29AWeekly2022-23/Feb. 27-March 4
New day for Penn College wrestling
The Pennsylvania College of Technology wrestling program is on the verge of a new,
magnificent day when freshman Isaac Cory competes at the NCAA Division III National
Championships on Friday.
ON THE HORIZON:
Cory, of Montoursville, carries a 17-2 season record into his first-round match at the 10,500-
seat Berglund Center in Roanoke, Virginia, where he joins 17 other wrestlers vying for the 184-
pound weight-class crown.
In all, there are 180 grapplers in 10 weight classes (18 in each weight) from across the country
looking for an individual title. The complete seeded bracket will be available on Monday at
Also entered at 184 are defending champion Jaritt Shinhoster, University of Wisconsin-
Whitewater (29-2 record); Charles Baczek, Wabash College (20-2); Shane Leigel, Loras College
(31-1); Sampson Wilkins, Castleton University (34-12); Bentley Schwanebeck-Ostermann,
Augsburg University (28-6); Cameron Blizard, Washington and Lee (19-6); Jack Ryan, SUNY
Oneonta (19-5); David McCullough, Coast Guard Academy (4-0); Gavin Layman, Ohio Northern
University (3-1); Donovan Corn, Luther College (29-7); Mahlic Sallah, Roanoke College (27-2);
Kalyn Jahn, Wisconsin-La Crosse (18-9); Colby Giroux, RIT (31-4); Edwin Morales, Bridgewater
State University (17-2); Blake Williams, Adrian College (5-1); Tristan Westphal, Coe College (21-
5); and Isaac Kassis, Alvernia University (4-0).
Wartburg College won the team title a year ago with 79 points.
A four-time state qualifier while he was in high school, Cory has wrestled in a big-time venue in
the past, having won last year’s PIAA Class AA 189-pound championship after finishing seventh
in 2020 at the Giant Center in Hershey, also a 10,500-seat arena. He closed out his high school
career with a 136-36 record.
Earlier this season, Cory made program history when he became the first nationally ranked
Wildcat, garnering the No. 10 spot at 184 pounds in the National Wrestling Coaches Association
Division III rankings in mid-December.
“Isaac will enter a deep field. Four of last season’s 184-pound All-Americans return to the
bracket, including last year’s 184-pound national champion. This bracket is arguably one of the
toughest at the championships because of the returning talent alone,” Penn College coach
Pankil Chander said.
The first-year coach continued, “The beauty of the D-III championships, from what I’ve
witnessed every year, is that anything can happen. Unseeded guys make noise. Top seeds go
down, and everything in between. We know that to be true based on this past weekend’s
regional results alone.
“Brackets will be released (Monday) and Isaac may not be seeded in the top eight since he
missed more than half of the season and doesn’t have as much body of work as the other
wrestlers in his bracket. That’s OK!
“Isaac’s style and feel is a difficult one to scout and prepare for. Though he hasn’t wrestled
many of the guys in his bracket, they haven’t wrestled or felt him either, which, in my opinion,
can favor Isaac.
“With his missing more than half of this season, we haven’t even seen Isaac Cory peak this
season yet, which is scary considering how convincing of a talent he’s been. He’ll be ready and
have fun competing when it matters most on the NCAA floor in Roanoke.”
“When I had our first team meeting with our guys when taking the helm this past summer, I
talked to them about relentlessly applying a growth mindset in everything we do. That meant
that we need to evolve our way of thinking and lead this program to new heights,” Chander
“Isaac is a bit of a force of nature when it comes to wrestling, so we’re grateful he’s on our
team and leading the charge in this way,” Chander said. “He’s strong as a bull, he makes his
opponents feel his technical brutality, and he has a high wrestling IQ. He makes smart and
strategic decisions in his wrestling that’s led him to the NCAA tournament.
“He dealt with significant adversity this season — injuries, missing over 50% of our schedule,
etc.; I think what truly separates Isaac apart from his competition is his propensity for loving the
hard work and getting lost in it. I’m not talking about the cliché coach speak version of ‘love the
process.’ Isaac has the propensity to listen when people are honest with him and he knows how
to be honest with himself about how he can develop, and he embraces the work it takes to get
himself better. So when hardship confronted him this season, he invited it in as an opportunity
to grow, and man did he blossom.
