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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Hear from several Nittany Lions and Assistant Athletic Director, Performance Enhancement Dwight Galt at the 2015 Lift For Life.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the past 12 years, Uplifting Athletes, a Penn
State Football player-run organization, has bonded together to lead the fight
against kidney cancer.
Lift For Life is the marquee event for the Uplifting Athletes group and the culmination of fundraising efforts for the year. It is circled by fans and members of the community each summer, but it is also a highlight for the members of the team, who jump at the opportunity to participate in the voluntary event.
"The community plays such a big role in this," Kline said. "People are always asking us how they can help and what our next event is because they genuinely care about the cause. And the guys on the team love being a part of this. That's what makes this so special. It makes our job easy."
All of the money raised by Uplifting Athletes goes directly to the Kidney Cancer Association and is earmarked for research. Since the first Lift For Life in 2003, eight new treatments have come to market as a direct result of the research dollars Uplifting Athletes has raised.
"It's been really cool for us to take our platform as Penn State football players and use it to directly affect the lives of people who need assistance," Kline said. "You have people who are living longer and living more fulfilling lives as a direct result of the work we have been able to do as football players."
In the heart of the summer workout season, the team will have an opportunity to showcase efforts and gains during the summer conditioning program. Saturday marks the only workout all year where the team competes in front of its loyal supporters. Saturday's event, led by Assistant Athletic Director of Performance Enhancement Dwight Galt and his staff, will consist of six events before a tug of war at the center of the field. The competition will again pit the offense against the defense.
The list of events includes:
- 225-pound Bench Press Competition
- Dead Lift
- Sled Push/Pull
- Tire Flip
- Farmer's Hold (Who can hold 400 pounds the longest) New for 2015
- Obstacle Course
To donate to Uplifting Athletes Lift for Life, click the link listed below:
Parking Information for Lift for Life on Saturday, July 11
Visitor parking for the event will be available at Lot 44, located just east of the Bryce Jordan Center and accessible via Dauer Drive (from University Drive), Porter Road and Curtin Road.
With event parking sales for the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts in effect on Saturday, July 11, parking at Lot 44 will require payment of a $5 event parking fee (cash only) or display of a valid Penn State parking permit.
Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - GoPSUsports.com talks with Matt Brown about
earning the distinguished honor of being named Capital One Academic All-America of the Year on Thursday.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In a career that has spanned nine U.S. Presidents
and 436 Penn State Football wins, Bud Meredith has seen it all in his five
decades of service in Happy Valley.
A people person in every sense of the word, Meredith's endearing
personality is perfect for the job he has held for the past five decades. One
conversation with him makes an individual realize why he has invested so much
time and effort in one place.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
Former Nittany Lion great Tim Frazier spent time in Happy Valley during the
latter stages of May and early portion of June following a superb first season
in professional basketball.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - More than 2,000 athletes from across Pennsylvania competed on Penn State's campus this weekend as part of the 2015 Special Olympics Summer Games.
The Opening Ceremonies took place on Thursday inside Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, kicking off a weekend of competition. Student-athletes from across a number of Penn State teams volunteered at the Summer Games throughout the weekend at events across campus and in town.
Take a look through some photos and video from Penn State athletes volunteering at the Summer Games.
Photo Gallery - Opening Ceremony | Photo Gallery - Day II Events
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup officially kicked off on June 6, and senior team captain Raquel Rodriguez (San Jose, Costa Rica) and the Costa Rican Women's National Team begin their quest for international success on June 9 against Spain. Rodriguez spoke with GoPSUSports.com for the final time before Las Ticas become the first Central American team to compete at the World Cup in Canada.
We played three friendlies before the World Cup and they taught us that a huge part of our success comes from the mindset that we bring to the field. We know we are capable of doing good things but that won't be possible if our minds aren't focused the whole game. Our team has speed in the attack and likes to elaborate in the midfield. We are conservative when it comes to pressing but of course, all those tactical decisions will depend on what makes sense against the opponent.
Despite the losses, we've learned that sometimes we need a "slap" in our face to wake up and realize what we are doing. Even though there are differences regarding preparation between national teams, we have the choice to work and stop making excuses. We definitely know that the first game is going to be vital to how we do in the World Cup. We know it's going to be very important for Spain to win so it'll be a good match.
Earlier in the year, Amelia Valverde took over as the head coach. She has been around for five years now and she knows the team and we know her very well. We have the confidence to talk to her about anything and vice versa. It's not easy to coach a national team whose support is only developing, but it is vital to for the coach to have the players' support and she has it.
