Junior high boys XC claims Region 3 Championship

by Cami Reynolds, sports editor

jr high xc

Junior high boys captured the Region 3 title on Oct. 21. 

The Saegertown junior high boys cross country team kept up the pace to win the Championship at the Region 3 invite at Maplewood on Oct. 21.

Sam Hetrick placed first, running a time of 10:17. Landon Caldwell trailed behind him getting third. Ryland Lutz placed eighth, Conrad Williams placed eleventh, and Ed Hazelett placed twenty-third. When asked about the junior high season overall, coach William Hetrick said, “The team exceeded my expectations. Our top group of runners were exceptional.”

Throughout the season, the Panthers have been training to increase their speed and improve their form. “We’ve all improved this season we all peaked at the same time,” said runner Landon Caldwell.

The team competed in the Junior High District Invitational at Union City High School on Wednesday, Oct. 25. Sam Hetrick placed second overall with a 9:46 time, and the team placed sixth out of 22 teams. “Teamwork makes the dream work,” runner Conrad Williams said.

Chamber singers declared an ‘Advanced Level Choir’


by Morgan Radwick, staff writer

After five months of anticipating the results of the Adjudication Festival, the Chamber Singers were declared an advanced level three choir.

On May 10, the Chamber Singers participated in the festival at Westminster College, now known as the Music Performance Assessments (MPA). The songs they performed were “Sing me to Heaven,” “Take Me Home” arranged by Pentatonix, and “Adoramus te.”

The MPA is hosted by the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA). PMEA is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the musical development of students in Pennsylvania.

Of 12 schools competing, Saegertown was the only school from District 2 to participate. Other ensembles that competed were Wilmington chorus, Mercer chamber choir, and Hickory chamber singers. The reason for competing is simple. “I wanted the kids to have the experience of being critiqued,” said Mrs. Susan James.

Being an advanced level three choir places high recognition on the Saegertown Chamber Singers. The scale goes from one to five and can be proficient or advanced. “If students scored proficient, it’s good to see what they can grow on,” Mrs. James said, referring to the scoring system.

Overall, the students had a great time competing at the festival. “I hope we go to the festival again this year. I really enjoyed the experience and would love to do it again,” said Dustin Steiger, member of the Chamber Singers. For more information about the festival, visit the PMEA web site.

Saegertown teacher first woman to complete Great Lakes Marathon Series

By Kassie Boyd and Braeden Kantz, news editor and sports editor

Heather Patton Medals

Mrs. Heather Patton has collected medals from all 25 of the marathons she completed for the Great Lakes Marathon Series. She is the first female to finish the series.

Saegertown High School alumni and teacher Heather Patton developed an affinity for running after falling from her horse at the age of eight.

“I think I originally started running when I fell off a horse and refused to get back on,” Patton said. “I decided I wanted to go along with my mom horseback riding, and so I’d run along beside her.”

From there, her love for running only flourished.  Patton started running competitively as a member of the cross country team at Saegertown High School. During her senior year, she was selected as the female representative for Pennsylvania to the USA Track and Field Team through the World Sports Exchange. In July of 2000 she sold her horse to support her trip to Sydney, Australia, where she participated in the Sun Herald City to Surf road race. She then continued her running career at Seton Hill University from 2001-2004.

She eventually turned to marathon running. And it was in this sport that Patton would become a trailblazer.

On October 15, Patton became the first woman to complete the roughly 629-mile Great Lakes Marathon Series, which she started in November 2013. The GLMS manually records each runner’s time and was recently able to verify Patton’s accomplishment. “She’s our first female finisher, and we are very proud,” said Tara Sieve, director of the GLMS.

Patton At Lambeau Field

Patton finished the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon in May with a lap around Lambeau Field.

The Great Lakes Marathon Series is a chain of 25 marathons along the five Great Lakes. Partnered with the Alliance for the Great Lakes, it invites runners to appreciate the individuality of each race, while raising awareness for the protection and conservation of the environment.

In May of 2013, after Patton ran the Buffalo Marathon, her husband Dan Patton

introduced the Great Lakes Marathon series. “I really never gave it any thought,” Heather said. “It basically went in one ear and right out the other.”

Five months later, while on the Erie Marathon website, she saw information about the GLMS. This time her interest piqued. She signed up for the series on Oct. 12, 2013 at 9:27 p.m.

