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Penn College wrestler eighth at regionals

Competing for the first time in the NCAA Division III Mideast Regional Championships at Ithaca College, Pennsylvania College of Technology wrestler Dylan Gettys, of Etters, went 2-3 in his matches at 165 pounds and placed eighth.

Overall, the Wildcats finished 15th in an 18-team field with 21.5 points. Host Ithaca and The College of New Jersey tied at the top with 144.5 points each.

Gettys, a junior who earned six team points during the tournament, opened with a win by technical fall, lost on an injury default in the quarterfinals and then bounced back with a win by decision in his first consolation match to stay alive after the first day. His season ended Sunday with losses by major decision in the third consolation round and by a medical forfeit in the seventh-place match.

Dylan GettysA year ago when the team competed in the Southeast Region, Gettys ended sixth at 174 pounds.

“Dylan reaggravated a knee injury this week that got worse as the week went on. He really didn’t practice the last few days and his offense was severely limited. He’s a tough kid and our team leader, so he battled through it and got himself on the podium,” coach Jamie Miller said. “We were all hoping for a bit more but with the knee the way it was, an eighth-place finish in this region is something to be extremely proud of. More importantly, he set an example of what it means to commit yourself and push through certain physical limits in pursuit of your goal.”

Also for Penn College:

133 – Freshman Ryan Bauer, of Denton, Maryland, went 2-2, earning 4 team points.

141 – Sophomore Luke O’Connor, of Wyalusing, went 2-2 and earned 3.5 points.

149 – Sophomore Jesse Walker, of Ridgefield, Connecticut, went 1-2 and earned 2.5 points.

157 – Freshman Erik Schreck, of Northampton, went 0-2.

174 – Junior Dan Bergeron, of Jackson, New Jersey, went 1-2 and earned 2.5 points.

184 – Junior Jared Mooney, of Palmerton, went 1-2 and earned 3 points.

197 – Freshman Jalen Edwards, of Horsham, went 0-2.

285 – Sophomore Brendan McGinley, of Glenmoore, went 0-2.

In dual match competition this season, Penn College was 6-20. In three seasons under Miller, the team is 25-56.

“We have a lot of work to do to be competitive in the Mideast Region. We had just started to find our footing in the Southeast – putting four in the semifinals last year. We came back this year with what I think is a stronger team and struggled in this new region,” Miller said.

“Bauer, O’Connor and Mooney each took two losses to really good guys – all six of whom ended up on the podium – and Walker took some quality losses, as well, one to the eventual third-place finisher and an overtime loss. I don’t think those four are far from being in the mix,” the coach said.

“Overall, we need to add some more talent in the offseason, which we are working hard at through our recruiting efforts. These guys also saw for the first time what it takes to compete in the Mideast Region. Most guys need to become more conscious of their lifestyle for the next 364 days to reach their ultimate goal. Training for next year starts today. Next year at this time, we will be talking about the guys who chose to commit themselves starting today. The rest will have a similar finish as they did this year,” Miller added.

NCAA DIII Regional Mideast Results for Penn College
Ryan Bauer (19-17) place is unknown and scored 4.0 team points.
Prelim – Ryan Bauer (Penn College) 19-17 won by forfeit over Jeorcy Pena (Muhlenberg) 0-2 (For.)
Champ. Round 1 – Andrew Cota (Hunter) 4-2 won by fall over Ryan Bauer (Penn College) 19-17 (Fall 5:44)
Cons. Round 1 – Ryan Bauer (Penn College) 19-17 won by major decision over Shane Reynolds (Scranton) 5-11 (MD 10-2)
Cons. Round 2 – William Hardin (Oswego St.) 4-2 won by major decision over Ryan Bauer (Penn College) 19-17 (MD 16-5)

