Category Archives: Central Penn Sports

Knights Jousting – and Winning Big Time!

Central Penn moving up in USCAA tourney

By Keith Gudz

Knightly News Reporter

The Central Penn Knights basketball team has become one of the greatest kept secrets in college basketball.

The United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) team is currently 24-8 and are 24-3 in USCAA play. The Knights, Division II, have made the USCAA tournament for a sixth straight year, the longest streak by any USCAA school. They received the No. 2 overall seed.

What’s happening now

Central Penn defeated NHTI (formerly New Hampshire Technical Institute), Concord, N.H., Thursday 76-64, in Uniontown, Pa., where the tournament is being held – on the Penn State Fayette Campus. They were led by Tyree Tucker, Tyrie Orosco and Joel Zola – each who scored 18 points.

The Knights are scheduled to play Penn State York at 3 this afternoon. (Follow the stats live here.) If they win, the Knights would face Berkeley College (N.Y.) or Penn State Greater Allegheny for the championship Saturday at 8:45 p.m.

A bit of background

The Knights, in addition to playing in a lower-tier basketball league, are also often overlooked for being part of such a small school that some residents in Central Pennsylvania are only now realizing exists.

However, for being a small school – with an enrollment of about 1,300 – the team is very good, with the 24-3 USCAA record, and the other five losses to NCAA Division I teams.

The losses were Liberty (19-12), Radford (13-17), Maryland-East Shore (11-19), Howard (8-22) and Elon (18-13).  Their closest game against the DI schools was a seven-point loss to the Howard Bison 67-60.

The Knights have hardly been only a one-and-done team. Last season, the Knights made it all the way to the championship game before falling to Berkeley College (NY) 107-88. The previous season 2014-2015, the Knights went to the national semifinals.

Looking forward, moving on

As the college starts to expand its reach and scope on the recruiting trail, upgraded facilities are in the planning stage.

One day there may be a move up to NCAA.

Only time will tell.

But if the Knights do move up, then DI, watch out during March Madness, because these little Knights can dance.


 

To comment on this story, or to suggest a story, contact KnightlyEditors@CentralPenn.edu.

Edited by Media Club Co-adviser Prof. Lear-Olimpi and club president Sherri Long.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Central Penn Sports

The Bases Are Loaded for the Central Penn Knights Diamond Men

Bigger roster, longer season present welcome changes and challenges

 By Norman Geary
Knightly News Reporter

For the first time in Central Penn College history, the Knights baseball team has been recognized in a national poll of coaches in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA).

Near the end of the last season, the Knights were ranked 16th of 35 teams in the USCAA’s national coaches’ poll, according to the league’s website.

“We have had some disappointing moments, but we have also had some good ones as well; the ranking 16th would be one of those moments,” Head Coach Harry Hitz said.

Play ball!

The Knights have momentum. This year, seven students will return, along with an additional 13 new players, and Hitz is looking for great things from these new players.

“There will be challenges coming our way since our team is very young,” Hitz said.

Speaking of challenges, the Knights will be playing a 40-game season that will include an additional 16 games. When asked about the additional games, Hitz said, “Just come out and give your support, which makes all the difference in the world.”

The first game of this season is scheduled for March 7, and the Knights are looking to improve their record by storming the field and hitting the cover off the ball.

The 9-14-1 record from 2016 doesn’t show the complete picture, according to Hitz, who said, “Our record does not reflect the talent that we really have. We are coming off a season that truly does not show how we really are, and we are out to change that in 2017.”

On March 7, the Knights will play Rowan at Burlington County at 4 p.m. at the East Pennsboro High School baseball field.

“This team is a New Jersey powerhouse and will be a tough challenge for the Knights,” said Hitz.

Playin’ that upside

The upside for the Knights is that seven experienced players will be returning. The returning players are Brandon Casiano, Jonathan Garcia, Braedon Thomas, Drew Myers, Murray Ruggiero, Gabe Arellano and Andrew James; they will complete a 25-player roster. This benefits the Knights because last year, they had only 13 players on the team.

