Another banner year for Penn College athletics
It was another blockbuster year for Pennsylvania College of Technology athletic teams as the Wildcats had four Penn State University Athletic Conference champions, three runners-up and totaled nine postseason berths during the 2012-13 school year.
Here’s a sport-by-sport review of the year:
The Wildcats had one of their best seasons ever as they finished second in the PSUAC, placed among the top six in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association and won a school-record 24 games, finishing 24-17 overall and 19-4 in the PSUAC (16-2 regular season) under seventh-year coach Chris Howard.
Under first-year coach Chris Lemasters, a rebuilding Wildcats team posted a 4-21 record, 3-13 in the PSUAC.
In his third season, coach Matt Wilt took his team to the PSUAC playoffs for the first time, where they lost in the quarterfinals. Overall, the team finished 12-13, 7-8 in the conference.
Men’s Cross country
The Wildcats won their ninth consecutive PSUAC team title under coach Mike Paulhamus, who announced his retirement after 13 years at the end of the season. In addition, the squad finished seventh in the USCAA National Championships. During his tenure, Paulhamus’ men’s and women’s teams combined to win 18 conference titles.
Penn College placed second in the PSUAC and eighth in the USCAA and fourth-year coach Matt Haile won the conference Coach of the Year award.
Coach Enrique Castillo guided his squad to its third consecutive PSUAC championship with a perfect 11-0 record and he won the conference Coach of the Year award. Overall, the team finished 15-4-1 and competed in the USCAA National Championships for the fourth year in a row. After seven seasons, Castillo announced his retirement. During his tenure the Wildcats were 102-24-6 with six PSUAC championships and a runner-up finish.
Playing an independent schedule, coach Markus Rybak guided his third team to an 8-6-2 record, including a berth in the USCAA National Championships.
Working with an almost entirely new lineup (at the end of the season, seven starters were freshmen), coach Roger Harris’ team finished 11-19 overall, 9-7 in the PSUAC.
The Wildcats excelled under second-year coach Robert Kemrer, going 7-1 and winning the PSUAC championship with three individual singles and one doubles champ.
Always fielding a competitive team, Penn College returned to the top under coach Bambi Hawkins, going 23-11 overall, 17-1 in the PSUAC, and sharing the conference championship with PSU Fayette after the finale was canceled due to Superstorm Sandy. At the end of her 13th season, Hawkins retired, having guided her teams to two conference championships and record of 184-113.
In coach Schuyler Frey’s third season, the Wildcats were 13-8 overall and 5-1 in the PSUAC, where they finished second to PSU Beaver. In the USCAA National Tournament, the team finished third and in National Collegiate Wrestling Association action it was No. 20 in the country. Freshman Ryan Hart a 133-pounder, earned NCWA All-American honors for a Top 8 individual finish.
Through the completion of the winter and spring sports seasons, college Athlete of the Week honors were awarded to 13 individuals. They are: Scott Fenton, men’s basketball, Jan. 14; Tyler Myers, wrestling, Jan. 21; Jamie Steer, women’s basketball, Jan. 28; Ryan Hart, wrestling; Greggory Foust, archery, Feb. 25; Joseph Dowdrick III, archery, March 11; Jeremy Rall, baseball, March 25; Joshua Longsderff, baseball, April 1; Ashley Baker, archery, April 8; Nicole Lapinski, archery, April 15; Katie Kratzer, softball, April 22; Karey Wolfe, softball, April 29; Zachary Weil, baseball, May 13.
Looking ahead, it was announced in early April that the college was approved for exploratory membership in Division III of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The college’s one-year NCAA Division III exploratory status officially begins Sept. 1 and will last throughout the 2013-14 academic year. Exploratory membership provides institutions with an opportunity to learn more about the NCAA and Division III. After that, Penn College will consider pursuing a four-year provisional membership in Division III for its Wildcat athletic teams.