Penn College archery season set to begin

Building early and finishing strong. That is the goal Pennsylvania College of Technology archery coach Chad Karstetter has for his team this season.

A young squad forced the Wildcats to rebuild rather than reload last season; yet they produced two national champions and five All-Americans. With all of that nucleus returning from a team that finished eighth nationally, Karstetter, in his 14th season, is hopeful of getting his squad back among the elite in the country.

“So far, at the beginning of the season, everything’s coming together pretty well. We have quite a few returners from last year, because we had such a young team, so they’re all going to come back with a little bit more experience and a little bit more knowledge of what takes to achieve a good finish at nationals,” Karstetter said.

The Wildcats open their season Saturday and next Sunday at the Pennsylvania Field and Target Archers Indoor State Championships in Taylor.

“I’m excited to see us going to an event close to home … to get a bit of experience for some of these guys who have never done it. … It definitely is going to give us something that we can go through the routine and give everybody a chance to see what it’s like to shoot up against a shot clock,” the coach said.

Among the key returnees are Andrew Rupp, a senior from Dayton; Erica Gause, a sophomore from Bloomsburg, who teamed to win the mixed bowhunter national championship last season; and Markus Weber, of La Plata, Maryland, who was the male compound national champ a year ago.

Those three, along with sophomore Tim Lamont, of Eldred, and junior Tyler Schoonover, of Bradford, both in male compound, earned All-America status as a result of their finishes at the indoor and outdoor nationals. As a freshman, Schoonover also won the male bowhunter national championship and was half of the mixed bowhunter national championship team.

“They were definitely some of the top archers in the (national) field last year. They’re definitely going to be a tough group of archers all year long –indoors and outdoors. I expect them to do very well,” Karstetter said.

Also back from last year are:

• Sophomore Logan Booth, of New Kensington, in male compound;

• Junior Nicholas Daniels, in male recurve;

• Sophomore Tanner Huff, of Altoona, in recurve;

• Junior Justin Rinehimer, of Mountain Top, in male bowhunter;

• Sophomore Adam Thomas, of Shade Gap, in male bowhunter;

• Sophomore Kaylee Burk, of Hermitage, in female recurve;

• Junior Chelsea Douglass, of East Greenville, in female compound;

• Sophomore Stephanie Plummer, of Port Matilda, and

• Sophomore Sabrina Toplovich, of Spring Creek, in female bowhunter.

“Being that they’ve all been through it (nationals) once, they all come back this year with that much more experience and comfort of just knowing what to do and when to do it,” Karstetter said.

New to the team this season are freshmen Aaron Cummings, of Mountville, in male compound (his older brother, Matt, was a three-time All-American at Penn College in 2012, ’14 and ’15); John Kleinfelter, of Lebanon, in male bowhunter; Josh Maring, of Brookville, in male recurve; Sarah Decker, of Williamsport, in female bowhunter; and sophomore Rylee Butler, of Bellefonte, in female bowhunter. One of the latter two will switch to female compound.

The indoor season continues through mid-March, then outdoor competition begins.

“The indoor season means a lot, but everybody remembers how you did all year long by outdoor nationals,” Karstetter said, noting that, for the first time in three years, Penn College will host the Eastern Outdoor Regional on April 22-23.

“We’re excited to get it back again. It’s great to have a hometown event so people can come out and see what we actually do. I expect over 100 archers from 12 to 15 colleges or universities on the East Coast,” the coach said.

“Right now (as a team) we are in the average range. I want to build on that from last year. We have a lot of strong (archers) in each division, but then we have a lot of ones with not as much experience and a lot of new ones. So, hopefully, practices we get in the first two events they learn what they need to do and that will produce strong teams,” Karstetter said.