PENNSBURY >> The decibel levels were off the charts this past weekend inside the Charles Boehm Middle School as a thousand screaming teenagers rooted for their favorite teams at the district’s annual Sports Nite competition.
The friendly contest, which pits teams of juniors and seniors against each other, is all about raising school spirit. And like the Energizer bunny, these teenage participants kept going and going and going.
And when it was all said and done on Saturday night, Team Black had edged out the Orange squad by a mere one point - 22-21 - and pulled within one of tying Orange for the most wins in the history of the competition.
“The competition between the Orange and Black is tremendously fierce, and there is a shared commitment to put on an extravaganza that all will enjoy and remember,” said Cherrissa Gibson, Acting Principal of the Pennsbury High School West Campus, and Reggie Meadows, Principal at Pennsbury High School East Campus. “It is this sense of pride and dedication that has kept the Sports Nite tradition alive at Pennsbury for six decades and for many more to come.”
The 71st Pennsbury Sports Nite, a Pennsbury tradition, played out on Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16 as teams competed in everything from Football Relays, Line Runs, Tug Of War, Dance and Cheer to Trash Dump, Chariot Race and Izzy Dizzy competitions.
The theme of this year’s event - “50 United States: Which Exit Will You Take?” - was carried through in the elaborate murals that decorated the gym and in the competitive dance routines presented by each team.
Throughout the two nights, teams took everyone on an armchair journey across the nation.
The first stop was Las Vegas with the girls from B period black team. The next stop was New York City, the empire state, and a sightseeing trip with the C period orange team girls team followed by the Hippies of A and B periods in sunny California.
The journey continued with the orange team girls of A period and a lively and colorful Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans concluding Friday night with a trip back to the Keystone State as the black team girls from D period brought the streets of Philly to life.
Saturday night’s travel itinerary included a visit to Atlanta in the deep South, where the orange team B period girls knocked everyone out in the hip-hop capital of the USA. Next stop was the island state of Hawaii where the water is so blue, the C period black team girls call to you.
The next exit took Sports Nite to Dodge City, Kansas with the A and D period boys as they roped a cow, rode a bull, had fun making some noise. Catching a plane for the next stop, the black team girls cracked a case wide open in the Windy City of Chicago.
The D period orange team transported the Sports Nite crowd to its final destination - Miami, a warm, bright and exciting city with loud music and a Spanish beat.
Overall Captains for the Orange Team were Samie Hackman and Will Bednarz while Brian Bush and Kate Mix represented the Black Team.
And Sports Nite would not be complete without a Sports Nite Queen.
Emma Kraus, surrounded by admirers, wore a tiara and an evening gown as cameras snapped photos around her. Finalists for the royal title were Kamryn Davis, Gabriella Doto, Taylor Muller and Delaney Weed.
This year’s faculty co-directors were physical education teachers Patti Merrick and George Gounaris, who teach at Pennsbury High School. The administrative coordinator for Sports Nite was Dr. David Patterson, assistant principal.
The 2019 Sports Nite staff included Jamie Parell, Jackie Butler, Tom Stoddart, Mike Andolina, Bryan Rittler, Justin Fee, Keith Gabor, Donna Nicholson, Lindsay Gebeau and Patti Merrick.
Pennsbury’s Sports Nite tradition, originally conceived and directed by past District Superintendent William W. Ingraham to help support student activities and the spring sports program, was born in 1949.
Bleachers and folding chairs were set up in the Makefield Elementary School gymnasium to accommodate 250 people for the single night performance by students in grades seven through twelve.
A growing community and expanding school facilities caused Sports Nite to grow as well. Within three years it was necessary to move the program to a larger gymnasium at Pennsbury High School on Makefield Road, the building that is now Pennwood Middle School.
In 1954 the high school’s student body elected its first Sports Nite Queen. By 1957 ticket demand was so great that festivities were moved to the newly completed Charles Boehm gymnasium, where it has been held ever since.
Sports Nite has evolved to include much hard work on the part of students, staff and parents. It has become one of the most popular activities for Pennsbury High School students.
After seesawing from Black to Orange as winners in the early years, 1959 saw Black start a five-year win streak. That remained a record until the 1980s Orange run of nine-straight winning years. In the last 26 years, Orange has won Sports Nite 11 times, and Black has won 15 times. After the 2019 competition, the count now stands at Orange with 36 wins and Black with 35.