By Gabby Richards, GoPSUsports
Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- At the beginning of the 2014-2015 season, Penn State
women's basketball head coach Coquese Washington said one of her main priorities
was "to get to know the team." With only one senior this season, the Nittany
Lion roster was full of underclassmen, which meant new talent and new
personalities that Washington needed to braid into the Penn State women's
Out of the gate, the Nittany Lions were putting up an impressive fight
against opponents, despite being a young, inexperienced team. The pre-season
WNIT Tournament showed the potential of this team, as two of four losses were
determined by a single basket. This mentality of continued growth played out
throughout the season, a mentality their record didn't necessarily reflect.
Towards the middle of the season, the Nittany Lions were becoming more
aggressive inside the paint and getting better at shot selection. Redshirt sophomore,
Sierra Moore and freshman Lindsey Spann were offensive powerhouses,
successfully making it into each column of the scoring table. The dynamic duo
finished atop not just the scoring chart, but the steals and three-point
column, too. This leadership in the scoring position remained steadfast all
season, setting the pace for what is likely to be a more successful season next
"What I like to see is continued growth," Washington said. "We started to
do some good things as we closed out the season. I really want to see our
post-game continue to be a bright spot for us next year and to see us grow in
our ability to create easy shots."
With the graduation of senior Tori Waldner, the Nittany Lions lose one of
their tallest centers on the roster. The 6-foot-5 Lady Lion is leaving behind
some big shoes to fill, shoes that junior Candice Agee had started to fill
during the end of the season. Agee, who stands at 6-foot-6 has been a strong
post player for the Lady Lions, as she led the team in offensive rebounds and
blocked shots. Sophomore Kaliyah Mitchell stepped up this season, too. Mitchell
is aggressive, a skill that has helped her draw fouls, get the rebound and
break up the opposition's scoring drive, as she finished the season with an average
of 1.5 steals a game.
"Some of our incoming freshman will definitely fill some of the gaps that
we have," Washington said. "Shot opportunity will definitely be a big area for
us. I just want to see us build off of where we finished this season. Between
April and August we have to make some big steps, individually and collectively
as a team."
As the team closes out a rebuilding year, the record doesn't reflect how
the team has grown since the pre-season WNIT tournament. If wins and losses
define tangible success, but that doesn't always influence or create an
environment for a team to get better. The upcoming off-season will be a crucial
time for the Lady Lions to come back to the drawing board and adjust, even
more, to their roles on the court.
"We just need to learn to rely on each other," Agee said. "We just need to
work on figuring out when and how we can get the ball to each other on areas of
the court where we can be successful. That comes with knowing each other, and
we will only get to know each other better."
"Individual leadership is important," Washington said. "You have to start
working and improving now. You're not always going to be in the gym with your
teammates or a coach. It isn't always going to be spoon-fed to you; you have to
put in lots of time to get better. We talk to them about having individual
responsibility. You have to make time to get in the gym and get better."
Coach Washington has been through a similar situation before. When her 2010-11
roster fell short in the NCAA tournament, they were in the gym working shortly
after. That season lit a fire under the Lady Lions; it pushed them to get
better, to work harder
The following year, the 2011-12 team won the regular season Big Ten
Championship, achieving the same success the next two seasons as well.
"I think this group is
hungry," Washington said. "They want much better results next year. I have seen
Her faith in this team and their talent has never faltered. If there is one
thing the Penn State community knows for sure it is this: Coach Washington
knows how to harness drive and passion for the game, something no win or loss
column can accurately illustrate.
By Anita Nham, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa - After finishing the regular season with five
wins, two second-place finishes and one loss, the Penn State men's gymnastics
team hopes to secure the program's third conference title in the Big Ten
Championships this weekend in Rec Hall.
"I'm a little anxious, but ultimately excited," said freshman Thad
Lawson. "To think the season is almost coming to a close is crazy. The days
have been long, but the weeks have just flown by and I've just been really
excited for the future."
