Penn College Cross Country Teams Set to Open

Published 08.30.2006


Pennsylvania College of Technology men's cross country teams have won eight league or conference championships during five years under coach Mike Paulhamus, and, if early season indications hold true, this may be his best team ever.

"I've got a very talented squad. They are way ahead of any team that I have ever had (at this point in the season)," Paulhamus said, as both his men's and women's teams prepare for their openers Saturday at the Marywood Invitational.

While talent will take his runners so far, Paulhamus said it is the "smarts" that will ultimately determine just how well they do.

"We'll have to wait until after the first race on Saturday (to see how smart they are). There are a lot of freshmen on the team (13 of 18 on the men's roster) and they have to make that adjustment from 3.1 miles (high school cross country distance) to 5 miles. It may take one or two races for them to adjust," the coach said.

Among the top Wildcat runners so far are sophomore Dan LaSota (Lake Ariel) and freshmen Zach Lengel (Linden), Greg Kammerle (Willow Grove), Jeff Faherty (Wantage, N.J.), Brian Gardner (Drexel Hill) and Mark Renninger (Barto).

Also on the men's squad are junior Michael Womelsdorf (Allentown), sophomores Devon Lucabaugh (Spring Grove), Ben Myers (Lancaster) and Pat Wisniski (Erie) and freshmen Russell Blankenship (New Florence), Pat Cullop (New Windsor, Conn.), John Dyer (Middleburg), John Greenwood (Harrisburg), Andrew Rhen (Lebanon), David Ritchey (Hagerstown, Md.), Josh Stover (Spring Mills) and Jeff Tarconish (Deer Lake).

"We're really deep. Of the 18, we have 12 to 13 quality runners," Paulhamus said. "I feel confident with this group that they could be dominant.

"I'm excited for them. They have a lot of potential and they can probably be the best team that Penn College ever fielded," he added

Numbers on the women's team are considerably lower, but Paulhamus said the quality is there.

"We're struggling to get a fourth or fifth girl, and we have a rally cry out to pick up one or two more, but Tracey Brewbaker of Middletown and Stephanie Pietroski of Ringoes, N.J. (both freshmen) are really talented," the coach said.

Also on the women's squad is returnee Shannon Gibble (sophomore/Coudersport).

"In our league, we can win a championship with three girls, but it will be difficult," Paulhamus said.

During Penn State University Athletic Conference meets, team scoring is determined by the finish of the top five men and top three women. Penn College opens the conference portion of its schedule Sept. 16 at Penn State Wilkes-Barre. The Penn College men are defending champs and the Lady Wildcats, who run a 3.1-mile distance, finished second last year.

Complete rosters and season schedules are available on the college's Athletics Web site.