Penn College Athletics Teams Have Phenomenal Year
One national champion, four All-Americans, six conference champions and three conference runners-up: it has been one of the greatest years ever for Pennsylvania College of Technology athletic teams, which collectively won 207 of 293 games, a .706 winning percentage.
Reviewing the 2007-08 academic year alphabetically by sport:
The men’s compound team of freshmen Dan Wido of Shickshinny, Zachary Plannick of Coraopolis and Aaron Lapinski ofBloomsburg captured the outdoor national championship. Wido; Plannick; Brock Smith, a junior from Brookville; and Lindsey Fackler, a junior from Halifax, earned All-American accolades for placing in the top 10 with their combined individual scores from the outdoor and indoor national events. “Finally, after nine years, it came back to Penn College,” an elated Wildcats coach Chad Karstetter said of his men’s compound team. “It was a long time coming. I was shooting for one of these (national championships) over my career (as a coach) and it’s finally here.” Karstetter has coached the team for eight seasons. Overall, Penn College finished fourth nationally, equaling its previous highest finish that came during the 2004-05 season.
After a 16-7 fall season (7-3 in the PSUAC and tied with Penn State Beaver for first place), the Wildcats had a 15-6 spring and captured the conference championship during their second season under coach Chris Howard. “(Our players) had a bad taste in their mouth from last year when we just did not play well (the Wildcats finished fourth in the playoffs). That was something that drove everybody all year. They came ready to go. They worked hard. They did everything I ever asked of them,” Howard said. “Mission accomplished is a great way to put it. It’s nice to see everything come together when it needs to come together,” said Howard, named the conference coach of the year.
Although it finished with a 9-18 overall record, it was “goal accomplished” for the Penn College men’s team. “That was the goal that we wanted to accomplish,” coach Gene Bruno, in his 12 th season, said of reaching the playoffs for the first time since the 2004-05 season. The Wildcats’ season ended in the quarterfinals of the PSUAC playoffs. Joe Simon, a sophomore guard from Renovo, led the squad with 353 points and a 13.1 points-per-game average.
A standout player at Jersey Shore High School and Mansfield University, Alison Tagliaferri may have been a rookie coach with the Lady Wildcats but her team turned in a veteran performance by going 18-9 overall and reaching the PSUAC semifinals. Reflecting on her first season, Tagliaferri said, “It definitely was a good year for us. I didn’t know what to expect, but I had a lot of great girls to work with.” Erica Logan, a freshman forward from Montoursville, led the team in scoring with 422 points, a 16.2 points-per-game average.
For the fifth straight year, Penn College bowlers won Pennsylvania Collegiate Athletic Association championships. Michael Pollock (sophomore/Sugarloaf) captured the men’s all events championship, the Penn College Blue Team of Pollock, Matt Haulman (freshman/West Milton), Wesley Moyer (freshman/Fleetwood), Ryan Forry (sophomore/Lancaster), Merle Burkhart Jr. (freshman/Lancaster) and David Florist (sophomore/Horsham) won the men’s overall and Ryan Wilson (freshman/Wellsboro) and Warren Blume (sophomore/Aaronsburg) won the men’s doubles championship. “We won the overall state by more than 600 pins. It was a really good tournament,” coach Debbie Vincenzes said. Vincenzes also was honored as a coach of the year.
Late in the season, the squad topped a five-team field that included Albright College and Lincoln University in recording its first non-conference meet victory in 20 seasons. Two weeks later, Greg Kammerle became the first Penn College men’s runner ever to win back-to-back individual conference championships. Competing in the PSUAC championship, Kammerle, a sophomore from Willow Grove, turned in a 27:16 over a 4.9-mile course to close out his collegiate career in grand fashion. Teamwise, the Penn College men swept the first five places, considered a shutout in cross-country, and captured their fifth straight conference championship and sixth in eight years under coach Mike Paulhamus. Paulhamus was named coach of the year. For the year, the Penn College men were 28-0 in the PSUAC and 42-8 overall.
The Lady Wildcats, led by individual winner Tamara Pavlov, finished tied for first with Penn State Scranton, but lost the PSUAC championship in a tiebreaker. Pavlov covered the 3.1-mile distance in 18:53. The Lady Wildcats finished 10-3 in the conference and 13-3 overall.
Penn College golfers captured a conference championship for an unprecedented fifth straight season. Competing in the Penn State University Athletic Conference championship at the Penn State Blue Course, the Wildcats held off Penn State New Kensington by 12 strokes. In topping a seven-team field, the Wildcats completed an 18-0 season and extended their five-season unbeaten streak to 148-0. “I’m happy for the kids. They’re the ones who did it. They have the talent and they played as a team,” coach Chet Schuman said. Schuman was honored as conference coach of the year.
Penn College captured its fourth straight conference championship, edging Penn State York, 2-1, in the finale to complete a 16-1 campaign. “It was a tough game. York is a good team,” observed Penn College coach Enrique Castillo. “Even in bad games, good teams manage to find a way to win. We didn’t play our greatest and we still managed to win. That says a lot about the team.” Castillo also was named conference coach of the year.
Penn College’s women’s soccer team, by virtue of a perfect 4-0 regular-season record in Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference matches, was awarded its second straight conference championship. The Lady Wildcats totally dominated play in the conference, outscoring opponents Manor College and Reading Community College 28-1 in home-and-away matches. Overall, Penn College finished 5-7 under second-year coach Kim Antanitis. She was cited as conference coach of the year.
The defending champ Lady Wildcats put together a 21-5 campaign and finished second in the PSUAC. “All in all, I’ve very happy with the girls and the way they played throughout the season. They played very good ball,” coach Roger Harris said. “They were a great bunch of girls all around.”
Two Penn College tennis players won PSUAC championships and the Wildcats finished third in team competition. Robert Kemrer, a freshman from Milton, took the No. 4 men’s singles title, winning in a tie-breaker, and then teamed with Alex Henry, a freshman from Rutherford, N.J., for the No. 2 men’s doubles crown, also winning in a tie-breaker. During the regular season the Wildcats went 8-4 under coach Davis Santucci.
Despite a 6-win, 10-loss record, and the fact that it failed to reach the post-season playoffs for the first time in five years, coach Wes Strayer found plenty to be optimistic about. “It was a good year. We might not have been .500, but they played a little bit better than I thought they would. They were just that close. You don’t know how close we were to being 10 and 6 instead of 6 and 10,” the coach said.
For the third straight season, Penn College finished second in the PSUAC, forcing Penn State Beaver to a decisive third match to decide the title. The Wildcats, North Division champs during the regular season under coach Bambi Hawkins, ended 20-8 overall, 18-4 in all conference matches.