asked to explain Jill’s ability, Penn Manor Field Hockey coach Matt Soto said, “I have never seen a girl that fast. I’ve been involved on national field hockey teams as an assistant coach before, but I have never, ever seen a girl that fast.”

Witmer says that she would be nowhere near where she is now without the coach she received in high school.

“Coach Soto has been a great coach at Penn Manor and really helped me fall in love with the sport from the beginning. He has taught me what I needed to make it at the Collegiate level.”

In three years at the collegiate level, Witmer’s resume speaks for itself.

As a midfielder at the University of Maryland, Witmer is a two-time National Champion (2010, 2011) and a one-time ACC Champion (2010), where she scored the game-winning goal over #2-ranked North Carolina.

She started all 24 games as a freshman and was named the ACC freshman of the year. As a sophomore in 2011, she scored the game winning goal to beat North Carolina in the ACC championship for the second year in a row. She was named to the ACC all tournament team as a sophomore as well, and this past year, as a junior, she was named a National Field Hockey Coaches Association first-team member and was named to the All-ACC team for the third consecutive year.

“Since even last year, Jill’s knowledge of the game has increased so much. Most people understand the idea that you can be athletic alone, but if you don’t have any knowledge of the game, you aren’t going to excel,” said Coach Soto. “If you put both things together, you become so much better than the competition, and that’s exactly what Jill has become.”

Witmer agrees.

“In high school I definitely used my speed as an advantage but on the college level you have to know the technical and tactical parts of the game,” she said.

“When I first watched her and saw her play, I knew she had the potential to be great. She was among the best players in the whole country at the high school level,” Soto said,. “As a coach, we can’t ‘expect’ her to achieve this kind of an honor, but put simply, I’m not surprised. She’s just too good not to achieve success.”

Wrestling team meets goals in rebuilding season

Penn Manor wrestlers finished at 12-8, beating their goal by two wins.
Penn Manor wrestlers finished at 12-8, beating their goal by two wins.

By Alexis Cunningham

The Penn Manor High School wrestling team met and exceeded its goal this winter. With a new head coach and the loss of many seniors from previous years, the team was expecting a difficult start.

“The goal of this season was to be 10-10,”  said Michael Fowler, head coach.

The wrestling team met that goal and finished with a record of 12-8.

The team’s season was officially over in the Lancaster-Lebanon League.

However, for a few Penn Manor varsity wrestlers, Sectionals on February 16 was just the beginning of their post-season. Junior Matt Schnieder wrestled at 126 and placed third. Sophomore Ashton Leschke wrestled at 160 and placed second. Senior Mac Evarts took first place in his weight class of 170. Freshman Jesse Kann took third at 182.

Those wrestlers who moved on to Districts on February 22-23 bringing this season to its final close. Evarts placed 5th at Districts.

Note: A previous version of this story stated that no Penn Manor wrestlers placed at Districts. Senior Mac Evarts finished 5th.

Penn Manor ice hockey to face Township in playoffs

By Sarah Giuffrida

With a record of 15-3-2 (13-3-2 division), Penn Manor’s ice hockey team holds the Tier 2 Title of the Central

The Penn Manor ice hockey team will face Manheim Township Friday, February 22 at 7 p.m. at Lancaster Ice Rink.
The Penn Manor ice hockey team will face Manheim Township Friday, February 22 at 7 p.m. at Lancaster Ice Rink.

Pennsylvania Ice Hockey League in the playoffs  and won two playoff games so far.

In game one of the playoffs on February 8, the Comets played Ephrata and won with a score of 10-2.

“They have a few key players that can step up quickly and sneak themselves in front of our defenders,” said Garth Bolin, the Comets new head coach, of Ephrata’s team.

The Comet’s playoff run continued on February 13 when the team beat Lampeter-Strasburg 8-4.

The Comets led the league this season with 132 goals.

Coach Bolin is proud that every player on the team had a goal this season.

“I’m very proud of the group’s determination to succeed this season,” said Bolin. “ They came in right away with a strong, positive and focused attitude that carried on throughout the season and led us to win the league.”

This year’s team has good chemistry because many of the players have worked together on a local travel team.

“The group’s focus switched to a more productive hockey environment that had led to success,” said Bolin.

Although this season has been successful, the team has not been without any struggles.

“Some games we had a short bench with a goalie and seven or eight skaters. However we were able to overcome most of those situations,” said Bolin.

