Wildcat Sports Teams Have a Year to Remember
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 recently completed 2004-05 seasons.
Last fall, for the first time ever, the college fielded eight sports teams. All of them reached the post-season playoffs, with five claiming 11 championships. For all teams combined, the won-lost-tied record was 109-39-1.
Leading the way with three league crowns each were the men's soccer and cross country teams, as both won titles in the Commonwealth Campus Athletic Conference, Pennsylvania Collegiate Athletic Association and Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference. Next, with two championships each, were the Wildcat golf and women's cross country teams, which took CCAC and PCAA trophies. The women's volleyball team also claimed a CCAC crown.
In addition to team success, Penn College had two individual champions. Brandon Smith of Wellsboro was medalist in the CCAC golf finals and Teresa Burrill of Jersey Shore captured the CCAC women's singles tennis title. And, three Wildcat coaches were named PCAA coaches of the year: Chet Schuman in golf, Andy Richardson in men's soccer and Mike Paulhamus in cross country.
The fall was just the beginning. Moving into the winter and spring seasons, the men's and women's basketball teams each had turnaround campaigns and reached the playoffs, the bowling team took three state titles, the men's volleyball squad captured the EPCC championship, the baseball team reached the playoffs and Penn College archers excelled on both the state and national levels.
For the year, all Wildcat teams had a combined won-loss record of 188-78-1, a .704 winning percentage.
"It was a benchmark 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."
Commenting on the college's showing in the CCAC during its first year in the conference, league director John Fritz said, "(Penn College) had a great impact. 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 not aware of any school ever having had so much success during its inaugural year in the CCAC.
Men's Soccer The men's soccer team finished 19-2 overall and closed out its season with an eight-match win streak. During EPCC regular-season matches, the Wildcats were 11-1 and they were 7-1 during CCAC matches.
"These guys took every prize there was to take this year," Richardson said. "It was just a wonderful year all around, and a tribute to the players and their ability. ... It was pretty phenomenal."
The Wildcats beat Penn State Hazleton, 5-0, to win the CCAC title, then went on to edge Manor College, 4-3 in overtime on penalty kicks, to take home the EPCC and PCAA crowns.
For the season, the Wildcats outscored their opponents 83-27.
When post-season awards were handed out, named to the PCAA all-state team were Adam Cleland (freshman/East Pennsboro), Travis Russ (freshman/Pleasant Valley) and Adam Waigand (sophomore/Seneca Valley, N.Y.).
Named EPCC all-conference were Cleland, Russ, Waigand, Ryan Swartz (sophomore/Muhlenberg), Alex Johnson (sophomore/New Oxford), Mike Angell (sophomore/Central York), Jordan Myers (freshman/York), John Swope (freshman/East Pennsboro), Lathan Gross (sophomore/Northeastern) and Wesley Miller (freshman/Wilson).
Cross Country Paulhamus was confident about his runners going into the end-of-the-season meet at State College, and they came through with flying colors.
In a meet that gave them the PCAA and CCAC titles, the Penn College men tallied 24 points to finish first, while Penn State Schuylkill came in second with 49 points.
"Everybody brought their 'A' game and we did what we had to do," the coach said.
The Penn College women totaled 21 points while Penn State DuBois had 25 to finish second.
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.
When post-season awards were handed out, named to the PCAA all-state team were men Dan Arminavage (sophomore/Annville-Cleona), Tom Lambert (freshman/Bangor), Justin Alberts (freshman/Greenwood), Jamie King (sophomore/Scranton) and Ryan Lampart (freshman/Hazleton) and women Jennie Mull (freshman/Huntingdon, Rachel Sledzinski (freshman/Western Wayne), Krystal Sheredos (freshman/Bangor).
Named EPCC all-conference were men Arminavage, Lambert and Alberts and women Mull, Sledzinski and Tracey Seylar (freshman/Chambersburg).
Golf "The kids played well. The kids played real well. It's a nice way for them to end the season," Schuman said of his team's accomplishments.
Smith led the way individually for the Wildcats with a two-day tournament total of 151 on rounds of 76-75.
In the PCAA part of the tournament, the Wildcats recorded a 461 team score and finished eight strokes ahead of Butler Community College.
In the CCAC championships, Penn College had a 617, followed by Penn State Beaver with 669.
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. The team was 10-0 in CCAC and EPCC regular-season matches.
