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Penn College golfers set to defend crown

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s men’s golf team will defend its United East championship Saturday and Sunday at Rancocas Golf Club in Willingboro, New Jersey, and, despite what first-year coach Rob Lytle termed “the worst weather ever in a spring season (for golf),” he said his Wildcats are focused.

“The spring season really has been driven by weather, (but) that’s how spring seasons go. We have not played in a tournament where it hasn’t rained, or the wind blowing 35 mph, or sleet, or snow. It’s been a challenging spring season, but I’ve seen a lot of flashes of good play when we can. The boys have really buckled down and tried to play through it,” Lytle said.

“We’ve been fortunate enough to get some inside simulator practice. We practiced in some challenging conditions, which I think helps. But ultimately, golf is 60 degrees and sunny and we haven’t had that this spring, yet,” the coach added.

That should change this weekend, however, with sunshine and temperatures in the mid-60s to low-80s forecast at the tournament site.

A year ago, the Wildcats captured their first championship in the college’s NCAA era, which started during the 2014-15 season, and became the first Penn College team to advance to the NCAA Division III Championships. But missing from that team is conference co-medalist Kohltin Bartlow, of Montgomery, who graduated.

This spring leading up to the championships, Penn College finished third, fourth and fifth in three invitationals. Three other scheduled events were canceled due to poor weather.

During the UE Fall Preview last October, the Wildcats finished third in a seven-team field on the par 71, 6,602-yard Rancocas course, as junior Alex Acree, of Brookville, led the team with an 81, good for fifth place.

Joining Acree this weekend will be freshmen Will Orwig, of Mifflintown, and Gavin Baer, of Bainbridge; senior Sean McNamara, of Lancaster; and sophomore Karson Felty, of Pine Grove.

In four tournaments this spring, Orwig is averaging 81 strokes per round, Acree 82, Baer 83 and McNamara 88. Felty has yet to compete this spring.

Historically, most regular-season invitationals Penn College has competed in are one-day events. However, the Penn State Division III Challenge in early April gave the team a two-day test on different courses and Lytle said he hopes to work more of those into future schedules.

“The team is focused on defending, there’s no doubt about it. There has been no give-up on this team. Nobody has given up in a tournament. They know what’s ahead of them. They’re ready. We’re going down there with the mindset that we’re going to defend it,” Lytle said.

“They know the course. I’ve done my homework on the course. We are very fortunate enough to get a practice round there on Friday,” the coach continued, adding, going into the weekend “we’ve got a game plan. We know what to do. We’ll be well prepared. We’ll be ready to go.”

Tuesday, April 19 — vs. Lycoming College at Williamsport Country Club, canceled
Saturday-Sunday, April 23-24 — United East Championships at Rancocas Golf Club, Willingboro, N.J.

For more about the United East, visit the conference website.

For additional information, visit the Wildcat Athletics website.

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