Spring sports: It's a Wrap!

Published 05.19.2024

Wildcat Athletics

Over the past week, three Pennsylvania College of Technology spring sports teams got a taste at the top, two (men’s golf and women’s softball) in NCAA Division III national and regional competitions, respectively, and the third (archery) at the outdoor national championships as the 2023-24 athletic seasons came to a close.

As the United East Champion, Penn College entered the national championship tournament field of 43 teams and 221 players with hopes of bettering the previous year’s 37th-place finish.

Although failing to make the cut to 18 teams after Tuesday’s second round, the Wildcats finished 29th with Peyton Mussina of Montoursville recording the best back-to-back rounds of his collegiate career 69-68—137 and tied for second, Gavin Baer of Bainbridge shooting 79-74—153 tied for 125th, Will Orwig of Mifflintown shooting 76-82—158 and tying for 169th, Trevor Keaton of Lansdale shooting 82-80—162 and tying for 191st, and Gunner Redmond of Lock Haven shooting 81-87—168 and tying for 205th.

As a result of his start, Mussina became the first Wildcat to make the 36-hole cut and continue into the final two rounds on the sport’s biggest stage, where he closed with rounds of 75 and 74 for a 286 and tied for 17th in the country.

“It was a physical and mental grind down there. Bounder Creek was a good course. It was hot. But that was the situation he wanted to be in,” coach Rob Lytle said. “If you look at it at one point after 39 holes, he was in the individual lead. But the course played tough and just a couple of bad hops of the ball put him in some tough positions.

“Peyton likes that stage. He wants to compete on that stage and it’s just going to give him more motivation to work harder for next year.”

Mussina by the numbers at the end of each day:
69 — Tuesday at Boulder Creek 3-under bogey-free round, tied for 14th, 4 shots off the lead.
68 — Wednesday at The Legacy Golf Club, 4-under, 1 bogey, 137 total, tied for second, 1 shot off the lead.
75 — Thursday at Boulder Creek, 3-over, 212 total, tied for 10th, 5 shots off the lead.
74 — Friday at Boulder Creek, 2-over, 286 total, tied for 17th, 10 shots off the lead.

Also, last week, the Golf Coaches Association of America selected Mussina to the PING Division III All-Region 3 Team, the first Wildcat to be so honored. This season, the junior claimed four first-place finishes and four second-place finishes.

Lytle said the national experience, “has been great. This is what we wanted to do. We wanted to win the conference. We wanted to get back out here (to the NCAA championships). It’s a great opportunity. If you look at some of the teams we are finishing ahead of, it’s really nice.”

Those teams included St. John Fisher, Penn State Altoona, Luther College, Roger Williams University, Tufts University, Otterbein University, Eastern Connecticut State, Scranton, Mississippi University for Women, Wisconsin-Superior, Stevens Institute of Technology, Springfield College, Marymount University and New England College.

“We’ll get started again and get right back at it in the fall,” Lytle added.

Opening NCAA Division III Regional play on Thursday, fourth-seeded Penn College battled top-seeded Moravian University on even terms through seven innings with the score tied at 1-all before Moravian used a single, stolen base, sacrifice bunt and fielder’s choice to score its game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth.

Earlier in the game, Moravian scored in the second inning and the Wildcats countered with a run in the fourth when Madison Herriman of Danville singled and scored on a two-out single to right-center by Mackenzie Weaver of Montoursville. Weaver went the distance on the mound, fanning four and allowing just five hits, in dropping to 16-9 on the season with the 2-1 loss.

In an elimination game Friday afternoon against second-seeded Roanoke College, the Wildcats were limited to two singles in an 8-0, 5-inning season-ending defeat. Roanoke scored twice in the first inning and six times in the fourth to advance. Fayth Anderson of Lykens took the mound defeat to finish 13-3 on the season.

“I was proud of the way we stepped onto the field (in the opener) and treated it like any other game of the season. I was proud of Mackenzie Weaver and the performance she gave us, keeping their hitters off balance for the entire game. She did a great job,” coach Angela Stackhouse said.

“Our bats went flat (in the second game). It’s just unfortunate timing, and they capitalized on one or two crucial mistakes that we made, and the game got out of hand in a hurry,” Stackhouse said, adding that Roanoke went on to eliminate Moravian and finish second in the region to third-seeded Muskingum after the “if necessary” game.

“It was a great experience for us to be asked to play on that stage. It’s a totally different atmosphere. The protocols are strict. It’s going to lay more building blocks for the future for my returners to get back there and be a little bit more relaxed the next time,” the fourth-year coach continued.

“I was proud of my junior class — Weaver, Harriman, Hailey DeBrody of Cogan Station — all three of them stepped up big. So, I’m excited for their leadership next year as seniors,” Stackhouse said.

Also, on May 14, seven players earned a spot on the UE Volt Division All-Conference Teams. On the first team were senior Maggie Mangene of Boalsburg and sophomore Lexi Snyder of Hegins. On the second team were senior Ivvy Morder of Mechanicsburg, juniors Weaver and Herriman, sophomore Jesse Brumbaugh of McClure and freshman Grace Lorson of Jersey Shore. Honorees were chosen by position by opposing coaches, and the seven selections were a program high under Stackhouse, who surpassed the career 100-win mark this season.