The team will play Manheim Township in the third game of the playoffs Friday at 7 p.m. at Lancaster Ice Rink in Lancaster.

Chip dips into Eagles head coaching spot

By Josh Lefever

Chip Kelly of the University of Oregon is the new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. Photo credit: Steve Dykes.
Chip Kelly of the University of Oregon is the new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. Photo credit: Steve Dykes.

After seven hours with the Cleveland Browns and nine hours with the Philadelphia Eagles, former University of Oregon head coach Chip Kelly will bring his offensive scheme to Philadelphia. Many people in the city of Philadelphia have different opinions about the selection.

Kelly is known for a different approach to offense — he relies on speed and endurance instead of pure strength. Many people don’t think Kelly will be able to transfer from college to the NFL.

“He’ll run a type of spread offense in the NFL,” said Gordon Eck, Penn Manor’s offensive coordinator, “But depending on his personnel initially he will not be able to run the same offense.”

In interviews, Kelly keeps to his normal, short and abrupt answers, making sure to not give away too much information too soon.

Kelly, 46-7 as the Oregon Ducks’ head coach, ran a new style of offense. His offense is all about speed and endurance while on the field. With players like DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy they could run the style of offense.

Kelly has answered the quarterback question. He signed Dennis Dixon who played for him at Oregon. After reconstructing Michael Vick’s contract, it is likely Vick will get the start in 2013. Many people are looking for a younger Nick Foles or Alex Smith.

photo credit: Matthew Straubmuller via photopin cc
photo credit: Matthew Straubmuller via photopin cc

Despite the uncertainty of some fans, there are those who are looking forward to the new coach’s time in Philadelphia.

“I was a little skeptical at first about the hire,” said senior Mike Eshleman, a long-time Eagles fan, “But after seeing the 49ers and Seahawks using the read option successfully, I think Kelly’s offense should be successful with the right tools.”

After the Comets’ explosive offensive season, Coach Eck knows how important an offensive line can be.

“Their offensive tackle position is really bad so they need to improve there especially with the top pass rushers in their division that they face twice a year (Demarcus Ware, Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck).”

Record number of Penn Manor students sign letters of intent

By Greta Lindsley

Families, coaches and classmates piled into the Penn Manor High School library on February 6 to watch 23 Penn Manor student-athletes sign their letters of intent. According to Penn Manor Athletic Director Jeff Roth, this is the largest number of participating students in Penn Manor’s history.

First Row (left to right): Jessie Greenslade, Lindsay Hutchinson, Shannon Sloss, Danielle Landis, Eryn McCoy, Emily McCoy, and Lauren Ali. Middle Row (left to right): Tim Harris, Darren Weidman, Daulton Parmer, Brady Charles, Harrison Schettler, Aaron Brown, and Kyle Musser. Back Row (left to right): Connor Fink, Taylor Skelly, Adam Hess, Zac Burke, Alex Quinn, Cooper Lindsley, Travis Wells, Jonathan Bitner, and Mac Evarts.
First Row (left to right): Jessie Greenslade, Lindsay Hutchinson, Shannon Sloss, Danielle Landis, Eryn McCoy, Emily McCoy, and Lauren Ali. Middle Row (left to right): Tim Harris, Darren Weidman, Daulton Parmer, Brady Charles, Harrison Schettler, Aaron Brown, and Kyle Musser. Back Row (left to right): Connor Fink, Taylor Skelly, Adam Hess, Zac Burke, Alex Quinn, Cooper Lindsley, Travis Wells, Jonathan Bitner, and Mac Evarts.

There were 11 Division I athletes, four Division II athletes, five Division III athletes and three nominated to military academies. According to, student-athletes who sign a letter of intent agree to attend the designated college or university for at least one year.

Senior Danielle Landis had mixed emotions after signing with East Stroudsburg to play soccer.

“I’m one of the people who isn’t ready to leave high school because I know I’m going to miss everything, especially my friends,”  said Landis. She added that adapting to a new surrounding will be difficult, but that she is prepared to focus her attention on soccer and the exercise science program she plans to attend.

Senior Brady Charles, who signed with Jacksonville University and will play lacrosse, had a positive attitude when talking about leaving Pennsylvania for Florida.

“Jacksonville is very strong in my major, the team is on the rise, and the campus is amazing,” said Charles. “Also is nice knowing that I’ll be 10 minutes away from the beach and in nice weather year-round.”