With 25 players and 16 extra games, Hitz and Assistant Coach Matt DeSantis are building a baseball team from the ground up. Both are looking forward to a successful 2017 season.

_____________________________________________

Norman Geary covers sports and writes features for The Knightly News.

To comment on this story, or to suggest a story or a podcast, contact KnightlyEditors@CentralPenn.edu.

Edited by Media Club Co-adviser Prof. Michael Lear-Olimpi

Leave a Comment

Filed under Central Penn Sports

Victories Are More than Scores

Some highlights of a tough Lady Knights basketball season

By Yuliani Sutedjo

Media Club Reporter

The winter is over, and with it, the Lady Knights’ basketball season.

And like the winter, the Lady Knights’ season was a tough one.

They ended the 2015-2016 season with two wins and 23 loses. But despite that, the Lady Knights are proud of what they achieved.

Highlights of some games follow.

Players, cameras, action!

Jenasia Figueroa made a beautiful lay up Jan. 16. She dribbled the ball past the free-throw line, and suddenly, an opponent from State University of New York (SUNY) Delhi was on guard and ready, face-to-face with Figueroa.

Figueroa grabbed the ball, took a step and spun her body to the left, bringing her right foot to the floor. She swept her hand up and sent the ball away. What a beautiful layup! It boosted everyone, and brought cheers from the players and spectators as the team rallied to catch up at the last minute.

In the last three seconds, Central Penn College and SUNY Delhi were even, at 83 points. Then, a player charged with the ball toward the basket and shot, but wasn’t able to make the points.

Got it!

But as the ball fell, Melissa Ruiz snatched the rebound and with one second left, she shot the ball to the basket — and scored. Central Penn racked up the win (85-83) against SUNY Delhi with Figueroa’s lay up, Ruiz’s basket and team effort. (The other victory was against Penn State York, 58-57, on Nov. 1.)

Another highlight  occurred during the last game of the season, Feb. 17, against University of Valley Forge (UVF won, 84-50). Lady Knight Chaneil Croxton, who played her last day for Central Penn during that match, took a pass from Nicole Scmidhamer. Croxton caught it, got into position and made a spectacular three-pointer.

Everyone jumped and shouted, “Yeah, Nelly!” (Croxton’s nickname is Nelly.)

Croxton was happy to have achieved her goal as a basketball player for Central Penn – playing in that game. After the game, Croxton thanked everyone who was patient and worked with her. Her message for players coming up: Keep growing and become better athletes.

Croxton wasn’t the only senior saying goodbye. Janay Nelson, Myesha McGhee and Nicole Schmidhamer bid farewell to their team. Nelson, McGhee and Schmidhamer left this message: Keep practicing and enjoy every minute you play.

Fond farewell

When the sweat had dried and the sneakers had stopped screeching, Coach Kasey Hicks said the seniors will be missed, and welcomed Croxton, Nelson, McGhee and Schmidhamer to come to practices.

Stories of victories aren’t always told in scores. The highlights above are part of the victorious story of Lady Knights Basketball.

Continued kudos!

Echoes of victory sounded off the court after the season.

On March 1, three Lady Knights received an award from the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA). Angie Kovac, Mary Weingartner and Schmidhamer were designated Academic All American players.

Schmidhamer also was Honorable Mention for the All American team of USCAA’s Division II women’s basketball.

These awards mean the ladies dedicated their time not only to their sport but also to their education.

Kovac, Weingartner and Schmidhamer said they were very honored to be recognized. They said time management is critical to success in college sports, and that they do their best, as others should, to balance sports and classes.

Keeping at the drills

With that in mind, Lady Knights Basketball will keep fighting and seeking a way to grow during the off season.

To keep the team and its members growing in their skills and dedication, Hicks said that after a break, they will pursue a lighter-than-usual workout schedule through the year to prepare for the coming season.

