Four athletes, one team qualified for state play

STAFF WRITER Adora Maddonni, Staff Writer

Four of MHS’s athletes–Mihaela Codreanu, Jeff Kirshenbaum, Kyle Vance and Dan Rieger–as well as the field hockey team, qualified for state-level competition this fall.

Codreanu, a senior, who has been playing tennis since she was 6, moved to the United States from Bucharest at age 11. While she had been studying tennis since she was six, she had not had the same experience with language.

“I didn’t study English in Romania. I had to learn it when I came to America,” said Codreanu.

In 2013 Codreanu captured the silver medal at the PIAA Class AAA championships and the silver medal at the District One Class AAA Championships. She was also selected as the 2013 Times Herald Girl’s Tennis Player of the Year.

This season, she won the PAC-10 girls championship first singles, which led the Warriors to the team title. Codreanu, who will attend the University of Rhode Island on a full scholarship, won 6-0, 6-1 in the PAC-10 finals.

Jeff Kirshenbaum, a junior, admits that being unable to qualify for states pushed him to work harder.

“Last year and the year before I was unable to qualify for states. I came really close and just couldn’t quite do it, so I think that failure the past couple years definitely made it more special this year to know that I had finally done it after not being able to for so long.”

Kirshenbaum says that he could not be happier with his season.

“I think that I just improved so much, and that was really the main goal, just to better myself from last year,” said Kirshenbaum.

Jeff has enjoyed many accomplishments over the years. Some stand out to him more than others to him.

“Winning the PAC-10s was probably my most significant accomplishment just because that’s been a goal of mine for the past three or four years, and I got to watch my team mate, who I really looked up to, do it three years ago. [Winning the PAC-10] something I’ve always wanted to do. It was really great just to be able to represent our school and our team at the PAC-10 race,” said Kirshenbaum.

Junior Kyle Vance who won back-to-back PAC-10 crowns beginning in 2014, is the next golfer in the Vance line, after his brother Brandon.

Following in his brother’s  footsteps, Kyle received the PAC-10 Player of The Year award in 2013 and 2014.

One of his biggest wins has been at the Talbot Country Club, in Maryland, when he shot 9 under par with a 207 tournament total. Vance was trailing by a single stroke after the first and second round before his final round par 72 was enough to hold off the competition. The win was Vance’s second top-five finish in higher status matches after finishing T5 at the Preseason Junior at Worthington Manor in Urbana, Maryland, earlier this year.

He also admits that playing in states does put a lot of pressure on the players and that he learned how to keep his cool.

“There is a lot more pressure there because there’s college coaches coming out to watch. You have about 10 people following you in each group so it’s a lot of pressure, a lot of eyes on you. When you have eyes on you, more pressure then you gotta hit the correct shot. Its tough, it’s a lot different,” said Vance who announced that he has accepted an offer to play golf at Kansas State University.

He says his key to keeping his cool and winning is all in how you act.

“I focus on my attitude and leadership throughout the whole thing. As long as I have a good attitude I will play well.”

Dan Rieger, a junior, also started to be recognized around the same time as Vance. Rieger recently tied for 21st with Vance in the PIAA State Championships at Heritage Hills Golf Club.

Dan said that the season was great but there were a few moments that stood out.

“The most memorable moment was definitely winning the PAC-10 championship three times in a row.”

He says the difference between states and a normal meet is the pressure you put on yourself.

“You know that the best players in the state are there so you kinda feel that there’s some sort of competitiveness inside you, and you know there’s more pressure towards other tournaments you’ve played in.”

Rieger says that one of the more significant disappointments this year was losing to one of the team’s biggest rivals.

“I’d say [our biggest obstacle was] probably losing our first match to Springford which actually happened last year as well. You just have to move past that.”

The girls field hockey team went all the way to states this year. Some of the girls including Katie Markle and Sarah Starchak think that making it to states was the most memorable moment of their season.

“The game that we won at states, against Mount St. Joe’s, [was our biggest accomplishment], just knowing we got in there since that was the first time in seven years we’ve made it,” said Markle.

Sterchak said the team’s chemistry has helped in their success.

“I think our determination definitely sets us apart but I think the main thing is how long we’ve played together, since 7th grade and some of us even before that,” said Sterchak.

Athletic director Mr. Spiewak said having a number of state-level qualifying individuals or teams is nothing out of the ordinary for Methacton.

“This year hasn’t been all that different from past years. We typically qualify one or two teams, sometimes more, per school year.”