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Wrestlers Prep for Opening Match, Runners Ready for Conference Postseason

The Pennsylvania College of Technology wrestling team is set to hit the mats, the postseason looms for the college’s cross-country squads and the fall sports seasons have concluded for three other teams.

Wrestling
Coach Schuyler Frey returns for his fifth season with five returnees among the team’s 13 grapplers. Back from last year’s team are senior Kyle Sunseri, of Athens, in the 149-pound weight class; junior Dan Frankenfield, of Dushore, at 174; and sophomores Aaron Doll, of Glen Rock, at 125; Mason Replogle, of New Enterprise, at 149; and Tanner Leid, of Terre Hills, at 157.

Newcomers include Zack Fitzsimmons, of Duke Center, at 133; Trevor McWhorter, of Tioga, at 141; Jake Stanford, of Montoursville, at 141; Slade Storm, of New Oxford, at 149; Garrett Wolfinger, of Phillipsburg, New Jersey, at 149 or 157; Tony King, of Kingston, at 157 or 165; Andrew Raskiewicz, of Upper Merion, at 184; and Conner Route, of Canton, at 197.

“We’re just excited to get the gig going. We have a small team this year, but we’re anxious to get out there and start wrestling those DIII guys and see how we do,” said Frey, whose team opens Saturday in the King’s College Monarch Invitational.

Addressing his expectations, Frey said, “Right now we need to stay healthy, we’re already battling some injury stuff, and to be competitive. … We’re going to be wrestling really tough competition, and that’s what we want, but we’re hopeful at the same time to be able to pull out a few wins with this young team.

“We emphasize being tenacious for seven to 10 minutes. We’re taking the same attitude we’ve had in the past that we’re going to stay in good position, wrestle hard through the whole match with the anticipation that, once we get into that second and third period, our conditioning and our work will allow us to be victorious,” the coach said.

In addition to invitationals and dual meets, the Wildcats will continue to participate in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association National Championships, where they finished sixth a year ago. Penn College is 20-19 in dual meets under Frey.

Cross-Country
After a six-meet regular season, the Wildcats are ticketed for their first North Eastern Athletic Conference Championships Saturday at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.

“I think we’re ready,” interim coach Mike Paulhamus said of his teams.

“On the women’s side, we had eight signed up at the beginning of the season with minimal or no experience on their resume but (now) they all can run a 6K (3.7-mile) race and they look comfortable doing it. They’re still not fast, but we’re able to do a full race without any partial walking. In a short period of time, I think we accomplished a major milestone,” Paulhamus said.

Penn College women runners include Brooke Hostetter, of Lancaster; Kristine Loomis, of Tunkhannock; Nicole Reyes-Molina, of Lancaster; Elyssa Stanton, of Honesdale; Samantha Thomas, of Loyalsock Township; Jessica Wiegand, of Montoursville; and Allison Yanech, of Pottsville.

“On the men’s side, I have seven young men who are getting better every week and who have some cross-country experience from previous years. If we run the race that I think we can run, I don’t think we will be at the bottom. I think we’re all looking forward to the challenge,” the coach said.

Running for the men’s team will be Daniel Flynn, of Blairstown, New Jersey; Nathan Mashack, of Bloomsburg; Brandon Stevenson, of Oil City; Logan Ault, of Williamsport; Ray Long, of Forest City; Derrick Morrison, of York; and Matt Mullin, of State College. Men run an 8K course (4.97 miles).

Men’s Soccer
Penn College ended its regular season Oct. 19 with a 2-1 loss to  Penn State Abington to finish 8-8-1 overall and 4-5-1 in the NEAC. Tristan Smith, of Sandys, Bermuda, put the Wildcats up 1-0 in the first half, but Abington dominated the second half, scoring twice on corner kicks. Before the match, Penn College honored its graduating seniors: Smith, Blayne Allen, of Trumbull, Connecticut; Adrian Bukur, of West Hazleton; Evan Coyne, of East Greenbush, New York; Christian Dressler, of McAlisterville; and Jacob Tuck, of Hollsopple. During the season, Smith scored eight of the team’s 21 goals. It allowed 22 goals overall.

“I think overall it was an OK season. Being my first year, for some players who were here last year, it was a shock going from a part-time to a full-time coach. They didn’t know what to expect,” coach Rafael Morais said. “I am looking forward to next year. With the players that we are returning and bringing in new players who have the mentality already, I think we will be very successful.”

In addition to a new coach, the Wildcats competed in a new conference for the first time, so the learning curve was huge.

“In the NEAC, it was different teams and better competition and you’ve got to play good. You’ve got to be disciplined to win,” said Morais, a native of Brazil who, before coming to Penn College, had coached in the NEAC (at Briarcliffe College, where his teams made five title appearances and won two).

Tuck, Dressler, Hector Guerrero, of Mexico City, Mexico; and Ronald Garcia, of Brentwood, New York, were solid throughout the season, according to the coach, and motivated the others. The losses to graduation of Smith, Dressler and Tuck will be felt.

“We were the only team in the conference to beat Morrisville State (the NEAC regular-season champ), so that shows that we can play with them. But then we lost to the bottom two teams. Now, we have experience and next year we are going to make a good run,” Morais said.

“I want to bring in players who can impact things right away. We want freshmen who can come in and get the job done right away,” the coach said about recruiting in the off-season.

Women’s Soccer
Valeria Passalacqua, of McAlisterville, tied the match for Penn College against  Penn State Abington in the 66th minute on Oct. 19, but, eight minutes into overtime, the visitors struck again for a 2-1 win. Passalacqua was honored as the lone Penn College senior before the match.

