The River Hawks top two players Ashleigh Bowser and Lauren Virostek did well this year and will be returning next for next season as Armstrong will make another run at the playoffs.
by Jake DeLuca
The Armstrong River Hawks varsity tennis team has exceeded expectations in a lot of ways. With a young roster in a tougher division matching up against mainly seniors the River Hawks were able to put together a 7-6 record with two more exhibition games to be played this upcoming Monday and Wednesday.
The girls were only one section win away from making the playoffs this season, but with such a young group of players finishing with over a .500 record should prepare them for a big season next year. Co-Head Coach Doug Flanders is proud of how his team preformed this season.
“ We fell one match short (of playoffs), but we exceeded expectations. My guess at the beginning of the year was .500 and we are a little above that. The girls have gotten a lot better as the year went along and I am looking forward to next season. Good things to come in the future,” said Flanders.
The River Hawks will have two more exhibition matches this season, which they will have the privilage of hosting. First on the list is Knoch on Monday follwed by West Shamokin on Wednesday. Even though Armstrong is eliminated from the playoffs Flanders still expects a strong finish to the season.
“It would be nice to win the last two games and finish the season 9-6. I’m happy with the season and I’m happy with the girls. The girls know they still have some work to do to get to that next level,” Flanders said.
Next year the River Hawks will have everyone back, including their top three singles players #1 Ashleigh Bowser, #2 Lauren Virostek, and #3 Eva Crawford will all be returning. Over the season everyone on the team has progressed well according to Sanders.
“Ashleigh is very steady at #1, Lauren has vastly improved at #2 whereas last year she struggled against a lot of the girls and this year she beat them. Eva for her first season she did a tremendous job at #3 putting everybody in place. Our doubles from the beginning of the year to the end of the year have gotten much better.”
After their final two matches the girls will have a little off time, but not much according to Flanders.
“In the spring we will go out and hit the ball a little bit and then for summer every Wednesday morning in the summer I will have the girls up here on the court. A lot of them take lessons privately or they are going to start taking lessons privately near Pittsburgh to improve. “
The River Hawks will look to finish strong in their last two games as they try to finish with an above .500 record before they start to prepare for next season begins.
The Wolves may have had a rough season, but they will only lose two players next year with their number one Shelby Clowser (pictured) returning for her senior year.
by Jake DeLuca
It hasn’t been the best season for the West Shamokin Wolves tennis team in their first year playing in the Heritage Conference, but they still have their eye on improving for next season.
The Wolves will have three more games next week away against Burrell on Monday, Tuesday the Wolves will host Derry, and Wednesday will be away at Armstrong. West Shamokin is still searching for their first win of the season in what has been a season plagued with some tough breaks. Head Coach Joe Hall explains.
“We only have nine players total, which isn’t a lot and Indiana for example has 22. That’s not counting injuries or illness, which we have had this year. There were days where we had two players out and this season we had to deal with an illness going around the school. Kids had blisters in their mouths and rashes on their legs and it was contagious, so a couple of our players were really in discomfort,” said Hall.
This season the Wolves have had to postpone or cancel a few of their matches. This is because in the Heritage Conference West Shamokin is the only tennis team. This has lead to all of their games being exhibitions which Hall said takes off some of the competitive edge.
“I wish that we could have stayed in our division and let the boys play in the Heritage Conference, because there is no (tennis) competition for us in the Heritage Conference. It is good and competitive and it makes sense for other sports and it keeps them focused which is great, but there isn’t any competition for us,” Hall explained.
It is fair to say that the Wolves season hasn’t gone as planned, but Hall thinks that they can have a better season next year with the right preperation.
“I think for them to be competitive they will have to play all summer. You can’t get good at anything unless you practice – you have to be in shape and you have to practice and that has to come from within.”
Next season the Wolves are only losing two players and they will keep their current number one in Shelby Clowser.
“Shelby will be back at number one and she could have a good year, she’s a very good athlete and she hits the ball well. She’s the best athlete I have ever coached here. Everybody will be coming back next year except for Lauren Schamberg and Kristy Bish. We have three juniors, three sophomores, and one freshman. We hope this years experience will help turn things around next season.”
The Wolves will have three chances next week to earn their first win of the season as they look to improve and finish strong in hopes to carry that over to next season.
The Crooked Creek Environmental Learning Center will be site of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s first BioBlitz Saturday, Oct. 8 as students survey all plants and animals in the park.
by Jonathan Weaver
An Indiana University of Pennsylvania student-run organization is finalizing details for an inaugural event that they will host in Bethel Township next weekend.
From 7AM-8PM October 8, the Environmentally Conscious Organization (ECO) club will hold a BioBlitz – a comprehensive survey of plants and animals in the area – for parents and students at the Crooked Creek Environmental Learning Center.
ECO Club President Marilyn Can – an undergraduate student in her third year interested in environmental education – said about 25 students are part of the organization.
“Dr. (Holly) Travis – a faculty member here at IUP – and an undergrad student Erin Janetski both work closely with (Crooked Creek ELC Program Director Dennis Hawley), so they recommended we (host) it there,” Can said. “Citizen Science is areally important aspect of the BioBlitz – we want to get community members out contributing, learning and having fun.
“Really any age can have a take away from this.”
In August, Dr. Travis and Janetski offered an Act 48 workshop at the Tanoma AMD Wetlands site for Indiana and Armstrong school teachers as part of IUP’s Environmental Education Grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
Club members have been aided by Graduate Student and Temporary Biology Department Faculty Member Kirsten Johnson
Johnson earned her undergraduate degree from Michigan State University – where she also took part in a BioBlitz.
“When I was in my undergrad, I was president of a similar club. (Can) has done some of her research work in the lab that I’m in so we discussed possibly putting together this event,” Johnson said. “I’m just helping where I can and dealing with Marilyn on some of the logistics.”
“It’s been a lot of work, but I’ve gotten a lot of help,” Can added.
Johnson praised Can for her diversity of events planned next weekend – including electrofishing, a nighttime “owl prowl”, plant photography and an activity in herpetology (concerning reptiles and amphibians).
“I think it’s going to turn into a really fun, meaningful activity,” Johnson said.
There are different group leaders for each activity – including Assisting Professor Dr. David Janetski (Erin’s husband).
“I’m going to go out and spend a few hours using some equipment to survey the fish in the stream. You run an electric current through the water and it stuns the fish – which enables you to net the fish, identify it (and) weigh and measure it if you want. Basically get an idea of all the fish that are in the stream.
“Documenting the diversity in a location is really important for preserving the area.”
David will welcome questions during the electrofishing – which should start in the early-afternoon – and allow people to watch.
David, who will also be documenting aquatic insects, is in the midst of his third year teaching at IUP. While he has participating in surveys, this will be David’s first experience with a BioBlitz.
“This is kind-of a unique thing – which is partly why I wanted to participate,” David said. “I think it will be kind-of neat to sort-of inventory everything on the property. I think it will be a really useful piece of information.”
Johnson and two graduate students will lead bird and tree identification hikes, and the “owl prowl.”
No identification experience is necessary to participate next weekend, and all ages and skill levels are invited to attend.