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2014 Game Blog - Penn State vs. Maryland

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to's live, interactive coverage of the 2014 football season. Tune in for live blog coverage from all 12 games on the schedule. Penn State meets Maryland for the first time as a member of the Big Ten.

Live Blog 2014 Game Blog - Penn State vs. Maryland

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

 By Alexis Shelton, Student Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa--- Six years ago, Megan Gibson graduated as a student-athlete from Texas A&M. Today, she is the pitching coach for the softball team at Penn State.  Now, Gibson was inducted into the Texas A & M Athletic Hall of Fame. 

Gibson learned about her honor in a laughable way.

"I got a phone call from one of our alumni, who I believe is in the Hall of Fame already. She called me and left a message kind of in a panicking voice saying she needed to talk to me. It made me nervous. I called her back and she told me I was being inducted and I was just like, what? It was a comical situation, we laughed for quite a bit."

Becoming a successful coach wasn't easy for Gibson. There were a lot of challenges that she faced in her four years with the Aggies.

"There was so much that happened, said Gibson. "There were a lot of firsts. My freshman year we won the Big 12 Championship, which was the first time that ever happened. My sophomore year was a very difficult year, we overcame a lot and it was a lot of learning so that was our transitioning year. But, my junior year we made our first run at the World College World Series, and my senior year was just a great one."

Gibson has quite the history under her name, during her 2008 season, she was a National Player of the Week, and later that year went on to become the first Big 12 player to be named both Big 12 Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year.

She also led her team to win the program's second Big 12 regular season championships as well as making it to the final series of the Women's College World Series.

Two years later, she met with current Penn State head coach Amanda Lehotak at the University of Texas-San Antonio as an assistant coach before the duo made the transition to Penn State in 2012.

And, Lehotak couldn't be happier to have her on board at Penn State.

"Megan brings a lot of strength to our team because honestly, she is just a wealth of knowledge," said Lehotak. "She was an All-American because she was one of the best hitters of our game." 

"First base, outfield, pitcher. She's one of the few athletes that can teach hitting, she can teach pitching, and she can teach defense," she said. She just brings that championship mentality, she knows what it takes and how hard it is to get there. She's very universal."

Gibson's decision to coach was one that changed her life.

"I stayed on for my fifth-year at A&M for a semester," said Gibson. I had started grad school. I was really unsure of what I wanted to do. My mom actually suggested to me that I should be a coach."

"While I was there, I figured I'd help out with the team in my free time and there was this one girl that they asked me to help out with this one pitch. I remember when she got her first hit she came into the bullpen and was so excited. That was truly an amazing feeling."

After that, she went to play in a Japanese league for four years before coming back. She went back to Tesas A&M for a short period of time as the pitching coach before meeting Lehotak.

"She was wise beyond her years," Lehotak said. "I remember after first talking to her on the phone. I was praying that she would come coach with me," she added.

When asked what it's like coaching with her, Lehotak said, "I think we've become family. We've become a good tandem because we're similar but different. We're similar because we understand the difference between business versus personal. We're very good at keeping those two separate."

Lehotak also commented on how the two balance each other out.

"I'm kind of out-going and quick to react," said Lehotak. "She's more analytical and likes to sit back and relax. We're a good balance, she can come in the next day and tell me when I was a little too much. I think we work well together, we have great respect for one another."

Gibson was officially inducted into the Texas A&M Athletic Hall of Fame on October 31, 2014.



Men's Hockey Blog - PSU vs. Bentley (10/31)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to's live, interactive coverage of Penn State men's hockey. This evening, the Nittany Lions finish their series against Bentley.

Live Blog Penn State Men's Hockey Blog - vs. Bentley (10/31/14)

Beaver Stadium Pictorial: Maryland Preview

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - One of the many traditions of the Penn State football program's gameday experience is the Beaver Stadium Pictorial, the official gameday magazine of the Nittany Lions. The publication originated in the 1920s and continues to evolve, bringing fans closer to the football program, its student-athletes and the entire Penn State athletic department.

