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Penn College Athletics celebrates present, builds for future

In its fifth season as a member of the North Eastern Athletic Conference, and second as a full-fledged member of NCAA Division III, Pennsylvania College of Technology continued to show it belongs.

In the NEAC during 2018-19, Wildcat teams had:

  • One second-place finish (softball)
  • Two third-place finishes (golf and men’s cross-country)
  • Three top four finishes (men’s and women’s soccer and women’s cross-country)
  • One top six finish (baseball)

Individually, Penn College had:

  • Twelve all-conference first-team selections
  • Nine all-conference second-team honorees
  • Seven all-conference third-team choices
  • One NEAC rookie of the year

In NCAA regional competition Penn College had:

  • Two fourth-place and two sixth-place wrestlers, along with an 11th-place finish among 20 teams
  • The men’s cross-country team placed 32nd in a 51-team field

And in the U.S. Outdoor Collegiate Archery Championships:

  • One third-place individual finisher
  • One Top 8 team finish

A sport-by-sport review of the 2018-19 year (alphabetically) for Penn College teams:

Freshman Trevor Quarry, of Lebanon, placed third in the nation Sunday in the men’s recurve division at the outdoor championships in Dublin, Ohio, and brought home a bronze medal in perhaps the toughest field ever.

The merger of USA Archery and the U.S. Collegiate Archery Association earlier this year produced the largest field by more than 200 individuals for the end-of-the-season event that saw a record 500-plus archers representing 60 teams. Still, Penn College finished in the top half when it tied for 26th.

Perennial favorite Texas A&M took the overall team title.

“The competition level definitely has increased. With all of the new colleges and universities and students that are coming in, it definitely was a tough match,” Penn College coach Chad Karstetter said, adding that 30 mph wind gusts throughout most of the competition also took its toll.

“When you’re in a full draw and a gust of wind comes in, there’s really (not much) you can do. You have to just let it down, don’t shoot. But if you’re three-quarters of the way through your shot and it goes off, you hit where the wind may blow your arrow,” the coach explained.

And that showed in another area as, for the first time since 2001, Penn College failed to produce an All-American, although several Wildcats came close. Archers who finish in the Top 10 with their combined indoor and outdoor national scores earn that coveted distinction and Quarry was 12th among 59 in men’s recurve; senior Rylee Butler, of Milesburg, was 13th among 59 in women’s bowhunter; and freshman Sidney Alpaugh, of Muncy, was 15th among 52 in men’s bowhunter.

In team events, Alpaugh; freshman Zach Williamson, of Mill Hall; and junior David Fox, of Coburn, reached the quarterfinals in men’s bowhunter.

Five Wildcats achieved Academic All-America honors: Butler, Fox, Alpaugh, Williamson and freshman Ryan McCrickerd, of Liberty.

Commenting on Quarry’s showing, Karstetter said, “Trevor has been shooting strong all year. Coming in as a freshman and not having a lot of experience outdoors, coming to this event with 500-plus archers on the field at the same time and with the weather conditions – he shot strong. … The gentleman he lost to in the medal matches went on to win the whole thing. … I look forward to seeing how he does in the next few years.”

With the increased competition nationally, Karstetter and his assistant, Dustin Bartron, know the challenges that lie ahead in order to get back among the elite (since 2004, the Wildcats finished second in the nation three times, third three times, fourth three times, seventh once and eighth twice).

“It definitely sets the bar a little higher. We’re going to have to go back to the drawing board with a couple of recruits coming in and set up our team pretty strong for next year,” the coach said.

For the 12th time in Chris Howard’s 13 years as head coach, the Wildcats reached the postseason as they finished 14-22 overall and 11-7 in all conference games.

“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 career record is 284-188.

“We do have a lot of bright spots going forward in our program,” Howard continued, pointing to the four underclassmen who were named to the all-conference team: Brittan Kittle, of Millville, and sophomore Nathan Holt, of Shippensburg, 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.

“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.”

Basketball (men)
In their first year under coach Geoff Hensley, the Wildcats matched last year’s records of 3-22 overall and 2-14 in the NEAC.

“I’m very pleased with the amount of improvement that our team showed from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. It was almost night and day as far as the way we were playing as a team,” Hensley said. “Coming down the stretch, finishing the year, we were in every ballgame pretty much.”

Individually, senior Spencer Bartron, of Camden, Delaware, led the team with 320 points, an average of 12.8 per game, while junior Ryan Lockman, of White Salmon, Washington, scored 268 points (13.4 average) and was tops with 139 rebounds (seven per game).

“This was a great year as far as laying the foundation of the program. We have a great team culture where all of the guys are working hard for the better of the team. Now that we have that foundation set and they understand what my expectations are and the standards are for this team, now it’s just to build on that,” Hensley said. “The program definitely is going in the right direction and it’s exciting that better days are coming for us.”

Basketball (women)
Relying on a freshman-loaded lineup, Penn College experienced growing pains as it concluded its season with records of 1-24 overall and 0-16 in the NEAC.

