Overcoming race-day adversity in championship fashion, the Pennsylvania College of Technology men’s cross-country team claimed its first conference title since 2012 on Saturday, while the college’s women’s soccer team posted a playoff shutout and advances to Tuesday’s 6 p.m. Volt Division semifinal at Penn State Harrisburg.
In a brilliant team effort, the Wildcats overcame the loss of a key runner in midrace during the United East Championship meet hosted by Cairn University and pulled together to win their first crown in the NCAA era that began in 2014 and the first overall in over a decade.
“We ran well, one through eight, and although freshman Chase Ebeling, of Bellefonte, was unable to finish the race, the next two guys (Holden Furey and Jacob Parker) finished strong enough to win a close meet. I’m very pleased with our effort and the depth that we showed,” coach Tom Leeser said.
“The guys were very, very motivated. This was something they set as a goal early on in the season and we ran well here (at Cairn) a month ago. It was a very competitive meet, but we ran well top to bottom,” the second-year coach continued.
Sophomore Mitchell Campbell, of Riegelsville, led the men with a third-place finish over the 8K course in 28:44, while sophomore Matthew Woolcock, of Oil City, was sixth in 29:05; junior Alec Rees, of Centerport, New York, was seventh in 29:16; Furey, a freshman from Williamsport, was 17th in 31:30; and Parker, a freshman from Weatherly, was 20th in 31:46. Also for the Wildcats, sophomore Dillon Betts, of Manchester, New Jersey, was 23rd in 32:21, and senior Noah Bowers, of Burnham, was 24th in a field of 91 in 32:28.
As a result of their finishes, Campbell, Woolcock and Rees all earned UE first-team honors and Holden and Furey are on the UE third team.
With 53 points, the Wildcats edged Lancaster Bible College, which had 54 points, and finished ahead of St. Mary’s (Md.) 77, Penn State Berks 130, Valley Forge 153, Gallaudet University 189, Cairn 204, Clarks Summit 226, Bryn Athyn 231, Penn State Harrisburg 252, Penn State Abington 258 and Rosemont 258.
“I’m pleased with our women as well,” Leeser said. “A top six finish for them when a few weeks ago we didn’t know if we’d have five runners.”
Freshman Elaina Brady, of Big Cove Tannery, led the women over a 6K course with a 14th-place finish in 29:22; senior Skyelar Splain, of Liverpool, was 19th in 29:44; junior Kayleigh Miller, of Sayre, was 46th in 35:36; freshman Natalie Greiner, of Mount Joy, was 47th in 35:44; and freshman Sofia Laspina, of Bellmore, New York, was 70th in a field of 83 in 46:59.
Brady was awarded UE second-team honors and Splain was awarded UE third-team honors.
St. Mary’s (Md). Took the women’s team title with 60 points and was followed by Lancaster Bible College 67, Cairn 101, Valley Forge 144, Bryn Athyn 187, Penn College 188, Clarks Summit 191, Penn State Berks 191, Gallaudet University 200, Penn State Abington 214, Cedar Crest 231, Penn State Harrisburg 294 and Rosemont 314.
Saturday, Oct. 28 — UE Championships at Cairn University, men 1 of 12, women 6 of 13
Saturday, Nov. 11 — NCAA Division III Mid-Atlantic Championships, men’s 8K race 11 a.m., women’s 6K race noon (hosted by Susquehanna University at Lock Haven University’s West Branch Cross-Country Course)
Four players got into the scoring act on Saturday in the United East Volt Division first-round match against sixth-seed Penn State Abington and Nicole Lichtinger, of Erie, was perfect in goal, making one save as third-seeded Penn College advanced with a 4-0 win.
Kaelynn Sheetz, of Elizabethtown, the program’s all-time leading scorer, put the Wildcats on top in the ninth minute and teammates Cassie Johnson, of Richland; BillieGean Hennessy, of Holtsville, New York; and Sara Darlington, of West Chester, followed suit in the team’s ninth shutout of the season, five of them wins and the other four scoreless ties.
Although 0-10 lifetime against PS Harrisburg, when the Wildcats played the second seeds on Sept. 30, Harrisburg won, 1-0, and entering the postseason, Penn College coach Ian Scheller said Harrisburg “must be respected.
“Looking at the United East this year, it is exciting to see the balance in the conference. Every team in the playoff hunt has the ability to win on any given day, and that has shown in the results.”
