Sprinter shines at conference championship
It’s hard to keep up with Divonne Franklin. The speedy sprinter was named the Outstanding Track Athlete at the PSAC Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships, a 15-team contest held this spring at Edinboro University.
Franklin won the 60- and 200-meter dash events, setting school and conference records with times of 7.55 and 24.66 seconds, respectively.
She also ran the leadoff leg with Cal U’s first-place 4x400-meter relay team, which included Ashley McIntosh, Alicia Collier and Tatyana Young.
Other top finishers: Aaliyah Lewis, who earned third place in the triple jump; and Young and Jaleesa Mackey, who finished third and fourth, respectively, in the 60-meter event.
At the PSAC men’s indoor championship, Jalen Cloud set a school record in the triple jump with a mark of 14.47 meters, finishing in third place.
Kristopher Lytle placed second in the 200-meter run, with a time of 21.98 seconds. He added a third-place finish, with a time of 6.904 seconds, in the 60-meter race. The men’s 4x400-meter relay team of Avery Boea-Gisler, Cloud, Kyle Tumpak and Lytle placed fourth.
BIG POST-SEASON FOR HOCKEY, RUGBY
The men’s hockey club collected its sixth consecutive College Hockey East Championship this season, bringing the club’s overall championship total to 13.
In the CHE playoffs, the Vulcans defeated IUP, 3-0, in the semifinals and Pitt-Johnstown, 5-4, in a final contest that went into overtime.In the championship game, Perry Shiring scored a hat trick for the Vulcans after an opening goal by Branson King. With nine minutes elapsed in overtime, Chris Siak scored the game-winner for the Vulcans.
For the first time in program history, the men’s rugby club competed in the National Small College Rugby Organization’s (NSCRO-15) Central Region Challenge Cup Championships, held in Columbia, Mo.
Coached by alumnus Bill Marnell ’09, the Vulcans clinched a spot in the regional semifinals and represented the NSCRO Three Rivers Conference following their 23-7 victory over Grove City College.
In the semifinals, Cal U fell to defending region champ and eventual region titlist Wisconsin Stevens Point.
Marnell praised the efforts of players Isaiah Harris, Brandon Fritzius and Nate Godfrey.
DEFENSIVE BACK AGAIN NAMED ALL-AMERICAN
After capping his career with an exceptional 2019 season, senior defensive back Lamont McPhatter II earned First-Team All-America status from the Associated Press for the second consecutive year.
In all, five organizations recognized McPhatter as an All-American: the AP, the American Football Coaches Association, D2CCA, D2Football.com and the Don Hansen Football Gazette.
McPhatter also was a three-time, first-team all-conference selection.In his final season with the Vulcans, McPhatter posted 58 tackles (32 solo) and scored a pair of defensive touchdowns while registering two interceptions and one fumble recovery. He anchored a defensive unit that led the NCAA Division II in rushing defense at 56.5 yards per game—fourth best among the 670 teams in all NCAA divisions.
STUDENT-ATHLETES WIN IN THE CLASSROOM
Cal U student-athletes are making the grades. The athletics program headed into 2020 having achieved a cumulative grade-point average of 3.10 or higher for 19 of the past 20 semesters.
In Fall 2019, the Vulcans’ 16 NCAA intercollegiate athletics programs collectively tallied a 3.21 GPA, with 28 student-athletes earning a perfect 4.0.
The volleyball team earned the highest team GPA, at 3.79. Among men’s teams, the basketball program posted the highest GPA, at 3.25.In all, 214 Vulcans – each with a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher – were named to the Fall 2019 Athletic Director Honor Roll.
TURNAROUND TIME FOR MEN’S BASKETBALL
Men’s head basketball coach Danny Sancomb, who’s completed his second year, guided the Vulcans to the program’s best season since 2008, when Cal U reached the NCAA Division II Elite Eight Tournament.
The men finished their regular season with 18 victories and made the league playoffs for the first time since 2014, falling to IUP in the quarterfinals. The Vulcans had opened the post-season with a 74-58 victory over Gannon, enjoying the team’s first PSAC Tournament win in the Convocation Center.
Guard Brent Pegram averaged more than 20 points per game in the regular season. Other double-figure scorers were Zyan Collins, Jermaine Hall and Luke House.
TOP 10 SCORES FOR SENIOR SWIMMER
Senior Karley Owens earned three top-10 finishes at the PSAC Swimming Championships.
Owens placed fifth overall in the championship finals of the 200 breaststroke, touching the wall in 2 minutes, 20.88 seconds – the second fastest time in school history.
She tied for fifth place in the 400-yard individual medley (4:33.62), third best in program history. She also placed ninth in the 100 breaststroke (1:05.76).
BASKETBALL COACH NETS MILESTONE VICTORIES
A successful season for the women’s basketball team included two milestone victories for ninth-year head coach Jess Strom.
In late December, Cal U’s 67-60 victory at West Chester gave Strom 200 career wins. Only eight PSAC women's basketball coaches – four of them active – have reached the 200-win mark.
In March, a 67-53 PSAC playoff win over Pitt-Johnstown gave Strom her 212th career victory, which tied her with former head coach Darcie Vincent for the most wins in program history.
The Vulcans finished the regular season with a 20-8 overall record. It was the teams’ 22nd consecutive winning season.