Each week throughout the home portion of the of the Nittany Lions' schedule you can find a preview of the content for the upcoming Beaver Stadium Pictorial on

Here is a preview of the feature content inside the Penn State vs. Maryland BSP that will be sold during the longtime rivals first meeting as Big Ten foes.

Pick up your copy on each home game day for just $5.00.

Crime & Punishment Two Passions For Zwinak
BY: Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
Zach Zwinak has always been one to trust his gut. It's what led the Penn State running back to choose criminology as his major during his sophomore year. Although no one in his immediate family had ever worked on a police force, he couldn't help but feel it was right for him.

This past summer, Zwinak was given the opportunity to work in law enforcement, as he completed an internship with the Spring Township Police Department near State College.

As a student intern, Zwinak was required to do much more than simply sit in an office. A typical day for him usually included going on a ride-along with an officer and learning how to handle the different situations that could arise at any time.

Community Service Vital Aspect To Penn State Student-Athlete Experience
by: Greg Campbell, Penn State Athletic Communications
The complete Penn State student-athlete experience includes a multitude of areas. From excelling in competition, to succeeding in the classroom, to building lifelong friendships, that is what each of the more than 800 student-athletes strive to accomplish during their time on the University Park campus.

The nearly 90,000 residents of Happy Valley are the heartbeat of Penn State University and regularly attend sporting events on campus. From Beaver Stadium to McCoy Natatorium, Rec Hall to Bryce Jordan Center or Pegula Ice Arena, the inhabitants of Happy Valley are Penn State athletics' No. 1 supporters.

Likewise, the Penn State student-athletes are their top supporters and they make it a point to show this through community involvement and fundraising efforts throughout the year.

Men's Basketball Returns Six Lettermen With Multiple Starts
By: Tony Mancuso, Penn State Athletic Communications
In just under two weeks, the Penn State Nittany Lion basketball team will open the 2014-15 season with a 7 p.m. tipoff Friday, Nov. 14, against Morgan State in the Bryce Jordan Center.

For the players, coaches and staff, it cannot get here soon enough. This offseason has been filled with relentless dedication by all involved, growing stronger and faster with more focus and consistency.

Patrick Chambers enters his fourth season with a veteran roster for the first time in his career. There are six players who made multiple appearances in the starting lineup last season. Seventy percent of scoring is back and more than 80 percent of the team's rebounds.

The Penn State vs. Maryland BSP also features;
Expanded Game Notes
Unrivaled Moment: vs. Ohio State
Player Q&As w/ Ben Kline, Eugene Lewis & Trevor Williams
University Feature: At Penn State We Are -- Sustainable
2014 Penn State Football Team Photo
Upcoming Events: Penn State Athletics Sports Planner

By Astrid Diaz, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Championship season is always the most exhilarating.

This weekend the Penn State cross country team travels to the University of Iowa to begin its post-season and face some familiar foes at the 2014 Big Ten Championship meet.

There's a lot of excitement surrounding the event as the Nittany Lions prepare to face a handful of ranked teams including the No. 1 Michigan State and No. 4 Michigan women and the No. 6 Wisconsin and No. 14 Michigan men.

While the teams will look to build off their previous meets and show improvement against their elite opponents, they're mostly excited about the intensity that comes with conference racing.

A pair of senior women consisting of Lauren Mills and Katie Rodden will travel to the Big Ten Championship for their last time but the days leading up to the race haven't lost their thrill.

"Championship time is always fun. [The] Big Ten [Championship] in general is always a good meet," said Rodden. "It's tradition that ten days out [from the event] we have themed days [at practice]. It's something silly to get us excited."

There were a few nerds and some barn animals running around the course at practice this week but the fun didn't distract the team from their goals.

"Same mindset going in," said Rodden. "Obviously [we're looking for] improvement and I know people were satisfied [last meet] but we know that we can do better. At the Big Ten meet you know all the colors and you can see exactly who you need to beat."

The freshmen women have stepped up to the plate this season showing consistency and determination. They are sure to display their best performance yet at their first conference championship outing.

