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More memorable Wildcat moments recalled

The loss of the fall and more recently winter sports seasons to the coronavirus pandemic allows time for reflection on some past achievements of student-athletes at Pennsylvania College of Technology and its forerunner, Williamsport Area Community College.

Among them:

The Moment: Wrestling team wins three conference championships and then adds another five straight titles.

When it happened: 1970-73 and 1976-80.

How it happened: Under Max Wasson, the college’s second wrestling coach, the Wildcats won Eastern Pennsylvania Community College Athletic Conference titles during the 1970-71, ’71-’72 and ’72-’73 seasons, after completing dual-match records of 6-2, 6-2 and 8-2, respectively; and then strung together five in a row after going 11-4 in 1976-77, 8-5 in 1977-78, 9-3 in 1978-79, 12-1 in 1979-80 and 8-2 in 1980-81. Wasson closed out his 13-year coaching stint after the 1981-82 season with a 95-39-1 career record, best for any Williamsport Area Community College or Penn College coach to date. Wasson was inducted into the Penn College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012.

Quotable: “We couldn’t recruit. We had nothing to give the kids. I would put a notice in the college newspaper (Spotlight) saying we were going to start a team and they should show up for practice at such a time and that was it,” recalled Wasson, now 81.

“And the key to our success was not me, it was the kids that I got. We were in a hotbed for wrestling. The kids that wanted to wrestle are the ones that came out. I could offer them nothing other than, ‘Hey, we’re going to wrestle.’ And we had some really tremendous kids over the years,” said Wasson, who now lives in Manheim.

“They were all dedicated. I didn’t have to push them. They were there for practice and worked hard. It just worked out good. I don’t call myself a really great coach. I loved wrestling and I gave them what I had and I guess it seemed to be enough,” he said.

Commenting on his induction into the college’s Hall of Fame, Wasson said, “I was very surprised. I never put myself on a pedestal, and to have that happen it made me feel real good.”

The Moment: Golf team 155-match win streak.

When it happened: 2003-08.

How it happened: At a time when multiple wins were recorded during multi-team invitational events, Penn College golf teams went 45-0 in the fall of 2003, 35-0 in 2004, 20-0 in 2005, 30-0 in 2006, 18-0 in 2007 and won its first seven matches in 2008, the last on Monday, Sept. 15 – all under then-coach Chet Schuman – before the streak ended with a 5-stroke loss in its next outing. The Wildcats went on to finish 18-1-1 that season – completing an incredible 166-1-1 run – and captured a conference championship for the sixth year in a row. Schuman, who died in December 2011, posthumously was inducted into the Penn College Athletic Hall of Fame the following year.

Quotable: Upon his retirement, Schuman said, “I had a great time. I met a lot of great young men who left the college and became very successful. It was a wonderful time. I got lucky getting the job and I think I made the most of it.”

Present Penn College golf coach Matt Haile – a four-year starter from 2002-05 who was a three-time all-conference selection, two-time conference individual runner-up and the Penn State University Athletic Conference individual champ in 2003 – succeeded Schuman at the helm and said at that time, “Chet was a great coach. He kept us cool and calm when we were out there. If we were struggling, he’d be right there to say, ‘Hey, keep it going. You have a lot of golf left and anything can happen.’”

Commenting recently, Haile said, “There are a multitude of things, from Chet being such a good guy and coach and mentor. … The teams that I was a part of, we were competitive. Guys wanted to get better. We worked on our games. We just went out there and things clicked. We never really thought of the record, at least the years that I played. We just went out and played to the best of our ability. We had teams that could compete on a high level. We were shooting scores in the low 300s (combined score for four players).

“Penn College, being a technical school, to this day is always one thing that feels pretty neat. We have welders, we have construction people, you name it, hands-on degrees. … But these guys can play golf, they can compete with the best of them.”

The Moment: 2015 baseball NEAC Championship.

When it happened: Sunday, May 10, 2015.

How it happened: Seeded fourth after going 7-7 during regular-season NEAC games and 15-18 overall, the Wildcats, under coach Chris Howard, knocked off top-seeded SUNY Poly, 3-2, in their first playoff game before topping second-seeded Penn State Abington, 9-5, and then clinching the title with a 9-7 victory over third-seed and defending champion Penn State Berks.

Quotable: “The guys really stepped up. They were focused. They wanted so much to get that first NEAC championship for the school and they weren’t going to be denied,” Howard said after the championship game win.

Reflecting recently on the achievement, he said, “The key to that championship was the key in so many successful runs in that we got hot at the right time. We went up to SUNY Poly for the last doubleheader of the regular season, we needed a split to get in the conference playoffs and ended up dropping both games. The ride home was pretty quiet until we got word that Cazenovia had dropped their games and we ended up the last seed in the tournament. I can’t tell you the energy that was zapped back in us. We rode that energy the whole tournament and won three straight games to win the championship.

“One of the best memories I have was watching the pure joy the team had playing the games. We could do no wrong and any athlete will tell you when you have a stretch like that just sit back and enjoy every minute of it!”

NEAC assistant commissioner named
Sam Carges has been named the North Eastern Athletic Conference assistant commissioner, it was announced by Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour, Presidents’ Council chairwoman and Penn College president, and NEAC Commissioner Stephanie Dutton.

Carges comes to the NEAC from Hunter College in New York City where he has been handling numerous communications efforts since February, including a number of reimagined digital media projects as a result of the impacts of COVID-19 on athletics operations. Carges previously served as the sports information director at Virginia Wesleyan University for two years.

In addition to his work at Hunter and Virginia Wesleyan, Carges also served as an athletic communications assistant at St. John Fisher College. He is a graduate of SUNY Oswego with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast and mass communications and a minor in business administration and athletic coaching.

For more about NEAC, visit the conference website.

For more information, visit the Wildcat Athletics website.

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