The reason for the smaller number of workouts is to sharpen each individual’s strengths, Hicks said.

“We have a lot of hard workers, a lot of competitors, and that is exactly what we will be building this off season,” Hicks said.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Central Penn Sports

Knights Come Back Strong

Hold #2 national USCAA rank

By Nicholas Tschinkel

Media Club Reporter

The Central Penn Knights are charging ahead in the 2015-16 basketball season, with a 14-8 record.

The team is ranked #2 nationally in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association’s (USCAA) Division II Coaches Poll – just behind Berkeley College of New York City.

With a successful season halfway over, the Knights hope to qualify for the USCAA Division II Basketball Tournament. To attain this privilege, the team must first face adversity on the courts, taking one regular season game at a time and putting what the team members practice to the test.

Coaching success

One thing that certainly works to make this process easier is the veteran coaching provided by Dave Baker, dean of student services at Central Penn College and head basketball coach for the Knights.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Central Penn Sports

Second Season Brings Men’s Soccer High Hopes

By Nicholas Tschinkel

Media Club Reporter

The Central Penn College men’s soccer team will be closing the season with two home games this month – one on Sunday at 2 p.m. against Berkeley College of New Jersey and one on Oct. 24 at 5 p.m. against Williamson Trade.

Sunday’s game will be played on the East Pennsboro Middle School soccer fields. The Oct. 24 game, part of Central Penn’s homecoming and the team’s final conference game of the season, will be played on Central Penn’s home field, at East Pennsboro High School.

Head Coach Tom Birch says the team is especially looking forward to the homecoming match, saying it offers, “Nothing to lose, everything to gain.”

The Knights are in only their second season of existence and regardless of what they do in the final two games, they have already raised the bar from last season.

The very existence of the team finalized abruptly in 2014, which gave the coaching staff little time to recruit and train players from the school. However, the team has seen significant improvements in its sophomore year, scoring 16 more goals to date than last year.

This year, the team has scored two victories – a 9-0 match against Mid-Atlantic Christian University, which forfeited its second game with Central Penn. The team won no games during its first season.

More goals and one on-field win are likely direct results of the practice and workout sessions Birch and Assistant Coach Andrew Welker hold for their scholar athletes. The team begins to practice in late spring, and eases into more physically demanding sessions as the days grow warmer. Mandatory practices then begin one month prior to the team’s first game.

When asked to describe a typical practice, both coaches and players agreed: The practices are challenging and just like games.

“Intense. We work hard,” says team co-captain John “Jt” Lumbard when asked about the way practices normally run.

Birch and Welker look to train the players with the fundamentals they need to continuously improve individual athletes’ skills and the quality of the men’s soccer program as a whole. Their coaching style is to run practices hard so the men are ready and in shape for games.

Soccer pic -- men's team

The Central Penn Knights men’s soccer team was out for a morning jog before its game against Mid-Atlantic Christian University, Elizabeth City, North Carolina. From left are Daouda Bamba, Jesse Berger, JT Lumbard, Ricardo Leader, Greg Walker, Jadon Buser, Dino Santiague, Zach Sprague, Matt Wright, Mark Swope, Steve Osungo, Keon Williams and Marnel Cherentant. Photo by Tom Birch

Intense practice sessions can certainly prepare the team for big matchups such as the upcoming game against Williamson Trade, a game many Knights have talked about and looked forward to.

“Williamson Trade is the big one for us,” Birch says. “They beat Central Penn 2-0 last year.”

He says the team wants nothing more than to “flip the script” and show that Central Penn has improved, and is a team worth paying attention to.

The physically demanding practice sessions may very well have given the team the conditioning it needs to come away with a victory in the final conference game.

The Knights’ Mark Swope echoed his coaches’ comments, saying, “If we can implement what we do at practice and in drills, we’ll be very prepared for the conference final (against Williamson Trade).”

“The team is hungry – hungry for wins,” says player Steve Osango. “I see potential. I see victories.”

Leave a Comment

Filed under Central Penn Sports