Personally, working with the national team, I've learned that I am very disciplined and determined. I am honest and with regards to soccer, it's clearer now that my strengths as a soccer player are my strength, foot skills and ability with the ball.
Honestly, this is the most I've ever enjoyed my soccer career. I feel more confident and the fact that I have the opportunity to experience a World Cup the first time a Costa Rican national team appears in it is a dream come true. In addition, coming into my senior year with this much experience is also a joy for me and an opportunity to grow as a leader.
The Costa Rican Women's National Team makes its World Cup debut against Spain at 4 p.m. in Montreal. All World Cup matches will be broadcast live on the Fox Sports networks.
By Astrid Diaz, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In the spring of 1985, Penn State track and field student-athletes Vince Watson, Steve Shisler, Chris Mills, and Randy Moore ran the fastest 4x800-meter relay of their career finishing in seven minutes, 11.17 seconds - a Penn Relays Carnival and Penn State University record-breaking time.
In the spring of 2015, the relay record celebrated its 30th anniversary and Steve Shisler, now coach at State College High School, celebrated by watching his son, Alex, run on the winning Championship of America Sprint Medley Relay.
"We knew [we ran] a good time [in the 4x800-meter relay] when we were in it and we all had the sense that it would last for a while. It's a special achievement," said Shisler. "But the best part about that weekend is that Alex was a part of a Championship of America sprint relay. It was a great thing to see."
Junior Alex Shisler is a sprinter for Penn State track and field and it was at his first Penn Relays in the 10th grade, when he decided that he would uphold the Penn State tradition in his family and eventually become a Nittany Lion.
"My parents loved going [to Penn State] but [they] wanted me to go wherever I wanted to go," said Alex. "Since sophomore year of high school I knew I was going to run collegiately and in my mind I had it made up that I was going to go to Penn State. Both of my parents ran here and are on the school records here and I wanted to carry on that legacy."
Alex is a sprinter while his parents were middle-distance runner but, nonetheless, the pride of being a Penn Stater allows for a strong family bond and a supportive, understanding, and very dedicated cheering section.
The Penn State track and field tradition is also strong among three other current student-athletes and their families - freshman Elyse Skerpon, junior Robert Cardina, and freshman Megan McCloskey.
Freshman Elyse Skerpon's (Sprints/Hurdles/Relays) father, Donald Skerpon, was a pole vaulter at Penn State during his college career.
After spending his first year at the University of Rhode Island, Skerpon decided to set his sights a bit closer to home. After a few phone conversations with then-head coach Harry Groves, Skerpon found his way to Happy Valley.
He spent the rest of his undergraduate career as a Nittany Lion and started a family tradition that carried down to his three children - Luke (class of '12) was a member of the Blue Band, Taylor is a senior on the baseball team, and Elyse is just beginning her career with the track team.
"It's a great experience as parents. You have a lot of the same anxiety but it's great to see them work hard and make things happen," he said. "You build such great memories...and it's great to be able to come back [to State College]."
"After my dad came here, we've had season football tickets and we've been coming to football game since I was born, basically," said Elyse. "Coming here all those years made me want to be here and continue what my family started."
Since his track and field days, Donald Skerpon says the program still remains the flourishing team he was once a part of but thinks the commitment has changed quite a bit.
"It's a lot harder now," he laughed. "We worked really hard and it was a lot of time but it wasn't quite as intense [as it is now]."
Jennifer Williams-Cardina is among the top ten performers all-time at the university in the women's high jump event and is a former multi-events athlete.
During her time as part of the program, the indoor track was flat, white, and located at the old ice hockey rink. Though things have come a long way since, she remembers those days with joy saying she wouldn't change a thing if she could experience it all over again.
She has since left the streets of Happy Valley and her life as a student-athlete but has the opportunity to return as a spectator to see her son, junior Robert Cardina (Multi-Events), continue the Williams-Cardina legacy.
"I can remember when Rob was little he ran everywhere. He ran through the house. He would ask us to time him running outside around the house," said Williams-Cardina. "Finally, when Rob was in middle school, and went out for track, I had the opportunity to teach him how to high jump. We went to the track at night and on weekends to practice. I absolutely loved sharing this time with Rob."
Currently, Robert Cardina holds the school record in the heptathlon and is second all-time in the decathlon.
"Some parents don't know the ins and outs of the program and they don't know what it takes. [Having this in common with my mom] is an advantage [for me]. She prepared me well," said Cardina. "It's important to note that we both came here and left our imprint on the track and field program on both the men's and women's side."
Megan McCloskey is in her first season with the Nittany Lions as a high jumper.
