Fall Sports Seasons End, Basketball Begins for Penn College

Published 11.11.2012

Wildcat Weekly

In competition last week, the Pennsylvania College of Technology wrestling team opened its season, the cross-country team competed in nationals, the women’s volleyball squad had a pleasant surprise ending to its season, and several tennis players and the team’s coach earned all-conference honors.

On Monday, the men’s and women’s basketball teams open their seasons at Bardo Gym against nonconference foe Pitt-Titusville; the women playing at 6 p.m. and the men at 8 p.m.

Men’s Basketball
After assuming the reins midway through last season, Chris Lemasters, a standout at both Mansfield High School and Alfred University, was named the team’s head coach in the spring and is anxious to get started.

“We’re still a young team and we’re going through the learning process right now. We have a good number of returners coming back, but, still, it’s a young group,” the coach said. “We know it’s a learning process and, right now, we’re more focused on trying to develop the type of program we want.

“I feel pretty solid that I’ve got 15 guys who can go into a game and play, whereas last year, there were only five or six guys I felt comfortable putting into the game. We definitely needed to improve our athleticism a lot, so we were in the gym in the spring and fall doing various workouts to make us a little bit more explosive,” Lemasters continued.

“Also this year, we had them run a ton because, although we like to slow the pace down, (some games) tend to get very up-tempo. A lot of teams we go up against throw 15 athletes against you and just sub them in five at a time. We’ll have a lot better condition this year to be able to handle it,” he said.

Key returning players include co-captains Scott Fenton, a 6-foot, 2-inch sophomore forward from Dickson City who was an all-Penn State University Athletic Conference Honorable Mention last season, and Bryant House, a 6-5 junior forward from Columbia Cross Roads who was injured much of last year. Also back are 5-10 junior point guard Ethan Kline, of Bellefonte, and 6-4 sophomore forward Colton Acorn, of Wellsboro.

“We have a great core group of returning guys, it just all depends on injuries. They look good this year, but you just never know what can happen,” Lemasters said.

“The beginning of the year always is a learning experience. I think we can give some of these teams a run for their money, but we schedule heavy in the beginning of the year so we’re ready once the (conference) season starts,” the coach said.

Assisting Lemasters are former Wildcat players Tom Little and Joe Simon, both of whom helped the team reach the playoffs in recent years before last season’s 4-20 finish.

Women’s Basketball
“Our numbers are still down, with 11 players, but we have some returning players in Kierstin Steer, 5-8 senior forward from South Williamsport; Mackenzie Brown, 5-10 sophomore center from Lititz; Ali Van Metter, 5-7 sophomore guard from Saylorsburg; and Dana Reed, 5-7 sophomore forward from Sunbury, who all started at one point or another last year so we should be a lot better than we were last year,” said coach Matt Wilt, who enters his third season.

Steer, with 961 career points, needs just 38 to become the Penn College women’s all-time leading scorer. One of the newcomers on the team is Steer’s younger sister, Jamie, who was a 1,000-point career scorer at South Williamsport Area High School.

“I think we’re probably (among the) top four in the league, if everybody stays healthy,” Wilt said, noting that, because of the college’s extended women’s soccer season, he only had his full squad together twice through Thursday.

The Wildcats will employ a motion offense this year, with assistant coach Darrin Bischof, the former varsity boys coach at Jersey Shore Area High School, focusing on that aspect of the game while Wilt concentrates on defense.

“We’re going to do about everything it takes to win,” Wilt said of his game strategy. “Everybody is going to play a lot.”

Penn College has several tough nonleague foes to face before conference play begins late this month and Wilt is hopeful of a good start in an effort to improve on last year’s 3-21 mark.

“Once the league starts, we should be more than ready to go,” he added.

Competing in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association National Championships on Friday at Lake Placid, N.Y., Penn College placed 12th in a 17-team men’s field with sophomore Dan Flynn, of Blairstown, finishing 39th with a time of 30:42.61 among more than 160 individuals.

Also for the Wildcats, Dan Starr, of Stewartstown, was 40th in 30:43.38; Dan Blauvelt, of Flemington, N.J., was 59th in 31:54.74; Michael Acquaro, of Oakhurst, N.J., was 79th in 33:31.84; Ed Knyff, of Ocean Gate, N.J., was  81st in 33:35.82.

On the women’s side for Penn College, freshman Eileen Harrington, of Springfield, Va., finished 142nd with a time of 40:53.70.

“We ran a pretty good race,” coach Mike Paulhamus said. “We needed to have that perfect race to compete with the top teams here. It’s always a very tough field.”