Patton started the series on Nov. 3, 2013 at the Hamilton Marathon in Ontario. She planned to ease through the competition running two or three marathons a year, but soon escalated to six or seven. “She always has been very competitive,” Dan Patton said. “That’s just how she is.” She finished with a time of 3:44:25 in the Hamilton Marathon. Her personal best time at that point was 3:44:14 at the Erie Marathon at Presque Isle in 2009. “When I crossed the finish line, I stopped my watch and was happy but a bit disappointed,” Patton said. She did eventually set a new personal record of 3:39:59 at the Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon.

Press Conference Heather

Heather Patton, along with her husband Dan and her parents Cheryl and Kenny Eckart, appeared at a press conference with the staff of The Panther Press on Tuesday, Oct. 24. 

The Saegertown graduate faced many challenges throughout the series. Blisters, stress fractures, jetlag and a nasty case of plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the connective tissue between the heel bone and the toes, hindered her journey. The 97 degree weather during the Oktoberfest Marathon in Michigan  proved difficult. She didn’t let that stop her. “I just kept thinking that I need to keep positive and keep thinking about the finish line. I didn’t travel this far not to finish,” Patton said.

Despite injuries and geographical complications, Patton went on to run two consecutive marathons in one weekend in Ashland, WI, and Detroit, MI to finish the series. That is an equivalent of 52.4 miles in a total of 48 hours. The race in Detroit was nearly cancelled due to bad weather. “I was watching the sky,” Patton said. “It was my anxiety of not being able to finish.”

The GLMS has taken her to eight states, and across the border to Canada. Her daughters Paige and Olivia, ages five and six, and husband have accompanied her to 14 of the GLMS marathons. “My husband and daughters are my main motivation,” Patton said. She noted that her favorite marathon was the Glass City in Toledo because she could see her family as they drove to cheer her on at several points during the race.

The first person to finish the series was Canadian Steve Wilkinson, who completed the series in two years, finishing ten marathons in the first year and 15 the next. Patton will receive an official jacket for completing the marathon series, and she still seems a bit surprised that it’s over. “It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but I’m still thinking about marathons.”

HOW SHE DID IT: Patton’s path to completion of the GLMS

  • 11/3/13 Hamilton Marathon Hamilton, ON
  • 4/27/14 Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon   Toledo, ON
  • 5/18/14 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon     Cleveland, OH
  • 7/12/14 Waugoshance Trail Marathon    Carp Lake, MI
  • 8/30/14 Marquette Marathon    Marquette, MI
  • 9/21/14 MVP Health Care Rochester Marathon   Rochester, NY
  • 10/12/14 Towpath Marathon    Cleveland, OH
  • 5/2/15 Wisconsin Marathon Kenosha, WI
  • 5/24/15 Buffalo Marathon Buffalo, NY
  • 6/27/15 Charlevoix Marathon Charlevoix, MI
  • 10/11/15 Chicago Marathon Chicago, IL
  • 10/25/15 Niagara Falls International Marathon Niagara Falls, ON
  • 5/1/16 Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon Toronto, ON
  • 6/18/16 Grandma’s Marathon Duluth, MN
  • 7/23/16 Grand Island Trail Marathon Munising, MI
  • 9/11/16 Erie Marathon at Presque Isle Erie, PA
  • 10/1/16 Sleeping Bear Marathon Empire, MI
  • 10/16/16 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Toronto, ON
  • 5/7/17 Mississauga Marathon   Mississauga, ON
  • 5/21/17 Cellcom Green Bay Marathon   Green Bay, WI
  • 6/24/17 Two Hearted Trail Marathon Paradise, MI
  • 9/10/17 Erie Marathon at Presque Isle   Erie, PA
  • 9/23/17 Oktoberfest Marathon    Spring Lake, MI

Heather with tribune article


For more information about the Great Lakes Marathon Series, visit their website.

(With additional reporting by sports editor Cami Reynolds and editor in chief Bailey Kozalla. This article appeared in The Meadville Tribune on Oct. 30. All photos contributed.)




Stachuletz stories: Tell me what you think and I’ll tell you who you are

by  Paula Stachuletz, staff writer


Paula Stachuletz

How many of you are familiar with the saying: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do?” Well, this is definitely easier said than done. Sometimes people have a hard time adjusting to cultures and traditions they don’t know – and then they share their personal experiences with others, leading to some very interesting beliefs about the topic at hand.

And of course, Germany and America have developed some of those prejudices against each other as well. May I present: The most popular cliches that Germans hold against Americans!

#1 You always eat stuff from McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC etc.

