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Archers ready for nationals; baseball coach discusses season

Not only will Pennsylvania College of Technology archers be shooting for national titles later this week in Dublin, Ohio, but a trip to the World University Games is also on the line.

Competition in the U.S. National Outdoor Collegiate Championships will be held at Darree Fields Park. Official practice and opening ceremonies will be held Thursday with a 72-arrow qualifying round Friday morning followed by mixed team rounds. Another 72-arrow qualifying round will be held Saturday prior to the official team rounds later that day. Action wraps up on Sunday with the Olympic individual head-to-head knockout rounds.

In addition to national qualifying on Friday and Saturday, those rounds also will be used for World University Games qualifying as the top three in each division will have an opportunity to compete July 3-14 in Naples, Italy.

Competing for Penn College will be:

Men’s bowhunter freshman Ryan McCrickerd, of Bethlehem; junior David Fox, of Coburn; and freshman Sidney Alpaugh, of Pennsdale.

Mixed bowhuntersenior Rylee Butler, of Bellefonte, and either McCrickerd, Fox or Alpaugh, again depending on who is shooting well that day, according to coach Chad Karstetter.

Women’s compound freshman Kayla Hoffer, of Hummelstown; junior Sapphire Naugle, of Jersey Shore; and senior Sabrina Toplovich, of Spring Creek.

Mixed compound freshman Zach Williamson, of Mill Hall; and either Hoffer, Naugle, Toplovich or freshman Jessica Duke, of Allentown, based on who is shooting well.

Mixed recurve senior Kaylee Burk, of Hermitage, and freshman Trevor Quarry, of Lebanon.

The number of Penn College entries is lower than usual as this year’s national event conflicts with the college’s commencement. But that doesn’t mean Karstetter still doesn’t have high expectations.

“Of (those) who are going, we have some high-quality archers. Indoors, we shot really well. That score is going to be added to their outdoor score to be an All-American (over the years, 43 Wildcats have been awarded All-American status 88 times),” said the coach, in his 17th season.

“After coming off the Eastern Regionals (April 13) with a pretty good event, many of the archers showed potential on a placement for nationals. They might not be the winning score, but they will be right in the hunt to be in the top 10,” Karstetter said. “I think we’re going to do really well in the team rounds. Kaylee and Trevor, in the mixed recurve, did really well (at regionals), and I think they’re going to do well together.”

This year’s schedule consisted of just two events prior to nationals for Penn College, but that doesn’t concern Karstetter.

“For the most part, even though we’ve had a lot of rain, we’ve had a lot of opportunities to get outside and practice. We have been practicing quite a few team rounds against each other – we mix-matched people around to form teams so we could compete against someone rather than just going against the shot clock,” the coach explained.

By the time nationals roll around, it will have been a month since their last competitive meet and, coming out of the regionals, Karstetter and assistant coach Dustin Bartron, have had their archers fine-tuning.

“We had a couple of equipment issues that we did correct. And one of the big things we noticed was in the team rounds themselves. We didn’t practice a lot prior to going to regionals; we ran through it a day or two before just so everybody understood the timing and when they had to get up to the line and when to step off the line. We worked on a couple of those things,” Karstetter said.

“We’re looking forward to getting out to nationals and letting these guys do what they do best – and shine,” he added.

It wasn’t the finish he was expecting, but coach Chris Howard agreed that his team’s season was a growing experience.

Seeded fourth going into a North Eastern Athletic Conference home first-round playoff game against fifth-seeded Wells College on Tuesday, the Wildcats saw their season end at 14-22 overall and 11-7 in all conference games with an 8-3 loss. It was Wells’ first-ever win against Penn College after five losses over three seasons.

The Wildcats took a 1-0 lead in the second inning but Wells unloaded against starting Penn College pitcher Nathan Holt, of Shippensburg, with a five-run third inning – also aided by three of the Wildcats five errors on the day – and added single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth frames. Penn College, meanwhile, scored once in the fifth inning and once again in the ninth, the latter on a home run by Colton Riley, of Danville.

“When the season ends as abruptly as it does, it’s always tough. You feel bad for your seniors. You wanted a little better ending for them,” Howard said.

“We were a good team this year, we just had some games where we let some innings get away from us, and that’s basically what happened against Wells. Some defensive miscues, errors, they kind of put us in a hole and we couldn’t seem to climb out of it. That’s a microcosm of the whole season,” Howard said.

“I told the seniors that, in their four years, they established a winning tradition here. It’s something that they can be very proud of and something that we can build on as a program,” said the coach, whose overall record in 13 seasons is 284-188.

“We do have a lot of bright spots going forward in our program,” Howard continued, pointing to the selection of four underclassmen who were named to the all-conference team in Brittan Kittle, of Millville, and sophomore Holt, on the first team, and freshmen Jacob Carles, of Bernville, and Alex Flicker, of Topton, on the second team.

Kittle earned his third All-NEAC selection, and back-to-back first team honors. A catcher, he ranked in the top 10 in the NEAC in runs (37), doubles (11), home runs (five) and RBIs (32). He batted .331 and picked up 41 hits.

Holt finished the season at 5-4 in 11 appearances. He fired a league-best seven complete games and was in the top five of wins (five), strikeouts (56) and ERA (2.97). Holt was named the NEAC Pitcher of the Week twice this season.

Carles had stellar rookie campaign, roaming center field and in the batter’s box. He hit .356, with 24 RBI, five home runs,  38 runs scored and had 47 hits. He ranked in the top 15 in the conference in hits, home runs, walks and total bases. Carles was named the NEAC Player of the Week once this season.

Flicker finished his first season with a .369 batting average, on 45 hits, with 32 RBIs, two home runs and 25 runs scored.

“All four, they all deserved it. They all had great seasons,” Howard said. “As I told them, and the rest of the team, it’s a great foundation for next year, especially with the big recruiting class we have coming in – a lot of quality players, good quality people.

“We didn’t end where we wanted to this year, but we’re going to reload and be back next year; and with maybe a little chip on our shoulder, something to work for a little bit harder.”

Looking back, Howard said, “I told the players that I’m going to come back and I’m going to try to be a better coach next year. There are some things that I certainly could have done differently. You have seasons like this and you reflect on where can you improve, not only as a program, but individually. And that’s for everybody. That’s not just for players, that’s myself, as the head coach, our assistant coaches; it’s right down the line.

“You want to decompress for a couple of days, but I’m looking forward to getting right back into the grind and see if we can’t turn this thing around for next year.”

Statistically speaking in the NEAC Top 10: Devon Sanders, of Bloomsburg, was No. 1 with a 2.28 ERA; Holt was No. 2 with 62 strikeouts and No. 6 with a 3.18 ERA; Carles and Kittle were tied for No. 8 with five home runs each; Flicker and Kittle were tied for No. 10 with 32 RBIs each; Andrew Gilbert, of Yardley, was tied for No. 3 with two saves; and Trevor Dolan, of New Bloomfield, was tied for No. 10 with one save.

Final overall: 14-22
Final NEAC: 11-7 (11-6 regular season)
Tuesday, May 7 – host Wells College in NEAC playoff at Bowman Field, L, 8-3

Thursday-Sunday, May 16-19 – U.S. National Outdoor Collegiate Championships at Darree Fields Park, Dublin, Ohio.

For more about NEAC, visit the conference website.

For more information, visit the Wildcat Athletics website.

No. 40

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