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Archery Team Has New Coach, Faces Rebuilding Season

In a sense, the Pennsylvania College of Technology archery team is starting over this season. For the first time in more than a decade, it has a new head coach and 12 of the 20 archers on its roster are freshmen.

But that doesn’t mean it again won’t be among the best in the country.

Brian Parker succeeds Chad Karstetter at the helm of the Wildcats. During Karstetter’s 11-year tenure, his teams recorded two second-, one third- and two fourth-place national finishes and 16 of his archers earned All-American status 40 times while winning numerous national individual titles. Last season, Karstetter was honored with the National Coach of the Year award.

Although new to the top spot, Parker has been an assistant coach with the team the past two seasons and has some pretty impressive credentials himself as he, like Karstetter, was a three-time All-American while a student at the college from 1997-99. Parker is employed by Penn College as an electrician. He lives in Millville with his wife and daughter.

“I don’t want to change a whole lot of what Chad had. It seems to work well. My philosophy is you’re going to get out of it what you put into it. If you want to win, then you’ll have to put time in,” said Parker, who will be assisted by former Wildcat Martin Smith with volunteer help from Karstetter.

Among the key returnees this season when the team steps into action Friday at the Bloomsburg Early Bird Sports Expo are senior Glen Thomas, of Mercer, a four-time All-American and the national male recurve champion in 2010; junior Joe Dowdrick III, of Lebanon, who captured the collegiate bowhunter national title a year ago; junior Clint Hinton, of Lock Haven, in men’s compound; and sophomores Kelvin Dewalt, of Bellefonte, in bowhunter; Zachary Bixby, of Gillett, in men’s compound; Brandon Allison, of Roaring Spring, in men’s recurve; Ashlee Mull, of Williamsport, in women’s recurve; and Ashley Baker, of Coudersport, in women’s compound.

“I think they’re going to be solid. They are the core of the team. They know how everything works, they’ve done it before and they will be the leaders,” Parker said of those returning.

Commenting on the newcomers, the coach said, “They have potential, but I don’t know how they will do (when they get into pressure competition situations).”

At Bloomsburg, Parker looks simply to get some experience under his archers’ belts: “We want to get them acclimated to shooting on the line with other people and keeping score. It’s not a collegiate shoot, but it’s a good opener to get them excited and under pressure.”

After that event, Penn College archers will have more than a month off competition before they return to action at the Pennsylvania Indoor Championships March 3 in Taylor. The coach looks to use that time to help them build stamina.

“I want them shooting more arrows so they don’t fatigue,” he said. “Bloomsburg is a 30-arrow shoot, 10 ends of three arrows apiece. When we go to Harrisonburg for the Eastern Regional Indoors, we’ll shoot 120 arrows in two days.”

“It’s a rebuilding year, but I still expect to do well. I still expect a good number of All-Americans when it’s all said and done,” Parker added.