"Particularly on the women's side Elizabeth [Chikotas] and Jillian [Hunsberger] have been making an impact and have been consistently in the top five this year. I'm excited to see what they can do at the Big Ten meet. It's very competitive but they're prepared," said head coach John Gondak.

"It's exciting to have them. Even though they're freshman they act older and more mature and I'm confident they are going to race well," said Rodden.

On the men's side, the pack is full of depth and experience, a change and advantage compared to previous years.

"[The] upperclassmen are leading the way and they're prepared and have a lot of experience. [They're] looking to make their mark," said Gondak.

Fifth-year senior Matt Fischer is returning to the Big Ten Championship as one of the top athletes after posting a third-place finish in 2013. He is accompanied by strong competitors like Brannon Kidder and Robby Creese.

"We as a team are no different than the other ones. We train the same and there's no need to have expectations lower than any other team," said Fischer. "We have some high goals. We're looking for one of those days where everyone has a great race and there's no better place to do that than at [the Big Ten Championship]."

The teams will rely strongly on their confidence to help them get through the weekend but they're determined to have a great time regardless of the outcomes.

"I'm fantasizing about dream outcomes for the team," said Fischer with a smile. "It's easy to be really engaged because it's a small [competitive] environment."

"It's the Big Ten meet, you're just looking forward to going out and watch everyone go head to head," said Gondak.

The Big Ten Championship will mark its 100th anniversary on Sunday morning at the Ashton Cross Country Course in Iowa City, Iowa. The women are set to begin their 6k run at 10:45 a.m. CDT and the men will compete in an 8k run at 11:45 a.m. CDT.

Lions Ready to Take on the Big Ten Tournament After Defeating Maryland

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10486417.jpegBy Miranda Kulp, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After defeating Maryland to end the regular season, the Penn State women's soccer team is ready for the Big Ten Tournament.

Penn State scored in 25th minute on a shot from Frannie Crouse to claim a 1-0 lead, an edge the Lions would never relinquish in the regular season finale.

With significant postseason implications on the line for Maryland, Penn State shut down the Terrapins to end its regular season with 17-2 overall record.

"We knew Maryland was going to come out fighting since they needed the win," said senior Emily Hurd. "We were able to match their energy right away and I think we did a great job keeping the lead."

Having already clinched the 2014 regular season Big Ten title with its win over Iowa on Sunday, the team treated this game as preparation for the postseason.

"There is definitely a different mindset going into this game," said head coach Erica Walsh.
"If we didn't get it right it can turn into a slight letdown but I think the team did great job coming out and looking sharp for the game."

In their last guaranteed game on Jeffrey Field, the Nittany Lions already looked postseason ready on Thursday night.

"The biggest message today was that this game should be treated like the start of the tournament," said Walsh.
"We need to continue to grow and keep staying focused. We want them to view this not as the end but as the beginning of something new."

The players know how important the conference tournament is and are using last year's defeat in the semifinals as motivation to come back stronger than ever.

This season has shown the depth and talent of the team, proving the Lions' potential to carry their success into the postseason.

"I think we're continuing to grow and putting together great performances which will carry us all the way through the Big Ten tournament," Hurd said.

Hurd is no stranger to the tournament and understands the demands and strains that are put on the players during the postseason.

"The Big Ten Tournament is so different. It's a lot of games in a short amount of time," said Hurd.
"With such a demand on our bodies we need to not only mentally prepare but make sure we stay physically healthy also."

With such a diverse mix of players in significant roles on the roster, this tournament stands as both a last shot for the four seniors and the start of a new chapter in the freshman's careers.

'm very excited being a freshman and this being my first Big Ten Tournament. It's nice having the seniors to look up to," said freshman Maddie Elliston.

During the regular season, the freshmen have credited the leadership of the seniors for contributing to the team's success.

The four seniors have seen every high and low possible during their years at Penn State. Although they lost in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament last year, the senior players are motivated to make their last postseason a
memorable one.

"These five years have gone so fast. I'm extremely happy I chose this to be my home for the last few years. I still can't believe it's almost over." Hurd said.

The Big Ten Tournament begins on Wednesday in West Lafayette. Penn State will be the No. 1 seed in the tournament.

