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Penn College men’s cross-country, basketball teams stand out

Men’s cross-country and basketball teams highlighted Pennsylvania College of Technology sports action last week as the cross-country team posted its best finish ever at a NCAA regional event and the basketball team is off to its best start this century.


“It gives us something to build on. It’s a start.”

Those were first-year coach Tom Leeser’s remarks after his men’s team had its highest finish ever in NCAA regional competition on Saturday – 25th – and freshman Mitchell Campbell, of Riegelsville, placed 70th in a field of 222, the highest individual finish to date for a Wildcat at regionals.

Previous Penn College bests were 27th for the men’s team in 2021 and 99th for Josh Velez, of Lewistown, in 2018.

Campbell was clocked in 27:20 over an 8K course, while Matthew Woolcock, of Oil City, placed 119th in 28:23; Alec Rees, of Centerport, New York, placed 164th in 29:49; Dillon Betts, of Manchester, New Jersey, placed 185th in 31:42; and Noah Bowers, of Burnham, placed 190th in 31:51. Also for Penn College, Spencer Doughty, of Mechanicsburg, placed 191st in 31:54 and Nick Snow, of York, placed 193rd in 32:10. Only the top five count toward team points.

Gavin McElhennon, of Johns Hopkins, took top individual honors with a time of 25:02. Carnegie Mellon captured the title in a 32-team field with 22 points.

Skyelar Splain, of Liverpool, led five Wildcat women as she placed 189th over a 6K distance in 30:17 and the team was 29th. Also for Penn College, Rosey Thomas, of Port Allegany, placed 197th in 31:31; Emily Witherow, of Perkasie, placed 205th in 35:35; Isabella Telford, of Greensburg, placed 207th in 37:14; and Johannah Devore, of Montoursville, placed 208th in 43:44.

“We did have five (runners), which is a plus. I told them that, even though the scoresheet says that we were the last team, there were numerous (six) other (colleges) that couldn’t even field a team. You build on little things,” Leeser said.

Alex Ross, of Johns Hopkins, finished first in a field of 209 with a time of 21:42 and led her team in a field of 29 to the championship with 40 points.

Looking back on the season, Leeser said, “On the men’s side, there’s a lot to be optimistic about. We lose two of our seven, and three of our returners are freshmen. We have something to build on. If we can add some depth to replace those two (who are graduating), with some growth and training from the guys we have, and then add a couple of pieces, they should, hopefully, be better than this year.

“On the women’s side, we struggled all year to fill out the five that we need, but a few of them are coming back and are enthused about coming back. The women took pride in the meets that we had enough to score.

“It’s a great group of kids. They have good attitudes, they work hard. They enjoy being together, and all of those intangible things have been positive. If we can keep adding a little bit of talent every year, I think we have something good started. I’m optimistic.

“I think back to my high school coaching career (at Milton High School) and it was very low participation. I had a teacher in our school say, ‘Milton will never be a track school,’ or something to that effect, and he had very good reasons for saying that. But over time, and it took a lot of time and effort, our coaches turned that around (resulting in numerous championship teams and individuals), so that is what I am drawing on.

“There is a lot of room for growth and we want the kids to believe that they are part of something that can be successful.

“When we walked off the course (Saturday), everyone wants to do this and do that and keep training. (I told them) to keep that enthusiasm until later on. Hopefully, the desire to say ‘We want to be better’ sticks in their head and motivates them between now and next August.”

Men’s basketball
With three players scoring in double figures, the Wildcats opened their season on Tuesday with a home 83-65 nonconference win over Elmira College. Obens Luxama, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, scored 19 points; Gavin Barrett, of Roselle, New Jersey, tallied 14; and Rees Watkins, of Loyalsock Township, scored 13; while Will Sulesky, of Huntingdon, grabbed 10 rebounds. Penn College shot 45% from the field and made 47% of its 3-point shots.

In nonconference home games in the Crosstown Challenge:

  • Friday against John Jay College, Penn College won, 79-65, thanks, in part, to a triple-double from Barrett, who had 13 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds; a double-double from Watkins, who had 14 points and 10 rebounds; and a 21-point performance from freshman Alec Cooper, of Huntingdon. The triple-double was the third of Barrett’s career and helped him earn a spot on the Challenge All-Classic Team.
  • Saturday against Clarks Summit University, the Wildcats bolted to a 51-37 halftime lead en route to an 89-75 victory putting the team at 3-0 to start the season and bettering the 2-0 start of teams in 2004-05, 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11. Against Clarks Summit, Barrett poured in a career-high 31 points on 11 of 13 shooting from the field, 2 of 2 from the 3-point line, and 7 of 10 at the charity stripe. Cooper cashed in with 15 points and Max Jackowsky, of Garnet Valley, led with 11 rebounds.