The Nittany Lions will be reuniting with a handful of teams that they
have competed against earlier this season, but the results from those meets are
no indication of what the results will be for this weekend.
"I have no idea [what the results will be]," said head coach Randy
Jepson. "We haven't shown our best yet and I think we're getting closer to
where we can do that."
Penn State has been hard at work these past two weeks in preparation
for this weekend. With a conference crown on the line, the Blue and White have
been practicing a bit differently, but more strategically.
"We've been doing our routines the way we've been doing them the entire
season, but we've been doing more competition-style practices rather than the
regular traditional practices where everyone kind of does their own thing, just
to get used to having a way around the new routine and put on a little bit of
pressure," said senior Tristan Duverglas.
During practices, the men's gymnastics have been mainly focusing on the
little details - an important aspect to winning.
"Being consistent and sticking landings [is important]," said head
coach Randy Jepson. "The team that hits the most routines and sticks the most
dismounts is the team that's going to win this meet."
Duverglas adds that in order to win, it's important to never give up.
"The key to winning is definitely not beating ourselves," said
Duverglas. "We've done it in the past where we've kind of over thought things
or we didn't go out and do what we needed to do, so I think that's been our
biggest flaw. We kind of tip ourselves out of the competition, like we lose
meets because we lost them, not necessarily because we did a good job and the
other team was better, we just didn't have as good of a meet as we should have."
With this type of practice and better knowledge, the best meets and
routines are right in front of the Lions.
"I honestly expect us to perform better than we've performed in the
past, especially most recently," said Duverglas. "I think we've gotten to the
point where we know exactly what we can do and our biggest thing is that we
can't take ourselves out of the competition. We have to stay focus, put all our
energy onto us and not worry about what other people are doing."
Duverglas, the captain of the men's gymnastics team, plans to lead the
team to success by constantly encouraging his teammates.
"[I'm going to] be there for the team," said Duverglas. "I'll be the
loudest one cheering. If someone messes up and falls, I'll let me know that
'It's okay and we all mess up sometimes,' just to get their head back in the
game. Being if I mess up, then I get my head back in it and really be a support
The Nittany Lions recorded a perfect home record this season and hope
to continue that feat as they perform in Rec Hall for the conference title.
"I think [being home has its advantage], but not necessarily
score-wise, but just how it feels to compete. Being surrounded by thousands of
Penn State fans and people here to cheer us on, that energy is unlike anything
else, so being able to have that at home and really immerse ourselves in it, I
think it'll give us a bit of a confidence boost."
Even with a competitive atmosphere this weekend, there is a lot respect
between all the teams.
"It's going to be a spirited meet and it will be a lot of fun" said
coach Jepson. "These guys [in the Big Ten] have grown up together. They've been
doing gymnastics together with these other guys and these other teams around
the country since they were nine, ten years old, so everyone knows everyone.
They've competed against each other forever and there's a lot of rivalry. It's
a lot of fun, but when the meets over, it's really kind of nice because the community
of gymnastics is such that these are friendly rivalries. We support each other
and these are good quality coaches and good quality teams."
By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The
Nittany Lions are eager to begin their second season as they open Big Ten competition
for the first time in program history. As they look ahead to Ohio State, the
Nittany Lions prepare to take on their long-time foe.
Discussion of Big Ten
lacrosse started several years ago, when Maryland and Rutgers were in talks to
join the conference. With the addition of honorary member Johns Hopkins, Penn
State joins five other teams for the inaugural season of Big Ten lacrosse. Head
coach Jeff Tambroni applauds the fellow programs in the conference for their decorated
history within the sport of lacrosse.
"With the addition of teams
like Johns Hopkins, Rutgers and Maryland the competition is not only raised but
the exposure of those particular programs and how tradition rich they are,"
said Tambroni. "Those are the blue
bloods of college lacrosse and the attachment of our association with them as
well as Michigan and Ohio State just makes for very exciting opportunities."
The level of competition
increases as Penn State continues their 2015 campaign, but the Lions are poised
to take on every team, one game at a time.