2014 Gameday Preview - Lions Set to Collide with Maryland

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GAME BLOG - Penn State vs. Maryland

Game Notes | Gameday Central | Maryland Scouting Report | Coach Franklin Wednesday

Press Conference Roundup | Coach Smith Q&A | Player Q&A Video | BSP Preview

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the first time in 21 seasons, Penn State (4-3, 1-3) and Maryland (5-3, 2-2) will collide on the gridiron on Saturday when the Big Ten East Division foes meet at noon (ESPN2) in Beaver Stadium.

10483850.jpegThe regional foes have met 37 times prior to this week's matchup in Happy Valley. Maryland is the eight-most played opponent in Penn State's history. The Nittany Lions own a 35-1-1 mark in the all-time series against the Terrapins, with the lone setback coming in 1961.

On the heels of a superb second half against No. 13 Ohio State last week, the Nittany Lions enter the eighth game on the schedule with confidence. Penn State's defense kick-started a stretch of 24-unanswered points for the Lions in a 31-24 double-overtime setback to Ohio State last week. The Lions shut out the Buckeyes in the final two quarters of the game.

The Nittany Lions remain ranked among the top units in the country in three of the four major statistical categories. Penn State is No. 3 in rushing defense, No. 7 in total defense and No. 9 in scoring defense. After tallying 19 stops against Ohio State, senior linebacker Mike Hull is ranked sixth in the nation with 11.9 tackles per game.

Sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg led a 77-yard scoring drive in the final three minutes of regulation to send last week's game into overtime. Hackenberg continues to rank among the top signal callers in the Big Ten. He is leading the conference in passing with 265.9 passing yards per game. Coming off a Penn State record-breaking 14-reception effort against Ohio State, wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton is the nation's top freshman receiver in receptions (57) and receptions per game (8.1).

Maryland fell to 5-3 on the season following a 52-7 loss at Wisconsin last week. The Terps are 2-2 in conference play during their first season as a member of the Big Ten. Maryland knocked off Indiana (37-15) and Iowa (38-31) en route to a 2-1 start to Big Ten play. The Terrapins are ranked ninth in the Big Ten in total offense (373.9 ypg) and 13th in total defense (458.4 ypg).

Saturday's game will feature the Penn State Dance Marathon (THON) for the event's amazing fundraising efforts in the fight against pediatric cancer. The THON Executive Committee will present the theme for the 2015 Dance Marathon and the final total amount raised in the 2013-'14 academic year.

Additionally, the Maryland game will be the annual celebration of all Commonwealth campuses. Two students from each of Penn State's 24 campuses will proudly represent their campus by carrying its banner onto the field during halftime.

Welcome to the Gameday Preview for the week eight matchup against Maryland.

Pregame Reading:
What to Watch For - Penn State
10483794.jpeg1. Head coach James Franklin said it best earlier this week when he talked with Following the second-half efforts against Ohio State, Franklin wants to see the Nittany Lion offense take the next step against Maryland this week. Penn State found some momentum and success in the latter stages of Saturday's game with two critical scoring drives, which sent the contest into overtime. Freshman Saeed Blacknall hauled in the first touchdown reception of his Nittany Lion career on a 24-yard throw from Hackenberg. The offense also marched 77 yards on its final drive for a game-tying field goal attempt in the final seconds of regulation. Finding consistency in the trenches will be critical for the Lions moving forward, and Franklin is hopeful that senior captain Miles Dieffenbach could see some action for the first time on Saturday.

2. Simply put, the Nittany Lion defense turned in a dominant performance against Ohio State. Hull's stellar 19-tackle effort speaks for itself, but the Nittany Lion defensive line has played at an elite level during much of the 2014 season. The impact Penn State's D-Line has made on every snap doesn't necessarily show up on the stat sheet every week, but the group has been disruptive on a consistent basis. Ends Deion Barnes, C.J. Olaniyan, Carl Nassib and Brad Bars have all made a tremendous impact off the edge. Inside, Anthony Zettel and Austin Johnson have been among the top interior tandems in the Big Ten. Zettel is leading the defense in tackles for loss (8.0) and tied for the team lead in interceptions (2), which includes his interception return for a touchdown against Ohio State.