“If you talk to Isaac, he credits much of his development growing up to one of the all-time
Pennsylvania greats in Chance Marsteller, a four-time PIAA state champion who was 166-0 in
high school, a two-time Division I All-American at Lock Haven University and a Senior World
Team Trials finalist. Isaac did a lot of training with him and it shows in the way he wrestles.
Chance is a generational talent and Isaac’s wrestling style resembles his.
“Isaac is ready to make some noise out at the NCAA Championships.”
Matt Yonkin, Cory’s high school coach at Montoursville, isn’t surprised by the youngster’s
success at the next level.
“He is comfortable with adversity. He handles it well. He’s always been a hard-working,
dedicated kid that just grinds through whatever situation is put in front of him. I’m not
surprised at all,” Yonkin said.
To be successful, Yonkin continued, “first and foremost, you need a love for the sport. We
always preach to them ‘you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable,’ embracing those
difficult times and at the same time appreciating the opportunity that you have to be able to
compete and enjoy the sport of wrestling.
“When you add to that dedication, commitment and hard work, then everything else falls into
Yonkin mentioned some intangibles that set Cory apart and make him special.
“When I look back at Isaac coming through, he was always such a role model and mentor to
everybody else. One of the things I loved about him was how much he cared for his teammates
and tried to make everybody around him better, knowing that in the end, it was going to make
him better and also make the team better,” the coach said. “He was very selfless. I think he
found a desire for the sport within himself.
“(There was) A lot of pressure and a lot of expectation put on him early and he was able to take
a step back and block out everything going on around him and focus on his own love and
enjoyment for the sport. That is when he found success his senior year.
“Montoursville wrestling loves that kid; we could not be more proud of him. We’re happy that
he is making Penn College proud. I knew from the get-go (the college) had a champion on its
hands and he’s going to carry the flag well.”
Another of the many who will be rooting on Cory at nationals is former Wildcats coach Schuyler
Frey, who brought wrestling back to the college in 2010-11 after a 27-year lapse.
“It’s really neat to see these new milestones being made,” Frey said.
“Back in the day when I was coaching (2010-17) the things that we talked about, and watching
the process of getting into the NCAA and bridging that gap, the thing that I’m always thinking
about is the effort that was put in by the guys prior to this year, the things they went through to
keep the program up and keep it running. I’m just very happy for them that their efforts are
being rewarded through Isaac and through Pankil,” Frey said.
Friday-Saturday, March 10-11 — NCAA Division III Championships at Roanoke, Va.
29BWeekly2022-23/Feb. 27-March 4
Due to the content and length, this week’s “Weekly” is being sent in two parts — “A” ON THE HORIZON: national wrestling preview. And “B” FLASHBACK: look back at the current men’s lacrosse season and recaps from the men’s and women’s basketball seasons.
WildcatWeeklyHighlights2022-23 for immediate release
Penn College lax team stays unbeaten
The Pennsylvania College of Technology men’s lacrosse team kept its season-opening unbeaten streak intact with a pair of wins this past week, while the college’s men’s and women’s basketball coaches looked back on their recently completed seasons.
The Wildcats stretched their school-record win streak to four on Wednesday with an 11-4 nonconference victory at Juniata College. Four Wildcats scored two goals each, led by Isaac Hernandez, of Monroe Township, New Jersey, and Camden Elmo, of Hanover, who also recorded one assist. In goal, JJ Cella, of Cape May, New Jersey, made 12 saves.
James Thatcher’s third goal of the match, unassisted with 23 seconds remaining in the fourth period, lifted Penn College to a thrilling 12-11 home nonconference win over Drew University on Saturday and extended its win streak to five. Thatcher, of Bala Cynwyd, finished with four points as he also had an assist, while teammate Devin Page, of Pine City, New York, also had a hat trick for the Wildcats. Cella had 20 saves in the goal.
A top-four finish in the United East Conference, the winningest campaign since 2014-15 with a 9-8 conference record (9-7 regular season) and 10-16 overall mark. This year’s team had much to celebrate.
“I think it is important that we live in the moment, here and now,” third-year coach Britni Mohney said. “People keep asking what we can do next year to get ourselves to the next level, but can we talk about what we did this year.
“The change our student-athletes made in the program, a program that started out 1-11 going into the second half of the season and made United East Playoffs for the first time. That in itself is astounding. Our student-athletes never gave up, not on themselves, not on the coaching staff, and not on the team.