Lukas O’Connor (11-10) place is unknown and scored 3.5 team points.
Prelim – Lukas O’Connor (Penn College) 11-10 won by decision over Jace Garza (Merchant Marine) 6-7 (Dec 4-1)
Champ. Round 1 – Isaiah Ocasio (Rochester Institute of Technology) 16-13 won by major decision over Lukas O’Connor (Penn College) 11-10 (MD 18-5)
Cons. Round 1 – Lukas O’Connor (Penn College) 11-10 won by injury default over Elliot Natanov (Hunter) 0-2 (Inj. 4:46)
Cons. Round 2 – Tito Colom (Ithaca) 3-3 won by major decision over Lukas O’Connor (Penn College) 11-10 (MD 13-5)

Jesse Walker (17-13) place is unknown and scored 2.5 team points.
Prelim – Austin Sherman (Muhlenberg) 25-4 won by tech fall over Jesse Walker (Penn College) 17-13 (TF-1.5 6:33 (18-3))
Prelim – Jesse Walker (Penn College) 17-13 won by fall over Trenton Wills (Pitt.-Bradford) 2-16 (Fall 0:42)
Cons. Round 1 – Joshua Bressette (Oswego St.) 1-2 won in sudden victory – 1 over Jesse Walker (Penn College) 17-13 (SV-1 9-7)

Erik Schreck (8-15) place is unknown and scored 0.0 team points.
Champ. Round 1 – Christian Gramuglia (Oswego St.) 4-1 won by fall over Erik Schreck (Penn College) 8-15 (Fall 0:41)
Cons. Round 1 – Eric Brach (SUNY Oneonta) 9-19 won by fall over Erik Schreck (Penn College) 8-15 (Fall 2:39)

Dylan Gettys (19-12) placed eighth and scored 6.0 team points.
Champ. Round 1 – Dylan Gettys (Penn College) 19-12 won by tech fall over Loujerry Etienne (Alfred St.) 3-19 (TF-1.5 2:40 (16-0))
Quarterfinal – Dylan Schwartz (Muhlenberg) 27-4 won by injury default over Dylan Gettys (Penn College) 19-12 (Inj. 1:25)
Cons. Round 2 – Dylan Gettys (Penn College) 19-12 won by decision over Jeremiah Oaks (Scranton) 25-12 (Dec 8-1)
Cons. Round 3 – Kieran Duggan (Merchant Marine) 11-17 won by major decision over Dylan Gettys (Penn College) 19-12 (MD 16-5)
7th Place Match – Jeremy Nurnberger (Centenary (NJ) 11-11 won by medical forfeit over Dylan Gettys (Penn College) 19-12 (M. For.)

Daniel Bergeron (10-16) place is unknown and scored 2.5 team points.
Champ. Round 1 – Brian Jamison (Muhlenberg) 2-3 won by decision over Daniel Bergeron (Penn College) 10-16 (Dec 12-9)
Cons. Round 1 – Daniel Bergeron (Penn College) 10-16 won by fall over Hunter Beaudet (Elizabethtown) 10-14 (Fall 1:39)
Cons. Round 2 – Will Laughlin (Scranton) 34-10 won by fall over Daniel Bergeron (Penn College) 10-16 (Fall 0:43)

Jared Mooney (26-11) place is unknown and scored 3.0 team points.
Champ. Round 1 – Jared Mooney (Penn College) 26-11 won by fall over Serjey Thomas (Hunter) 2-2 (Fall 1:53)
Quarterfinal – Jimmy Fratantoni (Muhlenberg) 27-7 won by fall over Jared Mooney (Penn College) 26-11 (Fall 2:47)
Cons. Round 2 – Aidan McNally (Scranton) 35-10 won by decision over Jared Mooney (Penn College) 26-11 (Dec 5-3)

Jalen Edwards (1-11) place is unknown and scored 0.0 team points
Champ. Round 1 – John Donohue (Rochester Institute of Technology) 17-7 won by tech fall over Jalen Edwards (Penn College) 1-11 (TF-1.5 4:41 (18-3))
Cons. Round 1 – Sam Houston (Merchant Marine) 7-11 won by decision over Jalen Edwards (Penn College) 1-11 (Dec 10-7)

Brendan McGinley (9-17) place is unknown and scored 0.0 team points.
Prelim – Keegan McCord (Elizabethtown) 22-13 won by major decision over Brendan McGinley (Penn College) 9-17 (MD 9-1)
Prelim – Kyle Fitzgerald (Alfred St.) 18-8 won by fall over Brendan McGinley (Penn College) 9-17 (Fall 2:52).

