Living Cura Personalis
Cape and Sword
Return of “Spelling Bee” Ends First Year in Revamped Theatre
By Riley Burns ’18
The Cape and Sword Drama Society is one of the largest active clubs at the Prep, and for good reason. The quality of shows produced on the Prep stage are unmatched across the Delaware Valley, and the drive of student-performers is higher than ever. The competitiveness of auditions for each of the two shows Cape and Sword performs each year continues to attract young ladies from a variety of high schools across the greater Philadelphia area.
Up to this point, Director of Dramatics Tony Braithwaite ’89 has elevated the landscape of high school theatre performances across the region.
This year’s cast for the spring performance, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” includes a unique set of Prep students from various grade levels, with the Class of 2023 taking the majority of starring roles.
Victor Torres ‘23 will be assuming the lead role of William Barfee, while fellow seniors Maximus Nast ‘23, Connor O’Brien ‘23, Liam Holden ‘23, and Jahleel Johnson ‘23 round out the main cast members. Paddy May ‘24 will also be heavily featured in this production.
In addition, this show will include twenty-eight different faculty or staff members starring in cameo roles, with at least four performing each night.
“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” was first produced at SJP in 2012. It is back for its second performance, with the senior cast members striving to make their last performance on the Prep stage the most memorable.
Cape and Sword’s Fall performance, “Stalag 17,” was produced for the third time in Prep history earlier this year. This show included a professionally designed rotating set, a feature of pride for Braithwaite.
Combined, “Stalag 17” and “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” will include over 60 young men from the Prep, either acting on-stage or helping behind the scenes. The spring production itself includes eight young ladies from four different high schools in the area.
Football Wins State Championship
Hawks Win 7th State Title, Capping Off An Unprecedented Decade of Success
By Riley Burns ’18
It is no secret that Prep Football has achieved exceptional levels of success throughout the last decade. Philadelphia Catholic League, PIAA District 12, and PIAA State Championship hardware crowd the trophy cases in the hallways of Villiger Hall. Head Coach Tim Roken and his staff have a strong desire to continue the program’s storied success.
This season was no different, as the team again collected all three trophies, capping it off with an impressive 42-7 win over Harrisburg in the PIAA State Title game. It is the program’s seventh PIAA title, and fourth in the last five years, with all state titles occurring after 2013.
This year’s offense was led by quarterback Samaj Jones ’24, running back Kasheim Phillips ’24, and wideout David Washington ’24. On the other side of the ball, linebacker duo Cole Nilles ’23 and Josiah Trotter ’23 were surrounded with a plethora of talent, including defensive lineman Matthew DuMond ’23 and defensive back Omilio Agard ’24.
Yet, what the coaches, moderators, players, and other members of Prep staff contribute to the program might be what separates them from other programs.
“I think the most important thing about the football team that nobody knows is their process,” says moderator Bryan Ghee.
As with all successful programs, it is what goes on behind the scenes that makes a difference on the field. Ghee, who serves as Associate Athletic Director and Director of Student Activities at SJP, could be referring to the study hall sessions that are held every Monday-Thursday after school for all members of the JV and Varsity rosters, allowing student-athletes to focus on their academic workload before stepping foot on the practice field.
He could be referencing the weekly meeting that he and Roken hold with Rev. Stephen Surovick, S.J., Senior Director of Mission and Ministry, in which they converse about messaging in the weekly team prayer.
Regardless, it is evident that Roken, Ghee, and the entire coaching staff have come to learn what it takes to have a chance to raise the hardware in Hershey each December.
“Each week, Tim and I meet with Fr. Surovick about the messaging for the week and any issues that have come up with the team,” Ghee elaborated. “Sometimes there is nothing, sometimes kids are dealing with an injury, sometimes one of the players is suffering from a loss in the family, and sometimes the team needs a non-coach to talk to.”
“Either way, we engage Fr. Surovick in our process each week, and he includes this in how he devises the examen or homily,” Ghee added.
Ghee also mentioned that during the team’s trip to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to face national powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas, the Miami Dolphins provided their team chaplain for that week’s service.
It is easy to get distracted during the day-to-day of playing Prep football, and the coaching staff recognizes this. They use team prayers, held every Friday night, and team Mass, held every gameday, to allot their players some reflection time. Ghee believes the student-athletes have overwhelmingly positive thoughts on these activities, saying, “It is critical to their success.”
Being a member of the football team is undoubtedly a time commitment for these student-athletes, but the coaching staff assists them in all aspects of their high-school lives. This can become problematic with the number of players, as the football team is one of many SJP athletic programs that does not make cuts.
“This year we had 86 students involved at the JV and Varsity levels,” states Ghee. “This is one of the largest teams we have had in recent memory. The program held fast to not making cuts.”
Ghee is adamant that the staff ensures that each player feels engaged and loved.
Wrestling Qualifies for Program’s First State Duals
By Riley Burns ’18
When Jim Savage was hired as Prep Wrestling’s Head Coach, he and his staff had some specific goals in mind for the future of the program: increase the schedule difficulty, build a relationship with the wrestling alumni, and get the kids to buy into the program. Two years later, Savage and his staff are thrilled about the direction Prep Wrestling is heading towards.
