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Penn College Sports Teams Have Lots to Celebrate

Led by a softball team that won a conference championship and placed among the top five at the Small College World Series, and an archery team that was fourth in the nation, there was plenty to celebrate by Pennsylvania College of Technology athletic teams during the 2013-14 school year.

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

Archery – Competing in the U.S. Archery Championships at Long Beach, California, Penn College finished fourth as a team and had All-Americans in senior Kelvin Dewalt, of Easton; and juniors Kendel Baier, of Jersey Shore; Matt Cummings, of Mountville; and Nicole Lapinski, of Bloomsburg. After a two-year layoff, Chad Karstetter returned as coach for his 12th season.

Baseball – Penn College tied the school win record set a year ago as it went 24-11 overall and 16-6 in the Penn State University Athletic Conference, where it finished among the top four after reaching the playoffs for the 12th consecutive year. In eight seasons under coach Chris Howard, the Wildcats are 194-97.

Basketball (men) – The Wildcats completed their second straight 4-21 campaign under second-year coach Chris Lemasters, 3-13 in the PSUAC, as he continues to rebuild the program.

Basketball (women) – After a rough start, Penn College won five of its last 11 games under coach Matt Wilt to finish 7-18 overall and 5-10 in the PSUAC. Through four seasons, Wilt’s teams have gone 30-67.

Cross-country (men) – Under new coach David Mendez, Penn College placed fourth in the PSUAC and 18th in the United States Collegiate Athletic Conference National Championships.

Golf – Junior Corey Teeple, of Lake Ariel, captured the PSUAC individual championship as the Wildcats finished second as a team in the conference and ninth in the USCAA National Championships under fifth-year coach Matt Haile.

Soccer (men) – Led by first-year coach Adam Matter, the team went 14-5 overall, 9-2 in the PSUAC, and reached the conference semifinals.

Soccer (women) – Playing an independent schedule, Penn College posted an 11-7-2 overall record, including a 2-1 mark in the USCAA National Championships with wins over the Nos. 9 and 4 seeds under coach Markus Rybak, whose career record with the team improved to 28-27-2.

Softball – With an all-sophomore and freshman team, the Lady Wildcats went on a late-season tear, winning a school-record 13 straight games and capturing their second PSUAC championship before going 2-1 in the USCAA National Championships and finishing among the top five teams in the Small College World Series. Penn College finished 20-13 overall, 14-4 in the PSUAC, under coach Roger Harris, whose career coaching record at the college is 165-150.

Tennis (men) – Under third-year coach Robert Kemrer, what had been a co-ed team sport was changed to separate men’s and women’s teams and the men, playing a spring season, finished 5-5 overall and 3-1 in the PSUAC.

Tennis (women) – Playing a fall season separate from the men for the first time, Penn College posted a 2-8 overall record, 1-3 PSUAC mark, under coach Kemrer.

Volleyball (women) – In their first season under new coach Monica Brown, the Lady Wildcats finished 13-20 overall and 12-6 in the PSUAC, where they reached the conference playoff semifinals.

Wrestling – Coach Schuyler Frey’s fourth edition finished 1-8 overall and 0-2 in the PSUAC during the regular season, was third in the PSUAC postseason tournament, sixth in the USCAA National Championships and 24th in the National Collegiate Wrestling Association Championships. In four years, Schuyler’s teams have gone 20-19.

Chancellor’s Cup
The college’s string of winning the PSUAC Chancellor’s Cup was snapped at five, as Penn State Brandywine edged Penn College by two points, 62.5 to 60.5. The award is given to the member institution with the most accumulated points for the year in conference competition. Points are awarded based on the finish of each team. Finishing behind Brandywine and Penn College were Penn State Mont Alto, 56.5; Penn State Beaver, 55; and Penn State Greater Allegheny, 52.5.

Athletes of Week
During the spring semester, 16 Penn College athletes were honored as Wildcat Athletes of the Week. They are, for the period ending:

Jan. 12 – Freshman wrestler Troy Leid, of Terre Hill, went 3-0, recording a pin and two decisions during a quadrangular at Penn State Mont Alto.

Jan. 19 – Freshman women’s basketball player Alicia Ross, of Williamsport, averaged 12.3 points per game and added 13 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game during her team’s 1-2 week. She was solid on the free-throw line, hitting 8 of 9 attempts.

Jan. 26 – Sophomore women’s basketball player Jamie Steer, of South Williamsport, averaged 16.7 points, shooting 12 for 32 (.375) from the field and an impressive 24 for 28 (.857) from the free throw line, during her team’s 1-2 week.