“What we did this year was not easy, and for that, these young women deserve all the accolades for what they accomplished. Reaching double-digit wins for the first time since 2014-2015, earning the program’s first-ever trip in the NCAA era to the conference postseason; that’s what they did; that’s what they worked hard to achieve.
“We beat a veteran team in regular season conference play who returned their entire cast who won the United East Conference championship in 2022 and 2023; that alone should give you faith and give you excitement about the future of Penn College basketball.”
Mohney noted the importance of a well-balanced team effort, saying, “On any given night, on any given day, anyone on this team could have a night, which shows that the program is going in the right direction and that we have weapons throughout our roster.
“Rachel Teats, of Middleburg, put together another outstanding performance across the board, and we saw breakthrough performances from veteran Emily Pardee, of Williamsport, and first-year player Lexi Troup, of Huntingdon.
“Emily improved from last season and was asked to put in big minutes for us and be a hard presence to cover in the paint and she did that, shooting 42.9% from the floor and bringing down 6.9 rebounds a game.
“After recruiting Lexi Troup in her high school season, we knew she would be an immediate impact to our program, but she far exceeded our expectations by becoming our leading scorer in her first season, knocking down clutch free throws, and putting the ball in her hands for game-winning shots. That’s a lot to handle as a first-year at the collegiate level and she did an exceptional job.”
Lexi Troup led the Wildcats with 249 points and Teats was second in scoring with 245 points.
A junior, Teats led the team with 173 rebounds, 74 assists and 46 steals, earning all-conference second-team honors.
“I’m extremely proud that Rachel received the recognition she deserves,” Mohney said. “While Rachel went from leading scorer in 2021-22 (she had 292 points and now has 537 for her career) to second in points on the team in 2022-23, her presence was known in every aspect of the game. She led the team in rebounds, assists and steals. This just goes to show she is a threat in every aspect of the game and that if you take away her scoring, she is still going to be a problem on the floor. With her all-conference recognition, it means that other coaches in the conference are beginning to respect our program and understand that we are not an easy opponent.”
Senior Ja’Quela Dyer, of Dover, Delaware, closed out her career with 583 points and 648 rebounds and drew praise from her coach.
“Ja’Quela has been an outstanding presence on our team for the last four years. She is one of the few that has seen the program go from where it was to where it is now,” Mohney said. “Her contributions do not go unnoticed as she is one of the top rebounders we’ve seen go through this program. Her presence in the paint will be a void we have to fill next season, but I have no doubt in my mind that between Bell Hitesman, of Muncy, and Eliza Newcomer, of Newell, that we can take care of business by protecting the paint and securing the boards.”
“Great progress over the past year.”
That’s what coach Geoff Hensley saw from his team during its recently completed season as it finished 10-15 overall and 5-11 in the United East.
“This season, we doubled our win total from last year and it was also our program’s first season winning 10 games in the NCAA era (and first 10-win season since 2010-11),” the fourth-year coach said. “It was also a great season individually as all our returners improved from last season, including Gavin Barrett, who was the first Penn College men’s basketball player to be named to the United East All-Conference first team.
“Outside of our one senior, Will Sulesky, we played mostly freshmen and sophomores who battled and competed with some very good senior-led teams. We went toe-to-toe with the best teams in the conference where the game results could have gone either way.”
Barrett, of Roselle, New Jersey, led the Wildcats in scoring with 460 points (he has 718 career points in two seasons), in rebounding (143), in assists (169) and in steals (47). In the United East, Barrett led in scoring average (18.5 per game) and assists per game (6.7) while finishing third in steals per contest (2) and eighth in rebounds (5.9).
Hensley said, “Individually, Gavin had a great year for us and really led us on the floor. He is arguably the best player in the conference.
“Sulesky, of Huntingdon, was our senior leader who did the majority of the vocal leadership and a lot of the ‘dirty’ work in games with his physical defense and rebounding.
“Alec Cooper, of Huntingdon, had a fantastic first year for us where he worked his way into the starting lineup as a freshman and finished third on the team with 9.8 points per game while also guarding the other team’s best guard.
“I also thought Max Jackowsky, of Garnet Valley; Rees Watkins, of Loyalsock Township; and Michael Woolridge, of Hollidaysburg, all made huge strides this year from last season and were key contributors to our team success. Livingston Cross, of Union, New Jersey, and Keon Evans, of Philadelphia, gave us a huge boost at the break when they came in to bring us much-needed size, athleticism and depth for conference play.”