3. Defensive coordinator Bob Shoop challenges the defense to force more turnovers every time it steps on the field. Penn State's two turnovers against Ohio State played a paramount role in the team's ability to put itself in a position to win last week. The Lions enter the final five games of the season looking to extend the streak of forcing a turnover in five-straight games. The Penn State defense has forced 10 turnovers in the past five games.

What to Watch For - Maryland
10483787.jpeg1. Maryland senior quarterback C.J. Brown is a dynamic player for the Terps. The team's leader in rushing and passing yards, Brown is ranked second in school history in touchdowns responsible for (50). Brown is one of just 10 active players in the FBS to pass for 4,000 or more yards and rush for 1,000 yards. In 2014, Brown has thrown for 1,316 yards and rushed for 376 yards. He has accounted for 13 touchdowns this season (8 passing; 5 rushing). Brown's favorite target is junior Stefon Diggs, who has big-play ability every time he touches the ball. Diggs, who has at least one reception in 26-straight games, has made 46 catches for 601 yards and scored five touchdowns in 2014.

2. Maryland's defensive unit provides the look of a 3-4 scheme. Senior defensive end Andre Monroe is a name to watch on Saturday. Monroe is ranked third in the program's history with 21.0 sacks. He leads all active players with 32.5 TFL for his career. Maryland is tied with Michigan State in sacks during conference games this season (13). Cornerback William Likely has been a difference-maker in the secondary for the Terps in 2014. Likely has two interception returns for a touchdown this season, and he ranks fourth in the Big Ten in passes defended per game. As a unit, Maryland has 14 takeaways this season.

3. The return game has been a big piece of Maryland's success this fall. The Terps boast the Big Ten's top punt returner and kickoff returner in Likely and Diggs, respectively. Likely has one punt return for a score this season and is averaging 16.3 yards per touch. Diggs is averaging 25.2 yards per return each time he touches the ball on kickoffs.

The Final Word:
Dating back to 1917, Maryland is one of Penn State's oldest foes. Separated by just 198 miles, the Nittany Lions and Terrapins played 37 times from 1917 to 1993. Penn State and Maryland met during every season from 1960-'75 before a one-year break. The two teams then played one another during each season from 1984-'93 before the series took a break. Now, as members of the Big Ten East Division, Penn State and Maryland will meet on a yearly basis. The Nittany Lions are unbeaten in 21 games played against the Terps in Happy Valley. Penn State and Maryland will play at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore in 2015. Kickoff is slated for 12:01 p.m. on Saturday with Beth Mowins, Joey Galloway and Paul Carcaterra on the ESPN2 broadcast.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Men's Hockey Blog - PSU vs. Bentley (10/30)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to's live, interactive coverage of Penn State men's hockey. This evening, the Nittany Lions take on Bentley.

Live Blog Penn State Men's Hockey Blog - vs. Bentley (10/30/14)
By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Sixty-two days ago, head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss took the mic at fall sports media day. With senior captain Laura Gebhart at her side, she told audience members that her team's chemistry would prevail this season. She was right. The Nittany Lions have had a fantastic regular season, with one conference game remaining. Despite some tough losses, including an overtime loss to 2013 NCAA champion UConn, team chemistry and leadership has always prevailed.

New Year, New Turf, New Schedule

The Nittany Lions opened up the regular season with two exhibition games against Pacific and Delaware. With a pair of wins under its belt heading into the regular season, Penn State was able to work out the little things before starting the Big Ten schedule.

The Nittany Lions' home record is nearly perfect. With only one loss at home, coming in overtime against Michigan, Penn State has owned its new turf. Coach Morett-Curtiss said at the beginning of the season that the turf would be a smoother surface than the one before. Since Penn State is arguably one of the fastest teams in the Big Ten, a flatter surface allows for them to play quicker hockey. The Nittany Lions have been able to score in the first six minutes of play, at home, nine times this season. Aside from averaging three goals a game, the Nittany Lions have been able to draw a total of 130 corners this season, which speaks volumes to their offensive strategy inside the circle.

