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VIDEO: 2015 Lift For Life Highlights

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The 2015 Penn State Uplifting Athletes Lift For Life raised more then $120,000 for kidney cancer awareness and research. The offense topped the defense, 31-30, with a late rally to win Saturday's event. Take a look through some highlights from 2015 Lift For Life.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: 2014-15 Year in Review with Sandy Barbour

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - talks with Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour to review a superb 2014-15 season for Penn State Athletics.

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VIDEO: 2014-15 Season Highlights

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State's 2014-15 season was one marked by excellence on the field, in the classroom and in the community. takes a look back at the campaign in a season highlight reel.

Late Surge Fuels Offense to 31-30 Win at 2015 Lift For Life

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2015_LFL_Blog_1.jpgVIDEO: Lift for Life Day Player Interviews

Lift for Life Photo Gallery

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Thanks to a late rally in the tug of war battle, the Nittany Lion offense edged the defense, 31-30, in a six-event, head-to-head strength and conditioning competition to benefit the Kidney Cancer Association through Penn State's chapter of Uplifting Athletes.

For the fifth-straight year, the funds raised at Lift For Life were on pace to reach new heights following another superb event on Saturday. With donation figures still to be finalized, the 2015 Uplifting Athletes fundraising efforts have lifted the 13-year total well above the $1 million mark.
Fans can still make a Lift For Life donation by visiting the Penn State Uplifting Athletes donation page HERE.

A sun-splashed morning and a crowd of approximately 2,500 fans greeted the Nittany Lions at the Penn State Lacrosse Field. The upperclassmen participated in the head-to-head competition pitting the offense against the defense. Simultaneously, the true freshmen ran in a mini Lift for Life kids clinic with more than 100 participants on the turf at the lacrosse field.

"This is just a culmination of a lot of hard work," senior linebacker and Uplifting Athletes President Ben Kline said. "Guys have spent all year raising money, executing events, creating new ideas for fundraising, and today was an opportunity to celebrate it."

The Nittany Lions put on a show for the fans in attendance with an exhibition in six strenuous events. The competition featured eight rotations of one-on-one battles in the 225-pound bench press, 400-pound "farmer" hold, obstacle course relay, deadlift, sled push/pull relay and tire flip.

2015_LFL_Blog_2.jpg The final tally (31-30, Offense) was based on head-to-head victories in each individual rep and the tug of war competition. Some of the notable performances of the day on the bench press included senior defensive tackle Tarow Barney's 34-rep effort at 225 pounds. Junior offensive lineman Brian Gaia tallied 33 reps, while senior defensive tackle Anthony Zettel notched 31 reps.

The "farmer" hold turned into a fan favorite. A new event for 2015, the players held 200 pounds in each hand in a race against the clock to see which player could outlast the other. Matt Baney, Paris Palmer, Trevor Williams, Matt Zanellato, Brandon Bell and Austin Johnson were among the individual winners in the "farmer" hold.

When the six-event rotation wrapped up, the Nittany Lions moved in front of the fans for the tug of war finale. Trailing by nine tallies (25-16) heading into the final stage of competition, the offense scored three of the four five-point battles to claim a 31-30 victory.

Despite the defense leading for most of the afternoon in the six field events, the offense will take some friendly bragging rights into the rest of the summer after taking three tug of war battles to clinch the crown as the overall winners at the 2015 Lift for Life.

Following the workout, the Nittany Lions met with the loyal Nittany Lion fans and signed autographs.

"We have the best fans in the nation," running back Akeel Lynch said. "For so many people to be out here on a day when we are just working out in front them, it just shows you how much support we have. It's pretty cool."

Assistant Athletic Director for Performance Enhancement Dwight Galt and his staff had a blast at the Lift for Life event. He applauded the player-run Uplifting Athletes organization for its countless hours of prep work to put on another successful event.

"The No. 1 goal today was to raise $100,000. That was the No. 1 thing. They couldn't control that, but that was really important to our guys," said Galt. "The No. 2 thing - we wanted to have fun. The guys have eight weeks in the bank right now (for summer workouts). They are crushing it right now...Then the third thing, we wanted them to compete and put on a good show. And I think we were 3-for-3. This was a big time success today."

The 13th Lift For Life was again a tremendous success and fundraiser for kidney cancer, largely thanks to countless hours of preparation from the Uplifting Athletes group led by Kline.

Penn State begins preseason practice on Aug. 6.


