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Wrestlers Set for Regionals, Baseball Beginning, Basketball Ends

For the first time in school history, Pennsylvania College of Technology wrestlers have a shot at a NCAA national championship and they begin that quest Friday and Saturday at the NCAA Division III Southeast Region Championships in Rocky Mount, Virginia.

The top three finishers in each weight class will advance to the NCAA Division III Championships from March 9-10 at Cleveland, Ohio.

While the college’s wrestlers prep for the next step, baseball season is about to begin and the seasons ended last week for the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Wrestling
“There is a kind of nervous excitement right now. For a lot of guys, it is their first time competing at this level,” first-year coach Jamie Miller said. “Dylan (Otis) is our only returner who has any similar competition experience at the collegiate level.”

“We’ve got a pretty cautiously optimistic take on the whole thing. We’d love to get somebody through, but, realistically, getting guys experience in this type of environment is going to be so crucial moving forward,” Miller said. “The goal right now is to get guys experienced competing at that level. We’re very hopeful. We worked hard for it.”

Wildcats expected to compete include:
133 — Christian Fox, of Boyertown
141 – Chris Bashaw, of Jersey Shore
157 – Dan Bergeron, Jackson, New Jersey
165 – Nicholas Bruce, of Troy
174 – Ty Gardner, of Pottsville
184 – Patrick Ostrowsky, of Lewisburg
197 – Jared Mooney, of Palmerton
285 – Otis, of Towanda.

Over the past month and a half as Penn College compiled a 7-20 dual match record, Miller’s goal was to have his grapplers healthy and peaking at the right time, which is now.

“We’ve been wrestling tough teams all year. … We’ll find out come regionals if we’re peaking at the right time. In terms of health – at this time of year, everybody is banged up; it’s a long season. Your body is not meant to sustain four or five months of hand-to-hand combat like these guys have been doing all year. We have guys who are wrestling their best right now, which is all you can ask for,” Miller said.

“Now that our team competition is over, the focus shifts for each guy. As a team, we’re working together to push each other, but it becomes very individual right now. Guys have to do what they have to do as individuals to get themselves prepared,” the coach added. “For some guys, it’s cleaning up technique. For some guys, it’s getting in a little bit better shape. For other guys, it’s getting stronger and, for some guys, it’s getting a little bit more healthy. We’re taking a very individualized approach to get everybody to the point where they want to be.”

Baseball
With 21 returning players, seven of them starters from last year’s team that went 25-13 overall and finished second in the North Eastern Athletic Conference, nobody is overlooking coach Chris Howard’s Wildcats this season. Penn College is scheduled to open its season at noon Saturday against Lebanon Valley College at Bowman Field.

Although conference play won’t begin until April when the Wildcats already will have up to 14 games under their belts – eight of them being played in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, from March 3-8 – NEAC coaches have picked Penn College in a preseason poll to finish second behind defending champion Penn State Berks. Behind those two in the poll are: Penn State Abington, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, SUNY Poly, Wells College, Gallaudet University, Cazenovia College and SUNY Cobleskill.

“I think it’s important for our pitchers to establish what we’re going to be like on the mound (during the preconference season). Pitching is what wins championships, and that’s why I am excited about our pitching staff, but we want to bring the arms along gently,” Howard said. “We are out there to win every game, but I want to make sure that everybody is healthy and ready to go by the time that first conference game comes up (April 7).”

The top returning players from a year ago, whose contributions helped lead to a school single-season record 25 wins, are sophomore infielder Ben Flicker, of Topton, the NEAC Rookie of the Year, and senior pitcher Max Bair, of Centre Hall, both all-conference First Team selections, and sophomore Brittan Kittle, of Millville, named to the Second Team.

Also on the squad are two other players who earned all-conference honors in 2016: senior pitcher Aaron Palmer, of Hanover, (First Team), and junior second baseman Cole Hofmann, of Newtown (Second Team). Palmer also was a NEAC Second Team selection in 2015.

“We’re probably as deep this year as we’ve ever been. We have a lot of players coming back,” Howard said. “Our pitching staff is without question the deepest that it’s ever been. There are a lot of expectations that we have for us this year, and the guys have been working hard.”

“We kind of learned our lesson after the 2015 season. We won a conference championship that year and, in 2016, we came in thinking that we’re going to do this (win titles) all the time, but we forgot to do the little things to keep us at that level,” Howard said, alluding to what turned out to be a 13-23 campaign.

“This year, we’re paying a lot more attention to detail, a lot more of the little things we know we have to do in order to get us back to that championship game like we were last year. That’s ultimately what we’re fighting to get back to – another shot at a conference championship – and this year there is more at stake; we win a conference championship and we have that automatic bid to a (NCAA Division III) regional tournament,” the coach said.

“We are one of the two teams that are picked to win it (NEAC) and we better expect everybody’s ‘A’ game every time we walk out there. The guys are ready for it,” Howard said. “We’re the hunted, but also we’re hunting ourselves. It’s going to be a fun season.”