Throughout this year’s season, Prep Wrestling traveled to some of the best tournaments in the state, including the Penn Manor, Conestoga Valley, and Coal Cracker tournaments. On a national landscape, Prep was entered into the Escape the Rock tournament, which Savage admits is one of the toughest tournaments in the country. These in-season battles prepared wrestlers for postseason play, as the Hawks qualified for the PIAA State duals for the first time in program history.
After getting student-athletes to buy into the morals and values of the program, Savage’s focus shifted towards their performances on the mat. The foundation of the Prep Wrestling program is established, and the outcomes throughout the season speak to that foundation.
Mike DiTrolio ’23 (172) and Maxwell Roy ’25 (Heavyweight) became the program’s 58th and 59th Philadelphia Catholic League champions, respectively, while Giovanni Mauro ’25 (121) captured a District 12 title. Both DiTrolio and Roy are now two-time PCL champions, and are among 11 wrestlers in Prep history to win multiple PCL championships. Prep Wrestling has now seen at least one of their own win a PCL title in each of the last five seasons.
Prep Wrestling finished the season with six student-athletes winning more than twenty matches, as Jude Reynolds ’26 (24), Emilio Diaz ’25 (23), and Charlie Kitching ’24 (23) joined Roy (37) and Mauro (23) atop the program’s leaders.
Roy became the third wrestler in Prep history to qualify for the PIAA Individual State Tournament and has 74 career wins, to go along with fifty-four falls. The current program record is 117 wins, held by Joe Dwyer ‘95.
“Our team goals are to win the league, win the district, qualify for state duals, and to place/win the PIAA State team title,” says Savage. “This year we finished 3rd in the league, 2nd in the district, and qualified for PIAA State duals for the first time in program history.”
Savage and his program also welcomed back the 1993 Varsity team on the 30th anniversary of their PCL Championship and look to continue its outreach to wrestling alumni.
Swimmers End Successful Season
Breaking Records and Qualifying for States
By Riley Burns ’18
The Prep Swimming team had an impressive 2022-2023 season, including multiple record breaking performances. Coaches Dan Koenig ’14, Juliet McLaughlin, David Dowd ’73, and Stephen Dierkes ’18 led the team to a second-place finish at both Philadelphia Catholic League and District 12 Championships. In addition, six swimmers qualified to compete at the PIAA State Championships at Bucknell University, including winning the first relay medal in school history!
The 400 freestyle relay team consisting of William Clark ’23, Anthony Koh’24, Vincent Wills ’24, and Colin Raue ’25 placed 6th earning Prep Swimming their first relay medal at PIAA State Championships in program history. Koh also earned 6th place in the 100 yard freestyle, clocking in with a time of 46.08 seconds.
Over the course of the season, Prep swimmers broke seven different records. Individually, Koh shattered pool and team records in the 50 meter Freestyle event, as well as recording the fastest time in pool history in the 100 meter Breaststroke event.
As a unit, the 200 meter Freestyle Relay team, composed of Koh, Clark, Wills, and William Purcell ’23, set a pool and program record with a final time of 1:25.62. Two separate relay teams broke records in the 400 Freestyle event. The program record of 3:08.23 was set by Koh, Wills, Clark, and Raue, while the pool record, officially timed at 3:13.15, is credited to Koh, Purcell, Clark, and Wills.
Seven records being broken in one season is evident of undeniable success and greatness – a greatness that will likely not be matched for years to come.
“These records may have names attached to them, but they also have years, which signify who was a part of the team when it happened,” Koenig says. “Every swimmer should be proud of what this team accomplished.”
Koenig and his coaching staff recognize that the athletes were determined and focused from the beginning of the school year, well before the season was in full swing.
“This season was a success because these athletes shattered the goals they set out for themselves back in the fall, “ he adds. “It was a success because they grew and matured as a team. It was a success because they created a community that supports and looks out for its own.”
Rodriguez Takes Over Sports Medicine
This January, Prep Athletics added one of the most well-respected trainers in the Catholic League by hiring Anthony Rodriguez as the new Head Athletic Trainer. He fills the large footsteps left by Jon Cartwright, who stepped away from SJP after five years in the role.
Rodriguez spent more than a decade at Father Judge, his alma mater, serving in the same position. “A-Rod,” as he is commonly known, also spent time at Temple Orthopedics as an Athletic Trainer.
“A-Rod is considered by many to be the best trainer in the Philadelphia Catholic League and we are glad to have him join our team,” says Athletic Director Dan DiBerardinis. “His knowledge of sports combined with his sports medicine expertise makes Anthony an elite person in his field. We are blessed to have him at the Prep.”
A graduate of King’s College, Rodriguez immediately asserted himself as a member of the Prep community, seamlessly meshing with coaches from a variety of programs, as well as administrators.
Welcome to the Prep, Mr. Rodriguez!