Women’s basketball
In its season-opening game on Tuesday against Elmira College, Penn College led 38-35 through three quarters before being outscored 22-7 in the fourth and falling, 57-45. Rachel Teats, of Middleburg, led the Wildcats with 17 points, while Ja’Quela Dyer, of Dover, Delaware, scored 10 points and pulled down 12 rebounds.

On Wednesday at Marywood University, Aubrey Stetts, of Jersey Shore, led Penn College with 12 points in a 73-43 loss that dropped their record to 0-2. Dyer was tops with eight rebounds. Poor shooting continued to plague the Wildcats, who hit just 30% of their field goals, 17% of their 3-point goals and 45% of their foul tries. Marywood also outrebounded Penn College, 44-30.

On Saturday in a home tri-match, Penn College split, beating Penn State Mont Alto, 51-6, and falling to Muhlenberg College, 35-10.

Patrick Snoke, of Northampton, at 133 pounds; Noah Hunt, of Muncy, at 141; and Colin Jens, of Centreville, Maryland, at 149, each went 2-0 on the day, while Isaac Cory, of Montoursville, went 1-0 at 184; and Cullen Van Rooyen, of Dresden, Ohio, at 165; Gabriel Kennedy-Citeroni, of Blairsville, at 197; and Bill Bumbarger, of Morrisdale, at 285, all went 1-1.

Reflecting on the season-opening Ned McGinley Invitational Nov. 8, where Isaac Cory claimed the championship at 184, first-year coach Pankil Chander said, “Isaac Cory beat Cole Shaughnessy, of Roger Williams, in a dominating fashion by scoring the only three takedowns in the bout. The Roger Williams wrestler ranked No. 14 in NCAA Division III at 184.

“Also, Penn College improved its performance from last year by scoring 30 more tournament team points than were scored in 2021. The field was arguably deeper as well, as it included three programs that were ranked in the top ten in Division III wrestling (Steven’s Institute of Technology, York College and New York University). Last year’s event only included one top 15 team.”

Men’s/women’s cross-country
Saturday, Nov. 12 – NCAA Division III Mid-Atlantic Region Championships at Lock Haven University, men 25 of 32; women 29 of 29 (end of season)

Men’s basketball
Overall: 3-0
UE: 0-0
Tuesday, Nov. 8 – host Elmira College, W, 83-65
Friday, Nov. 11 – host John Jay College, W, 79-65
Saturday, Nov. 12 – host Clarks Summit University, W, 89-75
Monday, Nov. 14 – host Juniata College, 5 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 16 – at Lycoming College, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 22 – host Wilson College, 5 p.m.

Women’s basketball
Overall: 0-2
UE: 0-0
Tuesday, Nov. 8 – host Elmira College, L, 57-45
Wednesday, Nov. 9 – at Marywood University, L, 73-43
Wednesday, Nov. 16 – host Mt. Aloysius College, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 22 – at Lycoming College, 5 p.m.

Overall: 1-1
ECWC: 0-0
Saturday, Nov. 12 – host Penn State Mont Alto, W, 51-6; host Muhlenberg College, L, 35-10
Saturday, Nov. 19 – Empire Collegiate Championships Tournament at Oswego, N.Y., 10:30 a.m.
Saturday, Dec. 3 – at RIT Invitational, 9 a.m.

Formula Four Championship
Monday, Nov. 14 – Watkins Glen, 9 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 28 – Red Bull Ring, 9 p.m.

Collegiate iRacing League GT3 Challenge
Tuesday, Nov. 15 – Monza, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 29 – Red Bull Ring, 9 p.m.

Collegiate iRacing League Premier Series
Tuesday, Nov. 8 – Phoenix, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 22 – Dover, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 6 – Michigan, 9 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 8 – Round 3, Charlotte Motor Speedway, 14 of 28
Tuesday, Nov. 29 – Round 4, Nashville Superspeedway, 8 p.m.

Rocket League
Monday, Nov. 7 – vs. Camden County College, W, 4-0
Monday, Nov. 14 – vs. Central Missouri, 7 p.m.
Record: 5-3

Overwatch 2
Record: 5-3
Tuesday, Nov. 8 – vs. Central Michigan University, W, 3-2
Tuesday, Nov. 15 – vs. Cincinnati, 7 p.m.

Final record: 3-4
Wednesday, Nov. 9 – vs. Wisconsin-Eau Claire, L, 2-0

League of Legends
Final record: 1-4

Final record: 0-7

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

For additional information, visit the Wildcat Athletics website.

No. 13

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