Final Team Scores
1. Ithaca 144.5
1. TCNJ 144.5
3. Brockport 116.5
4. Rochester Institute of Technology 115.5
5. SUNY Cortland 95.5
6. Centenary (N.J.) 93.5
7. Muhlenberg 84.5
8. Merchant Marine 61.5
9. Scranton 59.5
10. Ursinus 50.0
11. Oswego St. 47.0
12. Elizabethtown 41.5
13. SUNY Oneonta 38.0
14. Hunter 32.0
15. Penn College 21.5
16. Alfred St. 7.0
16. Pitt.-Bradford 7.0
18. Keystone 2.5

Men’s basketball

Laying everything it had on the line Tuesday, Penn College fought back from a 15-point deficit in the second half at Lancaster Bible College, trimming the difference to three, before seeing its best season in three years end with a 77-73 loss in a North Eastern Athletic Conference first-round playoff game. The Wildcats finished 7-19 overall and 5-12 in all conference games.

Ben Sosa, of Loyalsock Township, closed out his four-year career with a 27-point effort, giving him a total of 1,286 and fourth place on the men’s list. Elijah Vazquez, of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, who transferred in from the Community College of Rhode Island, chipped in with 23 points and ends his overall collegiate career with 1,374 points, although Penn College only recognizes the 634 points he scored as a Wildcat.

In addition to the most single-season overall and conference wins since 2016-17, it marked the team’s first-ever playoff appearance as a member of the NEAC and its first postseason contest since 2010-11 when it finished second in the Penn State University Athletic Conference.

During the regular season, Lancaster Bible beat Penn College twice, by margins of 22 in Lancaster and 19 points in Williamsport, so to come back Tuesday showed a lot.

“Our team showed great resilience and a tremendous amount of character,” coach Geoff Hensley said. “Our players have competed with the best teams all season and we continued to show that even when we got down 15 points in the second half and fought all the way back.

“It started with our senior leadership, with Ben and Elijah stepping up, and everyone followed suit. We started to chip away at the lead with some great defensive stops and then big-time baskets on the offensive end. I thought we did a much better job taking care of the basketball in the second half, but we just needed one extra rebound or one call to go our way.

“Each game we played Lancaster Bible College, we competed and performed better and better. I truly believe if we played them one more time, the outcome would be different.”

Reflecting on his players, Hensley said, “I’m very proud of this group of young men. I hope they understand how far they came over the course of the season. These guys learned some very good life lessons like fighting through adversity, success comes with hard work and a positive attitude, and how to be great teammates.”

Assessing the overall season, Hensley said, “It was a fantastic season from a program-building perspective as we continued to lay the foundation of a championship program through our culture, which resulted in more wins, including the first-ever berth in the NEAC postseason tournament. Our team culture is at an all-time high right now, where all the players have bought into developing a great work ethic, being positive, resilient young men and serving the team. Not only did our culture vastly improve but our level of competitive basketball improved, as well.

“We finished in the top of several NEAC statistical categories, including No. 2 in defensive rebounding, No. 3 in field goal percentage, No. 3 in 3-point percentage, No. 3 in assists per game, No. 3 in defensive field goal percentage and No. 4 in defensive 3-point percentage. We played some very high-level basketball this year and it was fun to watch our guys and see the beauty of the game.

