Student-athletes convene in the Klingerman Family Athletics Suite's open reception area.

Athletics celebrates enhancements

Published 02.13.2023

Spring 2023, Volume 32, Number 1

Fall 2017 brought two significant achievements to Wildcat Athletics: Penn College competed for the first time as an NCAA Division III institution, and it launched the Wildcat Club. The former made an immediate impact, as school spirit increased and the number of student-athletes expanded, while the latter continues to have powerful influence.

The Wildcat Club gives special recognition to alumni, parents, friends, fans and corporations who give philanthropic support to Penn College teams. Since its inception, 320 members have championed athletic programs with nearly $1 million in contributions, much of which has been invested into upgrading facilities. 

“As a former collegiate athlete, I can attest that the support of others – fans, families and friends – is quite motivating for student-athletes to compete at their best,” said Loni N. Kline, vice president for college relations/chief philanthropy officer. “We are so grateful for the motivating support of our Wildcat Club members and the incredible outcomes of their generosity.”

Renovations to the newly dubbed Klingerman Family Athletics Suite allow attractive space for interaction among coaches and athletes.

Renovations to the newly dubbed Klingerman Family Athletics Suite allow attractive space for interaction among coaches and athletes.

In January 2019, Penn College upgraded scoreboards in Bardo Gymnasium, thanks to a donation by Blaise Alexander Family Dealerships. The historic gym now features larger scoreboards with individual scoring panels.

Contributions from Susquehanna Trailways, Pepsi, M&T Bank and UPMC allowed Penn College to significantly offset the cost of a renovated outdoor complex – now known as UPMC Field – in the summer of 2019.

The complex boasts a state-of-the-art synthetic turf field, modern scoreboard, press box, updated bench area and welcoming gateway entrance. In addition to enriching the student-athlete experience, the improvements enabled the college to elevate men’s lacrosse from a club sport to an NCAA program in 2021.

The the help of supporters, UPMC Field received major upgrades in 2019.

With the help of supporters, UPMC Field received major upgrades in 2019.

“Much like academic labs, athletic facilities are critical to provide a safe and enhanced experience for current student-athletes and can entice prospective student-athletes to attend Penn College as we compete with other institutions in recruiting,” Penn College Director of Athletics Scott E. Kennell said. “The overwhelming support we’ve received from Wildcat Club members to invest into our facilities will impact generations of Wildcats.”

Penn College was able to meet another major need in 2021 when Dan and Monica Klingerman’s gift helped to significantly offset the cost of renovating the department’s office suite and constructing a wrestling practice facility. 

The Klingerman Family Athletics Suite features dedicated offices for full-time athletics employees, a prospective student-athlete lounge, and an open reception area. The new wrestling practice facility gives the growing wrestling team more space to practice in a safer environment.

Wrestlers began using a new practice facility in the Field House in 2021.

Wrestlers began using a new practice facility in the Field House in 2021.

“The Klingerman Family Athletics Suite solved both an aesthetics need and a functional need,” said Matt Blymier, assistant director of athletics. “Its look, design and decorations provide a wow factor to prospective student-athletes, while the dedicated offices give our coaches a place to have private conversations with their staff, current students and future students.”

In just five short years, Penn College’s athletic teams have excelled in and out competition – with three conference championships and more than 500 conference scholar-athlete selections, making a true mark in NCAA Division III. 

Learn more about the Wildcat Club.

A wall of honor celebrates scholar-athlete success.

A wall of honor celebrates scholar-athlete success.

Hall of Fame


Three former student-athletes were inducted into the Penn College Athletics Hall of Fame during Wildcat Weekend. The 10th Hall of Fame class featured Jordan (Courter) Rutledge ’18 (women’s soccer), Alicia Ross ’17 (women’s basketball) and Mark Shaffer ’10 (baseball).

Plas to attend Wildcat Weekend 2023

Jordan Rutledge

A defender who started in 68 of her 69 career matches in 2013-16, Rutledge, formerly of Mill Hall, played on women’s soccer teams that boasted 20 shutout wins and a North Eastern Athletic Conference semifinal. Rutledge earned her way onto NEAC third, first and All-Academic teams. She completed degrees in occupational therapy assistant and applied health studies.

Mark Shaffer

During Shaffer’s four-year pitching career (2007-10), Penn College’s baseball teams went 101-44, winning back-to-back Penn State University Athletic Conference baseball championships in 2008 and 2009, and finishing fourth in 2007 and 2010. Shaffer, of Hanover, earned PSUAC All-Academic and all-conference honors and was named to the USCAA first team. During his junior year, he finished 9-2 with a 2.45 ERA. He holds a bachelor’s in HVAC technology.

Alicia Ross

Ross, a guard who played 2013-17, holds the women’s basketball program’s career scoring record of 1,515 points. She started in 81 of 87 games and led the team in scoring during her last three seasons. She finished with 437 rebounds and 301 assists and was named to USCAA and NEAC all-conference teams, as well as the Penn State University Athletic Conference All-Academic team. Ross, of Williamsport, earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Women's Soccer

Women's Soccer

The team finished the regular season with four straight wins and reached the United East playoffs for the first time since 2019. The Wildcats ended their season 9-9-1 and 6-2 in the conference.

Kaelyn Sheetz ’24 and Sara Darlington ’25 were named to the United East first team, and Billiegean Hennessy ’25 earned second-team honors. Sheetz scored a program season record with 21 goals, and Cassie Johnson ’25 reset the program record with 13 assists in a season. 



Cross-country finished third at the United East men’s championship. Mitchell Campbell ’26 placed third and was named Rookie of the Year. Matthew Woolcock ’26 finished seventh and earned United East first-team honors. 

Men's Soccer

Men's Soccer

Tommy DeGeyter ’25 earned a spot on the United East second team.