Penn College archers have sights set high

Let the season begin. And the sooner, the better!That is how confident Pennsylvania College of Technology archery coach Chad Karstetter is about his team this year.

“Ending on a good note last year (fourth overall in the nation) and with everybody back from the men’s compound and men’s recurve teams, I expect some good scores and some good tournaments this year. I think we’re going to be a strong force to be reckoned with,” said Karstetter, in his ninth season. “Right now, everybody else in the country is thinking of us being at No. 1 in those two divisions.”

Penn College starts its season Friday in the Early Bird Expo at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds. Although a noncollegiate event, Karstetter said the indoor expo, sponsored by the Berwick Archery Club, will offer some of the toughest competition his archers will face all season. Head-to-head finals are scheduled for Sunday.

The Wildcats return four All-Americans in Dan Wido (sophomore/Shickshinny), Zach Plannick (sophomore/Corapolis), Brock Smith (senior/Brookville) and Lindsey Fackler (senior/Halifax). Wido, Plannick and Aaron Lapinski (sophomore/Bloomsburg) were members of the outdoor national championship men’s compound team last season.

In addition to Wido, Plannick and Lapinski, also on the men’s compound squad are Brock Smith, Brad Ferguson (junior/Lewistown), Nathan Glover (freshman/St. Thomas), Jared Boers (sophomore/Pine Grove) and Clint Hinton (freshman/Lock Haven).

“They are all shooting exceptionally well together. I expect they’ll be in the finals this year and I think they should win a national championship,” Karstetter predicted. The only time the college has had back-to-back national championship men’s outdoor compound teams was in 1998 and 1999 and, interestingly, Karstetter, then a student, was a member of both. “That’s a very achievable goal for us this year. I’m very excited about it.”

On the men’s recurve team are Martin Smith (senior/Brookville, Brock’s brother), James Fanelli (junior/Glastonburg, Conn.), Tyler Gale (sophomore/Kennedyville, Md.) and Glen Thomas (freshman/Mercer).

Thomas, the coach pointed out, comes out of a strong junior program where he consistently was at or near the top in competition. “He’s going to step right in and probably be an All-American and probably in the top two or three (nationally),” Karstetter said.

Fackler is the lone returnee on the women’s compound team, but Karstetter expects good things from newcomers Cheryl Brooks (freshman/Reynoldsville) and Julie Cain (freshman/Bellefonte).

“Fackler shot excellent last year. She shot a little bit over the summer and comes back as strong as she left last year. I expect her to be in the top couple of girls in the country,” Karstetter said. “Neither Brooks nor Cain has any experience prior to coming to college, but just having the determination to come out for the team and give it a try says a lot about their character.

“They both have been working very, very hard and, even though they only have about two months under their belts, they are doing exceptionally well. We’ll see how they progress during the year.”

The college has no woman’s recurve shooters this season, which will limit the number of points it can achieve in team competition.

Despite that, Karstetter is confident. “It definitely is the best team that I ever have had the privilege to coach. If I had to pick how many All-Americans, potentially, we could have, I would say five to seven: Wido, Plannick, Brock Smith, Thomas, Fackler and maybe Martin Smith and Lapinski.”

Although the season-ending outdoor national championship in California is several months away, Karstetter, Wido, Plannick and Thomas will travel to Las Vegas in early February for the noncollege World Archery Festival, run by the National Field Archery Association. “It’s like the Super Bowl of archery. It’s the big one,” Karstetter said.

In late April, Penn College again will host the Eastern Regional Intercollegiate Outdoor Championships.

PENN COLLEGE SCHEDULE

January

23-25 – at Early Bird Expo, Bloomsburg; 31 – at PA State Indoor Championships, Taylor.

March

13-15 – at U.S. Indoor Eastern Regionals, Harrisonburg, Va.

April

4-5 – at Adam Wheatland Memorial, Harrisonburg, Va.; 24-26 – host Eastern Regional Intercollegiate Championships.

May

14-17 – at National Collegiate Outdoor Championships, Long Beach, Calif.

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