Before you get confused: We have those things too, and we eat there as well. But people usually only do that once a month maximum, because it’s kind of expensive (depending on where exactly you are in Germany, a cheeseburger can be three times more expensive than in the US). Also, there’s a strong tendency to “Slow Food” coming up in Germany. Lots of people buy local fruits and vegetables and try to cook healthy meals – and our health insurances provide several programs to help us with our diet. When people here hear about American food, it almost immediately comes down to hamburgers, pizza and chicken wings. I have to admit that I really ate more of that stuff here than I ever have in my life – it is indeed very cheap and your portions are much bigger, so it’s easy to satisfy hunger. But not every American eats Fast Food on a regular basis. Sometimes, we non-Americans tend to forget that – leading straight to cliche number two:

#2 All Americans are obese

Wow, rude. I honestly can’t say much about that, but most Americans I have met aren’t fat at all. Besides, there are different body types everywhere and America is no exception, so it’s kind of mean to assume that all people are obese. I’ll definitely take that back to Germany – maybe it will change some people’s view on your society…

#3 Americans are obsessed with football

That’s also a very common cliche. If you ask a German about American sports, you will hear football as an answer in 98 percent of all cases. From what I could grasp, football is the American equivalent to soccer. There are a lot of people, especially male, who really like that sport and cheer on their team. And there are people who don’t have an affinity for it. But it’s the most famous national sport, and I really can’t deny that!

#4 Cheerleaders and football players are always the most famous kids in high school

You can thank the movie industry for that cliche. Because in most movies that include a high school, the cheerleaders are white, blond supermodels who have a bunch of male fans following them around. Football players look smoking hot, have brown hair and their fans are exclusively female. Both parties are very rude to unpopular kids and are basically the kings and queens of the school. A lot of my friends in Germany were really surprised when I told them that this is, in fact, not true. It’s a cliche that has been planted into our heads and is not willing to leave.

#5 Americans drive big cars

Well, compared to our small German cars, yes, that’s true! If you stand next to a road in Germany and look at all the different kinds of cars coming by, you rarely see a truck; mostly because we don’t really consider it necessary. We like to leave the car at home and just use public transportation or bicycles to get somewhere. Everything is much more in the same place than here in the US, so you can reach most locations without using a car.

And there are several more prejudices: You put cheese on every meal, you never serve drinks without ice, you excessively use air conditioning, you watch TV all the time, you waste a lot of resources. Most cliches aren’t friendly, and I think that’s something both Germans and Americans should take some time to consider. Of course, not every statement is true. But some of them probably don’t exist without a reason.

(Paula Stachuletz is an exchange student from Germany who is spending the year at Saegertown. You can contact her pastachuletz@psdmail.org.)

Saegertown to welcome new science teacher next week

by Jake Reisinger, staff writer

Ms. Lobbins.jpgAt the Sept. 14 board meeting, PENNCREST School District hired Ms. Tracy Lobins as a replacement teacher for the Saegertown junior high science classes. Ms. Lobins will fill the position left vacant when Mr. George Nahay, who moved from junior high science to technology education after Mr. Jeff Patrick left the district before the 2017-2018 school year.

For the past six weeks, Ms. Alicia Weiss has filled in the position. The experience has been slightly difficult for her and the students, considering English is her major. “I have really enjoyed subbing here, and I wish I could have a position here,” Ms. Weiss said. She noted that she has learned a lot of science from teaching herself the lessons before she covers them with the students. Her last day with the students will be tomorrow, Oct. 27.

Ms. Lobins’ start date was delayed because she had to fulfill her professional obligations to Berkshire High School which is in Burton, Ohio. She has six years of experience in teaching middle school science. Lobins has a B.A. in Environmental Geoscience and a Masters in Middle and Secondary Education from Edinboro University. Her experience is what made PENNCREST School District choose her over the other applicants.

“I am very excited to start at Saegertown and hope to continue to work there for many years,” Ms. Lobins said. “I love science and love teaching science.”

Panther Marching Band: Music makes a comeback

by Hannah Myers, photo editor

marching band

The Saegertown High School Marching Band performs during a recent football halftime show.

Although the Saegertown High School Marching band was dissolved in 2016, it has reemerged this season with a new band director and almost all new members.

“I saw it as a real opportunity to lay a foundation to rebuild the marching band, I also have a real passion for it,” said Jason Papinchak, the Saegertown band director.

This year’s show is titled “Wings” and consists of four themes; Ascension, dissension,  hope,  and rebirth, each of which is represented by a song: “KA Flight,” “Sleepy Hollow,” “Journey of Man,” and “Firebird Finale.”

“I chose this show because it’s about rebirth, and this is the rebirth of the band. It also personally represents my faith,” Papinchak said.

