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Wildcat Sports Teams Have ‘Amazing’ Week

Posing for a volleyball team photo are, back row from left, Liz Mast, Penn College Head Coach Bambi Hawkins, Penn State Head Coach Russ Rose, Annie Allton, Courtney Eisenhofer, Sara Gamble, Cara Vito, Amber Geckle, Janell Thompson, Emily Weaver, and Penn College Assistant Coach Michelle Bower. Front row from left are Melani Grady, Maria Bova, Erin Pillar, Maria McNett and Natalie Plavi. (Photo by Jerry W. McNett, General Services horticulturist - and Maria's father)Over the years, Pennsylvania College of Technology athletic teams have had their share of success, but nothing has come close to matching the achievements of the past week. Competing in the Commonwealth Campus Athletic Conference for the first time, six Penn College teams went into finals in four sports and five came out winners. Picking up championship trophies were the men’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s volleyball and golf teams. In individual competition, Teresa Burrill of Jersey Shore claimed the women’s singles tennis crown. “It was a benchmark week in the history of Penn College athletics. To have that much success is just amazing,” said athletic director Mike Stanzione. “Coaches and athletes obviously excelled this year. . . .It brings the words ‘Penn College Proud’ to the next level,” Stanzione added. “(Penn College) had a great impact,” said John Fritz, director of the CCAC. “They really dominated. It’s good for us to have Penn College in the conference and we thought that coming in. “Anytime you can improve your conference (with a team) that can compete at the level of the top teams helps our whole conference. It makes everybody push harder to the next level. We’re very pleased to have them in.” Fritz also said he was aware of no team coming into the CCAC and, in its first year, doing so well.

Men’s Soccer Facing Penn State Hazleton in the CCAC championship game Saturday, Penn College built a 3-0 halftime lead and sophomore Ryan Swartz (Muhlenberg) was perfect in goal as the Wildcats captured the championship at Penn State?s Jeffrey Field. Freshman Jordan Myers (York) scored two goals and added an assist for the Wildcats as they improved to 15-2 overall. Also scoring for Penn College were sophomore Lathan Gross (Northeastern), freshman Josh Liples (Lakeland) and freshman Matt Dennis (Northeastern). Freshman Tim Weber (Watkins Glen, N.Y.) had two assists. “We’re starting to peak as a team here at the end of the season. The passing game, the finishing was excellent Saturday. The defense ruled the game. It was an all-around good day,” said Wildcat coach Andy Richardson. “There’s a big trophy that goes along with it (winning the crown), the guys got T-shirts and there’s a large plaque that we’ll get engraved and we hang onto until next year. “It was a fun achievement. We’ve been working hard to get into this league for many years and to get on top in our first year is a tribute to the players and their ability on the field,” the coach continued.Cross Country Penn College coach Mike Paulhamus was confident about his runners going into Saturday’s end-of-the-season meet at State College, and they came through with flying colors, as both the men’s and women’s teams won not only the CCAC championship, but the Pennsylvania Collegiate Athletic Conference title as well.