Another welcomed change to
the rest of the season, other than the level of difficulty, is the exposure
Penn State will get from the Big Ten. With the rest of their games on
television, Penn State will see national attention and be thrown into the spotlight
every coming weekend.
"You certainly get a lot
more exposure because the Big Ten wants to promote one of their sports on
television," said Tambroni. "Through
regular season games all the way to our conference tournament, the exposure is
Coach Tambroni believes the
television component will be vital in marketing the Penn State lacrosse program
to a wider audience. Making the game available to previously unreached
audiences is vital for the program to build a larger fan base.
"I think [television
exposure] is going to do a lot for the sport of lacrosse and I also believe it
will do a lot for Penn State," said Tambroni.
Penn State will open Big
Ten play against border rival Ohio State. The Nittany Lions have faced the
Buckeyes every season under head coach Jeff Tambroni. Most recently, Penn State
defeated Ohio State 11-8 in Columbus last March. This weekend's game will be
vital in setting the tone for Penn State's identity as a Big Ten contender.
"I think no matter what the
records are this is always an extremely hard-fought game," said Tambroni. "I think both teams compete hard against one
another. You know when you play Michigan and Ohio State, you know kind of the
founders of the Big Ten lacrosse conference, and these guys go after each other
Tambroni knows the new Big
Ten conference boasts powerhouses in the sport of lacrosse, but believes with
the beginning of the season to build off of, the Nittany Lions have what it takes
to hang in a tough crowd.
"There's a lot on the line
now," said Tambroni. "It's not just Ohio
State-Penn State it's the first game of the Big Ten and you want to get
yourself off to a good start in the Big Ten conference and secure each and every
win that you can because those things are going to be so valuable in the end."
Tambroni and company have
been working on emphasizing the team aspect of the game. Working as one will be
a key component to the Lions' matchup against Ohio State.
"I want to maximize the
talents of this team, not necessarily each individual, but the talents of this
team and I think if we can do that, regardless if it's the first time we've
ever competed in the Big Ten or we've done it for years," said Tambroni. "We
just want to make sure we can look back and do it without regret."
Tambroni emphasized that
with this inaugural season as members of the Big Ten, wins aren't the only
focus. Building a strong foundation for Penn State amongst the other member
teams is just as important.
"Hopefully we develop the
kind of relationships that are going to last a lifetime and that have nothing
to do with the scoreboard," said Tambroni.
As the Big Ten games kick
the season into full gear, Penn State is prepared to fight for every goal and
every save, and demonstrate their strengths for the community.
"At the end of the day we
would hope when someone walked away from one of our games they would say 'man
that team plays hard, man that team really cares about each other' and it makes
anybody who's associated with Penn State very proud to be associated with the
same team that's on the field competing and playing for them," said Tambroni.
By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK,
Pa. - Even on a tough night at the plate, Greg Guers couldn't help but feel he
was due for a hit.
It was the eighth
inning of the Penn State baseball team's contest against Villanova, and the
junior was 0-3 on the evening. Still, he found himself in a situation every
batter dreams of; tie game, bases loaded, two outs.
"I was trying to
get a pitch I could handle," Guers said. "We do a lot of mental game
preparation, with confidence and staying with things. Even though I was 0-3, I
thought, 'I'm in the biggest spot of the game right now I've got to contribute
to the team.'"
After fouling off
pitch after pitch, Guers finally saw a ball he liked on a 1-2 count and drove a
shot to the right center gap for a double that cleared the bases and gave the
Lions an eventual 5-2 win and their third victory in the past four games.
On a night in which
Penn State's pitchers shined throughout, Guers gave the offense a much needed
boost as the Lions threatened multiple times earlier in the game but stranded
10 runners on base.
In a way, it was
fitting that Guers delivered the winning hit. Dating back to last season, the
Langhorne, Pennsylvania native, has been counted on as a lynchpin in the
lineup, hitting third or fourth last year and currently batting second.
