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Penn College softball team opening under new coach

Softball season looms and archery is underway. Pennsylvania College of Technology athletes are stepping into spring.

As a former player and an assistant coach, Angie Hunley has seen plenty of success. After a stellar high school career, she played four years of collegiate ball at NCAA Division I Bucknell University, starting in 151 of 159 games from 2001-04 where she had a career .289 batting average, including a .402 mark as a senior when she was named to the All-Patriot League first team.

Hunley played professionally in Sweden for a season before returning to Bucknell as a graduate assistant. Then, over the past 12 years, she helped guide Mansfield University’s women’s team to a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference division title, four PSAC playoff berths and a NCAA Division II Regional playoff appearance. She was a member of three PSAC Coaching Staffs of the Year, helped mentor two PSAC Players of the Year, two PSAC Freshman of the Year and 20 All-PSAC first-team selections.

Now, she gets to make a statement as the head coach of the Wildcats, who are set to open their season Monday with the first two of nine scheduled spring break games in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

“I bring 15 years of experience coaching at the collegiate level and have extensive knowledge in the fundamentals of pitching and hitting,” Hunley said. “My coaching style revolves around building relationships with my athletes and pushing them to their highest ability. My team expects to be pushed on a daily basis to increase their level of play both physically and mentally.”

Under former coach Jackie Klahold, who left last fall to take the top coaching spot at Wilkes University, Penn College reached the North Eastern Athletic Conference playoffs the last three years and is coming off a school single-season record 24 wins. The key for her players to continue that success, according to Hunley, is “trusting. Trusting themselves, their teammates and their coaching staff.

“We have a talented group who can accomplish anything they put their mind to.”

Key returning players from last year’s squad are junior pitcher Morgan Heritage, of New Castle, Delaware; sophomore catcher Gill Sinnott, of Sykesville, Maryland; sophomore Liv Hemstock, of Northford, Connecticut; sophomore relief pitcher Kyla Benner, of Bethlehem; and sophomore outfielder Shayla Bickel, of Shinglehouse.

“We are a young team (one senior, three juniors, nine sophomores and six freshmen) but many will expect to see a lot of playing time as they are very talented athletes coming from high-level programs,” Hunley said. “The team has learned a lot this preseason and we look to bring that knowledge, in addition to their talent, to have a successful spring.”

Pitching is expected to be a strength with the return of Heritage, who was All-NEAC first-team last season, and sophomore Mikayla Aldenderfer, of Williamsport, who transferred from Lycoming College where she got a lot of experience, and had good success, as a freshman.

Hunley’s goals for the team’s trip south include getting “comfortable with a new approach to hitting, some new defensive strategies, and figuring out our lineup options,” she said.

Looking ahead to the season, the coach said, “We would like to return to the NEAC playoffs and make a strong contention for the championship. We would also like to build a strong foundation to move forward with in future years.”

Three top-three finishes, six top-five finishes and 12 top-10 finishes. Despite some adversity, Penn College archers got off to a good start in their season opener last weekend during the USA Indoor National qualifier at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Regional events are held at 13 sites across the country.

Leading the way at Harrisonburg were Zach Fisher, of Lebanon, who took first in male compound; Hunter Thomas, of Elizabethtown, who was second in male bowhunter; and Sidney Alpaugh, of Pennsdale, who placed third in male bowhunter.

Other top 10 regional finishers for the Wildcats were Bret Yetter, of Liverpool, fourth in male bowhunter; Avery Smith, of Warren; fifth in male bowhunter; Trevor Quarry, of Lebanon, fifth in male recurve; Sapphire Naugle, of Jersey Shore, sixth in female compound; Tanner Bierly, of Loganton, seventh in male compound; David Fox, of Coburn, eighth in male compound; Jacob Happel, of Bangor, ninth in male recurve; J.T. Woods, of Garnet Valley, 10th in male recurve; and Courtney Wilcox, of Troy, 10th in female bowhunter.

In the national rankings: Fisher is 11th, Bierly 39th and Fox 50th of 103 in the male compound division; Quarry is 18th, Happel 85th and Woods 91st of 115 in male recurve; Thomas is tied for 26th, Alpaugh 28th, Yetter 40th and Smith 43rd of 111 in male bowhunter; Naugle is 49th of 73 in female recurve; and Wilcox is 62nd of 91 in female bowhunter.

“We were definitely stricken by sickness for preparation and at the tournament. Preparation and practice were tough for many who shot due to being sick the week before the shoot. We had two that were stricken with sickness at the tournament,” first-year coach Dustin Bartron said.

After a 14-day layoff since their earliest season opener ever, the Wildcats return to action starting Sunday when they will play the first of eight scheduled games over five days during a spring break getaway to Myrtle Beach.

On the horizon
Spring seasons for women’s and men’s tennis and golf are just around the corner with the women’s tennis season opening March 20, the golf season March 28 and the men’s tennis season April 4.

Overall: 0-2
NEAC: 0-0
Spring Break Tournament at Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Sunday, March 8 – vs. Bethany College (2), 3 and 6 p.m.
Monday, March 9 – vs. Hood College, 11 a.m.
Tuesday, March 10 – vs. Lehman College, 9 a.m.; vs. The Catholic University of America, noon
Wednesday, March 11 – vs. Albertus Magnus College (2), 3 and 6 p.m.
Thursday, March 12 – vs. Penn State Schuylkill, 9 a.m.

Overall: 0-0
NEAC: 0-0
Spring Break Tournament at Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Monday, March 9 – vs. Immaculata University, 3:30 p.m.
Monday, March 9 – vs. Franciscan University, 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 10 – vs. Norwich University, 9:30 a.m.
Tuesday, March 10 – vs. University of St. Joseph, 11:30 a.m.
Wednesday, March 11 – vs. MacMurray College, 9 a.m.
Thursday, March 12 – vs. Fitchburg State College, 9:30 a.m.
Thursday, March 12 – vs. Brevard College, 11:30 a.m.
Friday, March 13 – vs. Cazenovia College, 1:30 p.m.
Friday, March 13 – vs. Dean College, 5:30 p.m.

Saturday-Sunday, April 25-26 – Adam Wheatcroft Memorial at Harrisonburg, Va.
May 14-17 – USA Archery Collegiate Target Nationals at Easton Archery Center of Excellence in Chula Vista, Calif.

Women’s Tennis
Overall: 1-5 fall season
NEAC: 0-0
Friday, March 20 – host Susquehanna University, 3:30 p.m.

Men’s Tennis
Overall: 1-5 fall season
NEAC: 0-0
Saturday, April 4 – host Lancaster Bible College (NEAC), 1 p.m.

Saturday, March 28 – host Lycoming College at Williamsport Country Club, noon

For more about NEAC, visit the conference website.

For more information, visit the Wildcat Athletics website.

No. 30



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