Epic athletics event in arts center spotlight

Published 02.20.2024

Photos by Ralph Wilson, Athletics freelance photographer; Conor Fry, student photographer; Rick Mahonski, wrestling fan; and Pankil Chander, head wrestling coach

Wildcat Athletics
Faculty & Staff
An epic event in an historic setting, the Billtown Brawl shines in the Community Arts Center spotlight. (And there's a glimpse of the Penn College Wildcat on the far right of this photo.)

In the spotlight for the first time at the Community Arts Center was the Billtown Brawl, matching Pennsylvania College of Technology's wrestling team against Lycoming College. Touted as the first-of-its-kind event in central Pennsylvania, with NCAA-division wrestlers battling it out on a theater stage, the Feb. 17 matchup drew a crowd exceeding 350 to the downtown Williamsport venue.

"What an opportunity for everyone that sat in that theater for the first-ever wrestling match that Penn College Athletics and the Community Arts Center was able to host and execute at a high level," said Pankil Chander, Penn College's head wrestling coach. 

"Judging by the energy in the venue, it's safe to say everyone in attendance was positively impacted by the electric experience of a Division III wrestling match on a theater stage," Chander continued. "It was an inspiring experience for our wrestlers to compete on that stage and be a part of this milestone. I think it was inspiring for all. It shows us how bold vision coupled with the purity of sport can bring people together for epic shared experiences like this."

It shows us how bold vision coupled with the purity of sport can bring people together for epic shared experiences like this.

Pankil Chander

Head wrestling coach, Penn College

Billtown Brawl fans included faculty and staff from both colleges, local youth and elementary wrestling organizations, and a large group of Penn College students and student-athletes.

Lycoming College prevailed 38-9.

Thanking the historic arts center for hosting the match, Chander said, "The CAC does a first-class job with the production of their events, and I'm grateful they collaborated with us on this."

Owned and operated by Penn College, the CAC opened in 1993, following an extensive overhaul of the facility which originally opened in 1928 as the Capitol Theatre, a movie house and vaudeville theater. A cornerstone of the downtown Williamsport scene, the CAC offers a broad range of programming dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for the community.

President Michael J. Reed (in the front row center of the theater's loge section) stands with others during the National Anthem. Next to Reed is Dan Klingerman, a Penn College wrestling benefactor. Kirk M. Cantor, Penn College plastics professor, can be seen to the left of Klingerman.
A pre-event snapshot of the big screen and big mat
Penn College's team warms up.
Spectators begin to assemble.
The stage gets active.
The brawl is underway.
Winning their bouts for Penn College: Noah Hunt at 149 pounds ...
... and Liam Goodrich at 165.
The CAC theater crew adds a touch of fog to the scene.
Patrick Snoke lifts his opponent in the 133-lb. match.
A Wildcat at work: Cavin Napoletano, wrestling at 174.
The stage is set ... for a future brawl?