Much more to follow, including video highlights from the 13th Annual Lift For Life

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: 2015 Lift For Life Day Interviews

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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.

Kline, Uplifting Athletes Leading the Fight Against Kidney Cancer

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11212581.jpegUNIVERSITY 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.

To date, the group has raised more than $1 million for the Kidney Cancer Association since the first Lift For Life in 2003. A highlight on the summer calendar in Happy Valley, Uplifting Athletes hosts Lift For Life, a grueling test of physical and mental strength, on Saturday to benefit the kidney cancer awareness and research efforts.

Founded by Nittany Lion football teammates Scott Shirley, Dave Costlow and Damone Jones in 2003, Penn State's chapter of Uplifting Athletes is led by current president and linebacker Ben Kline. Kline and his fellow officers are primed to host another tremendous event on Saturday.

"This is a culmination of a lot of hard work throughout the calendar year," Kline said. "This last push is pretty hectic, but it is really exciting. It is another year of great fundraising down. We are really excited to go out there and have a celebration with all of the fans for the work we have put in all year. We will raise some money and then make our donation to the Kidney Cancer Association. This is the best part of the year for Uplifting Athletes."

This year's event will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Penn State Lacrosse Field (located next to the Multisport Building). The Uplifting Athletes group has again placed an emphasis on fan interaction in 2015. Penn State fans will have an opportunity to meet the Nittany Lions on the field from 1-2 p.m. during a meet and greet and autograph session. Additionally, members of the squad will host a kids clinic on the field as the Lift For Life event takes place.

"It's really cool to have the kids on the field with us during the actual event," Kline said. "They enjoyed it so much last year. And hearing from the guys who ran the kids clinic last year, they had a blast, so it's just a fun, interactive way to get the kids involved with us on the field. It's good for all parties involved."

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:

Donation Link

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's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Matt Brown - 2014-15 Academic All-America of the Year

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - talks with Matt Brown about earning the distinguished honor of being named Capital One Academic All-America of the Year on Thursday.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

A Labor of Love During Meredith's 50 Years

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11206063.jpegUNIVERSITY 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.

In an ever-changing climate of technology and advancement in major college athletics and the ticketing world, two things have remained constant since Meredith's first day at Penn State in 1965 - His love for Penn State and his infectious personality.

"Fifty years at Penn State University, it's been an endeavor," Meredith said. "It's been a love of my life. I'm a State College boy, born and raised."

A graduate of State College High School, Meredith did a three-year stint in the Navy immediately following graduation from 1957-60, spending two years on the USS Orion. His time in the Navy ended one day before his 21st birthday.

He enrolled at Penn State in 1960 before graduating in December of 1964 with a degree in business. From that day forward, Meredith knew where he wanted to be.

"I loved this town and I loved this community, and I told myself I had to find a job here," Meredith said.

Hired in 1965, Meredith spent two years working with the internal auditing staff out of Old Main. At the tail end of his two-year run with the auditors, Meredith was tasked with the football program's auditing, thus creating a natural transition into work with Athletics.

It was February of 1967 when a created position - Assistant Business Manager - steered Meredith into Penn State Athletics, a post he has held for more than 48 years, 580 months and 17,655 days up to his official retirement on June 30.

"I have loved it ever since," said Meredith. "At that time, everything was under one roof. We were in Rec Hall at that time, where wrestling and volleyball are now. We did everything out of that office. We were the event office, the ticket office, the trip coordinator office. We wore many hats."

Among the first hats Meredith wore as an Athletics employee was serving as a department accountant. Promoted to Ticket Manager in 1970, Meredith was a jack-of-all-trades. At the time, everything was handwritten, including the seating diagram in Beaver Stadium (46,284 seat capacity when Meredith started at Athletics).

The Athletic Department hired the drafting shop within the University to line the stadium sections out row-by-row on large pieces of cardboard so that Meredith could write every seat on the diagram. The name of the ticket purchaser would then be written on the diagram and verified before tickets were mailed out to the customer.

"It wasn't fun," Meredith joked. "Everything was processed by an old cash register at that time, too."

It wasn't until 1976 when the department explored the idea of a computerized ticketing system. Meredith pointed to the Nittany Lions' clash against Ohio State on Sept. 19, 1976 as the catalyst for researching computer software to aide in the ticketing process.

