Recognize Greater Philly

Updated: January 14, 2009, 3:03 PM ET
ESPNRISE.com

Boys' Ice Hockey - La Salle



Explorers coach Wally Muehlbronner has the same problem every season  many of his best players end up leaving early for prep schools in the hopes of getting recognized by major colleges. The result is a rebuilding of the team every season. Yet through it all, Muehlbronner has managed to keep La Salle not only afloat, but he's also kept them very competitive, and last year's Class AAA state title proves it. This year, the team's talent is just as evident, even if the players are different from those on last year's roster. Senior Ross Denczi is a quiet leader whose gritty style sets the tone for this year's team. "He plays a tough, grind-it-out style of hockey, but he can score as well," Muehlbronner says. "He's definitely one of the top forwards in the area."He's paired on the wing with senior Matt O'Brien, a speedy forward. "We're expecting a lot of good things out of Matt," Muehlbronner says. Defensively, Tom Krulikowski and Pat Gallagher anchor an efficient defensive unit in front of junior netminder Gabe Antoni. "He's been very solid for the past two years, and this is his chance to shine," Muehlbronner says. "He's been to a few USA Hockey Select games and festivals." Younger players will fill out the team's roster, as they reinvent the style every year. This year, it's blue collar. "We take pride in scoring ugly," Muehlbronner says.



Girls' Cross Country - Emmaus



For the second consecutive year, Emmaus is the Class AAA state champion. The Green Hornets cruised to the state crown on Nov. 8 after placing all five of their scoring runners in the Top 25, led by senior Lindsey Graybill's fourth-place finish, third in team scoring. Juniors Amanda Faust, Brianna Faust and Christine Faust also paced the team while senior Melissa Meade rounded out the scoring as the Green Hornets topped Latrobe by 59 points.



Boys' Soccer - Downingtown West



The Whippets entered their season with the hope of avenging a tough overtime loss to South Park in last year's Class AAA state championship. So nobody was more thrilled than senior defenseman Brian Forgue and company when Downingtown West reached the final on Nov. 15, only to be paired against the same team that ended its title hopes last year. This time around, the Whippets earned a 2-1 win on goals from seniors Joe Sales and Travis Cantrell.



Field Hockey - Penn Manor



With a 5-0 win over Hershey on Nov. 15, the Comets finally earned the Class AAA state title they had coveted. Penn Manor had been close several times before, but this time around, led by eight seniors, the Comets were able to seal the deal. Lexy Adams, Cathryn Altdoerffer, Jenn Bradley, Maggie Brommer, Mariah Farbo, Nicole Henderson, Haley Weaver and Kathi Weidman were the seniors who got to savor the team's long-awaited title.



BREAK OUT TEAMS



BOYS' CROSS COUNTRY  PERKIOMEN VALLEY
Junior Vince Perrozzi, ninth at state this year, will contend for the crown next season.

GIRLS' SOCCER  ARCHBISHOP RYAN
The Raiders will look to sophomore Kelsey Stevens to keep the PCL title streak intact.

FOOTBALL  GARNET VALLEY
Junior QB Mark McHugh will return to help the Jaguars get back to the state tourney.

GIRLS'VOLLEYBALL  ARCHBISHOP WOOD
One of the area's best liberos, junior Dana Markol, leads the Vikings.