Penn College Archers Set to Shoot Into Season
Despite the fact that the Pennsylvania College of Technology archery team graduated two archers who had achieved All-America status four times, coach Chad Karstetter is optimistic about this year's squad.
"I look at the team, as a whole, to do fairly well. We definitely will generate enough points to be in the top couple this year, like we have other years," he said.
"James Madison was No. 1 last year, and, with its returnees, again will be our big rival. Between James Madison, Texas A&M, Stanford and Atlantic Cape Community College, I can see us being right up there competing with them," Karstetter continued.
Competing for the Wildcats in men's compound will be returnees Brock Smith (junior/Brookville) and Brad Ferguson (sophomore/Lewistown) and freshmen Dan Wido (Shickshinny), Zach Plannick (Coraopolis), Aaron Lipinski (Scranton) and Jared Boers (Pine Grove).
Members of the men's recurve team are James Fanelli (sophomore/Glastonburg, Conn.), Martin Smith (junior/Brookville) and Tyler Gale (freshman/Kennedyville, Md.). Martin and Brock Smith are brothers.
On the women's compound team are returnees Lindsey Fackler (junior/Halifax), Sarah Wilson (senior/Tyrone) and Sarah Pierson (freshman/Eldred).
Rebecca Deist (freshman/Manheim) will compete in female recurve.
"I expect the male compound team to do very well. So far, they've been shooting higher scores in practice than we've ever shot as a team in the past. Their indoor scores are, by far, higher than any team I've coached," said Karstetter, entering his eighth season.
"James Fanelli has quite a bit of experience shooting the recurve. With his help, we have two guys who went from compound to recurve who will fill out a team for us. We're starting out a little slow. We still have some work to do with them. But by mid-March, when indoor nationals come around, they'll be ready to go," the coach said.
"Lindsey Fackler is shooting really well; so is Sarah Wilson. Sarah Pierson has never shot competitively before, but, in another month, whenever she gets a couple of shoots under her belt, she'll be shooting very well, too," Karstetter said.
Deist, the coach said, has no archery background; but that's not necessarily a terrible thing.
"Anytime you can get anybody who has the determination to do well, and they have no bad habits to start with, it's easier to teach somebody who has no bad habits than somebody who does," Karstetter said.
Gone from last year are All-Americans Michelle Wright and Ryan Rambo, but Karstetter believes he has others who are ready to step up to that level, naming Wido, Plannick, Brock Smith, Fackler and Wilson with the best potential to do so. Since 1997, 15 Penn College archers have earned All-America status 30 times.
"It was pleasing this year that we weren't taking a lot of people right off the street and teaching them to shoot. We have a lot of experience. Even the freshmen coming in have shot years prior in youth programs and are doing pretty well," Karstetter said.
The Wildcats are scheduled to open their season Saturday at the Pennsylvania State Indoor Championships in Taylor.
"I believe we're going to do very well. I'm looking forward to it.
"The mental part is probably about 90 percent of archery. We've been practicing, and, being that they're all shooting as well as they are, they're putting a lot of pressure on each other to force each other to do better anyhow," the coach added.
Penn College will host the Eastern Regional Intercollegiate Outdoor Championships on April 26-27.
(Complete rosters and season schedules are available on the college's Athletics Web site .)