In Penn State's first meeting against Ohio State in Beaver Stadium, demand for tickets soared for the matchup between two national powers. And with so many individuals - ticketing staff, coaches, Athletics employees - all selling tickets, Meredith was faced with 300 tickets being oversold for the game. He found a solution by adding two seat boards above the top row of each section in Beaver Stadium, but that game led to a change.

To go along with Beaver Stadium's largest expansion and first major renovation (addition of 16,000 seats; stadium structure was cut into pieces and lifted to remove the track encircling the perimeter), Meredith ushered in ticketing software on computers prior to the 1978 football season. With a seating capacity of 76,017, Meredith filled 12 five-inch floppy disks with the season ticket holder accounts.

It took nearly 60 minutes to run an end of day report off of a single disk. Nonetheless, the intricate process of re-seating individuals in the newly renovated stadium was made much easier with the help of a computerized system.

At the time, very few individuals utilized credit cards for season ticket purchases. Meredith said the vast majority of folks would come to the ticket office for face-to-face interaction to complete a purchase. Mentored by Ed Czekaj, Penn State's Athletic Director from 1968-80, Meredith learned numerous lessons in customer service, but one thing Czekaj stuck with him.

"That was his first thing he told me, 'you always have four in your pocket, you never run out of tickets,'" said Meredith. "I used to bury them in my yard. I haven't found them all yet (laughter)."

The main ticket office for Penn State Athletics was located in Rec Hall until 1980. With the evolution of the department and growing number of teams, the ticket office moved into a double-wide trailer outside of Beaver Stadium from 1980-95. Meredith and his staff moved into its current location inside the Bryce Jordan Center on the last Saturday of December in 1995.

"At that time, I told myself I'd get a couple years in here (the BJC). It's been 20 years," Meredith said.

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.

Meredith's passion for the University is unmatched and his caring persona fits the mold of a customer service position to a T.

"He was the original customer service guy when you get down to it," said Associate Athletic Director for Business Operations Dave Baker. "He dealt with all of those individuals back in the days when he first started. He knew everybody and he knew where everybody was sitting. He probably knew more players and more fans than anybody associated with Penn State Football."

Baker has worked alongside Meredith since June 3, 1974.

"I think he has been a mentor to a lot of different people in a lot of different areas of the department, not just the ticket office," said Baker. "I think a lot of people sought his advice. He's been around here so long. He's worked at a number of different event-related things in a number of different areas."

Meredith's impact on the fan base is immeasurable. There may not be a single Penn State Athletics employee who has dealt with more individuals on a customer care level. And to no one's surprise, it's Meredith's favorite part of the job.

"The people we work with have all been great," said Meredith. "From the administrators to a part-time staff member, everyone has been great."

But his service stretches far beyond the paying customers. He developed a rapport with Penn State student-athletes and coaches beyond the call of duty.

"He's been really good in terms of offering assistance and providing help for anybody," said Baker. "With a lot of people, he served as a mentor. That's why a lot of us have a lot of respect for him."

"A lot of former players will continue to call, stop back," Meredith said. "Different seasons and different sports make athletics just so enjoyable."

Meredith has been an integral part of countless milestones in Penn State Athletics history. To name a few, he's been on the payroll during 38 of the football program's 45 bowl games, watched seven Beaver Stadium expansions and helped pioneer women's athletics at Penn State.

Having seen hundreds of thousands of tickets pass by his desk, Meredith's preferred seat location is 25 rows up in the corner on the southwest side of Beaver Stadium.

It's a perfect spot for a man who loves being around individuals who love the University as much as he does.

"He's always been good with people. And everybody knows who Bud Meredith is," said Baker.

The father of two daughters and one son will retire, but he wouldn't change a thing about his tenure in Happy Valley.

"It's been a labor of love," said Meredith.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Tim Frazier Talks Year One in the NBA

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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.

Frazier, who was named NBA D-League MVP and Rookie of the Year for his efforts with the Maine Red Claws, signed with the Portland Trail Blazers on March 30 following two stints with the Philadelphia 76ers during the winter. Frazier played in 11 games during the regular season and saw action in two games during the NBA Playoffs with the Trail Blazers.

Frazier will play on Portland's summer league team. He returned to the West Coast over the weekend to begin preparations for the 2015-'16 season. Take a look at some remarks from Frazier on his year on the court and his summer ahead.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Athletes Volunteer at 2015 Special Olympics Pennsylvania Summer Games

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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

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony