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Penn State Hosts 2016-17 Kickoff Event

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By Brandon Pelter, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the first time in the 2016-17 season, the Penn State wrestling team put on a show for fans in Rec Hall.

From seven-year-olds donning their own Penn State singlets, to long-time Nittany Lion fans, many came out to show support for the team that has five national championships in the last six years, hoping to add another title this year.

"I mean it's pretty awesome just to see this many fans come out here for a kickoff event," Bo Nickal, last year's NCAA runner-up at 174 pounds, said. "It just makes me even more excited to wrestle this year and get back out on the mat." 

The team activities began with each wrestler being introduced by class, beginning with the freshman group, as smoke filled the north end of Rec Hall for a dramatic entrance. Following the team were the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club resident athletes, which included Olympians Frank Molinaro and Franklin Gomez, as well as two-time NCAA Champion David Taylor.

As the wrestlers warmed up on the mat, the Nittany Lion head assistant coach Casey Cunningham, explained some of the techniques that the wrestlers were using and discussed how he and the coaching staff are constantly looking to expand their knowledge on the sport, techniques and nutrition.

While the wrestlers sparred, Olympians Molinaro, who narrowly missed a bronze medal, and Gomez, who just came up short as well, both spoke to the crowd. Both talked about their experiences at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and being around the Penn State program.

And for many Penn State wrestling fans, the success of Penn State wrestling is fun to watch.

"We've been here at Rec Hall since 1970 and we've been following Penn State wrestling since it has been here in Rec Hall," Connie Christiansen said along with her husband Monty. "The activity that goes on with Penn State wrestling is some that one likes to follow. It's very clean, it's very neat and it's very very active for every fan, they don't even need to know about wrestling." 

With the season quickly approaching, Bo Nickal and his teammates are focusing on having another successful season.

"I'm just trying to do my best every match," Nickal said. "Just keep wrestling hard and having fun so, I mean, I do this because I love it and because I enjoy it and I'm just going to try and do that every match."

The season is just around the corner with the Nittany Lions starting on the road at Army, Friday, Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. The first home meet is slated for 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13 when Penn State hosts Stanford.


By: Ryan Berti, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Nearly 600 miles separates the campus of Penn State from Lisle, Illinois, a small village about an hour outside of Chicago, but while a distance that vast may be the intimidating for some to handle, freshman guard Jaida Travascio-Green has the length to cover it.

The 6-foot-2 wing player is flush with talent and has found herself in University Park after a storied career in high school. She racked up over 1,500 points, 500 rebounds and close to 200 steals in her time at Downers Grove North High School, as she earned All-State honors in both her junior and senior seasons.

But Travascio-Green didn't just dominate the competition on the court. She took her talents to the high jump in her time with the school's track and field team her junior and senior seasons. Her athleticism allowed her to leap to the top of the state's ranks, finishing third in the state her junior year before taking home the crown at the 2016 IHSA State Championships as a senior.

With her copious amounts of success at the high school level, the now-freshman was ranked No. 20 in the nation at her position in the 2016 recruiting class. Head coach Coquese Washington saw her as someone who could immediately contribute to the team and recruited her from the Prairie State.

"Jaida is a fantastic three-point shooter, and she's a shooter with size," Washington said. "At 6-foot-2, she has the ability to see over people, to shoot over people and to knock down shots."

Last November, Travascio-Green and fellow freshman Siyeh Frazier signed their letters of intent and committed to Penn State. Travascio-Green said she was thrilled to commit to a Big Ten school but the biggest appeal came not from what she could achieve on-the-court, but in the classroom behind coach Washington's dedication to academics.

"Something I loved about Penn State is Coquese was really big on academics before athletics, which you didn't see a lot of places," she said.

Being so far away from home, she says her transition into the life of a college student-athlete has not been the simplest route, but it has been easier than expected. With help from teammates to get rides and to be shown around, Adding she and Frazier have become acclimated to the way of things both in practice and on campus.

The wing has also not found it hard to make immediate connections with her fellow Lady Lions as the upperclassmen are helping ease her into college sports.