She began jumping in the fourth grade and had a very special coach to help her get through it, Mimi McCloskey, her mother and former middle-distance runner at Penn State.
"My mom ran the 800[-meter run] and the 1600[-meter run] and I tried those when I was younger but it wasn't really for me," said Megan. "I started jumping in the fourth grade and [my mom] learned it at the same time I did. She was learning how to coach high jump while I was learning how to do high jump."
While her mother coached her athletic career up until high school and Megan has now graduated into the rigorous life of Division I track and field, she says she still looks to her parents for support.
"My dad played football. So he loves talking about that stuff. They always talk about the things he got to do and [the things] she got to do because it was a completely different experience," said Megan.
"I understand how hard the transition from high school to college competition can be for someone. When you are a freshman, not only do you need to adjust to being on your own and away from familiar surroundings, you must also adjust to new coaches, teammates, competition schedules, and the fact that everybody at this level is very accomplished at what they do," said Mimi.
Mimi McCloskey was a middle distance runner in the early 80s however, similar to Donald Skerpon, she says the program has changed since her workout days.
"Although the track remains much as it was 30 years ago, the training that Megan goes through is much different. The time commitment was much less than it is today," she said.
And like the Shislers, the Cardinas, and the Skerpons, the McCloskeys are just want their children to be happy.
"My hopes for Megan include her continued growth both as a high jumper and a student. But more importantly, I hope that she really enjoys her time at Penn State both on and off the track and graduates with amazing memories and lifelong friends," said Mimi.
The Penn State track and field program is an interesting and very special bond to have according to all the former and current athletes but it's even more special when it's a bond between parent and child.
Every parent and every student-athlete described this to be 'a very cool connection to have' describing their Penn State related dinner conversations and laughing at the times their parents talk about 'their glory days'.
But the current generation of Penn Staters only hopes to one day live up to their parents' great achievements.
"I want to leave my Alex Shisler stamp on Penn State track and field. I want to continue what my parents did." said Shisler.
"I know [my mom is] happy that I'm here," said Cardina. " It's a bond with my mother, a connection through track and field. She knows she was able to get through it and she helps me get through it too. It keeps the legacy in the family. I love my mother."
A legacy that thanks to experiences and memories made many years ago still stands strong and doesn't look to end any time soon.
Penn State has won 92 Big Ten titles, including 21 in women's soccer (16 regular season).
By Tony Mancuso
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Just four months into his tenure as commissioner of the Big Ten Conference, Jim Delany recalls an idea brought to the table by former Illinois President Stan Ikenberry.
It was October of 1989 when Ikenberry, who spent time as a senior administrator at Penn State earlier in his career, broached the thought of adding an institution to the Big Ten for the first time since Michigan State was invited to become a member in 1949.
The Big Ten then began a formal research process of an institution that would bridge a Midwestern league to the East.
The Pennsylvania State University was on the table for discussion as a superb academic institution with a rich tradition in athletic success.
Delany, whose sister attended Penn State as a graduate student, didn't need much convincing. He knew the level of potential a partnership between Penn State and the Big Ten could foster.
"The Big Ten hadn't changed in many, many decades, but I thought if the opportunity to expand presented itself it was a no brainer," Delany said earlier this week. "Excellent academics. Excellent athletics. And pointed towards the East Coast, I thought there was a lot of potential there. That was my recommendation at the time."
The process moved forward with the presidents and chancellors of the Big Ten institutions discussing the topic before news broke just before the holidays in December of 1989 that Penn State could be on its way into a new conference. Under the direction of athletic director Jim Tarman at the time, Penn State had been competing as an independent in football for more than a century, and the rest of the department had been a member of the Atlantic 10 since 1976.
When the news initially surfaced, women's volleyball head coach Russ Rose, who along with field hockey coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss are the two current Penn State head coaches who were on staff in 1989, was giving a presentation at the annual women's volleyball coaches convention (AVCA) about the importance of NCAA Tournament at-large bids for teams in smaller conferences.
"I remember talking in front of the group about the importance that not all of the at-large bids go to the bigger conferences and that there were good teams in other conferences even though they didn't have the same notoriety, said Rose. "We have a lunch break. I turn on ESPN at lunch, and I see that Penn State is going to be a member of the Big Ten. I come back. I say to some people that I would like to retract what I said about at-large teams."
The formal process concluded with a vote in Iowa City on June 4, 1990, at which time Penn State was officially accepted as a member of the Big Ten Conference. Twenty-five years have passed in a partnership that allowed both the University and conference to reach unprecedented heights on the field and in the classroom.