“We made a huge jump this year and now the next jump for us is to finish in the top four in the United East to make it back to the conference tournament (something not achieved since 2019-20), the coach continued.
“We have been young the last two years, playing mostly freshmen and sophomores, so next season, we will finally have a core group of upperclassmen who will be juniors and sophomores with great experience from the last two years. We are hoping all this experience will pay off with some big conference wins for us to take our program to the next level. We need one more great off-season and great recruiting class to get over the conference ‘hump’ where we can really be competing for championships the next few years,” Hensley said.
Statistically, team-wise, the Wildcats averaged 74.6 points per game on offense and allowed 78.2. They averaged 35.5 rebounds per game, while their opposition averaged 39 per game. Penn College players made .437% of their field goals, shot .328% from 3-point range and connected on .672% of their foul shots.
During the off-season, Hensley said, “we are focusing on hitting the weight room hard to come back physically stronger and getting in the gym to work on our 3-point shooting. We were young this year, so the senior-dominated teams (i.e.: Abington, Harrisburg, Lancaster Bible College, St. Mary’s, etc.) seemed to be more physical and stronger than us. We need a great off-season in the weight room to come back and match their level of physicality.
“And we finished towards the bottom of the conference in 3-point shooting percentage. We need to all become better 3-point shooters and improve our percentage, which should open up more options for us offensively.”
Wildcat teams in both sports are competing this coming week during “spring break” in Myrtle Beach (baseball) and North Myrtle Beach (softball), South Carolina.
Friday-Saturday, March 10-11 — NCAA Division III Championships at Roanoke, Va.
The Ripken Experience Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Sunday, March 5 — vs. Hilbert College (2), 9 a.m.
Monday, March 6 — vs. Rivier University, 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 7 — vs. La Roche University (2), 9 a.m.
Wednesday, March 8 — vs. Catholic University, 10 a.m.
Thursday, March 9 — vs. Bethany College, 1 p.m.
Thursday, March 9 — vs. Suffolk University, 6:30 p.m.
Fastpitch Dreams Spring Classic, North Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Monday, March 6 — vs. Medaille College, 11 a.m.
Monday, March 6 — vs. Gettysburg College, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, March 7 — vs. Fitchburg State College, 11 a.m.
Tuesday, March 7 — vs. Cedar Crest College, 3 p.m.
Thursday, March 9 — vs. William Peace University, 11 a.m.
Thursday, March 9 — vs. Greensboro College, 3 p.m.
Friday, March 10 — vs. Regis College, 11 a.m.
Friday, March 10 — vs. Montclair State University, 1 p.m.
Wednesday, March 1 — at Juniata College, W, 11-4
Saturday, March 4 — host Drew University, W, 12-11
Wednesday, March 8 — at St. Mary’s (Md.) College (UE), 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 11 — at Shenandoah University, 1 p.m.
Saturday, March 18 — host Immaculata University, 1 p.m.
(All events at Wildcat Den)
Monday, Feb. 27 — CIL Cup Series-Darlington, 18 and 26 of 39
Wednesday, March 1 — CIL Short Track Showdown-South Boston Speedway, 9 of 15
Monday, March 6 — CIL Cup Series-Las Vegas, 8 p.m.
Tuesday, March 7 — CIL Formula College World Championship-Road Atlanta, 8 p.m.
Monday, March 13 — CIL Cup Series-Phoenix, 8 p.m.
NACE Rocket League Varsity
Monday, Feb. 27 — vs. Michigan Technological University, L, 3-0 (3-2, 4-3, 2-0)
Monday, March 6 — vs. St. Lawrence University, 7 p.m.
Monday, March 13 — vs. St. Xavier University, 7 p.m.
Monday, March 20 — vs. Lawrence Technological University, 7 p.m.
NACE Overwatch 2
Tuesday, Feb. 28 — vs. Ozarks Technical Community College, L, 3-0 (2-0, 3-0, 3-0)
Tuesday, March 7 — vs. North Carolina, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, March 14 — vs. University of Jamestown, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, March 21 — vs. George Mason University, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, March 1 — vs. Keiser University-Pembroke Pines, L, 2-0 (13-11, 13-11)
Wednesday, March 8 — vs. Cornell College, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, March 15 — vs. University of Jamestown, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, March 22 — vs. Ferris State University, 7 p.m.
For additional information, visit the Wildcats Athletics website.
For more about the United East, visit the conference website.