Penn College claims first NEAC golf crown, NCAA tourney bid
Yet maybe it can, as it also became the college’s first team to earn a spot in the NCAA Division III National Championships.
In other Penn College sports action last week, the men’s tennis season ended while the women’s tennis season was extended and playoff hopes remain on the horizon for athletes in baseball, softball and men’s lacrosse.
A late rally Sunday lifted the Wildcats to a two-stroke victory in the six-team field and their first-ever North Eastern Athletic Conference title. In individual play, sophomore Kohltin Bartlow, of Montgomery, tied Drew Morris, of Penn State Berks, with a two-day 154 low score total that, because of his better round Sunday (77 to 79), according to Wildcats’ coach Matt Haile, earned Bartlow not only medalist honors but also the conference’s Golfer of the Year award.
And because of his team’s unexpected finish, Haile, in his 12th season, was named the NEAC Coach of the Year.
Sunday, for the second day in a row, Bartlow shot a 5-over-par 77 on the 6,756-yard, par 72 Dauphin Highlands Golf Course. Senior Sean McNamara came through with a final-round 79 and 156 total, tied for fourth, while sophomore Alex Acree shot rounds of 78-81–159, tied for ninth, and freshman Nathan Hoyer shot 84-83–167, tied for 16th. Also for Penn College, freshman Karson Felty shot 90-91–181, tied for 23rd.
For their top-five finishes, Bartlow and McNamara earned NEAC first-team honors while Acree was named to the NEAC second team for his top 10 finish.
Tied for second with Penn State Harrisburg at 316 after Saturday’s first round — and trailing top-seeded defending champ Rutgers University-Camden by six shots — the fourth-seeded Wildcats rallied with a 320 Sunday to claim the team crown with a two-day 636. Rutgers-Camden shot 328 Sunday and finished second at 638 while Penn State Harrisburg closed play with a 324 and 640 total for third place. Behind them were Penn State Berks at 656, Lancaster Bible College at 708 and Penn State Abington at 714.
“I could not be prouder of the way they played and competed, and just the mental toughness that they showed. It was an incredible two days of golf. It was just exciting,” Haile said.
Able to watch live leaderboard scoring, Haile knew where things stood hole-by-hole and he said the turning point came on the par-3 15th hole when McNamara just missed a hole-in-one, leaving himself a 2-inch tap-in birdie, while a Rutgers-Camden player had a 4-over-par 7.
“It completely flipped the whole outlook on the last three holes,” Haile said, noting that his team’s play on par-3 holes throughout the day was important as they battled 20-mph winds.
“Coming down the stretch, everything fell into place,” the coach said.
“Kohltin is solid. … He’s got great fundamentals and he’s got a great head on his shoulders, and it showed today. He was very focused. You never see him get frustrated,” Haile said.
Going into the conference championship, the coach had concerns about what kind of scores his Nos. 4 and 5 players would shoot, the top four of which count toward the team score.
“Our 1, 2 and 3 (players) had the experience and it was just a matter of finding that 4 and 5 guy to put a score up and Nate, he really, really impressed me this weekend,” Haile said.
The team title was Penn College’s first since 2008, when it won the Penn State University Athletic Conference. The last time the Wildcats had an individual conference champ was 2013 when Corey Teeple, of Lake Ariel, took PSUAC honors.
Haile, who played on conference championship Penn College teams in 2003-04-05 and earned numerous individual honors, also was honored as PSUAC Coach of the Year in 2012.
Next up: the Division III Men’s Golf Championship May 11-14 at Oglebay Resort and Conference Center in Wheeling, West Virginia.
“We punched our ticket,” Haile said enthusiastically.
“I’m ecstatic,” Haile added. “We knew what we had to do. That No. 4 (team) seed kind of lit that fire and we were determined to show that Pennsylvania College of Technology not only has good students but we also can compete at a high level.”
Now, everyone knows.
Last Tuesday, the men’s team picked up its first win of the regular season, 6-3, at home against Penn State Abington, and the women finished with at least a .500 record (2-2) for the first time since 2012, also with a 6-3 win.
Those results gave the women the No. 3 seed going into this Tuesday’s NEAC Semifinals, when they will travel to second-seeded Lancaster Bible College. It also earned the men’s team a No. 4 seed and spot in last Saturday’s NEAC play-in match against No. 5 Penn State Abington, where it lost, 6-3, to close out a 1-4 campaign.
In their season-extending win over Penn State Abington, double winners for the Wildcats included Georgia Macensky, of Wellsboro, at No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles; Amber Leitzel, of Mifflinburg, at No. 4 singles and No. 2 doubles; and Marcie Harman, of Nescopeck, at No. 5 singles and No. 3 doubles.
