After a year of canceled competition due to COVID-19, winter 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 winter sports seniors.
Jelani Williams has been the comeback kid since his time with the Quakers. Williams made his collegiate debut this season as a fifth-year senior after years of being sidelined. He suffered an ACL tear in his left knee before coming to Penn. And then one in his right knee in 2018. And then a third tear in 2019. And when Williams was ready to play, COVID-19 canceled the 2020-21 season.
At long last, his senior season came along, and he appeared in 25 out of 28 games while serving as Penn's co-captain. He was a defensive stalwart for the Quakers, leading the team in steals with 29, ranking in the top 15 in the Ivy League for steals per game. On the offensive end, he was third on the team with 51 assists.
While he didn’t fill the box score the way players like Jordan Dingle did, Williams — now a Howard transfer commit — had the intangibles in a player you couldn’t get anywhere else. Players and coach Steve Donahue always cited his heart and energy as important to the team’s identity and spirit.
Kennedy Suttle started her career on the bench, backing up star player Eleah Parker. After Parker’s graduation, however, Suttle saw her minutes and role increase, letting her grow as a player during the latter portion of her career.
In her sophomore season, Suttle recorded her first double-double in only her third game as a starter on Nov. 17 against Iona. Her point tally also greatly increased, going from 33 points her freshman year to 112 her sophomore year. She was also a pesky defender, accounting for 27 steals on the season.
Her senior year built off that consistency. On Feb. 12, she scored 19 points (a career high) and tallied 16 rebounds in an overtime win against Harvard, earning her Ivy League Player of the Week. A little over a week later, she achieved her career-high rebound tally with 17 against Cornell.
Vanessa Dib’s career with the Quakers started off with a bang. As a freshman, the epee competitor earned second team All-Ivy honors with a strong 42-25 record. She finished fifth at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional and 17th at the NCAA Championships.
In her sophomore campaign, her 39-20 record earned her first team All-America and honorable mention All-Region honors. Dib is one of three women’s epee competitors to achieve the former. She qualified for the NCAA Championships, but the postseason was canceled due to COVID-19.
In her final season, she made a grand return to the postseason with a regional championship title under her belt. She advanced to the NCAA Championships, where she helped propel the team to an eighth-place finish.
Making first team All-Ivy sounds like a lofty dream to most incoming freshmen. But for senior epee Emon Daroian, it’s proved doable.
Daroian finished his time at Penn with a career win percentage of over 67%, tallying 133 wins over his career with the Quakers. In his freshman season, he tied for second in epee at the Ivy League Championships and then earned 15th at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional.
His sophomore year was even better. Daroian accumulated an impressive 62-25 record, making him one of three Quakers in history to have a 60-win season. His record earned him first team All-America, second team All-Region, and first team All-Ivy honors. He became the first back-to-back first team All-Ivy men’s epee fencer since Chris O’Loughlin in 1986 and 1987. Daroian qualified for the NCAA Championships, but due to COVID-19, the postseason was canceled.
In his senior campaign, Daroian received second team All-Ivy honors after going 26-19. But at the NCAA Championships, he earned first team All-America honors after a third-place finish at men’s epee and finished as a Regionals champion.
Sydney Kraez began her gymnastics career with the Quakers by slotting herself in the Penn record books, tying for the fourth-best score in program history for two events: floor (9.875) and vault (9.800).
Kraez continued her success as a sophomore, where she posted the third-best floor score (9.900) and ninth-best all-around score (39.050) at the Ivy Classic, the latter of which won her the meet. Kraez also made first team All-ECAC on vault, second team All-ECAC on floor, and All-ECAC All-Around team.
In her senior season, Penn moved to the Gymnastics East Conference, where she still proved her gymnastics excellence. As team captain, Kraez finished first team All-GEC on vault and second team All-GEC on bars. She contributed to the Quakers’ inaugural GEC Championship Title with a score of 196.950.
It takes a special kind of player to be the standout on the No. 1 squash team in the nation. And Andrew Douglas is that player.
As a freshman playing in the No. 1 slot, his 14-4 record helped propel Penn to No. 7 in the rankings. During his sophomore campaign, Douglas finished at No. 3 in the CSA individual rankings. His strong performance at the No. 1 slot, where he went 12-5, helped push Penn to No. 1 in the CSA Rankings and a third-place finish at the Potter Cup. Douglas had another strong season as a junior, going 11-5 at No. 1 slot.
His performances his first three seasons earned Douglas first team All-America and first team All-Ivy for three consecutive years.
As a graduate senior, Douglas was once again named first team All-America and first team All-Ivy, honors he achieved each previous season as well. In doing so, he became the first player to earn the former title four times and the seventh to earn the latter title four times.
While Douglas lost in the CSA Individuals semifinals, he still managed to cap off his career with over 50 wins. He is one of three players to accumulate that many victories over his career.
Jamila Abou El Enin has been a reliable player for the Quakers her whole career.
After going 9-10 her freshman year, she moved up to the No. 2 spot in the lineup her sophomore season. In that slot, she finished at a strong 4-3 within the Ivy League. Abou El Enin had eight games that exceeded 11 points and won six of those matchups. In her senior year, Abou El Enin made her first appearances in the No. 1 slot with five matches. She helped bring the Quakers to another Howe Cup berth with her efforts.
During her senior season, Lia Thomas made national headlines for her success in the pool. She set five solo program records in freestyle events: the 100 (47.63), 200 (1:41.93), 500 (4:34.06), 1,000 (9:35.96), and 1,650 (15:59.71). Thomas also was part of two record-breaking relay events in the 400 free (3:17.80) and 800 free (7:09.91).
At the Ivy Championships, she took home the championship in three events: 100 free, 200 free, and 500 free. Her success earned her title of High Point Swimmer of the Meet. Thomas’ times also earned her a berth at the NCAA Championships in the same three events, where she won the 500 free with her program-record time. Thomas finished the season with first team All-America honors.
Consistent. That’s how you can describe William Kamps’ career at Penn, in which he qualified for Ivy League Championships all three years he competed.
In his freshman appearance at the meet, he finished fifth overall in the 500 free, fourth in the 1,650 free, and ninth in the 400 IM. He also had two fourth-place finishes in relays. The next year, he finished third in the 1,650 free with a personal-best time of 15:10.96 and fifth in the 500 free ‘A’ final, with a personal-best of 4:20.65 in the prelims. After a year off due to COVID-19, Kamps finished 11th in the 500 free, fifth in the 1,000 free, and eighth in the 1,650 free; his 1,000 free time of 9:01.17 was his personal best.
In the 2019-20 season, he qualified for the Olympic Trials after a 3:56.39 400-meter freestyle and a 4:24.67 400-meter IM at the Toyota U.S. Open.
Neil Antrassian left it all on the mat for the Red and Blue.
He posted a 15-20 record his sophomore year but still ranked highly on the team’s statistics: fourth in takedowns (51), third in tech falls (2), and fourth in major decisions (4). To cap off his sophomore season, he placed seventh at 174 pounds the EIWA Championships.
As a senior, Antrassian went 16-11 overall and 7-2 in dual meets. He ended the regular season ranked No. 32 by the NCAA Coaches’ Panel. His strong showing his senior year earned him a spot as an alternate for the 2022 NCAA Championship, which was held in his home state of Michigan.