The Pennsylvania College of Technology archery team has racked up three consecutive second-place team finishes on the national stage and is hopeful of great things again today as it competes in the U.S. Intercollegiate Archery Championships in Cedar City, Utah.
"I think we have a strong, but young team. I think we're going to do very well. I have high hopes," said Wildcats' second-year coach Brian Parker.
"I think the season has gone very well (so far). In some ways it has gone better than I could have hoped for with the young team I have," he added. "Almost half of the team was new this year and it is just the second year for about all of the other half."
Three archers will compete in each team event at nationals, except mixed events where the team is made up of one male and one female archer. Representing the college are:
Female bowhunter - Kendel Baier, of Jersey Shore; Brianna Batykefer, of Butler; and Cayla Easley, of Carlisle.
Parker will select his mixed teams based on how archers are shooting at the time.
"There are four teams that could easily win gold; any of the bowhunter or compound teams can win gold, and I wouldn't count the recurve teams out," Parker said.
Up to 350 archers are expected to compete and Parker, addressing the sport's gain in popularity, said, "Archery is on its way back in. There are rumors on compounds moving into the Olympics in years to come. Everything goes in cycles and archery is coming back into its own cycle."
The key for his archers, the coach said, will be "keeping a level head and watching their hydration. If they get fatigued, tired and dehydrated I think it's going to be a big factor. The temperature is going to be a big swing with as cool as 40 in the morning and has high as 80 in the afternoon. You're going to get a flatter, faster shot (due to higher elevation), but we're not used to shooting in that kind of temperature swing."
At nationals last year, McGowan was the men's individual bowhunter champion while Batykefer was second in female bowhunter and Baier third in female bowhunter.
Cummings was a member of the team-championship men's compound squad, Keys was on the winning men's recurve team, Dowdrick, Dewalt and McGowan were on the winning men's bowhunter squad and Baier and Batykefer were on the No. 1 women's bowhunter team. Lapinski and Cummings were All-Americans.