ON CAMPUS: Purchase Line grad sets rebounding mark at Penn State DuBois
• EDITOR’S NOTE: On Campus features graduates of area high schools who are playing college sports. This installment appears every week in The Indiana Gazette throughout the school year. If you know of anyone who should be featured or included, email Mirza Zukic at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (724) 465-5555, ext. 267.
As much as she would have liked to experience a little more team success, Patience McCullough wouldn’t trade it for the relationships she has developed during her collegiate career.
A graduate of Purchase Line, McCullough recently completed her record-setting basketball career at Penn State DuBois.
A two-year starter at Penn State DuBois, McCullough wrapped up her career in style about a week ago, setting the school career rebounding record on
Feb. 13 against Pitt Titusville. She finished with 690 career rebounds, breaking a three-year record of 685 held by Melissa Aul.
“It means a lot to me,” McCullough said. “I was lucky enough that my (academic) program was offered for four years and I was able to stay here the whole time. I didn’t even know I was anywhere close to the record.”
McCullough was honored for her accomplishment two days later, in the Lions’ season finale on Feb. 15 against Penn State York, and “of course, I cried,” McCullough said. “It was a special moment for me.”
McCullough was a force for the Lions this year, averaging 11.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. She posted six double-doubles her senior season, and she had the best game of her career on Nov. 25 in a win over Central Penn with career highs of 23 points and 16 rebounds.
Despite her efforts, Penn State DuBois endured a trying year, going 4-19 and ending the season on an 11-game losing streak.
Sure, McCullough would have rather won more, but those aren’t the moments that will stick with her.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever had such amazing girls around me like I did here,” McCullough said. “What I’ll take away from my time here is the memories of all the friendships I made. My teammates were like my second family, and I even developed some friendships with girls from other teams.”
TIARA STOSSEL (Seton Hill, basketball): A native of Indiana, Stossel has been just as good in the classroom as she has been on the court during her career at Seton Hill.
Recently, Stossel was selected to the Capital One Academic All-America Division II women’s basketball team, voted on by the College Sports Information Directors of America. She was a third-team selection.
Stossel is the first women’s basketball player and just the sixth Seton Hill athlete overall to be named an academic All-America selection since the Griffins joined the NCAA ranks.
A mathematics major with a 4.0 grade-point average, Stossel has earned Capital One Academic All-District awards the past two seasons. Twelve of the 15 selections on the Academic All-America Division II women’s basketball teams have at least a 3.9 GPA, and Stossel is one of four student-athletes sporting a perfect 4.0.
On the court, Stossel has proven to be durable throughout her career. This season, she started all 24 games for the Griffins (12-12) and averaged a team-high 34.4 minutes per game.
She’s third on the team with 11.4 points per game and she’s also third on the team in field goal percentage among players with 25 or more field goal attempts. She is 98 of 211 on the season (46.4 percent), and she also ranks second on the team in 3-point field goal percentage (38.5) and 3-pointers made (37). Stossel is also averaging 3.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game, and she has a team-high 40 steals on the season.
On Feb. 1, Stossel eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for her career when she scored 15 points in a 64-53 loss to Gannon. Going into the Griffins’ home finale today, Stossel has 1,036 career points.
With two regular-season games remaining, Stossel and the Griffins are in a three-way battle for sixth place in the PSAC West. Seton Hill, Clarion and Mercyhurst are all tied for the sixth and final playoff spot from the PSAC West with 4-10 division records.
Seton Hill welcomes last-place Slippery Rock today seeking to end a five-game losing streak.
JESSE REED (American, basketball): Reed is doing everything in his power to get American University back to the NCAA tournament. A sophomore shooting guard for the Division I Eagles, Reed is enjoying a banner season in his first year as a full-time starter.
A native of Saltsburg, Reed leads the team in scoring with 14.0 points per game and he’s near the top in several other offensive categories. He has scored in double digits in 14 consecutive games. He is shooting 51.9 percent from the floor on the season, including an eye-popping 49.5 percent from 3-point range (52 of 105).
Reed ranks second in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage, sixth in scoring and eighth in field goal percentage. Reed was named the Patriot League player of the week for the week of Jan. 20-26.
After returning from a two-game trip to California in mid-December 3-7 through their first 10 games, the Eagles then reeled off 11 straight wins as they began conference play and entered February undefeated and in first place in the Patriot League at 10-0.
Since then, they have lost four of five games, including Wednesday’s 71-62 loss to conference-leading Boston University that dropped them two games behind the Terriers in second place. Still, the Eagles will have a favorable path in the conference tournament to clinch their first conference title and their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2008-09.
JEFF HOGAN (St. Francis, men’s volleyball): A 6-foot-4 outside hitter, Hogan is working his way into the regular rotation as a freshman.
Midway through his freshman season, Hogan has played sparingly, appearing in half of the Red Flash’s 12 matches and seeing playing time in 10 of a possible 47 sets.
A three-sport star during his high school days at Northern Cambria, Hogan has totaled 16 kills so far this season and his attack percentage is .294. He recorded career highs of eight kills and 11 digs in a 3-2 win over New Jersey Institute of Technology on Feb. 15.
NICHOLAS SMITH (Westminster, swimming): An Indiana graduate, Smith had a big week last week. He earned two conference championships last weekend, including his first individual title, and he was named to the All-Presidents’ Athletic Conference first team Tuesday.
A junior, Smith won the 1,650-meter freestyle in 16 minutes, 43.99 seconds, at the PAC championships last weekend to claim his first individual conference title. In doing so, he beat two-time defending champion in the event, Grove City’s Dave Bossert.
He was also on the Titans’ first-place 800 freestyle relay team (6:58.41), and individually, he added second place in the 400 individual medley and fifth place in the 200 butterfly. Smith missed out on his second individual conference title by less than 2 seconds in the 400 IM, touching the wall 1.53 seconds behind teammate Dan Pletz with a time of 4:11.63, the fourth-fastest time in school history in the event.
As a team, Westminster finished second at the conference championships behind Grove City and was unable to defend its conference title and win a second straight conference championship.
In the regular season, Westminster went 9-2 (4-0 conference) in dual meets, which included a win over eventual conference champion Grove City that gave the Titans the regular-season conference title.
CAITLYN BENCE (Slippery Rock, track and field): A Penns Manor graduate, Bence is a freshman sprinter for The Rock. She has competed in four meets this season.
Bence posted her best individual result of the season with a 21st-place finish in the 200-meter dash (27.85 seconds) at the Youngstown State Penguins Icebreaker on Dec. 6. At the same meet, she was also part of The Rock’s eighth-place 1,600 relay team.
Bence also competes in the 60- and 400-meter dashes.