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Penn College Softball, Archery Teams Seek National Titles

With their regular seasons behind them, Pennsylvania College of Technology women’s softball and archery teams now take to the national stage. The softball team will compete Monday through Thursday in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association National Championships in Akron, Ohio, and the archers May 20-22 in the U.S. National Outdoor Collegiate Championships at Michigan State University in Lansing, Michigan.

Seventh-seeded Penn College (17-18) opens play against 10th-seeded Penn State Brandywine (22-16) at 10 a.m. Monday at Firestone Stadium in the double-elimination event. The winner of that game advances against second-seeded Carlow University (27-12) at 6 that evening while the loser plays at 8 p.m. Monday against the loser of a game between sixth-seeded Penn State Hazleton (23-14) and third-seeded NHTI (24-2).

Also in the field are top-seeded St. Mary of the Woods (27-6), fourth-seeded University of Maine Presque Isle (25-12), fifth-seeded College of St. Joseph’s Vermont (23-14), eighth-seeded Penn State Beaver (25-21) and ninth-seeded Cleary University (11-25).

Freshmen have dominated the offensive statistics for the Wildcats as designated hitter/pitcher Taylor Brooks, of Cogan Station, tops the team with a .400 batting average. She also leads the team with three home runs and, along with teammate right fielder Taylor Krow, of Mechanicsburg, has hit three triples. Krow has a .395 batting average and leads Penn College with eight doubles and 30 runs scored, while shortstop Kelsey Gantz, of South Williamsport, is hitting .376 and has driven in 25 runs; freshman catcher Maddie Wenk, of Biglerville, is hitting .354; and third baseman Elizabeth Asher, of East Stroudsburg, is hitting .321 and leads the team with 26 RBIs.

Rounding out the starters in recent games are senior center fielder Nicole Lo Furno, of Glen Mills; sophomore left fielder Sophie Coldsmith, of Gettysburg; freshman second baseman Tiani McCormick, of Williamsport; and senior first baseman Samantha Hill, of Montgomery.

As a team, the Wildcats have hit .311 and their opponents .261.

On the mound, Brooks is 5-6 and has a team-low 4.81 earned run average. Opponents have hit just .182 against her, but, while she struck out 100 batters, she also has walked 121 – both team highs. Sophomore Amanda Kustanbauter, of Muncy, is 8-7 with a 5.29 ERA. She is hitting .308.

Teamwise, the Penn College pitching staff has a 5.10 ERA and its opponents a 4.23 ERA.

“I think the spike in our ERA had a lot to do with our pitching staff being inconsistent – putting runners on base themselves. We had a ton of walks this year; it mainly wasn’t in a lot of in-conference games, in a lot of nonconference games, we just had a ton of walks and you just can’t afford to put runners on base when you’re playing good teams,” Klahold noted. “The hard thing was trying to get them to minimize the walks.”

After an eight-day layoff once the regular season ended, Klahold had her players back on the field this past week fine-tuning, and stressing that the pitchers need to get ahead in the count early.

“Our approach isn’t going to change from what it has been the entire season, and that is to approach every game as we have a chance to win if we put everything together that we’ve been focusing on all year,” Klahold said.

“Penn State Brandywine has been playing some very good softball as of late. They won the Penn State University Athletic Conference on Monday and played very well. They are a very well-rounded team,” she assessed.

“We’re going out there. We’re going to have some fun. We want to end our season, hopefully, on a positive note. Either way, the season has been a success. The girls are happy, they’re pumped, they’re ready to go,” Klahold added.

“For having such a young team, we’ve had a pretty good season,” Chad Karstetter, in his 14th year as coach, said of the results thus far.

“We were a little slow at first because we missed an indoor event and the outdoor season was windy and rainy. But when we went to Eastern Regionals, I was pretty pleased with that, especially in the team rounds, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they do at nationals,” he continued.

Official practice and opening ceremonies will be held Thursday. The May 20 schedule at the Hope Sports Complex has practice and a 72-arrow qualification round with the mixed team rounds. On May 21, practice and the second half of the 72-arrow qualification rounds will be held with team rounds following. On May 22, practice and individual elimination rounds are scheduled in the morning with head-to-head elimination quarterfinals, semifinals and finals during the afternoon.

Competing for Penn College will be:
Male bowhunter – junior Andrew Rupp, of Dayton; freshman Adam Thomas, of Shade Gap; and sophomore Justin Rinehimer, of Mountain Top.

Male compound – senior Markus Weber, of La Plata, Maryland; freshman Tim Lamont, of Eldred; freshman Logan Booth, of New Kensington; and sophomore Tyler Schoonover, of Bradford.

Male recurve – sophomore Nick Daniels, of Levittown; freshman Tanner Huff, of Altoona; and sophomore Sam Hamilton, of Genesee.

Female bowhunter – freshman Erica Gause, of Bloomsburg, and freshman Stephanie Plummer, of Port Matilda.

Female compound – sophomore Chelsea Douglass, of East Greenville; junior Abigail Hricko, of Nicholson; and freshman Sabrina Toplovich, of Spring Creek.

Female recurve – freshman Kaylee Burk, of Hermitage.

A year ago, Schoonover won the men’s bowhunter national championship and was half of the mixed bowhunter national championship team; Rupp was a member of the second-place male bowhunter squad; and Douglass, of East Greenville, and Hricko were members of the third-place female compound team.

Since 1997, 37 Penn College archers have earned All-American status 78 times as a result of their indoor and outdoor national results. While Schoonover is the lone returning All-American, Karstetter also expects strong individual performances from Rupp, Weber and Gause and strong team showings from the male compound and male bowhunter squads.

Teamwise, Penn College placed as high as second in the nation three times (2010-11-12) and was third last year. Karstetter is taking one of his least experienced teams to nationals, yet. he is hopeful of a top-five finish

“It’s going to be tough to be in the top five overall, only because we’re going to be lacking female bowhunter and recurve teams. If we would have been able to field those two, I would say we would have been able to be in the top three again,” Karstetter said.

“In all the years that you coach, you always have that one year when you have to build a team back up. This is one of those teams that we’re going to build upon,” he added.

During the week, it was announced that two Penn College players were named to the USCAA All-Academic Team. They were junior right-fielder Cole Weachock, of Pottsville, and sophomore catcher Devon Masser, of Valley View. Also, sophomore pitcher Aaron Palmer, of Hanover, was named a USCAA Honorable Mention All-American.

Overall record: 17-18
Final NEAC record: 10-8
Monday, May 16 – USCAA National Championships at Akron, Ohio, vs. PSU Brandywine, 10 a.m.
Tuesday, May 17-Thursday, May 19 – USCAA National Championships at Akron, Ohio, TBA

Friday-Sunday, May 20-22 – U.S. National Outdoor Collegiate Championships at Michigan State University.

No. 39

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