Third-baseman Mangene earned her first all-conference selection. She was third on the team with a .356 batting average and was one of four players who achieved their 100th career hit this season.

Snyder hit .336 in earning her first postseason honor as the first-team first baseman while also splitting time behind the plate.

Morder, a catcher, earned her third second-team selection as she hit .314 and also joined the career 100-hit parade.

Herriman was one of two Wildcats to hit above .400 on the season as she hit .403 while starting every game in left field to earn her first all-conference nod and had a team-best 52 hits.

Weaver picked up her third all-conference bid as she landed on the second team as a pitcher. She went 16-8 in 25 appearances and led the league with a 1.69 ERA in 145.1 innings while recording her NCAA era program-record 300th and 400th career strikeouts and also joining the career 100-hit club.

Brumbaugh earned her first appearance on the all-conference team as she split time between designated player and first base, batting .270.

Lorson started every game in center field and was fourth on the team with a .339 batting average.

Also, on May 17, Harriman and Mangene were named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III All-Region IV second team — the highest ever for Penn College — and Lorson was named to the third team.

Final overall record: 30-12
NCAA D-III Moravian Regional at Bethlehem
Thursday, May 17 — Penn College vs. Moravian University, L, 2-1
Friday, May 16 — Penn College vs. Roanoke College, L, 8-0 (5 innings)

Penn College archers found the going rough at the USA Archery Collegiate Target Nationals in Statesboro, Georgia, as Matthew Byrnes of Manahawkin, New Jersey, in men’s compound had the highest team individual qualifying score (690) and ranking (14). He posted one win in the elimination rounds before being ousted.

The men’s compound team of Byrnes, Alex Edwards of Kutztown and Emery Gunsallus of Mill Hall qualified seventh of 12 with 1,992 points before losing in the first round, and the men’s fixed pins team of Aydan McLain of Newmanstown, Ben Malehorn of Selinsgrove and Atley Cooper of Coatesville qualified ninth of 11 with 1,865 points and also lost in the first round of eliminations.

“It was a long day. Delay after delay (due to storms) took its toll on our archers’ mental game. It was a struggle for them to get started and to get into their groove the whole day,” coach Dustin Bartron said, noting that the start of team competition was pushed back until after 8 o’clock Saturday night.

“Shooting under the lights, although a cool experience, proved to be difficult for our archers. We were not prepared for the low light and did not have the equipment necessary to swap for those conditions,” Bartron said.  

Dallas Griess of Williamsport was named the UE Volt Division Rookie of the Year and a member of the all-conference first team on May 15. Wildcats named to the second team were Quinn Hanafin of Sayre and Sam Staib of Bloomsburg.

Griess, a sophomore, led the team at the plate in almost every statistical category. He finished with a .389 batting average, which was 12th in the conference, had a .655 slugging percentage and a .457 on-base percentage. Griess racked up 44 hits, seven doubles, four triples, five home runs and scored 38 runs in his first season.

Hanafin, a sophomore designated hitter, was second on the team with a .317 batting average, 39 hits, and two home runs, tied for the team lead with seven doubles and led the Wildcats with 27 RBIs. 

Staib, a freshman relief pitcher, made 17 appearances. He registered a 2.39 ERA and earned three wins while tossing 26.1 innings. Staib struck out 20 while giving up 17 hits and seven earned runs and held opposing hitters to a .179 batting average.

Six Wildcats earned all-conference honors on May 7, three on the first team and three on the second. One of the first-teamers, freshman attacker Aidan McFalls of Gilbertsville, also was named the UE Rookie of the Year.

McFalls led the team and finished third in the conference with 48 goals and fifth in the league with 27 assists. He averaged 4.41 points per game, scooped up 25 ground balls and caused nine turnovers.

On the first team with McFalls were sophomore midfielder Harrison Schlachta of Collegeville and junior defender Mason Nester of Schwenksville.

On the second team were sophomore AJ Dotson of Wilmington, Delaware, freshman midfield Will Ehret of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, and junior long stick midfield Austin Callahan of Beaver Dams, New York.

Schlachta scored 41 points, 31 goals and 10 assists. He also collected 21 ground balls and caused two turnovers.

Nester earned his third all-conference nod after leading the defense with 40 ground balls and 19 caused turnovers.

Dotson ranked fourth in the league with 43 goals and second with 32 assists. He finished the season tied with McFalls for the most points in the conference at 75.

Ehret racked up 27 points with 13 goals and 14 assists while scooping up seven ground balls and causing two turnovers.

Callahan forced 11 turnovers and scooped up 22 ground balls.

Sophomore Logan Ogden of South Williamsport was named to the UE second team on May 10. Ogden went 3-1 at both the No. 3 and No. 4 singles positions for a 6-2 overall record and ended the year with a five-match winning streak in going 5-1 record against UE competition. He also picked up two doubles victories.

For more about the United East, visit the conference website.
For additional information, visit the Wildcats Athletics website.