“It was a great way for our seniors to go out and an even better step for the underclassmen to see what it takes to be one of the top teams in the conference. I’m hoping by advancing to the tournament, it will motivate our returners even more to have a tremendous off-season so next year we not only make the tournament but advance and compete for a championship.”

Looking ahead, the second-year coach whose career record is 10-41, said, “I’m optimistic for the program moving forward as we continue to build on the foundation that was laid by our outgoing seniors. We return a very talented core group of underclassmen, who I believe will be just as talented as many of the conference opponent’s returners.

“This was a very exciting season, but I believe the best is yet to come. We lose six great seniors who will be impossible to replace, but we need to focus our recruiting efforts on size and athleticism. Losing four starters will be tough, but I’m confident our underclassmen will be ready for the challenge.”

Among the expected returning players are starting point guard Brody Baker, of Lock Haven, and first players off the bench in Jesse White, of Harrisburg, and Damon Kreider, of Landisville. Also back should be Will Sulesky, of Huntingdon, and Corey Blackwell, of Hammonton, New Jersey, both of whom saw time in a significant number of games, along with Obens Luxama, of Port St. Lucie, Florida; Fred Young, of Waterbury, Connecticut; David Brown, of Bridgeport, Connecticut; and John Saxe, of South Williamsport, according to the coach.

Ben Sosa“The NEAC is an extremely competitive conference and we need a fantastic off-season of dedicated improvement in order to put ourselves in a chance to compete for a championship next season. The seniors raised the bar for the program and passed along the torch, which our returners will proudly carry moving forward,” Hensley added.

Thursday, it was announced that Sosa had become the second Wildcat men’s basketball player to be named all-conference, as a member of the NEAC second team.

Sosa finished the season averaging 17.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game while starting in all 26 contests. He recorded six double-doubles this season, was seventh in the conference in points per game and eighth in rebounds per game.

“I’m extremely proud of Ben, and he is more than deserving of this honor. Ben made a strong commitment to the team and himself to do whatever he can to help the team win,” Hensley said. “Ben’s dedication to the team over four years and his work ethic of getting in the gym to maximize his potential put him in a position to deserve this recognition.”

Sosa joins former Penn College player Kevin Laurence-El, of Milton, who was third-team all-conference in 2015-16.

Women’s basketball
The Wildcats ended their first season under coach Britni Mohney just over a week ago with a 7-17 overall record, 4-12 in the NEAC, and both marks were season-bests since 2014-15.

But Mohney is building for more.

“We endured the grind and were able to reap benefits from the grind,” Mohney said. “I will be the first to admit I am not an easy coach, I am going to push you day-in and day-out to give my, our best, even when you think your tank is running on empty. Basketball is a very long season and can be draining for student-athletes emotionally and physically. It was important for us to rebuild the confidence in these players and to let them know we believe in you and we are here for you.”

Mohney called it a season of reinvention, reinvestment and rejuvenation.

“It was important for us as a staff to not only push these student-athletes to give us the best versions of themselves on and off the floor, but to enjoy the process of it,” the coach said. “The hardest part in changing a culture as a new coach entering a program that was struggling in recent years is getting the student-athletes to trust your vision. That, honestly, was our only goal this year; to create coach-to-player relationships on and off the floor to build a foundation of trust and respect. When you are able to achieve this, you open doors for other success stories. If we could build this foundation of trust, we could build layers that bond.

“To have that culture of trust and respect: the players do not want to let each other down, they don’t want to let the coaching staff down and in return, the staff does not want to let the players down. This gave us the opportunity to give the best versions of ourselves. This change in culture, that is our success story. The wins are a plus, but those wins came from building a foundation of trust.”

Statistically, progress was made.

“When I interviewed for the position almost a year ago, I did research on where the team ranked in statistical categories from the 2018-19 season,” Mohney said. “The team, in that season, was ranked last or second to last in six of the eight statistical categories. We took the statistics from last season and compared them to the current season. We rank in the top 10 in seven of the eight categories. We increased our points per game, field goal percentage, 3-point field goal percentage, free throw percentage, rebounds per game, assists per game and we were even on steals per game. So when asked what strides were made, every single category that can be quantified increased as a team and as individuals.”