In addition, Paulhamus was honored as coach of the year in both categories in both conferences. Sophomore Dan Arminavage (Annville-Cleona) finished fourth overall in 32:15 and freshman Tom Lambert (Bangor) fifth in 32:49 to pace the Wildcat men. Also, sophomore Jamie King (Scranton) was ninth in 33:18, freshman Justin Alberts (Greenwood) was 10th in 33:20, freshman Ryan Lampart (Hazleton) was 12 th in 33:46, sophomore Joe Addesso (Exeter) was 14th in 34:40, sophomore Tyler Hoffman (Carlisle) was 20th in 36:33, freshman Michael Womelsdorf (Allentown-Dieruff) was 21st in 36:36 and freshman Andrew Karinch (Pottsville) was 33rd in 45:31 over the 5.2-mile course. The Penn College men tallied 24 points, followed by Penn State Schuylkill at 49, Luzerne County Community College with 58 and Penn State DuBois with 62. “Everybody brought their ‘A’ game to the meet on Saturday and we did what we had to do,” Paulhamus said. “I’m kind of sad because we lose several of our runners. We’ve got fall visitation coming up so we have to start rebuilding for next year,” the coach added. For the Lady Wildcats, all of whom are freshman, Jennie Mull (Huntingdon) was fourth in 29:29, Rachel Sledzinski (Western Wayne) was fifth in 30:27, Krystal Sheredos (Bangor) was seventh in 37:14 and Tracey Seylar (Chambersburg) was ninth in 39:56 over a distance of just more than 3.5 miles. The Penn College women totaled 21 points while Penn State DuBois had 25 and the Community College of Philadelphia 39. Penn State Schuylkill also competed. “They worked their tails off the last couple of weeks and good things happen when you work hard,” said Paulhamus, noting that his women’s squad might have won by an even larger margin had Jen Friese (Chambersburg) not sustained an injury about a mile into the race and had to retire. As far as being named coach of the year, Paulhamus said, “The honor only comes with the athletes and their dedication. I’m glad for the kids.” The Wildcat men finished 14-9 overall. They were 11-0 in the CCAC and 13-0 in EPCC/PCAA meets. The women were 9-0 overall and in league meets. For the Penn College men, this marked their seventh championship season ? they also won league titles in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002 and last year. It was the fifth title-clinching season for the Wildcat women as they won in 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2001. “Right now, we’ve got a good run going,” Paulhamus added.Women’s VolleyballThe progression in improvement made over the last four seasons by the women’s volleyball reached the peak Sunday when the Lady Wildcats captured the CCAC crown at University Park.

“These young ladies have been a true joy to coach. The 21-2 overall record is not only a testament to the talent of the team, but also the teamwork that was so evident on the court match after match,” said coach Bambi Hawkins.

Penn College entered Sunday’s tournament as the top seed from the CCAC West Division and beat Penn State Wilkes-Barre in the first round of the double-elimination event, 30-13, 30-21.

The Wildcats then had to square off against Penn State Fayette, which they had beaten to claim the West championship a week ago, and won, 30-28, 30-18. Wilkes-Barre was eliminated by Penn State Mont Alto before Fayette knocked off Wilkes-Barre, setting up the fifth meeting of the season between Penn College and Fayette.

With everything on the line, Penn College dropped the first game, 31-33, but recovered to win the next two games by scores of 30-28 and 15-10 to claim the trophy.

Sophomore Courtney Eisenhofer (Schuylkill Valley) led the way in serves for the Wildcats with 30 of 31 and five aces. Sophomore Melani Grady (Youngsville) put up 60 assists and freshman Janell Thompson (Northern Potter) capitalized on 23 of those sets for some powerful kills and made her presence further felt at the net with six stuff-blocks. Eisenhofer added four stuff-blocks while freshman Maria Bova (Bethlehem Catholic), freshman Natalie Plavi (Elderton) and sophomore Maria McNett (Canton) finished with 39, 29 and 24 digs, respectively.

“To have 13 team members dedicated to each other has been the most notable highlight of the 2004 season,” said Hawkins. “As the skills of the Wildcats quickly progressed, and the ladies learned to exemplify team spirit, Penn College went from a season-opening loss, to (going) 8-0 at the Penn State tournament (in September), and finished the season by taking advantage of the opportunity to host the CCAC West Division playoffs at the No. 1 seed.”

“With the potential for a significant number of returning players next year,” Hawkins said, “Penn College will be looking to keep the ‘traveling’ CCAC trophy for more than just one year.”

