March 16, 2011

ZIP It: 19087 (Radnor Township, Pa.)

by Mark Macyk |

Ali Kelly (9), now a freshman at Franklin and Marshall, is one of many Radnor alumni populating college rosters.

© Kevin P. Tucker

Radnor Township, which makes up the center of the Wayne, Pa., and ZIP code 19087, could be the model for the movie "Pleasantville." Located 14 miles northwest of the Liberty Bell up Philadelphia's Main Line, Radnor's the kind of place you slow down through, where neighbors greet each other by first name and, of course, everyone's a lacrosse legend.

It's the kind of place where Tim Goldstein, Cornell's 1988 Player of the Year and Dennis Goldstein, North Carolina's 1991 Player of the Year, coach the second graders, and you'll find Gary Martin, a five-time champion with the Philadelphia Wings and two-time All-American at Penn State, working with the youth girls.

Even coaches like Penn's Mike Murphy and Tom Hannum, who helms Downington West, about 30 minutes away, find the time to pitch in.

"The sense of community within Radnor is unique in my mind, and it's a driving force," said John Begier, who coaches Radnor High's boys and reached the NCAA finals with Virginia in the mid-1980s. "Radnor's well-known for having a great school system, and that attracts the families into the area. It's pretty neat; obviously some very accomplished players."

The great coaching doesn't end in grade school.

Phyllis Kilgour, the Joe Paterno of girls' lacrosse, led Radnor High for 44 years before retiring from head coaching after last season. Kilgour's squads went 75-2 over the last three years, with two state championships.

"She has a really special approach to lacrosse," said Martin, whose daughter Allie parlayed her success at Radnor into a spot at Penn.

Radnor's girls alumni could challenge any women's all-star team. Recent grads now suit up at Georgetown, Penn, Vanderbilt, Colgate, Bucknell and William and Mary. Current players will head to Princeton and Notre Dame.

The boys haven't had the same level of dominance. Top private schools in the area provide tempting options, but Radnor's seeing its success grow, especially with the kids who grew up in the youth program.

It doesn't hurt that coaching alongside Beiger is Mike Buzsa, an All-American at Penn State who also starred for the Wings and the Boston Cannons.

Radnor's boys have reached the district quarterfinals the past two seasons and have seen recent grads head to Yale, Harvard, Drexel, Army and Notre Dame. Those continue to boost Radnor's success as alumni, coming back to speak and coach at all levels and giving back to the town.

"Everyone gets together and chips in," Peter Samson, who founded Radnor's youth league 20 years ago, said. "It's a lot like a Norman Rockwell painting." LM

Quick Sticks

Town: Radnor Township, Pa.
: 30,878
US Lacrosse Members:
US Lacrosse Chapter:
Philadelphia Lacrosse Association
Famous Lax Alumni:
Scott Kahoe, midfielder on Syracuse's 2009 NCAA championship team; Max Ritz, All-American at Maryland (2005-08); Xander Ritz, All-American at Maryland (2004-06); Kelyn Freedman, 2010 US Lacrosse All-American and current Georgetown freshman; Kelly Barnes, Georgetown.

Claim to Fame: Valley Forge Military Academy was attended by J.D. Salinger and is widely believed to be the inspiration for Pencey Prep, the school fled by Holden Caulfield at the beginning of Catcher in the Rye.

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