Feb. 2 – Freshman women’s basketball player Charese Bova, of Beech Creek, averaged 16.5 points and 15.5 rebounds during her team’s 1-1 week. She was on-point in shooting, going 15 of 19 (.789) from the field.

Feb. 9 – Freshman wrestler Patrick Fitzgerald, of Port Royal, led the Wildcats at the USCAA/PSUAC Championships, placing third overall at 197 pounds and first among PSUAC wrestlers, earning him the conference title.

Feb. 17 – In the team’s final two women’s basketball games of the season, Steer averaged 20 points and 4.5 rebounds as she was honored for the second time.

Feb. 24 – Freshman men’s basketball player Thomas Ross, of Williamsport, ended his season averaging a team-high 10.3 points and 6.3 rebounds. He totaled 246 points and had 54 3-pointers on the year.  He also was the team’s leading scorer in nine of its games.

March 2 – Senior archer Kelvin Dewalt, of Easton, topped the men’s bowhunter field, taking first in the U.S. Indoor East Regional Tournament. He scored 1,149 points, five points better than the second-place finisher.

March 9 – Junior baseball player Tyler Cooklin, of Rippey, Iowa, pitched a two-hitter against Lancaster Bible College in the team’s season opener in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  In five innings of work, he totaled 11 strikeouts, helping his team to a 20-2 win.

March 16 – Freshman softball player Jessica Gmerek, of Bellefonte, hit .381 with eight hits, including a two-run home run, led the team with seven RBIs and had a .667 slugging percentage as Penn College posted wins over Gordon College, Ursinus College and SUNY IT.

March 23 – Sophomore wrestler Dan Frankenfield, of Dushore, closed out the wrestling season going 4-2 at the National Collegiate Wrestling Association Championships in Dallas, Texas, ending one win short of the All-American Rounds.

March 30 – Junior men’s tennis player Nathan Scott, of Canton, Connecticut, was perfect, going 2-0 in both first singles and doubles. He dominated play, not dropping a set in any of his matches.

April 6 – Freshman softball pitcher Arika Stopper, of Williamsport, fired a complete-game shutout, allowing only three hits against Penn State Hazleton.  She also struck out seven batters, helping the team win 6-0.

April 13 – Senior baseball player Josh Longsderff, of Columbia, recorded two of the team’s wins on the mound notching a victory against Penn State Wilkes-Barre in relief with four strikeouts and a complete game shutout against Penn State York with six strikeouts.

April 21 – Junior archer Kendel Baier, of Jersey Shore, won the women’s bowhunter competition as well as the mixed competition with partner Dewalt at the Eastern Regional Championships. She also placed second with the women’s bowhunter team.

April 27 – Sophomore softball player Rachael Shaeffer, of Hampstead, Maryland, led the Lady Wildcats during a 6-0 week, hitting .688 (11-16) and driving in six runs. She notched a home run and a triple as well.  Defensively, she was perfect, recording 33 putouts behind the plate.

May 5 – Gmerek, in being honored a second time, was a clutch offensive player for the Lady Wildcats during the 2014 PSUAC softball playoffs, hitting a game-winning double in the championship. Her efforts helped the team capture its first conference title since 2007.

May 11 – Junior baseball player Zach Buterbaugh, of Conestoga, was named a USCAA First-Team All-American. He was an offensive and defensive standout, batting .442 with a .542 on-base percentage as a leadoff hitter. He stole 20 bases and drove in 15 runs. On the mound, he racked up four saves with a 1.46 earned run average and a .122 opposing batting average.

May 18 – Dewalt, honored for the second time, was the top finisher for the Wildcats at the U.S. Collegiate Archery Championships, taking fifth individually in the men’s bowhunter competition and helping his team to an overall fourth-place finish, as well as finishing fourth with the men’s bowhunter team and mixed recurve team with Baier.

Athletes of Year
Penn College 2014 Athlete of the Year awards were presented to Baier, as Female Athlete of the Year, and senior men’s soccer player Christopher Brennan, of New Hope, as Male Athlete of the Year.  The awards are voted upon by committee and are based solely on athletic performance.

Looking Ahead
Going into the fall, Penn College will compete as a provisional member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III. It also will become a provisional member of the North Eastern Athletic Conference in all sports except archery and wrestling, as the conference does not offer those sports. Penn College will continue its affiliation with the USCAA through next season. To date, three full-time coaches have been hired by the college: Howard will continue with the baseball squad; John McNichol, a native of West Chester, will lead the women’s soccer team; and, in an announcement just last week, Rafael Morais, a native of Brazil and graduate of C.W. Post, was hired to head the men’s soccer team.

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