Tuesday’s scheduled match against Wilson College was canceled, but, back in action Friday at Gallaudet University, Penn College closed out its season with a 5-1 win to finish 5-12 overall. It was 4-7 in the NEAC. Against Gallaudet, Hailee Hartman, of Lampeter, scored two goals while Passalacqua; Robyn Beddow, of Lancaster; and Caitlin McCarthy, of State College, each scored single goals. Keeper Colleen Bowes, of Wayne, had five saves. During the season, Passalacqua scored six of the team’s 26 goals. It allowed 42 goals in 17 outings.

“I thought it went pretty well with it being my first year. Starting with a lot of new things, including implementing a new system, the girls really bought into what I wanted them to do,” coach John McNichol said. “The improvement from the beginning of the year to the end of the year was, in my opinion, very obvious. It was a very fun, rewarding year, even though we didn’t have the results we wanted with wins and losses.”

Commenting on the NEAC, which was new to both the coach and Penn College players, McNichol said, “I think it is a great conference in terms of competition. The teams at the top of the conference gave us a challenge and it really gave the girls something to strive for – being the first year as provisional members of the NCAA, seeing teams that are full-time NCAA members on how they prepare each week and how they’re mentally and physically ready for every game.”

Going forward, McNichol said, “By the end of the year, we only had 14 girls on the roster, so recruiting is very important for us; make sure that we get everything going in the right direction. I am very excited about the fall recruiting season, which will start Nov. 1 and pretty much go through the middle of December. I think it’s very important for us to improve our overall depth and shore up what we have going on as a team right now.”

The coach mentioned Passalacqua, Beddow, Hartman, McCarthy and Jordan Courter, of Mill Hall, for their contributions throughout the season.

“Overall, it was a really good year. I really enjoyed my first year with the team and am really excited moving forward into our winter workouts and then the spring and then getting back at it next year,” McNichol added.

Women’s Volleyball
Senior Courtney Gernert, of Palmyra, joined the 1,000-1,000 Club on Oct, 19 with her 1,000th career kill days after recording her 1,000th career dig as Penn College stopped Cazenovia College, 3-2 (22-25, 25-18, 17-25, 25-11, 15-8) and lost to Keuka College, 3-1 (17-25, 14-25, 25-21, 18-25). Against Cazenovia, when she hit the plateau, Gernert led with 19 kills while Samantha Pogash, of St. Clair, totaled 14 and Sophie Coldsmith, of Gettysburg, had 40 assists.  Gernert also was strong defensively with 21 of the team’s 50 digs. Against Keuka, Gernert led the offense with 10 kills and Coldsmith had 31 assists.

In its finale on Tuesday at Susquehanna University, the Lady Wildcats lost, 3-0 (25-12, 25-20, 25-15). Gernert had 11 kills and 11 digs and Coldsmith 16 assists as the team closed out an 11-16 overall campaign. In the NEAC, Penn College was 5-7.

“We had a very successful season. We were a very young team and in a brand-new conference we didn’t know what to expect from the other teams. Having a weekend with four conference matches was very tough, but we handled it fairly well and we will just keep building from here,” second-year coach Monica Brown said.

Playing its first season as a provisional member of Division III in the National Collegiate Athletic Association meant new challenges, as well, and Brown was satisfied with the strides her team made.

“All of the out-of-conference games we faced were very challenging, as well. We did well against Keystone and King’s College – I was happy with the wins we got (against them). But schools like Lycoming and Susquehanna are benchmarks, something that we are aiming for; that level of play,” Brown said.

Also during the week it was announced that Gernert had been named the NEAC Player of the Week for the second time this season. For the period ending Oct. 19, Gernert had a milestone week for the Wildcats, compiling 70 kills, 86 digs and 15 serve aces during five matches while reaching 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs for her career.

“Courtney had a great year … and she was a great leader on the court for us,” Brown said. “My key freshman was Sophie Coldsmith. She jumped right into it and her work ethic is what I like most about her. She never stops playing. She works hard every single point no matter what the score is.”

Also commenting on Kaitlyn Kline, of Lock Haven, the team’s only senior besides Gernert, Brown said, “Last year, she was still developing and, this year, she came into her own and really did well for us all year.”

PENN COLLEGE SCHEDULES/RECORDS
Cross-Country
Saturday, Nov. 1 – NEAC Championships at Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C.
Saturday, Nov. 7 – USCAA Championships at Syracuse, N.Y.
(season ends)

Men’s Soccer
Final overall record: 8-8-1
Final NEAC record: 4-5-1
Sunday, Oct. 19 – host  Penn State Abington, L, 2-1

Women’s Soccer
Final overall record: 5-12
Final NEAC record: 4-7
Sunday, Oct. 19 – host Penn State Abington, L, 2-1 OT
Tuesday, Oct. 21 – at Wilson College, canceled
Friday, Oct. 24 – at Gallaudet University, W, 5-1

Women’s Volleyball
Final Overall record: 11-16
Final NEAC record: 5-7
Sunday, Oct. 19 – at Cazenovia College, W, 3-2 (22-25, 25-18, 17-25, 25-11, 15-8)
Sunday, Oct. 19 – vs. Keuka College at Reading, L, 3-1 (17-25, 14-25, 25-21, 18-25)
Tuesday, Oct. 22 – at Susquehanna University, L, 3-0 (25-12, 25-20, 25-15)

Wrestling
Saturday, Nov. 1 – at King’s College Monarch Invitational, 9:30 a.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 5 – at Wilkes University, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 8 – at University of Scranton Electric Duals, 10 a.m.

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