Three Penn College Teams Seek Conference Championships
Within the next week, the Pennsylvania College of Technology tennis and men's cross-county teams will seek to defend their Penn State University Athletic Conference championships while the women's volleyball squad goes for its first title since 2004.
Playoffs in women's volleyball are scheduled Tuesday through Saturday, the cross-country championship will be held Saturday at Penn State Fayette in Uniontown and the tennis tournament will be held Friday through Sunday in State College.
Asked to assess her team's season thus far, volleyball coach Bambi Hawkins said, "Our recent move to No. 7 in the USCAA Coaches Poll is a great indicator of how the Penn College women's volleyball team has been playing this season."
According to the coach, Lyndsey Smith, of Mechanicsburg, has been the most prominent team leader this season and Lindsay Moyer, of Canton, also has been a big part of the team's success.
"Other leaders seem to change from one match to the next as each person steps up to fill the need," Hawkins continued, mentioning Melissa Lake, of Winburne; Tara Powell, of Burgettstown; Kelly Hebert, of Wellsboro; Courtney Gernert, of Palmyra, and Kasey Smith, of New Park.
Commenting on her outlook going into the playoffs, Hawkins said she gets "goose bumps!"
"I know what this team can bring to the court when they want to, and it is definitely a team that makes top-seeded Fayette nervous," she said.
The key for her team, which was 13-1 in the conference and 17-8 overall after Saturday's match, will be having a healthy, well-rested and focused group of young ladies who want to win it for each other, the coach said.
"Some might say this is the most talented team that Penn College has had, so I am looking forward to seeing what they can do with the high emotions of our anticipated postseason play," added Hawkins, in her 12th season.
Penn College tennis teams have won the last three conference titles and first-year coach Robert Kemrer is optimistic.
"The season has gone really well. Our two losses are to Penn State Brandywine, which is unbeaten. For having a lot of new players and a new coach we are doing really well," Kemrer said.
Team leaders have been Rachel Emmons, of Washington, N.J., who is a senior, along with freshmen Adam Smith, of Duncannon, and Nathan Scott, of Canton, Conn., who are undefeated together in doubles and both have done well in singles.
"We have a real good shot at winning the PSUAC tournament and should finish second in the (regular season) to PSU Brandywine. The key for us to win the PSUAC is to just play good consistent tennis," Kemrer said as his team improved to 5-2 on Saturday.
Over the past eight season, Wildcat men's cross-country teams have captured 11 conference crowns and coach Mike Paulhamus is cautiously optimistic about another. The men's 8K race begins at 1:20 p.m. Penn College has no women running this season.
"We're hopeful. We're progressing along OK. They've come a long way from the beginning of the season," said the coach, in his 12th season. "There's a confidence there, but you never want to be overconfident. "¦ I think we'll do well. We'll be very competitive. But there are some questions to be answered yet."
Running at the head of the pack throughout the season have been Travis Cain, of Bloomsburg, and Corvin Oberholtzer, of Wellsboro. Also competing for Penn College will be Dan Starr, of Stewartstown; Seth Beckman, of Linden; Dan Flynn, of Blairstown, N.J.; Ed Knyff, of Ocean Gate, N.J., and Will Fuka, of Clinton, Va.
"Winning the championship is always our goal. "¦ This team has had to work a little harder than what I've had in past years. "¦ The (PSUAC championship) course is extremely hilly and we run hills really well and that makes me a little more confident," Paulhamus said.
Saturday, in their final tune-up race, the Wildcats finished first in a seven-team field.