After a year of canceled competition due to COVID-19, fall sports returned this season to Penn's campus. With them, many Quaker seniors were able to make one last mark on the program they dedicated their college careers to.
Here's a look at some of the best of Penn's fall sports seniors.
Women's Cross Country
Ariana Gardizy had a storied career for the women’s cross country team. Throughout her four years, she reached the top 10 in four program records: eighth in indoor 3,000m (9:40.22), third in indoor 5,000m (16:29.53), 10th in outdoor 3,000m (9:37.94), and third in outdoor 10,000m (34:45.57). She even placed as a silver medalist at the USA Track & Field U23 Championships in the 3,000m event.
Her high-level performances earned her several honors throughout her career. In 2019, she contributed to the Quakers’ Team Champion Honors at the Outdoor and Indoor Ivy League Heptagonals. Her efforts that year also earned her XC second team All-Ivy and U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association XC All-Mid-Atlantic Region honors.
Men's Cross Country
In his last season for the Red and Blue, Noah Carey did an effective job leaving his mark.
The senior finished the 2021 season with three times in the top five of the program record book: fourth in outdoor 1,500m (3:44.67), fifth in outdoor mile (4:01.74), and fifth in the outdoor 5,000m (13:58.60). His 5,000m time sent him to the NCAA East Preliminaries, where he placed 23rd with a time of 13:58.71.
Gracyn Banks started off her career with the Quakers quietly, playing in a mere seven games and tallying three shots.
Then, in her sophomore year, more playing time gave her more opportunities, and she made it onto second team All-Ivy with her four assists and six total points on the season.
Her senior season — after losing one to COVID-19 — was even more impressive than her previous two. Banks played in every minute of all 16 games, finishing with four goals, two assists, and 10 points. Two of those goals were game-winners against Columbia and Dartmouth, respectively. She made five defensive saves, tied for most in the Ivy League. Banks' strong season earned her high praises: National Field Hockey Coaches Association first team All-Region, unanimous first team All-Ivy, and Philly-SIDA Academic All-Area.
She also went into international play: Banks was named to the USA roster for the 2021 Junior World Cup and the U.S. Field Hockey National Developmental Team.
The Quakers' defense won’t be the same without Prince Emili as a defensive lineman. He made his debut on the field in 2017 as a sophomore and then became a crucial piece of the defensive line in his junior year. As a junior, he was fourth on the team in tackles and led all defensive linemen with 41.
In his fourth season in 2019, Emili broke out in a big way. He finished with 65 tackles, a team-high 14.0 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, and seven quarterback hurries. His 14.0 TFLs were second in the Ivy League. The standout season earned him first team All-Ivy honors.
Emili returned for the 2021 season as a fifth-year senior. He finished with 49 tackles, 13 TFLs, five sacks, and one blocked kick. For his efforts, he earned first team All-Ivy and CoSIDA Academic All-District honors.
Emili is set to continue his football career with the Buffalo Bills, after recently signing with the NFL squad as an undrafted free agent.
Sprint football’s explosive offense could not have been possible without Brendan McCaffrey. McCaffrey, who graduates Penn with the fourth-most receiving yards in program history (1,208), led the way for the team this past season with 503 receiving yards. In a matchup against Army on Sept. 17, he notched 191 yards, the third most in a single game in program history.
His senior year efforts earned him Collegiate Sprint Football League Special Teams Player of the Year and first team All-CSFL honors as both a wide receiver and kick returner. Similarly, he had been named second team All-CSFL for his sophomore campaign, where he led the team with 443 receiving yards and 26 receptions.
Unlike many of his fall sports counterparts, Joey Bhangdia has been around for four campaigns during his career with the Quakers. Although he was on the team, Bhangdia missed out on his freshman season because of an injury, but he came back ready to play in his sophomore year, where he scored just 69 seconds into his first college game.
In his junior season, he received first team All-Ivy, Philadelphia Soccer Six All-Star, and Academic All-Ivy honors. Bhangdia led the Quakers in goals (6), points (12), shots (30), and match-winners (3). He also was third among players in goals and sixth in points in the Ivy League. During his senior season, he repeated the success, tying for the lead on the team in goals (5) and tying for second in points (12).
Mia Shenk’s first goal for the Quakers was certainly a memorable one: It was a game-winner against Brown to seal the 2018 Ivy League title for Penn. Since then, Shenk has topped on plenty of other memorable goals over the course of her historic Quaker career.
After a fairly quiet sophomore campaign, Shenk led the team in points (15) during her senior season and once again scored a game-winning goal, this time against George Mason. Shenk also notched the 15th hat trick in program history and the first since 2011 in a commanding 4-0 win over George Washington on Sept. 12. In that game, she scored her second goal a mere 33 seconds after her first, making it the second-fastest goal combo in program history. On Oct. 18, she also had three assists in a 4-0 win over Delaware State, marking the first time a Penn player had done so since 2011.
Team captain Margaret Planek made her presence known on the Quakers even as a freshman. In her debut season, she appeared in all 25 matches and was only one of seven players to have more than 50 kills on the season. She recorded her first double-double (13 kills and 13 digs) against Georgetown on Aug. 31.
Her efforts earned her the title of co-captain in 2019. She led the team in double-doubles (3) and had a career high in single-game kills with 18. Planek became the first player to record over 180 kills, 140 digs, and 45 blocks in a single season since Alex Caldwell in 2014.
She maintained her status as team captain in her senior season, where she played in all 23 matches and played in 85 out of 87 sets. In her farewell tour, she finished second on the team in kills (213), digs (179), and blocks (37). She once again led the team in double-doubles, this time with seven.