“The ladies are having their best season since 2016-17, which is the last time that they won two matches in a season. If we are looking at percentage won, they haven't won 50% of their matches in the last eight years. This is a big deal for them and being seeded No. 3 in the conference is a challenge that they are ready to take on,” coach Jessica Bower said.
“We have Delaney Bouton, of Milton, back as she was out for (health) reasons. She is solid as our No. 2 player and is eager to get her first collegiate win under her belt,” Bower continued.
“We lost to LBC 4-5 in our last meeting and the ladies are eager for a rematch. LBC was our first match of the season and so they were a little inexperienced. They now know that every match counts and they have tasted victory and like it,” the coach said.
In singles, Coryn Oswald, of King of Prussia, will go at No. 1 for Penn College; Bouton at No. 2; Macensky at No. 3, Leitzel at No. 4, Harman at No. 5 and Cassie Shook, of Westport, at No. 6.
In doubles, Oswald/Bouton will play at No. 1, Macensky/Leitzel at No. 2 and Harman and either Shook or Shelby Lanyon, of Quakertown, at No. 3.
“The women usually take a back seat to the men’s team, but this year they have emerged as a confident team and are ready to compete. They don’t sit back and watch the men, they are working hard and showing that they have talent and the drive to win,” Bower added.
In last Tuesday’s match, Tucker Phillippe-Johansson, of Mattituck, New York, became the first Penn College men’s player to complete an unbeaten NEAC regular season at the No. 1 singles position to go to 4-0.
Winning both of their matches for the Wildcat men were Zackary Burkhart, of Milton, at No. 4 singles and No. 2 doubles; Tommy Cavanagh, of New Hope, at No. 5 singles and No. 3 doubles; and Daniel Gianelle, of Salisbury, Maryland, at No. 6 singles and No. 3 doubles.
On Saturday, Phillippe-Johansson completed a perfect conference season at No. 1 singles with a commanding 6-2, 6-1 win to finish 5-0.
“I’m very proud of the men’s team and the effort that they gave this season. It was tough since it was so short. It’s tough to prove yourself when you only have five matches,” Bower said.
“I’m very proud of Tucker Johansson and his domination in the No. 1 singles position. He ended up 5-0 with only dropping one set in his five matches. He is truly a great player and he strives to make every match better than his last. He is an inspiration to the rest of the team to work harder,” Bower said, adding, “We have a couple of recruits coming in for next year to hopefully give the rest of the lineup some depth. That will put us in a better position to again be more competitive.”
Also last week, Gianelle, a sophomore, was named North Eastern Athletic Conference Men's Tennis Player of the Week after going 4-0 (2-0 in both his singles and doubles matches) on April 11 and 17.
Hosting NEAC once-beaten Penn State Abington on Thursday, Penn College lost the opener, 19-3, and fell, 5-1, in the second game.
Abington, after scoring a single run in the first inning, erupted for eight second-inning runs and continued to pull away with a six-run fifth in the opener. Wildcats’ starting pitcher Justin Porter, of Fairless Hills, gave up nine runs – five earned – in 1⅔ innings and dropped to 1-2 on the season. Jacob Carles, of Bernville, went 2 for 4 with a triple, one RBI and two runs scored for Penn College on offense.
In the nightcap, starting Wildcats’ pitcher Cole Culver, of Titusville, held Abington pretty much in check, allowing just four hits and three runs – two earned — through 5⅔ innings of work. But the Penn College couldn’t get untracked as Culver dropped to 0-2 on the season. Carles added two hits for the Wildcats and plated their lone run on a sacrifice fly.
On Saturday at home with Lancaster Bible College, the Wildcats split a pair of one-run games, losing 1-0 and winning 4-3 to drop to 7-9 in the conference.
In a classic pitcher’s duel, despite six strong innings of three-hit work in the first game by Wildcats’ starter Ben Bretzman, of Bendersville, Lancaster Bible pushed across the game’s lone run — unearned — in the third inning. Meanwhile, LB starting pitcher Trevor High shut Penn College down on just one hit.
Pitcher Chance Webb, of Hughesville, held Lancaster Bible to four hits through 7⅓ scoreless innings in the second game to pick up his first win of the season and Hunter Jordan, of Middleburg, recorded his first save. On offense for Penn College, Brittan Kittle, of Millville, hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Kolten Smith, also of Millville, had a solo home run in the sixth.
Before the games, seniors Kittle; Jordan; Christian Perna, of Frenchtown, New Jersey; Joey Fatzinger, of Topton; Bryden Lippert, of Carlisle; Max Conrad, of Hagerstown, Maryland; and Ethan Ketterman, of Biglerville, were honored.