"From a broad perspective, at the time, my view was that it was a tremendous fit for both sides. And history has proven that," Delany said. "With all the other expansions around the country, I'm not sure there was one that benefitted both institution and conference as much as this did, largely because of the characteristics of Penn State were so well matched with the characteristics of the Big Ten."
The positive news zipped throughout campus shortly after the vote in Iowa.
"I remember hearing about the announcement from Mary Jo Haverbeck, from the Sports Information office," said Morett-Curtiss. "She told me about us going in and how it was going to have a major impact for women's athletics at Penn State."
It was an announcement that changed the landscape of funding and development for all of Penn State's 28 programs at the time, and it was a day Morett-Curtiss remembers quite well.
"Ironically, I had gone for a run that day on the trails near Sunset Park and as I'm running, I see someone walking in front of me and it was Joe Paterno," Morett-Curtiss said. "And it was that day, so I said to him, 'hey what's going to happen?' He said, 'I think this is going to be a really good thing for Penn State and the exposure all of the programs are going to get.'"
The women's volleyball program captured Penn State's first Big Ten title in 1992, marking volleyball's first of 16 conference crowns.
Penn State's teams felt the impact of the Big Ten conference almost immediately.
"What it did for us when we joined the Big Ten is that it No. 1 it resulted in a reassessment of the levels of commitment we had to the various programs," Rose said. "We became fully funded when we joined the Big Ten. Prior to that, we were not fully funded. And we were not fully staffed. Entering Big Ten, collectively, for all of the sports resulted in us having a new commitment from the University to try and be competitive. From a volleyball perspective, we had been competitive prior to that, but playing in the Big Ten in women's volleyball made us better because the level of competition was better than we were experiencing in the Atlantic 10."
At the time, women's volleyball had just one assistant coach on the staff alongside Rose and nine scholarships to field a roster. Joining the Big Ten boosted the program to full funding and 12 scholarships.
"As I look at it now, we could have had some great teams if we had funding in the early years," said Rose. "That was just the way that it was. When you take a job, that is the job you took. When we joined the Big Ten, a lot of us got a better job without having to move. But it's way more competitive. Recruiting is a lot different than what we had experienced in the Atlantic 10."
The same can be said for what Morett-Curtiss experienced within the field hockey program.
"The financial support from a scholarship standpoint was huge right away," said Morett-Curtiss. "And knowing our field that we were going to build was going to be a first rate facility."
The investment for success around the Big Ten stood out during Penn State's transition. Every institution and athletic program strives to be the best. It's a trait that has not changed during the department's 25 years as a member, and it's something that will be a trademark of the Big Ten for decades to come.
"The level of commitment to being good across the conference, everybody cared," said Rose. "I don't believe every conference across the country has that sort of commitment in all of their sports. I think that is one of the things that makes the Big Ten really unique. If they offer it, they care and they want to be relevant."
Penn State's time in the Big Ten has been marked by excellence in the classroom and on the field of play. In all, Penn State's programs have accounted for 92 Big Ten championships from 15 different programs - 76 regular season and 16 post-season. Additionally, more than 170 student-athletes have accounted for nearly 300 individual Big Ten titles.
Penn State student-athletes have earned more than 5,000 Academic All-Big Ten recognitions since it joined the conference, with its three highest totals during the past three years, led by 296 in 2012-13.
"Penn State's entrance into the Big Ten not only changed the intercollegiate sports landscape, it also changed our academic landscape and our future. Our size, our academic reputation and our athletic tradition matched up well with Big Ten schools," said Penn State President Eric Barron, who also noted that all Big Ten schools are flagship universities for their states. "The academic side of the Big Ten is known as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) and the institutions together have annual research expenditures topping $10.2 billion -- more than the Ivy League and the University of California System combined -- and they educate a total of nearly 600,000 students. The benefits from being part of such an outstanding and prestigious organization with such an expansive footprint across the nation are immeasurable."
The women's volleyball program earned Penn State's first Big Ten crown during the 1992 season, just one year after the team began competing in the league. The title marked the first of Penn State's superlative 16 Big Ten titles in women's volleyball, in addition to seven NCAA Championships since 1999.
Like women's volleyball, the women's soccer program has been a benchmark of success in conference play. The program became the department's 29th varsity sport in 1994. Since then, Penn State has won an unprecedented 16 conference titles, including a string of 15-straight from 1998-2012.
The football program claimed the Big Ten title in its second season of competition during an undefeated Rose Bowl championship campaign in 1994. Coach Joe Paterno's '94 squad became the first Big Ten team to ever post a 12-0 record. The '94 crown marked the program's first of three Big Ten championships to date (2005 and 2008).