Maryland and Rutgers were new additions to the schedule this year. The Nittany Lions shut out Rutgers 3-0, but lost to Maryland 4-3.

Senior Leadership

During the game against Maryland, it was clear that senior leadership guides this team. The Nittany Lions were able to narrow the loss margin to just one goal with a strong second half effort from the senior class.

Offensively, the Nittany Lions have benefited from experience, along with the play-making of Jenna Chrismer, the finesse of Taylor Herold, the post play of Amanda Dinunzio and the speed of Natalie Buttinger and Casey Haegele.

Defensively, Penn State is consistent because of senior captain Katie Andrews and fellow senior Katie Breneman. Fifth-year senior keeper Kylie Licata has been solid in net this year.

Senior captain Laura Gebhart will be leaving behind big shoes to fill, as she controls the field from the center mid position. Her versatility on both offense and defense is unmatched by most players in the Big Ten and NCAA in general. Her poise on the field has helped guide the Nittany Lions to many victories this season.

Coming Full Circle

Needless to say Morett-Curtiss's predictions about her team were right. She predicted that Maryland and Rutgers would be tough additions to the schedule. She knew that her senior leadership would lift her team to many victories. She understood that this year had the potential to be a big year for the program.

With one conference game left on Friday against Northwestern, the Nittany Lions will prepare for the Big Ten Tournament and hopefully berth into the NCAA Tournament.

The sky is the limit for this team. 

Get to Know Diver and Aspiring Engineer, T.J. Schenkel

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8693605.jpegBy Meghan Miceli, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - "I feel proud that I'm representing Penn State in a different light than the majority of students," diver T.J. Schenkel explained.

During the 2013-'14 season, Schenkel was the top diver for the men, posting personal bests in both the 1 meter and 3 meter events.

In addition to spending hours at the pool each day, Schenkel is working towards a degree in energy engineering.

"It's pretty difficult, I have an extra 20 hours of things to do compared to most of my classmates," Schenkel said. "I pretty much have to get all my work done before 12:30 and practice."

When it comes to practicing, Schenkel has seen a change since his freshman year.  The turnover in coaching staff at the beginning of the 2013-'14 season brought a change in training.

"The training is definitely more intense," Schenkel explained. "It's not spending more time at the pool necessarily, but the time that is spent there practicing is more challenging- we went from three morning practices a week to six."

Schenkel especially has noticed a change in training this season. 

"The coaches have really hit their groove, and are pushing to take the program in the direction they saw fit from the beginning," Schenkel said. "It's different from last year, but it's definitely a positive."

Practices can consist of weight training, water training, or at times trampoline training to learn new dives.  

"Diving is all about staying consistent," Schenkel explained. "It's a lot drills and perfecting the basics.  The best way to do that is repetition- dives are built on the easy stuff."

Beginning at six, Schenkel has been diving for more than a decade.

"My mom wanted me to join the swim team," Schenkel said with a laugh. "But I said 'No, I'm joining the diving team.' We still to this day have no idea how I found out about diving but here I am."

Schenkel is the only senior diver on the men's team, and is looking forward to ending his final season on a high note.

"The toughest competition is definitely coming up," Schenkel said. "Michigan and UVa. are both great teams, I'm looking forward to that meet."

Schenkel is also looking ahead to Big Tens.  Last year, Schenkel finished 14th at the Big Ten Championships in the 3 meter and is looking to place again this year. 

"I'm really working towards scoring more points at Big Tens," Schenkel explained. "Last year I was the first diver to score in about five years, so I would really like to come back and place higher this year."

Although his collegiate career will come to a close in 2015, Schenkel plans to continue to dive.

"There's a big masters program," Schenkel said. "That kind of alleviates the grieving process of ending my career as a Nittany Lion. I'm definitely not ready to be finished with diving any time soon."

Catch Schenkel and the rest of the Nittany Lions on Friday as they take on the Villanova Wildcats in McCoy Natatorium at 3 p.m.