NEAC standings through Sunday: Penn State Harrisburg, 13-1; Penn State Abington, 7-1; Penn College, 7-9; Lancaster Bible College, 7-9; Wells College, 5-9; Penn State Berks, 3-13.
On Thursday at Penn State Abington, the Wildcats improved to 11-1 in the conference after winning 19-9 and 14-8 as Margaret Mangene, of Boalsburg, had a career day by going 7 for 8 at the plate, driving in 10 runs and scoring five times.
In the first game, Penn College bolted to a 12-1 lead after the top of the fourth inning before the home team battled back with eight runs in the bottom of the fourth. Not to be outdone, the Wildcats scored seven more runs in the fifth to give pitcher Kyla Benner, of Bethlehem, her sixth win without a loss. Mangene went 3 for 3 – including a home run – with six RBIs and three runs scored and Olivia Hemstock, of Northford, Connecticut, went 4 for 5 at the plate with four RBIs and three runs scored to pace the offense. Lesley Fritz, of Muncy, and Shayla Bickel, of Shinglehouse, each drove in three runs.
In the second game, Mangene went 4 for 5 with four RBIs and two runs scored and Jaylynn Cochran, of Cogan Station, went 2 for 3 with three RBIs and one run scored to help pitcher Kassidy Svenson, of Auburn, earn her fourth win against one loss and the team to its sixth straight win.
NEAC standings through Sunday: Penn State Berks, 15-1; Penn College, 11-1; Penn State Harrisburg, 8-8; Penn State Abington, 4-6; Lancaster Bible College, 4-10; Morrisville State College, 0-6; Wells College, 0-10.
On Saturday at Wells College, Penn College continued its outstanding first season with an 18-12 victory that boosted its NEAC record to 3-1 with its third straight win.
Daniel Jackson, of Phoenixville, led the Wildcats with seven goals and three assists while Danny Harkins, of North Wales, had four goals and three assists, Quinn Caviola, of Ridgefield, Connecticut, had three goals and three assists, and Stephen Lepore, of Palmyra, added three goals.
Goalie Andrew Gobbi, of Haymarket, Virginia, made 12 saves for Penn College, which led in shots, 47-40, and in shots on goal, 30-24.
Also last week, Caviola, a freshman, and Gobbi, a senior, were named NEAC Player and Goalie of the Week, respectively, for their roles in a 16-5 win over Medaille College on April 17.
NEAC standings through Sunday: Morrisville State College, 4-0; Penn College, 3-1; Hilbert College, 1-1; La Roche University, 1-1; Medaille College, 0-2; Wells College, 0-4.
Thursday, April 22 – host Penn State Abington at Bowman Field, L, 19-3; L, 5-1
Saturday, April 24 – host Lancaster Bible College at Bowman Field (2), L, 1-0: W, 4-3
Sunday, April 25 – at Penn State Abington (2), ppd.
Monday, April 26 – at Penn State Abington (2), 1 p.m.
Wednesday, April 28 – at Penn State Berks (2), 1 p.m.
Saturday, May 1 – NEAC Playoffs, TBA
Saturday, May 8 – NEAC Semifinals, TBA
Saturday, May 15 – NEAC Championship, TBA
Thursday, April 22 – at Penn State Abington, W, 19-9; W, 14-8
Saturday, April 24 – at Morrisville State College (2), canceled
Thursday, April 29 – at Penn State Harrisburg (2), 3 p.m.
Saturday, May 1 – host Penn State Berks at Elm Park (2), 5 p.m.
Thursday, May 6 – at Wells College (2), 4 p.m.
Saturday, May 8 – NEAC Semifinals, TBA
Saturday, May 15 – NEAC Championship, TBA
Saturday, April 24 – at Wells College, W, 18-12
Saturday, May 1 – at Hilbert College, 2 p.m.
Wednesday, May 5 – NEAC Playoffs, TBA
Saturday, May 8 – NEAC Championship, TBA
Saturday-Sunday, April 24-25 – NEAC Championship at Harrisburg’s Dauphin Highlands Golf Course, finished first among six teams. Kohltin Bartlow shared medalist honors with a 154.
NEAC finale: 1-4
Tuesday, April 20 – host Penn State Abington, W, 6-3
Saturday, April 24 – NEAC Play-in, host Penn State Abington, L, 6-3
Tuesday, April 20 — host Penn State Abington, W, 6-3
Tuesday, April 27 — NEAC Semifinals: No. 3 seed Penn College at No. 2 seed Lancaster Bible College; either No. 4 Penn State Abington or No. 5 Penn State Berks (play-in Monday) at No. 1 seed Penn State Harrisburg
Saturday, May 1 — NEAC Championship
For more information, visit the Wildcat Athletics website.
For more about NEAC, visit the conference website. (NOTE: All playoff schedules are taken from that site).