"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."
When post-season awards were handed out, named PCAA all-state and EPCC all-conference were Smith, a sophomore; Shaun McQuay (freshman/Warrior Run) and Jeff Kerr II (sophomore/Bloomsburg).
Women's VolleyballThe progression in improvement over the last four seasons by the women's volleyball reached the peak 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.
With everything on the line, Penn College, the top seed in the West Division after compiling an 8-2 regular-season record, dropped the first game against Penn State Fayette, 31-33, but recovered to win the next two games by scores of 30-28 and 15-10 to claim the trophy.
At season's end, Hawkins named Maria McNett, a sophomore from Canton, and Maria Bova, a freshman from Bethlehem Catholic, as the team's co-Most Valuable Players.
Team Tennis For Burrill, a junior, the CCAC title was her first, but it marked her third title overall in three years as she previously won singles crowns during the PCAA spring tennis season.
Teamwise, 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.
Fall Baseball/Women's SoccerThe Penn College baseball team, which finished 8-13 overall (7-5 in the EPCC and 4-4 in the CCAC), and women's soccer team, which ended 2-6-1 overall (2-3-1 in the EPCC), also reached the playoffs, but both lost in the first round. Despite that, five athletes earned post-season honors.
In baseball, Tyler Heagy (freshman/Annville-Cleona) was named PCAA all-state and Heagy, Brad Reed (freshman/Pine Grove) and Dave Miller (freshman/Pen Argyl) were named all-EPCC.
In women's soccer, Kim Carbaugh (freshman/Northern Lebanon) and Nicole Crouse (sophomore/West York) earned all-EPCC honors.
Men's Basketball The Wildcat men set a school record with 15 wins during their season, finished 15-9 and reached the CCAC playoffs during their first year in the league.
Ken Vialet (Manhattan, N.Y.) led the team in scoring with an 18.4 points-per-game average, while Dawan Moore (Buffalo, N.Y.) averaged 12.8 ppg and Tony Flint (Port Allegany) 10.3.
"(In eight years) this is the most fun I've had because it's a great group of kids. They've jelled together, they play as a team.... It's been a great season," coach Gene Bruno said.
Vialet was honored after the season by being named to the CCAC Honorable Mention team.
Women's Basketball "We've exceeded my hopes for the season. I wanted to field a competitive team in the conference and we became more than that," coach Ron Kodish said after his squad went 18-9 and reached both the EPCC and CCAC playoffs.
Katlyn Stupar (State College) led the team in scoring with a 30.9 points-per-game average, while Brittany Blessard (Bucktail) averaged 21.2 in just half a season and Natali Plavi (Elderton) 12.3.
On the court, the Wildcats averaged 67.5 points on offense, a big increase over the 38.5 they averaged a year ago, and allowed 53.7 ppg on defense, nearly 10 fewer than during the previous season.
For her efforts, Stupar received all-Pennsylvania Collegiate Athletic Association honors while Blessard and Plavi were named to the all-Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference team.
Co-ed Bowling When all of the pins were done falling, the Wildcats had claimed three titles in the PCAA Championships at Faxon Lanes in Loyalsock Township.
Sean Garczynski (Windber) came from 100 pins down to capture the men's all-events crown with a score of 2,035; Janelle Badger (Lewisburg) and Kelli Fazekas (Easton) teamed to win their second consecutive women's doubles title with a score of 1,183; and the Wildcat team of Garczynski, Tim McMahon (Williamsport), Jason Tolley (Twin Valley), Jarret Walter (Selinsgrove), Paul Kenney (Northeast Bradford) and Jon Miglin (North Warren, N.J.) won in men's team event with a score of 3,787.
"Our bowlers did a great job at the tournament. Our men's team came out of nowhere to win the team event. It was really nice to watch the kids bowl and win," said Penn College coach Lisa Worth.
Men's Volleyball The Penn College men's volleyball team captured its first EPCC championship with a 3-2 win over Harrisburg Area Community College. Individual game scores were 22-25, 25-16, 25-16, 21-25, 15-9.
"It feels wonderful. It really does," Wes Strayer, coach of the Wildcats, said after his team completed a 26-1 season (they were 14-1 during the EPCC regular season). "The kids really deserve it. They played wonderful all year. You can't ask for anything better than that. I'm just elated."
