Penn College Cross-Country Coach Cautiously Optimistic
Pennsylvania College of Technology cross-country teams are coming off one of their best years ever.
Wildcat runners Greg Kammerle and Tamara Pavlov captured Penn State University Athletic Conference individual titles. The men's team swept the top five places in the end-of-the- season conference meet to easily claim its fifth straight conference championship and the women's squad finished second. In PSUAC meets, the Wildcat men were 28-0, and for the first time in college history they won a non-conference meet, beating a field that included some NCAA Division II and III teams.
Pavlov, a sophomore from Lewisburg, returns to lead the Penn College women, and while Kammerle has graduated, six teammates who ran behind him last year return and that has coach Mike Paulhamus cautiously optimistic entering his ninth season. Penn College opens its season Friday evening at the King's College Invitational.
On the men's side, returnees are Jeff Faherty (junior/High Point, N.J.), Tristan Mummert (sophomore/Red Lion), Zachary Lengel (junior/Jersey Shore), Brad Robinson (junior/West Chester), John Greenwood (junior/Harrisburg) and Mark Cordeiro (sophomore/Canton). In addition, Russell Blankenship, a sophomore from New Florence, Va. returns after sitting out last season.
A newcomer who Paulhamus expects will offer immediate help is Stephen Hoffman (freshman/Ocean City, Md.).
"Hoffman has been running with Mark and Jeff at the top spots in practice. I don't think that we've seen everything from him yet. I'm waiting until the meet on Friday to see what, or if, he's holding back a little bit," Paulhamus said. "He may be my ace in the hole."
Also returning from last season are Mike Fischer (sophomore/Ringwood, N.J.) and Brian West (sophomore/Newark, Del.). Other freshmen are Seth Beckman (Linden), Garrett Beers (Quarryville), Alex Kahler (Millmont), John Kriner (Lancaster), Corvin Oberholtzer (Wellsboro) and Ben Sholly (Mifflintown).
Addressing Friday's opener, Paulhamus said, "It's a nine-team (men's) field (3.5-mile race). I'm not sure we'll be No. 1 or No. 2, but I'm hoping to be around No. 3 or No. 4."
Conference-wise, Paulhamus said it is too early to tell what will happen.
"I don't know what we have just yet, but I'm hoping to pick up where we left off," the coach added.
Pavlov, a sophomore from Lewisburg, has been slowed a bit in practice, but again is expected to be the "woman to beat" in the conference.
New to the women's squad are Elaina Barnes (freshman/Canton), Alyssa Giedroc (junior/Howard), Kathleen Mills (sophomore/Lewisburg) and Erin Taylor (freshman/Shinglehouse). Giedroc also is on the college's women's soccer team.
"I'm not sure where we will finish in the league. Three of the four women were outstanding high school runners, so once we get them back into shape and get them comfortable running college races, hopefully by October we'll turn the corner and challenge for the championship," Paulhamus said.
The goal for both teams, the coach said, is winning the PSUAC and representing the conference in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association championships in late October.
(Complete rosters and season schedules are available on the college's Athletics Web site ).