In 11 years under Howard, Penn College is 250-151.

Men’s Basketball
Squaring off at home on Wednesday against Keuka College, third in the NEAC North Division, Penn College forced the game into overtime before losing, 77-74. In a game that was tied at 66 at the end of regulation time, the Wildcats were outscored 11-7 in the extra period, including 5-0 over the final 1:52. Robert Young Jr., of Abington, led Penn College with 20 points while Spencer Bartron, of Camden, Delaware, added 18 points.

Ending its season on Saturday at home against North Division co-leading SUNY Poly, the Wildcats lost, 67-61, to finish 3-22 overall and 2-14 in the NEAC. Young Jr. topped Penn College with 22 points.

Statistically speaking: Young Jr. ended 20th among NEAC scorers with a 14-points-per-game average and Jesse White, of Harrisburg, was seventh in rebounding with an 8.3-per-game average.

Final NEAC North Division standings: Morrisville State College 10-2, SUNY Poly 10-2, Keuka College 7-5, Cazenovia College 6-6, Wells College 4-8, SUNY Cobleskill 4-8, Penn College 1-11.

Final NEAC South Division standings: Lancaster Bible College 11-1, Wilson College 9-3, Gallaudet University 7-5, Penn State Abington 6-6, Bryn Athyn College 4-8, St. Elizabeth 3-9, Penn State Berks 2-10.

Women’s Basketball
Hosting Keuka College on Wednesday, the visitors doubled up on Penn College in a 70-35 Keuka win. Jane Herman, of Greencastle, led the Wildcats with 10 points. Keuka outscored Penn College in the paint, 34-2.

The Wildcats wrapped up their season at home on Saturday with an 81-47 NEAC loss to end 2-22 overall and 1-15 in the conference. Cassi Kuhns, of Loyalsock Township, topped Penn College with 16 points.

Statistically speaking: Tori Wolfe, of Dalmatia, was tied for 27th among NEAC scorers with 12 points per game and was tied for 16th in rebounding with 7.2 per game.

Final NEAC North Division standings: SUNY Poly 11-1, Keuka College 10-2, Morrisville State College 8-4, Cazenovia College 5-7, Wells College 5-7, SUNY Cobleskill 3-9, Penn College 0-12.

Final NEAC South Division standings: Lancaster Bible College 11-1, Gallaudet University 8-4, Penn State Abington 7-5, Penn State Berks 7-5, Wilson College 4-8, St. Elizabeth 4-8, Bryn Athyn 1-11.

Softball
In a preseason poll of NEAC coaches, Penn College, with 113 points, was picked to finish third behind Keuka College (138) and Penn State Berks (130). Following those three are: Wilson College, Cazenovia College, Penn State Abington, SUNY Poly, Gallaudet University, Morrisville State College, St. Elizabeth, SUNY Cobleskill, Lancaster Bible College and Wells College. The Wildcats are scheduled to open their season March 4 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Streaming App Launched
Penn College, in conjunction with streaming partner Stretch Internet, has announced that fans can access content from Penn College’s high-definition webcasts through custom applications on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Android TV.

Penn College Athletics streams about 75 home sporting events per year, which attract nearly 5,000 viewers.

The custom apps provide fans a seamless way to access content directly on their TVs – with no need to “relay” or “cast” the stream from tablets, phones or desktop computers. Users can access the content simply by searching for “Penn College” on the app interfaces on any of the compatible devices, then downloading the free app.

Using the professionally designed, intuitive interface, fans can easily view a schedule of live, upcoming and on-demand broadcasts.

SCHEDULE/RECORDS/RESULTS
Men’s Basketball
Final overall: 3-22
Final NEAC: 2-14
Wednesday, Feb. 14 – host Keuka College (NEAC), L, 77-73 in OT
Saturday, Feb. 17 – host SUNY Poly (NEAC), L, 67-61

Women’s Basketball
Final overall: 2-22
Final NEAC: 1-15
Wednesday, Feb. 14 – host Keuka College (NEAC), L, 70-35
Saturday, Feb. 17 – host SUNY Poly (NEAC), L, 81-47

Wrestling
Final overall: 7-20
Friday-Saturday, Feb. 23-24 – NCAA Division III Southeast Region Championships, Rocky Mount, Va.
Friday, Saturday, March 9-10 – NCAA Division III Championships at Cleveland, Ohio

Baseball
Saturday, Feb. 24 – host Lebanon Valley College at Bowman Field (2), noon
Saturday, March 3 – vs. Lehman College in Myrtle Beach, S.C. 3 p.m.

Softball
Sunday, March 4 – vs. Mt. Aloysius College in Myrtle Beach, S.C., 1:30 p.m.

Archery
Saturday-Sunday, March 3-4 – Indoor Nationals at Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Va.

For more about NEAC, visit the conference website.

For more information, visit the Wildcat Athletics website.

No. 28

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