Individually, freshman Madison Klock, of Elysburg, topped the team in scoring with 243 points (10.6 average). Sophomore Tori Wolfe, of Dalmatia, led the squad with 149 rebounds (6.8 per game).

Cross-Country (men-women)
In their fourth season under coach Nick Patton, in the NEAC Championships at Lancaster Bible College, the men placed third among 11 teams in an 8K race with four of its runners earning all-conference honors and the women ended fourth among 11 teams in a 6K race with three individuals among the top 21 earning all-conference nods.

Individually for the Penn College men, junior Josh Velez, of Lewistown, finished fifth; senior Thomas Runner, of Elkridge, Maryland, was seventh; sophomore Matt Leiby, of Danville, was 15th; and freshman Jonah Isaacson, of Muncy, was 20th. Velez and Runner each earned first-team all-conference honors for the third year in a row while Leiby and Isaacson were named to the third team.

Sophomore Sidney Trunzo, of Williamsport, led the Penn College women with a third-place finish; while freshman Rosey Thomas, of Port Allegany, was seventh; freshman Katie Plankenhorn, of Montoursville, was 17th (Trunzo and Thomas were first-team all-conference honorees – Trunzo for the second year in a row – and Plankenhorn third team).

“It was a team effort. Whenever you have two teams in the top five and seven all-conference selections, it’s just a great day overall. The kids really deserved it. They’ve worked hard all year,” Patton said.

Going into the season-ending NCAA Division III Mideast Regional Championships at DeSales University, Patton was hopeful of improvement over last year when the men’s team finished 34th in a 50-team field. And he got it as Penn College moved up two places, ending 32nd in a 51-team field over an 8K course with a total time of 2:28.54. Carnegie Mellon took the men’s title with a total time of 2:12.08.

Golf (men)

That was the word coach Matt Haile used to describe how his players overcame first-day adversity to post a second-day 303 total and finish third in the NEAC Championship at Foxchase Golf Club in Stevens. The Wildcats also had three individuals among the top 10 in a 39-player field.

Individually for Penn College, senior Ned Baumbach, of Elizabethtown, and sophomore Brian Whelan, of Cresco, put together rounds of 87-75 for a 162 and tied for seventh place while junior Austin Moscariello, of New Columbia, shot 87-77–164 to tie for 10th. As a result of their finishes, all three earned all-conference second-team honors. It was Baumbach’s fourth All-NEAC selection, and Moscariello and Whelan’s second all-conference nods.

“I can’t say enough about how proud I am on their bounce-back. To shoot a 303 (Sunday), that’s the best score that I’ve had in my 10 years coaching for a team. … I’m just ecstatic to have them go out on such a high note.”

Looking ahead, Haile said, “With guys coming in, I’m hoping to be right there in the top of the seedings. Rutgers and Berks are going to be strong teams, but I see us building our program and being right there with them.”

Soccer (men)
For the second consecutive season in Tyler Mensch’s four years as coach, Penn College reached the NEAC semifinals as it ended 6-5-2 in all conference matches (6-4-1 regular season) and 7-8-3 overall. In a preseason coaches’ poll, the men had been picked to finish no higher than seventh.

Sophomore midfielder Chris McFarland, of Coatesville, was named to the NEAC second team while goalkeeper Hunter Gosnell, a senior of Westminster, Maryland, and freshman forward Colton Wartman, of Ellicott City, Maryland, were awarded NEAC third-team honors.

Assessing the program, Mensch said, “This program, five years ago, just started NCAA Division III soccer, and to be in two conference semifinals in my four years is pretty incredible. I think we now have put ourselves in a spot where this is the expectation. … Now teams have to prepare for us and plan for us and respect us. We have the potential to be in this Final Four weekend every season. That’s the goal now, always to be back playing in the Final Four.”

In four seasons under Mensch, the Wildcats are 25-48-6.

Soccer (women)
Picked to finish no higher than fifth in a preseason poll of NEAC coaches, the Wildcats ended 9-4 in all conference matches (8-3 regular season) and among the top four during a season that saw the team playing under a new head coach, Christa Matlack, and finish with a school single-season record 12 wins (it had eight losses).

Freshman forward Kaelan Cronan, of Leesport, was named to the NEAC first team and sophomore goalkeeper Taylor Gonzales, of Lititz, to the NEAC third team for the second year in a row.

“That (12 wins) was a huge milestone for the program and now we have set a standard for years going forward. We’re going to keep trying to one-up that each year,” said Matlack, a former standout player at South Williamsport Area High School and Bucknell University.

Softball (women)
“They fought well. They did a tremendous job,” coach Jackie Klahold said after her team went 3-2 in the NEAC playoffs and finished second to perennial powerhouse Penn State Berks.

The Wildcats closed out their season 24-15 overall – setting a new Penn College single-season win record – and were 16-7 in all NEAC games, 13-5 during the regular season.

In four seasons, Klahold’s teams have gone 76-70 overall, 49-28 in the NEAC.