While Cooper has
always felt Guers is one of the most talented hitters the Nittany Lions have,
he believes the designated hitter and outfielder has turned a corner since last
season by improving his mental approach.
what's really awesome about it is last year at this time he wouldn't have been
able to do that," Cooper said. "He'll be the first one to tell you, he's really
made a choice mentally to battle and fight and compete. I had just gotten done
writing down, 'that's an unbelievable at-bat,' and he smokes a ball. Big time
It was the second-straight
game that Nittany Lions broke out offensively towards the end of the game, as
they used a two huge innings in the seventh and eighth to beat Indiana 13-7 on
Sunday. This time around, James Coates walked, Ryan Richter poked a single up
the middle and Alex Malinsky blooped a fly ball that the right fielder couldn't
catch to set up Guers at-bat.
According to Guers, the Lions were calm entering their half of the eight, yet
still determined to get a run across after watching pitchers Geoff Boylston and
Jack Anderson battle all night.
"We had a lot of
situations to score guys today and we didn't do that but I think everyone has
confidence in whoever comes to the plate in that situation," Guers said. "I was
just lucky to be that guy. The dugout's fine and the dugout's pumped up for
anyone in that situation.
pitching well the past week or two, so today it was great to get them a win
again. We're confident in them and they're confident in us."
The Nittany Lions
pitchers certainly have been on form since the team returned home last Wednesday
against Canisius. Similar to that game, it was Boylston who held down the fort,
even if things weren't as smooth this time.
A week after he
struck out a career high eight batters in an 11-1 win over the Golden Griffins,
the senior put down just three batters against the Wildcats. Regardless, he
battled for 5 1/3 innings and gave up just two runs, one of them unearned.
Anderson entered and looked dominant, giving up just one hit in 2 2/3 scoreless
innings before freshman Sal Biasi picked up the save in the ninth.
"When you have
those two guys, they're great pitchers," Boylston said of Anderson and Biasi.
"Jack you see time and time again gets it done. I never had a doubt in my mind
and Sal's a great arm too. There's never worry when those guys are in."
It may not have
been the prettiest win, but it was a win regardless. The Lions are now 3-1
since retuning home, and Cooper said he is impressed with the fight his team
has shown recently.
"We could have
played better defense, could have pitched better could have hit better," Cooper
said. "But to their credit, they made the choice and battled back into it and
By Meghan Miceli, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.
- With the 2014-'15 season drawing to a close, six Nittany Lions have the
opportunity to race one last time. After a quick turn around from the Big
Ten Championships, Penn State is headed back to Iowa City for the Men's NCAA
Coming off a seventh
place finish at Big Tens, the Nittany Lions have spent the past three weeks
preparing for this meet and making the appropriate changes to their training.
The main focus for NCAAs will be strong morning swims in order to score in
"We are focusing on
getting a second swims in our races," said senior Nate Savoy. "We know we
have to swim really fast in the morning in order to do that."
The NCAA competition
is the most selective meet in college swimming. In order to participate,
swimmers must reach or surpass a specific time standard. At the beginning of
the season, time standards are released for each event, which are referred to
as "A" and "B" cuts. In order to receive an automatic invite to the meet, a
swimmer must achieve an "A" cut. Once conference meets are finished,
swimmers with "B" times are then invited based on their ranking in an event.
Typically the top 37-40 swimmers in each event receive a bid for NCAAs.
Two swimmers who
qualified individually for Penn State are senior Nate Savoy, and junior Shane
Ryan. Both Savoy and Ryan have qualified for NCAAs in years past, and
have led the Nittany Lions in points this season.
Savoy will be
competing in the 100 and 200 backstroke, which he placed second in at the Big
Ten Championships. Savoy is also the current record holder for the
Nittany Lions in the 200 backstroke.
Ryan qualified in the
50 and 100 freestyles, as well as the 100 backstroke. At Big Tens Ryan
took home a bronze in the 50 freestyle and a gold medal in the 100 backstroke.
He also had the eighth fastest time in the 100 freestyle.
