How high can they climb?
After finishing fourth in the nation in 2008, third in 2009 and second last year, the Pennsylvania College of Technology coed archery team is poised to take it all this season.
“I was very excited last year. I thought it was going to be our No. 1 year. The downfall was we were lacking a women’s recurve team. (This year) we did a little work, a little recruiting, and we have a (women’s recurve) squad which will allow us to have more team points overall and give us a chance to win the national overall championship,” coach Chad Karstetter said. “I think our chances are better than ever.”
Another reason for Karstetter’s optimism a lot of seasoned returnees.
En route to last season’s second-place overall finish at the U.S. Intercollegiate Archery Championships, Penn College teams won male compound and recurve national titles, Dan Wido (junior/Shickshinny) was the individual male compound champ for the second year in a row, Glen Thomas (junior/Mercer) captured the male recurve national crown, Zack Plannick (senior/Coraopolis) was the male compound runner-up and Aaron Lapinski (senior/Bloomsburg) placed third in male compound.
Wido, Plannick, Lapinski, Tyler Gale (senior/Kennedyville, Md.) and Thomas (twice) were named All-Americans and Kjirsten Radencic (sophomore/Dushore) won collegiate Rookie of the Year honors. Last fall, Wido also represented the college at the World University Archery Championships in Shenzhen, China, where he won gold and silver medals.
Competing this year for Penn College in the men’s compound division will be Wido, Plannick, Lapinski, Zack Bixby (freshman/Gillett) and Clint Hinton (sophomore/Lock Haven).
The women’s compound team features returnees Radencic and Julie Cain (junior/Bellefonte) and newcomer Ashley Baker (freshman/Coudersport).
The male recurve will consist of Thomas, Gale and Brandon Allison (freshman/Roaring Spring), and on the women’s recurve team are Hilary Fisher (sophomore/Temple), Ashley Mull (freshman/South Williamsport) and Allyson Hansell (freshman/Gillett).
“Ashley and Allyson have never competed before, but they’ve come a long way. They may not win their division, but they’re going to shoot very well this year,” Karstetter predicted.
Also getting more attention this year will be the collegiate bowhunter division where Kyle Bennett (sophomore/Bellefonte), Joe Dowdrick (sophomore/Lebanon) and Kevin Dewalt (freshman/Easton) will compete during the outdoor national championships in May.
“Assistant coach Brian Parker and I are very excited about this season. I was excited about last season and you wonder how things can improve every year for you and somehow they seem to manage to work out that way. “¦ We’re going to have fun and I know they’re going to shoot very well,” Karstetter added.
The Wildcats open their season with qualifying at the Early Bird Sports Expo at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds on Friday. The championship shoot-offs are scheduled for Sunday.