Positive strides were seen in other areas, too.

“Then you can look at categories that cannot be quantified. Leaders emerged, players understood their roles, they supported each other in the valleys and the peaks of the season. We competed and that is what we have to acknowledge. There was not one game we can look back on and say we did not give our best. We competed until the final buzzer. They found within themselves, and as a team, that we are playing for so much bigger than the wins and losses. We grew as a team and as a family and we bought into a new culture. That is the biggest stride you can make.”

Commenting on some of her players, Mohney said, “What is exciting about next season is our returning cast. We lose Tori Wolfe, of Dalmatia, who is an all-around asset to our program through her points, her defense and her entire work ethic. … (But) we are returning two huge impact paint players in Cassi Kuhns, of Loyalsock Township, and Ja’Quela Dyer, of Dover, Delaware. Cassi had five double-double games, averaged 12.2 points and 8 rebounds a game, and had the highest shooting percentage with 42.1. Then you add Ja’Quela who had six double-double games, averaged 8.5 points and 9.2 boards, with a 41.3 shooting percentage. That is an unstoppable paint presence and next year I expect, as they do, both of them to average double-double games.”

Kuhns led the Wildcats in scoring with 293 points and has 669 points thus far in her career.

“We look at our guards and you have Madison Klock, of Elysburg, who was second on the team in points (244 points this year and 486 after two seasons), averaging 10.2 points a game, and led the team with assists at 88 and steals at 47. That is a triple threat with points, distribution and defense. Add to this Lydia Albert, of Trout Run, who moves out of her freshmen year and becomes a seasoned player in herself (scoring 233 points). Lydia had standout games for us throughout the season that produced wins and she is going to be a huge impact on our program moving forward.

“Put those four together in points, that is 966 points returning from just those four alone.”

According to the coach, Maci Ilgen, of Spring Mills, was lost for the season due to an injury halfway through January but should be among those returning.

“We have a very strong cast coming back to play next season,” Mohney said. “Opponents in and out of (the) conference should not count Penn College women’s basketball out of any competition.”

What’s next for the team?

“We continue to build on everything that we worked hard to achieve this year, and that is what we have to remember – how hard we worked,” Mohney said. “When our season ended against Wells a week ago the tears that filled the girls’ eyes were of joy, promise and thankfulness – joy that they felt the love of the game again, a promise of what the program has to come and the thankfulness that we were able to build this foundation together.

“Now that the groundwork is laid, it is time to build the house. As a coach, this is where I will see the commitment level of the student-athletes and where they truly want this program to go. Add to this the first recruiting class under this new staff to fill in the gaps where we can grow and to create more competition within the team to push each other to higher limits.

“Our character is built in the offseason. The preparation and determination are where we must grow in the offseason to be tougher competitors in the 2020-21 season.”

Men’s basketball
Final overall: 7-19
Final NEAC: 5-12 (5-11 regular season)
Tuesday, Feb. 25 – at Lancaster Bible College (NEAC first-round playoff), L, 77-73

Women’s basketball
Final overall 7-17
Final NEAC: 4-12

Final overall: 6-20
Saturday-Sunday, Feb. 29-March 1 – NCAA Division III Mideast Regional Championships at Ithaca N.Y. College, finished 15th in an 18-team field

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.

Friday, Feb. 28,-Sunday, March 2 – USA Indoor Nationals at Harrisonburg, Va.
Saturday-Sunday, April 25-26 – Adam Wheatcroft Memorial at Harrisonburg, Va.
May 15-17 – USA Outdoor Nationals at Chula Vista, Calif.

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

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

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

For more about NEAC, visit the conference website.

For more information, visit the Wildcat Athletics website.

No. 29

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