Thursday, May 30 2024 10:25

A Dozen Star Athletes

Written by Edwin Malet

How did these high school stars get so good?

We reached out to local private schools to find this year’s top athletes. Then we asked about their success: What did their parents do? Their schools and clubs? How did they balance sports and academics?

We don’t have all the answers. But we were enlightened … and awed.

Jack Consiglio, 2024

Wrestling — Malvern Prep

Twice the winner of the National Championships, Jack Consiglio wrestles for Malvern Prep. Choosing Stanford University because “it’s academically and athletically rigorous,” and the campus is “beautiful,” he’s considering a career in accounting, finance or as a sports agent. But first he wants to be “the best wrestler there is.”

His mother initially enrolled him in wrestling in third grade. Now he trains about five days a week, 2 to 2½ hours per day, running, lifting weights, practicing and competing on the mats. He said the “best way to condition for wrestling … is wrestling.” His coach at Malvern called him “the hardest worker on the team.”

Avery Lewis, 2024

Track — Friends’ Central School

Avery Lewis placed 1st in the long jump at the Adidas Indoor Nationals in 2021. In 2022, she finished 1st at 60-meters and 2nd at the 200-meters sprints at the High School Indoor Nationals. In 2023, she ran 2nd at USA U20 Championships in the 100-meters.

She picked University of Southern California for college as “the best combination of sports and academics.” Planning to study business, she’s considering the food industry, perhaps opening a restaurant. But that will come, she hopes, after the Olympics.

Avery began her track career at age 6, running with her church group. Today, she trains about two to three hours every day and credits her parents as her main sources of inspiration.

Ben McCarthy, 2024

Lacrosse — Haverford School

A multi-sport athlete, Ben McCarthy decided to focus on lacrosse when he started high school, but he’s played for the Philadelphia Freedom club since fifth grade. Today, he’s ranked #4 nationally. An excellent student, he chose Duke University for college because of its “balance between academics, athletics and social life.”

For his success, he credits his moms. They’ve “sacrificed a lot” and “taught me a balance of competitiveness along with how to keep a level head while playing.” His school and club coaches also taught him “countless lessons both on and off the field.”

Zachary Oswald, 2024

Swimming — Haverford School

Zachary Oswald described winning the 100-meter backstroke at the Eastern Prep School Championship: “The atmosphere was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced … It was so loud that I could barely hear.”

He praised his parents — his “number one supporters” — and coaches at Haverford and his club. Swimming, he said, is “one of the hardest sports out there physically.” It’s “constantly a grind.” He practices every day except Sunday.

For college, Oswald chose the University of Notre Dame, noting it has the “11th best swim team” as well as “high level academics … and a lot of school spirit.” He hopes to make the cut for the 2024 Olympic Trials and the 2028 team.

Jordyn Palmer, 2027

Basketball — Westtown School

When she joined the varsity team in 2022, Jordyn Palmer was only in eighth grade. This season, the team was 8-0 in the Friends School League, 25-2 overall and ranked #1 in Pennsylvania.

At 6’2″, Palmer contributed mightily to Westtown’s winning season, averaging 18 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, four blocks and three steals per game. Though only a freshman, she’s planning on the WNBA in 2027.

Palmer’s parents consistently spurred on their prodigy, who first played as a 3-year-old at the Oxford YMCA. Later, she played for the Chester County Storm, coached by her father, and the Philly Rise. Of her father, she said, “He pushed me and taught me everything and is always there for me.” Her mother, “helped … when making hard decisions, she’s always there.”

Avery Elliott, 2024

Track — Episcopal Academy

Photo: Patty Morgan Photography

At Nike Indoor Nationals, Avery Elliott placed 6th nationally in the pentathlon — five events: two sprints, two jumps and one throw. She was also 1st in Pennsylvania for the season and named an All-American.