The four other
Nittany Lions to compete at NCAAs are: senior Kyle Madley, junior Matt Grillo and sophomores Bob Bantley and Andrew
Schuehler. The trio will participate in Penn
State's relays alongside Savoy and Ryan.
Last year Penn State
had its best finish in over a decade, finishing 17th place. The Nittany
Lions were within 10 points of their finish at the 2001 NCAA Championships,
which was their strongest in history.
This year the Nittany
Lions look to improve upon that finish, and are focusing on scoring big in
"We have a good chance
to score in our relays which will be huge points for the team," said Savoy.
Relays rack up the
most points for teams. A first place finish in a relay is worth almost
double the points as a first place individual event. Strong relay
performances can make a huge difference on a team's total score as well where
they finish in the meet.
Nittany Lions are seeded in the top 20 for the 200 and 400 medley relays and
the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
Live results for the
meet can be found online at hawkeyesports.com throughout the duration of the
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
Competition has been the name of the game for the Nittany Lions as they work
through week two of spring practice. Head coach James Franklin noted during his
pre-spring press conference that with it being year two for the team in the
coaching staff's system, he expects a competitive atmosphere every time the team sets foot on the field. With three practices
complete, including one in full pads, the Nittany Lions are living by the
program's No. 1 core value - compete in everything you do.
"We're making an emphasis on our four core values, which you have heard over and over again," Franklin said. "Last year there was some memorizing the positive attitude, great work ethic, compete in everything you do, willing to sacrifice, but we weren't really living them. I want to make sure that we're living the core values, not just reciting them, [and] thinking what they mean to you and the program. That's been an emphasis for us."
During the next three weeks, we will take you inside practice with sights and
sounds from spring ball. Today, defensive coordinator Bob Shoop gives the fans
a taste of what it's like to work through a drill on the practice field with
the Nittany Lions.
Penn State will practice in full pads on Wednesday afternoon and again on
Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
By Tyler Feldman, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
After opening the season losing their first six matches, the scale has tipped in
the Nittany Lions' favor.
No. 8 Penn State (10-9, 4-0 EIVA) enters this weekend's conference home slate
against Princeton and NJIT riding a six-match winning streak. Simply put, the
team is clicking at the right time.
"The season is nothing more than an evolution of improvement," head coach Mark
Pavlik said. "If you can get everyone improving at a good rate...you're always
going to be getting a little bit better."
Exceptional leadership and elevated play from the veteran players is an
integral part of the Nittany Lions being able to turn the corner this season.
Aaron Russell's torrid pace, along with Taylor Hammond's setting and Connor
Curry's passing has jumpstarted play. Plus, Matt Seifert is not only back to
full strength, he's also back to making an impact on the floor.
Taking a look at the stat sheets tells all for Pavlik's experienced
student-athletes. Russell, who was named EIVA Offensive Player of the Week, is second
in the nation with 4.72 kills per set. Hammond is tallying an average of 10.84
assists per set. Curry is leading with 2.49 digs per set.
"We're at a very good point now," Pavlik said. "Right now I think Connor is
passing the best he's passed all of his career. The same could be said about
Taylor's setting and decision-making. It feeds the team confidence and guys
can't wait to get back out on the floor."
It's not just the seasoned players that are helping take the 2015 Nittany Lions
to new heights. The underclassmen are making a name for themselves, as well.
One of those underclassmen is redshirt freshman Jalen Penrose. After tallying a
career-high 19 kills versus Ohio State last Saturday, the outside hitter was tabbed
Co-National Freshman of the Week.
"It's a really good feeling to know that I've been put in with the starters,"
Penrose said. "I've been practicing with the starters here and there. The
coaches have felt comfortable with me there, and I think the guys around me
have felt comfortable with me there. They've just been embracing me and vice
versa. It's a really nice feeling to know that whatever unit we put out there,
we give it our best and just go hard."
Despite the fact that Penrose is still adjusting to the speed of the collegiate
game, Pavlik notes that the athletic redshirt freshman is starting to discover
himself on the court.
