The Pennsylvania College of Technology archery team returns four All-Americans from last year's squad that finished third in the nation and also welcomes the return of coach Chad Karstetter, who is back for season 12 after two years away from the program. The Wildcats open their campaign Friday at the Eastern Regional Indoor Championships in Lancaster.
At the core of this season's squad are senior Kelvin Dewalt, of Easton; and juniors Kendel Baier, of Jersey Shore; Nicole Lapinski, of Bloomsburg; and Justus Leimbach, of Westminster, Md. All earned All-American status a year ago, and Lapinski is a two-time All-American. Baier also is the reigning female bowhunter national individual champion and was a member of the winning mixed and women's bowhunter teams at nationals.
"I hope that we can accomplish some of the goals they set for last year - placing in the top three (nationally) and having a few All-Americans. I hope to step in and be able to continue the tradition that we have had here at the college," Karstetter said of his return.
During Karstetter's first 11 seasons as coach, from 2001 through 2011, Penn College archers finished second twice, third once and fourth twice on the national stage. They also placed second in 2012 under coach Brian Parker. In Karstetter's last season with the team he was awarded national Coach of the Year honors.
"Just coming in the second week of January, I was really surprised how organized the team was. They already knew where they needed to go, some of them had taken charge and put together the teams and had tryouts. They were very organized and pretty much set up when I walked in the door," Karstetter said, adding that Tom Lapinski, Nicole's father and the team's assistant coach, has been instrumental during the transition.
Commenting on his key returnees, Karstetter said, "I expect that they are going to do just as well as they did last year, if not a little bit better. Every year the more experience you get at some of these big shoots the easier it is the next year when you come back. The nerves aren't quite as high. Just knowing what to do, where to go, is definitely a bonus when you go to these national tournaments. I expect them all to be All-Americans this year and I expect them to lead the teams that they're going to be with this year, too."
Other returning archers on whom Karstetter is counting include junior Matt Cummings, of Mountville; senior Ashley Baker, of Coudersport; sophomore Gregg Foust, of Murrysville; junior Stephen Keys, of Reynoldsville; and sophomore Max Trainor, of Hawley.
Teams will consist of:
Female compound: Baker, Lapinski and freshman Abigail Hricko, of Nicholson.
Female recurve: Freshmen Julie Carr, of Souderton; Pam Hartman, of Harrisburg; and Alana Androvette, of Williamsport.
Male recurve: Trainor, Foust and Keys.
Female bowhunter: Baier, sophomore Holly Neely, of Lebanon; and freshmen Kathreen Larsen, of Clinton Corners, N.Y., and Courtney Deshong, of McConnellsburg.
Male bowhunter: Dewalt, and freshmen Chris Lafey, of Weatherly; Matt Lech, of Johnstown; and Robert Heinrich, of Unityville.
"We're very confident in all of the divisions. We have a few new (archers) who we have filtered into some of these teams, but they are all really strong," Karstetter said. "The female recurve team has girls that we just picked up who have very little experience, but they have been down on the range every day since they said they would take on this challenge and they've been doing very well. I expect that by the time May rolls around, we will have a pretty good team."
Meets also include the:
Adam Wheatcroft Memorial Tournament at James Madison University, April 5-6;
U.S. Intercollegiate Championships at Long Beach, Calif., May 15-18.