Penn College Archers Set for National Championships
After dominating the East Coast intercollegiate archery scene for the past two months, Pennsylvania College of Technology is set to show itself on the national stage. California, here they come.
The Wildcats, under ninth-year coach Chad Karstetter, will compete Friday through Sunday at Long Beach, Calif., in the National Archery Association National Collegiate Championships, where they hope their success continues.
"Everything is pretty much ready to go. They've had a great year. They're really looking forward to getting out to California and hopefully bringing back another national championship for the men's compound team and high finishes for the women's compound and men's recurve," Karstetter said.
Shooting for Penn College will be Dan Wido (Shickshinny), Zach Plannick (Coraopolis), Aaron Lapinski (Bloomsburg), Brock Smith (Brookville), Brad Ferguson (Lewistown) and Jered Boers (Pine Grove) in men's compound; Lindsey Fackler (Halifax), Cheryl Brooks (Reynoldsville) and Julie Cain (Bellefonte) in women's compound; and Martin Smith (Brookville, Brock's brother), James Fanelli (Glastonburg, Conn.), Tyler Gale (Kennedyville, Md.) and Glen Thomas (Mercer) in men's recurve. The Wildcats have no women's recurve shooters. A year ago as freshmen, Wido, Plannick and Lapinski won the outdoor national championship. Overall a year ago, the Wildcats ended fourth, equaling their previous highest finish that came during the 2005 season.
Weather, more specifically the wind speed, factors greatly into archery shooting, but Karstetter said, "As long as we keep our heads in the game and realize that every point counts, (that) is the big thing. "We're going into this event knowing that everybody is saying, 'Here comes Penn College.' The powerhouse is in our men's recurve and men's compound teams, and, individually, we have strong members in all three classes."
Karstetter said he expects his squad's toughest competition will come from the likes of Texas A&M, Atlantic Cape Community College, Cal State-Long Beach, Columbia University and James Madison University.
"It's hard to say what a lot of the other colleges have or how strong their teams are. Looking at some of their results, there are quite a few good shooters out there. Even though we have been on top in the eastern part of the country, the rest of the regions all have top shooters and, if you're not on your game for one of the days, it could cost you All-American or it could cost you a good seed going into Sunday's elimination round and it can hurt your team from being ranked in the team rounds for the knockout round," the coach noted.
Wednesday is a travel day, with practice and opening ceremonies scheduled for Thursday. On Friday, archers will shoot 72 arrows at 70 meters and will participate in lottery team rounds. Archers will shoot another 72 arrows on Saturday to complete qualifying for Sunday. Then, official team rounds will begin. Individual competition is scheduled for Sunday.
Since 1997, 19 Penn College archers have earned All-American status 34 times. Scores from the indoor Eastern Regionals and outdoor National Championships determine All-Americans, and Karstetter expects those numbers to grow after this weekend. He named Wido, Fackler, Plannick and Thomas as the most likely, with Gale, Lapinski, Brock Smith, Ferguson and Boers as All-American possibilities. Karstetter said both Brooks and Cain are vying for Rookie of the Year honors.
"It's been a great year. I have a great team. I couldn't ask for anything more as a coach in a team than I've had this year as far as the way they've worked together and the good sportsmanlike conduct they've shown," Karstetter said. Other, perhaps, than another national championship to go with it.