"I think Jalen...has to learn how he can take his gifts and maximize them on the
court," Pavlik said. "He's figuring it out...the learning curve very rarely is
constantly positive...but he's also going to shine. 19 kills is nothing to sneeze
at in a five-game match."
As the Blue and White stay hot, the focus is slightly beginning to turn to the
postseason, a word that brings one thing to mind for the annually favored
"We'd prefer to be undefeated as much as possible. I'm sure any team wants
that," Penrose said. "It's really important to win these conference matches too
because it sets us up to have home advantage, one, and two, it puts us in a
better position in the long run for when it comes time for playoffs."
Pavlik echoed the words of his young, dynamic player.
"I would love to have the conference championship here to where our guys can
stay in their routine and play in their gym in front of their fans," Pavlik
In order to obtain homecourt advantage in the playoffs, Penn State must take care
of EIVA foes this weekend at the South Gym at Rec Hall. Princeton on Friday at
7 p.m. NJIT on Saturday at 4 p.m.
By Matt Allibone, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY
PARK, Pa. - On a pitching staff loaded with young arms, it hasn't taken long
for reliever Sal Biasi to stand out for the Penn State baseball team.
freshman reliever has appeared seven times in the Nittany Lion's first 18
games, putting up a 2.51 ERA and registering 15 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings so
far in his first season of college ball.
Sunday against No. 21 Indiana, the right-hander gave the best performance of
his young career, striking out six batters and giving up just one hit while
throwing 3 1/3 scoreless innings in a 5-4 extra inning loss to the Hoosiers.
Penn State came up short, Biasi's ability to throw multiple innings (he entered
in the eighth and finished off the 11th) helped the Lions save their
bullpen for the second game of a double header, a thrilling 13-7 victory.
first game Sunday, because of how well [the staff] pitched, we were able to
keep our bullpen intact," head coach Rob Cooper said. "I think [Sal]
understands the college game a little bit and understanding he doesn't have to
change. We recruited him for a reason. Understanding that he doesn't have to
change how he goes about things it's just continuing to get better at it. He's
not afraid to go after guys and compete."
Big Ten Freshman of the Week, Biasi said that the biggest adjustment he had
make when coming to college was learning how to pitch. A star pitcher and
batter at Hazleton High School in Barre, Pennsylvania, Biasi got by mostly on
talent until he started working with Penn State pitching coach Brian Anderson.
far, Anderson has stressed to Biasi the importance of placement, as well as
knowing what situations work best for specific pitches.
more about pitching and location and throwing different pitches," Biasi said.
"How to get guys off balance and what they're looking for in counts and how to
he's always been familiar with Penn State having grown up less than two hours
away, Biasi said what enticed him the most about the Nittany Lions was being
able to play for Cooper and having the chance to make an impact right away.
natural competitor, the freshman relishes getting the ball in big spots, and
he's glad he's on a team not afraid to put him on the mound in those
love being a competitor and going out and facing the best guys," Biasi said. "I
wanted to have an opportunity to pitch right away, so I came here and got after
it as much as I could."
By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Looking at the scoreboard after the first half,
the Penn State women's lacrosse team knew it had another 30 minutes of play to
make a difference. The No. 15 Lions trailed No. 9 Stanford, 9-6.
The game, however, was far from over. The Blue and White (7-3) came back out
onto the field ready to fight and outscored the Cardinal (4-1) by six goals in
the frame. The Nittany Lions took the match by a final score of 17-15.
"Stanford is really, really good," head coach Missy Doherty said. "I think
they're probably the best team we've played this month. To come up with this, I
think the girls really needed it, and it was a great way to kind of end this
really hard stretch that we've had."
Between halves, Doherty stressed to the team that it needed to take better care
of the ball. The game was well within reach. The clears just needed to be a
The results of the chat were undeniable. The team cleared all eight attempts
following the first 30 minutes, a vast improvement that may have also been created
by a change in goalie.