Senior Kylie Shreiner, of East Petersburg, and sophomore Morgan Heritage, of New Castle, Delaware, were named to the NEAC first team, senior Taylor Krow, of Mechanicsburg, to the second team and senior Taylor Brooks, of Cogan Station, to the third team. Shreiner is a first-time selection to the All-NEAC squad while Krow made her fourth all-conference team, Brooks got her third nod and Heritage her second selection.

“(Assistant coach Jeff Tomb) and I were talking … about how excited we are for next year and our incoming class because they’re a phenomenal group of student-athletes. We’re going to be young next year, but we’re extremely excited about it,” Klahold added.

Tennis (men)
Three individual champions, two runners-up and the NEAC Rookie of the Year. It was a great finish for the Penn College men and first-year interim coach Jessica Bower after competition at Birchwood Tennis Center in Clarks Summit.

Freshman Tucker Phillippe-Johansson, of Mattituck, New York, was named the conference’s top rookie after he captured the No. 2 singles crown and teamed with sophomore Will DeMarco, of Glen Mills, for the No. 2 doubles title. DeMarco also was the No. 3 singles champ and for their efforts, both were named to the all-conference first team.

Finishing second and earning NEAC second-team honors were junior Blake Whitmire, of Shickshinny, at No. 5 singles, and sophomore Joe Morrin, of Morrisville, at No. 6 singles.

“The men had a really good season. They showed a lot of growth and I think they jelled together as a team and that’s one of the reasons why they were successful,” Bower said.

The men had a 1-2 fall season under coach John Machak, who resigned over the winter, then went 5-2 in the spring to finish 6-4 overall, 2-2 in the NEAC.

Tennis (women)
After an 0-3 fall season under Machak, the Wildcats went 1-6 in the spring to finish 1-9 overall and 1-3 in the NEAC.

“The women struggled all season long, but they’ve really improved their skill,” Bower said. “We’re in the learning stages and growing stages, for sure, with the women.”

Volleyball (women)
Penn College finished 1-24 overall and 0-11 in the NEAC, yet despite the team’s record, coach Bambi Hawkins, in her 15th season, said she saw team and personal growth within the program.

Looking ahead, Hawkins said, “We will be recruiting heavily and encouraging our girls to utilize the tools that are available to them to make sure they are in shape for the next season as well.”

Under Hawkins, the Wildcats are 188-153.

In just two seasons, coach Jamie Miller has taken the Pennsylvania College of Technology wrestling program to new heights. A year ago, one Penn College wrestler became the first in school history to place in a NCAA Division III regional tournament. This year, four joined the ranks and the Wildcats finished 11th in a 20-team field.

For the second year in a row, Jared Mooney, of Palmerton, finished fourth in the 197-pound weight class. A sophomore, Mooney was joined by junior Dylan Otis, of Wyalusing, at 285 pounds, who also placed fourth, while Dan Bergeron, a sophomore from Jackson, New Jersey, at 165, and Dylan Gettys, a sophomore from Etters, at 174, both finished sixth in Southeast Regional competition held over two days at Lycoming College.

The 11th place team finish was Penn College’s best at a regional event and capped a season that included a 12-16 record in dual matches – the 12 wins also is a school best in its NCAA era that began in 2014-15.

Looking ahead, Miller, whose two-year record is 19-36, points to a solid eight-man nucleus on which to build.

“We’re excited about where the program is headed because our foundation continues to expand. Our recruiting class looks great. I couldn’t be more excited about the recruits we have coming in next year. They’re going to elevate the performance in our practice room and on the competition stage,” the coach said.

Best of the best
Seven student-athletes were honored with four awards at the third annual athletics banquet:

  • Otis (wrestling) and Krow (softball) were named the Male and Female Athletes of the Year
  • Carles (baseball) and Cronan (women’s soccer) were named the Male and Female Newcomers of the Year
  • Runner (men’s cross-country) and senior Emily Wikane, of Bel Air, Maryland (softball), were named the Male and Female Scholar Athletes of the Year
  • Devon Sanders, a senior, of Bloomsburg (baseball), was given the inaugural PAW Award (Personification of A Wildcat), which goes to a student who has “characteristics and attributes that everyone can see but no one can define.”

Future looks bright
Reflecting on the 2018-19 school year and looking ahead, John Vandevere, director of athletics, said, “We had a very good year in many aspects of what our vision and goals are. We either maintained the standard in several areas, or raised them a bit in others. I’m very proud of how our student-athletes conducted themselves in competition, the classroom and in the community.

“We have some significant upgrades to our facilities occurring this summer that we are very excited about and we cannot thank the board of trustees, President Dr. (Davie Jane) Gilmour and Vice President of Student Affairs Elliott Strickland for making those possible. Those upgrades will be a game-changer for our department and they will directly affect our student-athlete experience.

“I am also looking forward to our teams coming back from this summer with improved strength and conditioning and ready to get to work on winning a NEAC championship and taking us to the NCAA tournament for the first time in the college’s history. We are there, we have had a number of our teams and individuals finish in the top four in their respective sport and we are knocking on the door to gain that elusive NCAA berth.”

For more about NEAC, visit the conference website.

For more information, visit the Wildcat Athletics website.

No. 41

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