Two Penn College Archers Headed for Competition in China
For the third time in three years, Pennsylvania College of Technology will be represented in international archery competition.
Zachary Plannick, 22, of Coraopolis, and Glen Thomas, 21, of Mercer, will compete Aug. 14-18 at the 26th World University Summer Games. The biennial event runs from Aug. 12-23 and is being held in Shenzhen, China. As many as 8,000 athletes from 140 countries are expected to participate. Last fall, Penn College archer Danny Wido, of Shickshinny, competed in the World University Archery Championships, also in Shenzhen.
International competition is nothing new for either Plannick or Thomas. Two years ago, they competed in the 25th World University Games in Belgrade, Serbia, where Plannick won gold as a member of the U.S. men's compound bow team. Thomas competed in men's recurve events, but failed to medal.
Earlier, as junior archers, Plannick was a national compound champion in 2005 and 2006, and, in 2006, he was a member of the record-setting U.S. Junior team in Mexico. Thomas competed as a junior in Mexico in 2006 and in Turkey in 2008.
Both Plannick and Thomas have been instrumental for the success that Penn College teams have experienced in national collegiate competition in recent years, as the Wildcats placed fourth in the nation in 2008, third in 2009 and second both last year and this. Each is a four-time archery All-American Thomas became the first Penn College archer to do it twice in one season last year and each has achieved individual success, as Thomas won the national male recurve championship in 2010 and Plannick was the men's compound runner-up last spring and this.
Plannick, who will compete in individual and team compound bow events, and Thomas, who is entered in recurve events, are part of a 12-member team representing the United States. They leave for China on Wednesday and will return Aug. 19.
Because of the international competition, Thomas, a senior manufacturing engineering technology student, will miss his first week of classes, as the fall semester begins Aug. 15. He anticipates being back in class Aug. 22.
"I think the experience I have at being at a couple of these world tournaments will help out," Thomas said.
"I want to be competitive and do the best I can. I want to shoot like I normally shoot "¦ Not try to do too much or perform better than I can. I know I can shoot well," he added of his mental approach.
Since the collegiate season ended in May, Thomas said he entered a competition in June, where he placed third, and he has been practicing in his backyard to fine tune for China.
"The (American) male compound team usually does a little better, but we have a solid male recurve team this year, too," he said. "We have some very good shooters, so hopefully everything works out right and we bring home some medals."
Plannick graduated from Penn College in May but still gets to compete in the games, as they are for 17-24-year-olds who are (or in the past year have been) a college or university students.
Now working as an industrial engineer for White Castle in Columbus, Ohio, Plannick reflected on his four years at Penn College: "The (archery) program definitely helped me a lot. You want to do good yourself, but you want to do good as a whole team and the program was based more on team building and team bonding. The archery team was really, really close. "¦ We had friendly competition, but we were always trying to help each other. The team is where it really counts."
Looking ahead to the World University Games, Plannick said, "I've shot with my two teammates before (Adam Gallant and Adam Wruck, who compete at Texas A&M) and they're both very, very good shooters. I think we stand a very good chance of bringing home some metal. It's going to be a pretty tough team to beat."
"Individually, I just want to shoot my best and see where it takes me," Plannick continued. "I've been practicing nonstop since May working and shooting and I've been hitting some pretty high scores. Hopefully it will take me where I need to go."