Earlier in the week, it was announced that Paulhamus had been named the Penn State University Athletic Conference Coach of the Year after his men’s team won its 10th straight conference title. Also, Flynn, Starr and Blauvelt earned spots on the all-conference squad, which comprises the top 10 finishers at the PSUAC championships.

Tim Kurtz, of Wyalusing, at 149 pounds, and Tyler Myers, of Centre Hall, at 157, scored falls for Penn College in its season opener Friday, but the Wildcats lost to The Apprentice School of Newport News, Va., 31-21.

On Saturday at the Electric City Duals at Scranton University, Myers, at 157 and 165, and Logan Gresock, of Copley, Ohio, at 184 and 197, each went 4-0 while the team was 1-3 after losing to Penn State DuBois, 27-12; falling to The Apprentice School, 32-18; dropping a 49-12 decision to the University of Maryland Baltimore County and edging Scranton, 24-23, on criteria two (more falls). Myers pinned all of his opponents and Gresock pinned three of his four. UMBC won the team competition with a 4-0 record.

The Wildcats, now 1-4 overall, begin PSUAC action Saturday in a home triangular match with Penn State Beaver and Penn State Mont Alto starting at noon at Bardo Gym.

Women’s Volleyball
Due to scheduling conflicts after the PSUAC championship game was postponed due to Superstorm Sandy, the conference volleyball committee last week declared Penn College and Penn State Fayette co-champions for the 2012 season. The title is the second for Penn College, which previously won in 2004. The Wildcats finished 17-1 in conference play, with their only loss coming during the regular season against Fayette, and completed a 23-11 overall campaign. Coach Bambi Hawkins’ teams have gone 184-113 in 13 seasons.

“I think it was a fair decision. Our team was playing well the weekend of the PSUAC playoffs and obviously did not get a chance to play the scheduled match against Fayette at that time,” Hawkins said.

“The attempts at coordinating a new time were hopeful, but, after missing nearly an entire week of classes due to storm closure and heading to the USCAA tournament, the Penn College team could not fit in another match. There was a time during the second day of the USCAA tournament that Fayette had some downtime since it played three of its four pool play matches on day one, but our team did not have that open time.

“It was tough to end the season with a weekend of injury and illness as we were unable to muster a good effort at USCAA, but the Wildcats were strong and healthy for the majority of the season and played some volleyball to remember,” Hawkins added.

Team Tennis
In just his second year at the helm, Robert Kemrer was named PSUAC Coach of the Year and four members of his championship team earned First Team all-conference honors. Individuals cited include sophomores Nathan Scott, of Canton, Conn.; and Adam Smith, of Duncannon; and freshmen Jordan Rodgers, of Biglerville; and Christopher Morrin, of Morrisville.

“For me, it’s a great feeling as a coach to be able to see my team succeed. They put in a lot of hard work, effort and dedication. They did everything I asked and, in the end, they were able to come out on top as four of them were voted to the all-conference team and I had the privilege of being selected coach of the year,” Kemrer said. “It is great to be so successful, especially just starting.”

Friday, Nov. 9 – USCAA Championships at Lake Placid, N.Y., men finished 12th in a 17-team field

Women’s Volleyball
Final overall record: 23-11
Final PSUAC record: 17-1
PSUAC championship vs. Penn State Fayette, teams declared co-champions

Overall record: 1-4
Friday, Nov. 9 – host The Apprentice School of Newport News, Va., L, 31-21
Saturday, Nov. 10 – at Electric City Duals, Scranton University, vs. Penn State DuBois, L, 27-12; vs. The Apprentice School, L,  32-18; vs. University of Maryland Baltimore County, L, 49-12; vs. Scranton, W, 24-23, second criteria, most falls
Wednesday, Nov. 14 – at University of Maryland Baltimore County, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 17 – host Penn State Beaver, noon; host Penn State Mont Alto, 3 p.m.

Men’s Basketball
Monday, Nov. 12 – host Pitt-Titusville, 8 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 16 – vs. Susquehanna University in Pepsi Tip-Off Tournament at Susquehanna University, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 17 – at Susquehanna University Tournament, TBA
Tuesday, Nov. 20 – host Alfred (N.Y.) University, 7 p.m.

Women’s Basketball
Monday, Nov. 12 – host Pitt-Titusville, 6 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 15 – at Arcadia University, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 17 – at Central Penn, 1 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 29 – host Alfred (N.Y.) University, 5 p.m.

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