She said her “mom’s always been my biggest supporter,” teaching her to hurdle when she was 12 and continued coaching Elliott’s AAU and USATF teams. Now, she’ll often do throws or jumps mornings, with runs or hurdles afternoons along with her list of “favorite hype songs” to get ready.

Next season, the track team at the University of Pennsylvania will welcome her, where she’ll work toward a degree in computer science or digital media design. She hopes to be a 3D animator.

Caitlin Connell, 2025

Field Hockey — Villa Maria Academy

Nate Heckenberger Photography

Caitlin Connell started playing field hockey in first grade and “loved the game” ever since. Now a rising senior, she’s ranked among the country’s top 150. As a sophomore, she was 2nd Team All-American, 1st Team All-State and MVP in the American Association of Catholic Academies league. She helped Villa Maria win the PA Independent Athletic Association’s 2A state championship.

Crediting her school and club coaches who’ve pushed her “to be the best I can be,” as well as the coaches at USA Field Hockey and the National Team training camps, Connell said her top skills are speed, field vision and goal scoring.

Caroline Chisholm, 2025

Field Hockey & Lacrosse — Agnes Irwin School

Among the top field hockey players nationally, Caroline Chisholm is also a superlative lacrosse player. Called a “gifted athlete” by her school coach, she’s committed to Boston College, drawn to the area by a family connection.

The hardest part has been “staying on top of your schedule,” said Chisolm. Her parents, both amateur athletes themselves, have been “extremely supportive.” Her teammates have been “super important,” and the “care” of AI’s alumni has also been key.

Chisholm hasn’t decided on an academic focus yet. But taking all honors classes, she plans to bring her “competitiveness” to everything she does.

Rob Lohkamp, 2024, & Kato Connor, 2025

Soccer — Wilmington Friends School

Rob Lohkamp

At 13-3-1, Wilmington Friends’ soccer team finished in 2nd place last year in its division, led by junior Kato Connor and senior Rob Lohkamp. Connor had 10 goals and six assists, while Lohkamp had nine goals and eight assists.

Connor enjoys “the fluidity” of soccer, “a flow you don’t see much in other sports.” He was named #1 player in Division II of the Delaware Independent Athletic Association, #7 in the state and the Independent Conference Player of the Year. In school, his favorite subject is English.

Besides soccer, Lohkamp loves golf. Drawn to the sport’s “complexity and simplicity,” he finds it challenging but relaxing. He plans to become an orthodontist and recently chose University of Delaware for college.

Therese Lucian, 2024

Field Hockey & Soccer — Tower Hill School

Therese Lucian had played soccer her entire life, only trying out for field hockey goalkeeper on the recommendation of her coach in ninth grade. She found her soccer skills “made my transition into a field hockey goalie incredibly smooth.” In soccer, she was the team’s leading scorer in her junior season. In field hockey, as a senior, she recorded over 150 saves. Ultimately, she captained both teams, winning All-Conference 1st Teams in both sports.

Of her coaches, she said they’ve “taught me everything I know and supported me tremendously.” They’ve always “pushed me to find things to improve on until I perfect my play.”

Lucien will play field hockey at Denison University, where she plans to study psychology.

Miles Kempski, 2024

Football, Basketball & Lacrosse — Archmere Academy

A three-sport athlete, Miles Kempski was the starting quarterback and corner in football, leading scorer in basketball and defensive midfielder on a lacrosse team that finished top-5 in the state.

He credited his brother, his Archmere coaches and his dad and “always wanted to be like him.” Kempski added, “Training in multiple sports kept me busy and helped me stay in shape.”

A native of West Chester, he’ll attend University of Massachusetts at Lowell to play lacrosse.


Each of these stars tended to start playing their sport early, demonstrating a remarkable level of intensity in their training and love of their game. All drew on parents and coaches, many of whom travelled the “extra mile” for them. To a person, these student-athletes were challenged by time management, but overall, they didn’t complain. Instead they learned key life lessons of commitment, self-discipline, mental toughness, teamwork and resilience.