Junior Emi Smith replaced freshman McKenna Coyle in the cage for the final
"We were just trying to find that spark there," Doherty said. "McKenna played well. Emi also played well, but it's just kind of looking to see
if someone could give more. McKenna did a good job, and then we just put Emi in
to see if she could give us a little more."
With a tighter defense in the second half, the Nittany Lion offense went to
Midfielder Tatum Coffey scored three goals and notched an assist. Jenna
Mosketti and freshman Katie O'Donnell tallied another three goals each.
All three lead the way for Penn State, helping the team secure the comeback.
"They were great," said Doherty. "They came up big. Katie O'Donnell came up big
there in the end with a couple big goals for us. But, they're competitors, Tatum
and Jenna, always playing hard. Jenna gives her last limb to make a play, and
you can see that on the field from the effort that she gives. And then right
when we needed a little step up, Tatum provided that punch. It was really a
good game overall for everybody, I think."
With everyone working together, the key to the team's success was simple,
Over the course of the past week, the Nittany Lions have worked on talking to
one another, motivating each other and preparing for plays that are bound to
happen. It was important to start being a step ahead of the opponent.
"We went into this game, and our motto was 'Fired up feels good,'" said Coffey.
"So, we just got everyone pumped up and we had so much energy today. It was
With 2:41 remaining in the game, Mosketti scored the tying goal. Merely 20
seconds later, the Blue and White secured the team's first lead of the game.
The final goal came with just 58 seconds left, and Penn State's fate was secured.
The Nittany Lions emerged victorious.
"We've had some tough losses, so this was just a really huge win," said
Mosketti. "We fought through the whole game. It was really exciting."
By Astrid Diaz, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The last three months brought out some of the
very best of the Penn State track and field squad, proving that Nittany Lion
fans have a unique opportunity that most people do not: the ability to see
student-athletes grow and improve day after day reaching the limits of the
potential and then surpassing them motivated by the pride of the dear old white
Here's a look back on what the Nittany Lions accomplished this season.
"The First Meet!"
Although the indoor season began with a friendly intrasquad match where
student-athletes were able to dust off, the Penn State Relay was the first meet
of the year to bring in other competing schools to the Ashenfelter Indoor
The meet, which is expected to be full of 'first-meet jitters', was far
In his first meet, senior Darrell Hill broke the school record in the
shot put with a 66-2.5 throw - a foreshadowing, maybe.
The quartet of Jordan Makins, Ryan Brennan, Brannon Kidder, and Robby
Creese set the meet record in the 4x800-meter relay with a time of 7.22.10.
Megan Osborne, one-fourth of the 4x400-meter relay women, won the 200-meter
dash with a time of 21.69.
The second home meet of the year, the Nittany Lion Challenge, was
significantly more competitive than the first as it brought to Happy Valley
top-level schools like the University of Miami and Georgetown.
Coach Randy Bungard described the Nittany Lions as pitbulls ready to
attack the competition with no intentions other than winning and pushing their
opponents to their absolute limits.
And that they did as Penn State pulled through winning ten events and
setting two meet records.
The consistent Darrell Hill was dominant in the shot put once again
with a meet record 64-5.25 throw and in the women's shot put, junior Rachel
Fatherly took home the win with a meet record throw of 51-7.
The field athletes were motivated during this meet as Steve Waithe
(52-1) and Brian Leap (51-9.75) both posted winning and personal best marks in
the triple jump, respectively.
"My Favorite Meet of the Year"
The most anticipated, most thrilling meet of the year, the Penn State
National, was up next for Penn State.
Junior Dannielle Gibson described this meet best: "All I can say is
PRs, PRs, PRs!" she said.
Gibson won the triple jump event with a mark of 40-7.75 and Brian Leap
took home the win for the men with a top-six NCAA and personal best leap of
All the women shot putters posted personal best throws and were
highlighted by the outstanding Rachel Fatherly who threw a personal best, top-three
at Penn State and top-15 in the nation, 67-5.25.
To be the best, you must beat the best. So, Darrell Hill showed up once
again bested his school record with a toss of 67-3.