Brady plans to major in Nursing at Jacksonville.

Seniors Eryn and Emily McCoy will play field hockey at Boston College. When asked about why they chose Boston College, the twins agreed that the size of the campus, great academics and excitement of a new level of field hockey were the deciding factors.

Dreams will become a reality for baseball player Zac Burke and soccer player Lindsay Hutchinson.

Playing baseball in the south has been a goal for Burke for as long as he can remember. Burke signed to play baseball for Coastal Carolina University.

“It’ll be so nice being able to practice outside in the offseason and also for the opportunity to play for a school where the baseball program has always been respected, competitive and successful,” said Burke.

national signing day 3It wasn’t about the weather for Lindsay Hutchinson.

“It’s been my dream since I was a little girl to play D1 soccer, and it’s exciting that it’s finally here,” said Hutchinson, who signed with Stony Brook University.

Even though they both will be living their childhood dreams, Burke and Hutchinson were two of many who agreed that leaving friends and family behind when starting their own life in college will be very difficult.

Louisville University’s newest field hockey recruit, Shannon Sloss, leaves Pennsylvania on July 10 to get a head start on classes and team training. Sloss described her initial visit as nothing short of perfection.

“When I went out there, I fell in love with the campus and the devotion the school has to sports,” said Sloss. “Everyone was so nice, and I felt really comfortable there, unlike at some other schools.”

She is most excited to play Division I field hockey and meet new people.

Senior Harrison Schettler’s words of wisdom to student-athletes were simple, but definitely sum up the life of an athlete.

“It’s cheesy, but hard work does pay off,” said Schettler.

Schettler will attend Shippensburg University to run cross country and track. He loves the idea of meeting new people and teammates, but knows that he’ll miss his Penn Manor teammates, coaches and friends.

“It’ll be weird knowing that we are all going our separate ways,” he said.

In addition to Landis, Charles, Hutchinson, Sloss, Burke, Schettler, Eryn McCoy and Emily McCoy, the following Penn Manor students signed letters of intent:

Lauren Ali, Saint Mary’s College of California (lacrosse)
Jonathan Bitner, Cedarville University (cross-country & track)
Aaron Brown, Lebanon Valley College (golf)
Zac Burke, Coastal Carolina University (baseball)
Brady Charles, Jacksonville University (lacrosse)
Mac Evarts, Washington & Lee University (wresling)
Connor Fink, Nominated for Appointment to West Point (cross-country & track)
Jessie Greenslade, George Mason University (volleyball)
Tim Harris, Lebanon Valley College (baseball)
Adam Hess, Nominated for Appointment to Naval Academy (football, basketball, lacrosse)
Lindsay Hutchinson, Stony Brook University (soccer)
Danielle Landis, East Stroudsburg University (soccer)
Cooper Lindsley, Seton Hall University (swimming)
Emily McCoy, Boston College (field hockey)
Eryn McCoy, Boston College (field hockey)
Kyle Musser, Kutztown University (football)
Daulton Parmer, Lycoming College (football)
Alex Quinn, Nominated for Appointment to West Point (football, basketball, baseball)
Harrison Schettler, Shippensburg University (cross-country & track)
Taylor Skelly, Franklin & Marshall College (soccer)
Darren Weidman, Saint Joseph’s University (baseball)
Travis Wells, Coastal Carolina University (track)

Field hockey team celebrates successful season

By Lindsay Terry

The Penn Manor football team had a great season this year, but the field hockey team also contributed to the Comet spirit this fall.

The varsity team finished the season with a 26-3 record and made it all the way to the PIAA Class AAA final, becoming district champions on the way.

The state championship was held at the opponent’s home field in Lower Dauphin, and the stands on both sides were filled with enthusiastic fans ready for an intense game.

With 45 seconds left to go in the first half, Lower Dauphin scored to take a 1-0 lead. Fifteen and a half minutes into the second half, Lower Dolphin put a goal in to make the score 2-0.

Sitting in the middle of the Comet section of the stands when the game ended with a score of 2-0, the parents and supporters we not very happy with the outcome.

The game might have been a loss, but the end of the year banquet was a success.

The girls bonded together one last time while many of them were given awards for their hard work. For the junior varsity team, freshman Emily Robb was given the coaches award, and freshman Madison Warfel was given the MVP award. On the varsity team, seniors Shannon Sloss, Emily McCoy, and Eryn McCoy were given the awards to share because of their hard work and success this season.