The band is competing in class A this year in the Lakeshore Marching Band Association (LMBA). So far they have been to General McLane, McDowell, Bradford, Girard, and Harbor Creek. There are 20 members in the band including 12 winds, 4 percussion, 4 color guard, and several managers. 7 of the 12 members are first year marchers, and all of the percussion are brand new.

“I feel like the band has done well so far,” said drum major Sam Shelenberger. “I’m confident we’ll break 80 points like we planned.”

The band will perform in the LMBA Championships at Veterans Stadium on October 28, performing at 4:30 p.m.

Panthers plunge into playoffs tomorrow night

by Laura Monico, social media editor


Members of the Girls Varsity Volleyball team competing in an intense match.

As the volleyball season comes to an end, the Lady Panthers have redeemed themselves after winning only three games in the 2016 season.  The girls finished Region 3 play with a record of 7-7 this year.

Halfway through the season, Coach Tim Houck had playoff aspirations for the team.  “If we beat the teams we should, we have a good chance at making it. After we make the playoffs, anything can happen,” Houck said.Senior middle and outside hitter Haley Hess also has her mind set on going far in the playoffs. “We need to come with our A game. We need to stick together and play as a team,” Hess said.

The ladies knew coming into this season that Cambridge, Maplewood, and Cochranton were going to be tough to beat, so they had their targets set on defeating Union City and Seneca. They knew wins against these two teams throughout the season would be crucial in achieving their goals. Although they fell to Seneca earlier this season, they redeemed themselves in a convincing series win against the Bobcats. The Panthers defeated Union City twice throughout the season.

The SHS student body has also been making an attempt to help the team in their playoff run. “Our volleyball team is amazing. They are athletic and talented. However, I feel like our superfanning section has no school spirit at times. If more people would stand and cheer it would be more beneficial to the team,” said senior superfan Colton Beck. Hess agrees that if the students who do attend the games would stand up and cheer, the ladies would reap the benefits.

The Panthers will be taking on the Iroquois Braves in the first round of playoffs. Junior setter and captain Carlie Schlosser said,  “We already swept them. We played fairly well but I think they were missing one of their main hitters.” Junior Mikayla Balog has high hopes for the team as well. “We plant to work hard and play well,” Balog said. 

The Lady Panthers will be in action tomorrow night, Oct. 26, at Saegertown High School at 7:30 p.m.

Saegertown continues its tradition of ‘Fifth Quarter’ at Common Grounds

by Kaitlyn Kozalla, staff writer

From big cities to small towns, there are places for kids to hangout and have fun. That place for our small town is known as Common Grounds. Several years ago this fun- filled hangout emerged in Saegertown, and from that day forward it’s been the place to go every Friday from 7-10 after the football games. After Saegertown’s homecoming game on Oct. 13, “Fifth Quarter”  was extended from 10 to 11, and the time was filled with activities, good food, and all around positivity. At 9 p.m. was the usual “Nine at Nine” which is talking about bettering lives with religion and belief, and usually an inspirational speaker.

Located at 19473 Grotto Lane, Common Grounds is truly a special place. At the end of the evening, everyone gathered for a photo of all the smiling faces who attended that night. “It provides a little extra time to hang out with your friends after the football game,” said senior Bailey Kozalla. “It’s a great positive environment.”
fifth quarter

Seventh graders win Caring Place poster competition

by Dayna Woodruff, staff writer

One in five children will experience the death of someone close to them by the age of 18. The Highmark Caring Place in Erie is a center for children to talk about their emotions when grieving. The Caring Place provides peer support groups, educational programs, resources, and more.

Each year, there is a competition for students to create posters that will be displayed throughout schools across the state. Any student in elementary, middle, or high school can create a poster to enter in the contest. The purpose of the poster is to highlight how to talk to your friends about grief. Three seventh graders, Toby Greenawalt, Ella Worley, and Marie McKeown, won the contest that they entered last year. McKeown said, “Our poster will be displayed in over 500 schools across the state, and that’s awesome.”

Greenawalt said, “I felt that it was important because people need to know that there is a place to go to deal with grief.” Worley said, ““There are kids out there who are grieving and they need encouragement to just keep going. There are people who want to help.” If someone you know is grieving, the best way to help is to be there for them. Listen to them, or be there to sit beside them when they are upset. Avoid saying cliches like “you’ll be okay” or “be positive.” Your presence is more important than the words you say.

Nov. 16 is Children’s Grief Awareness Day. Make sure to wear blue to show support and bring attention to the issue of children’s grief.

For more information about the Caring Place, visit their website.