Spring Baseball The college's baseball program saw a change over with winter as Mike Stanzione retired after 13 seasons, during which his teams went 261-167, to devote all of his energy as the college's athletic director. Succeeding him was Rees Daneker, a longtime assistant in the high school baseball programs both at Montoursville and Loyalsock Township.
The Wildcats finished 8-7 overall, 7-5 during the EPCC regular season, and reached the league playoffs.
"The kids played well. (As a team) we hit .312 and the ERA of our pitching staff was 1.85. We had a lot of kids who came up and were asked to perform and they did," Daneker said.
James Woodring (Waynesboro) earned all-Pennsylvania Collegiate Athletic Association honors while Woodring, Matt Comp (Newport) and Dave Miller (Pen Argyl) earned all-EPCC honors.
Women's Softball After a 7-3 start, the Lady Wildcats faltered down the stretch and finished 9-10 overall, 5-3 in the EPCC and 7-3 in the CCAC, just missing the playoffs.
Beth Hoffman (East Juniata) was named all-Pennsylvania Collegiate Athletic Association while Danielle Hubler (West Branch) and Theresa D'Andrea (Weatherly) earned all-EPCC honors.
Co-ed Tennis Penn College finished 3-3 during the regular season and, in the end-of-the-season PCAA Championships, the men's doubles team of Robert "Spyke" Krepshaw (Southern Columbia)-Dan Quimby (Wellsboro) took second place.
Krepshaw and Adam Cleland (East Pennsboro) were named to the all-EPCC team.
Archery Going into the season-ending outdoor nationals, fifth-year coach Chad Karstetter's team already had been successful as the women's compound team won all five competitions it entered and the men's compound team captured the state indoor title.
Individually, Karen Morse (Canton) won the state indoor women's compound and set a new scoring record of 562 points in the process, Sarah Wilson (Tyrone) won the state female recurve, Ryan Benny (Burnham) won the state men's compound, Michelle Wright (Kendall, N.Y.) won the Virginia state indoor women's compound and the women's individual compound title in the Eastern Indoor Regional Championships, Jason Kornbau (Red Lion) won the men's recurve at the James Madison Invitational and Beth Robinson (Williamsport) won the women's individual compound at the East Regional Collegiate Outdoor Championships.
In the U.S. Intercollegiate Outdoor Championship at Milledgeville, Ga., Morse placed second in the nation in the women's compound event and was named a Golden Arrow Award winner for her top three finish, Ryan Romberger of Pillow was seventh in the men's compound and earned All-American status for the third year in a row and Jonas Glick of Lewistown placed ninth in the men's compound. The Wildcats finished fourth in the overall team standings while taking second in women's team compound and third in the men's and mixed compound events.
Looking Ahead Each semester brings an influx of new students to the college campus and, beginning this fall, there will be additional incentive as all athletes will have four-year eligibility, and most of the college's teams will compete in Penn State's Commonwealth Campus Athletic Conference.
"It's a great opportunity for our students who are in four-year programs to be able to play for four years. It is the next step in our athletic evolution," Stanzione said. "It will help in recruiting, and more athletes will come here if they know they can compete for four years."
Jill Landesberg-Boyle, vice president for student affairs, said the eligibility changes are of great benefit to Penn College students.
"Athletics and other co-curricular activities play a significant role in the lives of our students, broadening and enriching their college experience and providing for a more well-rounded education," Boyle said. "The changes being implemented will allow more students to take advantage of such opportunities."
"This opens a whole new world for us," added Schuman, who also is the college's director of admissions. "Not only do we get to bring some great golfers back, but it sparks more interest now for those students who may have opted to another school because it had four-year eligibility and they wanted to compete athletically.
"They're going to come here now," he said. "This is the icing on the cake."
"I don't think it's going to mean anything but good things for athletics in general at Penn College. But really, for the basketball program, I think it's going to do wonders in our ability to recruit athletes who are really serious about continuing to play basketball beyond high school," Kodish noted.
As pleased as Penn College is about the moves, so is Fritz.
"It's great for the conference to have Penn College in. We're just in the transition period where we're going to four-year eligibility in all our sports," the CCAC director said, "and to have Penn College in with all our other teams gives great credibility and balance to our conference."
"Anytime you have a school as strong as Penn College it makes everybody else stronger," he added. "You play up to your competition, and we found out real quickly how competitive Penn College was last fall.... It's a plus for everybody."