Emily McCoy, Eryn McCoy and Sloss were named first-team all stars. In addition, coach Matt Soto was named Section One Coach of the Year by the Lebanon-Lancaster League.

At the banquet, Penn Manor High School Principal Dr. Philip Gale and all of the coaches gave speeches to the girls about how proud they were, and the seniors gave “gag” gifts to the rest of the girls on the JV and Varsity team. The girls were also asked to get into groups and make up poems about one of the four seniors who then  got their own “gag” gifts.

At  the end of the night, Coach Soto challenged the girls to go all the way next season and bring home the state championship trophy.

Comet football to face Cedar Cliff in District III playoffs

Penn Manor Comets football beat Lancaster Catholic on Friday, September 28 by a score of 28-14. The win improved the Comets’ record to 5-0 overall. (Photo by Aaron Dimm)

By Addie Porter

Comet pride is at an all-time high after the Penn Manor High School football team finished wiith a 9-1 record, the best in school history.

“That was something that motivated us,” coach Todd Mealy said of the team’s record in an  interview with Lancaster Online. “There was a lot for us to play for. It’s been a special season as it is.”

Early season games provided fans with a lot of excitement.

The team blew out rival Hempfield on September 21 with a score of 49-0. On September 28, the Comets defeated Lancaster Catholic, the reigning PIAA District III champions. With a final score of 28-14, Penn Manor’s record improved to 5-0. The team continued its season with wins over the McCaskey Tornadoes, the Warwick Warriors and the Manheim Township Blue Streaks in the following weeks.

A one-touchdown loss to Wilson on October 26 was the team’s only defeat of the season.

The team came back the following week with a 54-0 shut-out win against Cedar Crest at home on November 2. This game was Penn Manor’s Senior Night.

“The coaching staff preaches the concept to the team on a weekly basis… to achieve their number-one goal each year, (which is to win Section one,) you have to win week in and week out in Section play and no opponent can be overlooked,” says Gordon Eck, assistant coach of the Comets.

The Comets finished the regular season ranked fourth in the PIAA Class AAAA District III power rankings to qualify for the playoffs.

Tonight, the Comets will face Cedar Cliff High School in the first round of District III playoffs. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Millersville University’s Biemsderfer Stadium. Tickets are available for $6 at the door.

Ally Rowe contributed to this story.

Boys Baseball Still Alive

By Joey Jackson –

The Penn Manor boys baseball team are continuing to win in this years PIAA District 3 playoff, even though they have been considered the underdog in most of their games so far.

The Comets celebrate in their 9-4 victory over Lower Dauphin Thursday Night. Photo courtesy John Whitehead, The Patriot News.

The 20th seeded McCaskey Red Tornadoes, 5th seeded Dallastown Wildcats, and now the 4th seeded Lower Dauphin Falcons have all fallen at the hand of the streaking 13th seeded Comets.

An early 4-0 lead for the Comets later finished at 9-4 on a called third strike by junior Darren Weidman, who came in to relieve starting pitcher Joe Witmer.

“I was screaming when I saw the ump signal the strike and ran in,” said junior outfielder Tim Harris. “Darren was just running in circles around the mound then just collapsed.”

Upsets like this are something of a regularity as seedings have shown to be little more than numbers preceding the team’s name when it comes to the baseball district playoffs. Last year’s championship was won by the 16th seeded Cedar Cliff Colts over the 10th seeded Manheim Township Blue Streaks. This year, the 9, 13, and 14 seeds are three of the four teams remaining after three rounds of district play.

The Comets will square off against the 9th seeded Red Land Patriots, the lowest seeded team that they’ve faced since the opening round, who are coming fresh off of a win over the top-seeded Black Knights of Hempfield.

Penn Manor senior second baseman Cody Straub takes a ball off the hop. Photo courtesy John Whitehead, The Patriot News.

“We’ve beaten the five seed and now the four seed, so I’m confident that we can win again,” said Harris.

The Comets, now in the semifinals of the District 3 playoffs, are guaranteed at least two more games in their season and will advance to the PIAA AAAA state playoffs if they can mount one more upset in their next two games.

“You know going into playoffs that only one team will end their season happy, we are just trying to be that team,” said senior center fielder Austin Richwine.

Jacob Shiner contributed to this story.