To keep the ball rolling, the athletes on the track didn't disappoint.
Brannon Kidder posted a top-three time in the nation of 1:47.86 in the
800-meter run and both the men and women of 4x400-meter relays took home first
place with times of 3:15.83 and 3:40.43,
The nostalgia of graduation set in around
the beginning of February at the Sykes and Sabock Challenge Cup where 17
student-athletes were recognized for their commitment to the Penn State program
for the last four years.
However, senior Robby Creese didn't let the
emotions get in the way of his performance as he ran an exhilarating 3:57.86
mile. The fourth best time in the country and the best ran time in the NCAA
earned him the Big Ten's Men's Athlete of the week honors the following week.
The consistency of the 2014-2015
upperclassmen is so note-worthy. Head coach John Gondak describes it as "a sign
It's Time for a Business Trip
Up next on the schedule for Penn State was
their first away meet of the season where three groups of student-athletes
traveled to three cities - Fayetteville, Arkansas; Seattle, Washington; and
In Seattle, Robby Creese ran a phenomenal
3,000-meters in 7:50.36, which broke the Penn State school record by almost
Also, on the track, Brannon Kidder posted a
sub-4 minute mile, a personal best time of 3:57.13, the No. 2 time in Penn
In Arkansas, the personal records were
Ahmenah Richardson moved up to fourth-best
at Penn State in the high jump with a height of 5-9.75.
Megan Osborne has a personal best 200-meter
time of 24.30 and the women of the 4x400-meter relay ran a season-best 3:34.90.
Rachel Fatherly, again, with a personal
best indoor shot put throw of 52-2.75 and more from the field, Dannielle Gibson
with a triple jump best of 41-1.50.
"What Time Is it?...It's Championship time!"
When you set the bar as high as Penn State
does, it can be easy to overlook foundations and accomplishments that are on
par with some of the best in the nation.
There were countless personal best
performances at the championships proving that they are resilient and committed
to improving leaving nothing but their all every time they step out to compete.
Darrell Hill's consistency is arguably one
of the most motivating assets this team has. Several Nittany Lions mention his
performance as a representation of the standards they set for themselves -
believe in yourself and always work for better.
Rachel Fatherly's control and focus were so
entertaining this year. She is aware of the things that help her succeed - an
advantage not all athletes may have.
Brian Leap posted a personal best triple
jump 52-6.75 during the Big Ten Championship. At a time where competition and
stakes are as high as the conference championships, a personal best record is
Tori Gerlach who has been quietly and
diligently working all year, earned her shining moment on the podium with a first-place
5k finish joining the likes of Robby Creese and Brannon Kidder who took first
and second respectively in the men's one-mile.
The officially close the season eleven
student-athletes earned a trip to Fayetteville, Arkansas to compete in the
On the men's side, the distance medley
relay of Brannon Kidder, Alex Shisler, Za'Von Watkins and Robby Creese ran to a
second-place finish with the No. 3 time in school history (9:32.21).
Also, Brannon Kidder (one-mile run;
4:04.48), Robby Creese (3,000-meter run; 8:06.53), Darrell Hill (shot put), and
Brian Leap (triple jump) represented Penn State and finished collectively as
the top Big Ten team at the championship.
Both Darrell Hill (64-8) and Brian Leap
(51-4.50) made the trip to the indoor national championship for the first time
in their career and recorded solid performances.
The Penn State women were represented by
All-Americans 4x400-meter relay of Megan Osborne, Dynasty McGee, Tichina Rhodes
and Kiah Seymour. The 4x4 finished eighth with a season-best time of 3:34.57.
Rachel Fatherly tallied a pair of top-16
finishes in her first trip to an NCAA Championship meet. Fatherly placed 11th
in the shot put (52-10) and 16th in the weight throw (63-1.25).
Of the eleven competitors, nine earned
first team All-America honors, an incredible accomplishment and well-earned
These are the things that make Penn State
track and field so incredibly entertaining to watch. They never give up. And
the very best part of it all is that it's not over yet.