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Penn College Archers Grab Title at National Championships

Members of Pennsylvania College of Technology's archery team gather for a photo at a spring 'Meet the Wildcats' event.In its strongest national archery showing in a decade, Pennsylvania College of Technology won a collegiate team championship, had four All-Americans and placed fourth overall during the U.S. Intercollegiate Archery Championships May 15-18 in Atlantic City , N.J.

“Finally, after nine years, it came back to Penn College,” an elated Wildcats coach Chad Karstetter said of his men’s compound team that edged James Madison University, 215-213, to claim the title over the weekend outdoors in on-and-off rain showers. “It was a long time coming. I was shooting for one of these (as a coach) over my career and it’s finally here,” continued Karstetter, in his eighth season.

Members of the winning team were freshmen Dan Wido of Shickshinny, Zachary Plannick of Coraopolis and Aaron Lapinski of Bloomsburg .

“It was very exciting to see these three freshmen come into their own during their first year. They were shooting against all seniors from James Madison and shot extremely well. They shot good all year and won every event except one. I’m looking forward to three more years for these guys,” Karstetter said.

While the three freshmen made up Penn College’s men’s compound team at nationals, teammates Brock Smith, a junior from Brookville, and Brad Ferguson, a sophomore from Lewistown, also were instrumental in their success.

“The five-man compound team couldn’t have done it without one another. All five are exceptional shooters and I think that with any of them in there the outcome would have been the same. They push each other day in and day out. Without the whole five pushing each other, they may not have been the national champions,” the coach continued.

Penn College ‘s last national championships came in 1999, when it won both the indoor and outdoor men’s compound titles. The last time it captured a national division title and had four All-Americans was 1998. Karstetter was a member of both squads.

“It’s more nerve-racking as a coach. I was more nervous with those guys out there competing than I was when I was shooting,” Karstetter said.

“It’s exciting to see it from a different point of view. When you’re out there as an archer things go so fast, but as a coach, things go so slow,” he continued.

Wido, Plannick, Smith 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. Indoor nationals were held in March at Harrisonburg , Va.

“An All-American honor is one of the best honors that you can receive in archery,” said Karstetter, a three-time All-American himself in 1997, 1998 and 1999. Since 1997, Penn College archers have been so honored 33 times.

Wido, Smith and James Fanelli, a sophomore from Glastonburg , Conn. , also were named to the College Archery Program 2008 All-Academic team and Plannick was awarded a $1,000 Clarke Sinclair Memorial Scholarship for sportsmanship and Fackler was named a Sinclair honorable mention.

Overall, Penn College garnered 609 points for its fourth place national finish. James Madison University took top honors with 1,086 points, Texas A&M was second with 991, Stanford third with 675 and Arizona State fifth with 577.

“If we would have had a women’s recurve team, we would have been right up at No. 1 or No. 2,” Karstetter said. The Wildcats previously placed fourth nationally during the 2004-05 season.

Penn College also took two seconds in team competition.

In men’s recurve, Fanelli; Martin Smith, a junior from Brookville; and Tyler Gale, a freshman from Kennedyville, Md., lost to James Madison in the final, 185-165, after beating Stanford University and Texas A&M University. In the mixed recurve team event, Wido, Brock Smith, Fackler and Sarah Wilson, a senior from Tyrone, fell to James Madison in the final, 5,491-5,245.

Of Fanelli, Martin Smith and Gale, Karstetter said: “I was very pleased with the way it turned out. They’ll all be back next year, and they’re ready for a national championship.”

Penn College ‘s female compound team of Fackler, Wilson and Sarah Pierson, a freshman from Eldred, placed fourth after losing to Texas A&M in the semifinals, 189-186, and Cal State-Long Beach in the battle for third, 184-166.

Individually in men’s compound, Wido finished third, Plannick fifth and Brock Smith eighth. In female compound competition, Wilson was eighth and Fackler 10th

In all, more than 170 archers participated, representing 30 colleges and universities.

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