The fall season of 2005 stands out as a monumental period in Penn State's history within the conference. Nittany Lion teams clinched five Big Ten titles in a span of 30 days. The list included field hockey, football, men's soccer, women's soccer and women's volleyball. Since the fall of 2005, Penn State teams have won 51 Big Ten championships (5.1 titles per year in a 10-year span).
Penn State clinched five Big Ten titles in a span of 30 days during the fall of 2005, including one for the women's volleyball team.
It's impossible to quantify how the partnership between Penn State and the Big Ten altered the recruiting landscape for the teams on campus and how the recruiting gains equated to success on the field of play. But pitching a world-renowned education with an elite conference affiliation cultivated relationships with premier student-athletes.
"The name recognition was big for football, but when you see how many of the Universities and programs have been successful on a national level, I think that has greatly helped," Morett-Curtiss. "Exposure for all of the Universities within the conference has helped us all grow. Combining the academic side of what these Universities have with the athletics, it's a very powerful combination when we go out recruiting student-athletes."
A big piece to the exposure of Penn State teams during the past 25 years was the launch of the Big Ten Network on Aug. 30, 2007. More than 800 Penn State sporting events have aired live on the BTN since it launched. The benefits of the conference's TV network, which is in more than 60 million homes, increased visibility across the country for the department in a way that cannot be measured.
"The Network was a major step for us," Morett-Curtiss. "Just having the opportunity to have games on TV so that little girls can watch and learn about the sport. It's helped, not only exposure for the program, but it's helped the sport grow. It's just a phenomenal avenue for us to showcase our University and the sport."
The BTN's impact goes back to what Rose talked about as one of the immediate impacts his program felt - funding. Not only did the BTN infinitely increase exposure for Penn State teams, it has played a paramount role in increased revenues for each institution.
"Certainly, the Big Ten Network has been instrumental in generating funds for the Universities and the conference and the bowl revenue sharing has resulted in more money for all of the schools and the conference," said Rose.
In 2008, Penn State captured its third Big Ten title in football en route to a trip to the Rose Bowl.
While the competitive atmosphere is intense between teams across all of the conference's sports, each member institution understands that the individual success aids in the growth of the collective conference.
"I think the relationship has been a really positive one," said Rose. "There are a lot of similarities between the various Universities."
"Everybody in the Big Ten shares what they do and why they do it; best practices," said Dave Baker, Associate Athletic Director for Business Operations. "We share lots of ideas, at least from the business manager and ticketing perspective. We learn things from one another. And there aren't secrets. We all work together and try to help each other out...We all don't do things the same way. We all have limitations, but we are all looking to help one another out for the betterment of the conference.
"Some people would find it hard to believe that people in the Big Ten root for other Big Ten teams in the postseason, but we do. We follow what is going on...It is a cooperative spirit and a partnership."
Baker is one of just a handful of Penn State administrators and coaches who have been with Intercollegiate Athletics during the past 25 years. That list includes Jan Bortner, who was head coach of the men's tennis team in 1990 and has since transitioned into a role as an associate athletic director. Among the key changes Baker felt from the business operation centered on travel. Bus trips were the norm for Penn State teams in the Atlantic 10, but the geography of the Big Ten led to more plane travel.
A quarter century has passed since initial discussions of a new relationship took place and bonds were formed. Many things have changed significantly for Penn State, the conference and intercollegiate athletics nationwide, but it's been 25 years marked by growth stemming from a vision in 1989.
"Pennsylvania is a very important state. It served as a bridge to the East for us. It made our football offerings stronger," said Delany. "It has been excellence with national championships in a variety of sports. And I have always felt that the 1994 Penn State team was the best team in the country; no disrespect to Nebraska. When you look at the players that team had (five first team All-Americans on offense) and what that group accomplished. That team was the national runner-up. That was a tremendous football team. I've seen some very good basketball teams both on the men's side and the women's side. And obviously, the wrestling and volleyball programs have been dominant on the national scene."
Penn State has won a total of 27 national championships since joining the Big Ten, including three in 2013-14, and the department's collective success speaks for itself.
By no means was the integration in 1990 an easy one, but the partnership between the University and Big Ten is a match that enabled both sides to mutually prosper in a way neither side could have envisioned when the formal vote concluded 25 years ago today.
The wrestling team began a string of four-straight Big Ten titles in March of 2011.
Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It's a big summer for women's soccer, and the
Nittany Lion women's soccer program will be well represented at the FIFA Women's
World Cup Canada 2015.
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