Also last week, Sheetz was named United East Volt Division Offensive Player of the Week for Oct. 16-22 as she collected her fifth career weekly nod after racking up 11 points and leading the Wildcats to wins over Keuka and Gallaudet.
UE: 4-1-2 (3-1-2 regular season)
Saturday, Oct. 28 — Volt Division first round, Penn College (3) hosts Penn State Abington (6), W, 4-0
Saturday, Oct. 28 — Volt Division first round, Lancaster Bible College (4) hosts St. Mary’s (Md.) College (5), St. Mary’s won, 4-0
Tuesday, Oct. 31 — Volt Division semifinal, Penn College (3) at Penn State Harrisburg (2) (PS Harrisburg leads series 10-0), 6 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 31 — Volt Division semifinal, St. Mary’s (Md.) (5) at Penn State Berks (1) (PS Berks leads series 3-2), 6 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 2 — Volt Division final, TBA
Sunday, Nov. 5 — UE Championship, TBA
Last Tuesday, in its regular-season finale, Penn College lost at Lancaster Bible College, 1-0, as it was held to no shots on goal.
At fourth-seeded St. Mary’s (Md.) College on Saturday, the fifth-seeded Wildcats saw their season end with a 5-1 loss and finish 7-7-3 overall and 2-4-1 in all conference matches.
St. Mary’s, which led in shots on goal, 12-4, scored four first-half goals and added one in the second half before Cooper Smith, of Carlisle, put Penn College on the scoreboard in the 69th minute with a penalty kick goal.
Final overall: 7-7-3
Final UE: 2-4-1 (2-3-1 regular season)
Tuesday, Oct. 24 — at Lancaster Bible College, L, 1-0
Saturday, Oct. 28 — Volt Division first round (Penn College (5) at St. Mary’s (Md.) College (4), L, 5-1
Hosting St. Mary’s (Md.) College on Saturday, Penn College lost its season finale, 3-1, to finish 4-17 overall and 0-6 in the UE.
Cheyenne Stein, of Orwigsburg, led the Wildcats with four aces and 19 assists, while Hailey DeBrody, of Cogan Station, led with four blocks; Marianna Dariychuk, of Leola, led with 12 kills; and Coryn Oswald, of Langhorne, led with 16 digs.
UE Volt Division standings through Saturday: Gallaudet University 6-0, Lancaster Bible College 5-1, Penn State Abington 3-3, Penn State Berks 2-3, Penn State Harrisburg 2-3,St. Mary’s (Md.) 2-4, Penn College 0-6.
Final overall: 4-17
Final UE: 0-6
Saturday, Oct. 28 — host St. Mary’s (Md.) College (UE), L, 3-1 (25-18, 23-25, 25-14, 25-16)
(All events at Wildcat Den)
Monday, Oct. 23 — CIL College Cup Series: 110 at the Glen-Watkins Glen International, 28, 30, 32
Monday, Oct. 30 — CIL College Cup Series: Southern 200-Darlington Raceway, 9 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 1 — Formula Championship: Finger Lakes-Watkins Glen Classic Boot, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 7 — ENASCAR: Dover Motor Speedway, 7 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 23 — vs. Southern Mississippi, L, 3-1 (2-1, 3-4, 1-0, 3-1)
Monday, Oct. 23 — vs. Manchester University, W, 3-0 (4-2, 5-4, 2-1)
Monday, Oct. 30 — vs. SUNY Stony Brook, 7 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 6 — vs. Fanshawe College, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 7 — vs. Missouri Western State, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 24 — vs. Lubbock Christian, L, 3-0 (2-0, 3-2, 3-0)
Tuesday, Oct. 31 — vs. Virginia Wesleyan, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 7 — vs. RIT, 7 p.m.
League of Legends
Tuesday, Oct. 24 — vs. Ozarks TCC, W, 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
Thursday, Oct. 26 — vs. Missouri State, L, 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
Tuesday, Oct. 31 — vs. Keiser University-Sarasota, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 25 — vs. Simpson College, W, 2-1 (11-13, 13-9, 13-5)
Wednesday, Nov. 1 — Messiah University, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 8 — Transylvania University, 7 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 3 — vs. Durham College, 7 p.m.
For more about the United East, visit the conference website.
For additional information, visit the Wildcats Athletics website.