Team TennisBurrill, a junior from Jersey Shore, captured the women’s singles championship in the CCAC championships over the weekend. It marked Burrill’s third title in three years she previously won singles crowns in the Pennsylvania Collegiate Athletic Conference for Penn College. Also for the Penn College women, freshman Krystal Sheredos (Bangor) and sophomore Lauren O’Donnell (Kennett Square) teamed to finish third at No. 1 doubles. Two Penn College men finished second in their respective categories. Mike Ceresini, a junior from Lebanon, was second at No. 3 singles and junior Spyke Krepshaw (Southern Columbia) was the runner-up at No. 4 singles. Team-wise, Penn College finished third in the six-team field with 44 points. Penn State Hazleton took the team trophy with 61 points and Penn State Abington was second with 47 points. “Overall, we had a better collective outing and points standing than the regular season showed,” said Wildcat coach Charlie Baum, whose team was 1-7 during CCAC matches. “Both Mike and Spyke lost very, very close matches in their respective finals. Theresa had the most competition she’s seen in her previous two years and won a thrilling three-set match against Camilla Kczewski from Penn State Hazleton,” Baum continued. “I was very pleased with our play,” Baum added, “I am excited for the spring season when I have a majority of my players returning (for Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference and Pennsylvania Collegiate Athletic Association play).”Golf It’s one thing to have talent, and another to make that talent work for you. Coach Chet Schuman did both this season and the reward was not one, but two championships. The Wildcats captured their first CCAC title and second consecutive PCAA crown and, Schuman was named coach of the year in both leagues. “That’s a tribute to the players,” Schuman said of his dual honors. Despite his personal post-season accolades, Schuman is always the first to tell anyone who asks that it is his golfers who deserve all of the credit. The tournament last Monday and Tuesday at the Penn National course in Fayetteville proved just that. “The kids played well. The kids played real well. It’s a nice way for them to end the season,” Schuman said. Brandon Smith, a sophomore from Wellsboro, led the way for the Wildcats with a two-day total of 151 on rounds of 76-75. He was the medalist in the CCAC portion of the championship and third in the PCAA championships after tying with two other golfers then losing in a playoff. Right behind Smith were sophomore Jeff Kerr II of Bloomsburg, who shot a 154 (78-76), and freshman Shaun McQuay of Warrior Run, who fired a 156 (76-80). All three were awarded all-PCAA honors. Also for the Wildcats, freshman Gilbert Balliet of Warrior Run had a 160 (78-82), junior Matt Haile of Shikellamy shot a 164 (77-87; he competed only in the CCAC tournament) and freshman Tony Stopper of Jersey Shore recorded a 171 (88-83). Schuman was especially pleased with the play of Smith. “Last year Brandon asked if I had ever won before. This year he pointed out that he never lost a match. Not only did he not lose a match while he was a player (at Penn College), but he ended up being the medalist his first time in the CCAC tournament,” the coach said. “He played extremely well. He rises to the occasion when you put him under pressure. He was a medalist earlier this year (during a regular-season tournament). He comes from good stock. He knows pressure,” Schuman added. In the PCAA part of the tournament, the Wildcats recorded a 461 team score and finished eight strokes ahead of Butler Community College. Also among the PCAA leaders were Westmoreland Community College, 479; Penn State Mont Alto, 483; Pitt-Titusville, 493; Luzerne Community College, 493; and Penn State Beaver, 497. The top three individual scores from each team counted toward team score in the PCAA. In the CCAC championships, where the top four scorers counted toward the team total, Penn College had a 617, followed by Penn State Beaver with 669, Penn State Mont Alto with 674, Penn State Wilkes-Barre with 709 and Penn State Abington with 725. This marked the second straight undefeated season for the Penn College golf team. It was 35-0 this year and is 80-0 over the last two seasons. “Unbelievable!” Schuman said of the streak. “It’s a tribute to the kids. They’re a great group of golfers and a great group of young men. On and off the golf course, they represent the college very well.” Looking ahead, Schuman said, “I just hope we can continue to play good golf. We lose two good golfers this year in Smith and Kerr. We’re going to miss their leadership. The freshmen are going to have to step up next year.”

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