"I call [Sierra Moore] the grandma of the team because she's the oldest, and then Kaliyah [Mitchell] is always very supportive," Travascio-Green said about a few of her more experienced teammates. "All the upperclassmen make sure I'm okay, especially since I'm a freshman."

As she has been able to smoothly settle into college life, she has been able to turn her attention towards the floor and what she can bring to her team.  ESPN evaluated her as a high school student-athlete at the 2014 Nike Nationals, and described her as a "long and agile perimeter threat" with "off-the-charts potential."

Travascio-Green agrees that her outside shot is one of her best skills and she hopes it can help bring another layer to the team.

"I think that stretching the defense would really help with a lot of the girls being able to drive, like Lindsey [Spann] and Teniya [Page], really being able to get in and the defenses cannot sag as much," she said.

Coach Washington stressed the amount of confidence she has in her freshmen at media day by saying she expects both Travascio-Green and Frazier to be "impact players" on the team this year.

Jumping into the mix of things straightway for freshmen in college sports tends to be an exception rather than the rule at most programs across the nation, but while Travascio-Green has some expectations of her right out of the gate, the competitor in her is ready for the challenge and cannot wait to get into the action come November.

"I've thought about playing basketball ever since I was younger so to be here is pretty exciting," she said. ""I'm just ready to get started."


By Alyssa Palfey, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State women's cross country team swept the Penn State National Open today, placing 1-2-3 with Tessa Barrett (20:11), Elizabeth Chikotas (20:14) and Jillian Hunsberger (20:17) leading the team.


Barrett's time of 20:11 is tied for the third-best performance at the Penn State National Open. She ran 20 seconds faster than last time running this course at the Spiked Shoe Invitational earlier this year.


The women's team win puts them in great position going into their next meet, which is the Big Ten Championships held in Minneapolis, MN.


"The team win is huge. We knew we were going to have some good competition out here today, and I think going into Big Tens now, we feel more confident," said Barrett. "There's definitely a lot left in us, I know we're all in really good shape, and we worked together really well out there today."


"It's been two weeks since we've raced and it's a really good confidence boost going into Big Tens knowing that our training has put us all at a great spot and this is the second time we've run this course; we're going to run it again at regionals. We ran it earlier this season at Spiked Shoe and I think across the board everyone ran a lot faster today, so that gives us a lot of confidence knowing that our training is paying off," said Chikotas.


"I think it's going to give us confidence and take control and take lead and not be scared. Last year we went into Big Tens as the underdogs, and this year we are going in with a target on our backs, so I think it's a really nice confidence booster," said Hunsberger.


Fifth place team finisher, junior Greta Lindsley (20:55), ran over a minute faster than her performance earlier in the season at the Spiked Shoe Invitational. After today's race, she knows that her and the team are both physically and mentally strong going into the championship season.


"Overall, it was definitely a confidence booster. There were a lot of ranked teams here and great individuals here, and we came out on top so that was very exciting. We have the fitness level there, but our mental focus definitely shot up after this race and we are extremely ready for Big Tens."


Senior captain Julie Kocjancic, who placed sixth for the Nittany Lions and 46th overall, knows all their hard work is paying off.


"This team win just showed us what we are doing in practice and workouts is enough," said Kocjancic. "It gave us confidence that we know that we aren't even near where we're going to peak later in the season, so it's an exciting place to be."


Head coach John Gondak is ready to ride the momentum after today's victory as they prepare for the Big Ten Championships.


"It's a really big confidence booster for both teams. The women came in and made a statement today, this was an excellent field and for Tessa, Liz, and Jillian to go 1-2-3, and for us to win with 47 points," said Gondak. "I was really proud of their efforts. They are just brimming with confidence and just added another layer of confidence to the team."


"With the guys, they were kind of a little uncertain with how they would finish today and we had a really specific plan, and they executed it and I'm really proud. Sixth place finish, I just said there were a couple teams here that we shouldn't even focus on, we have focus on a few teams that we should try to beat, and we did that today."


With two top-15 place finishers, the men's team came in sixth place overall today. Tim McGowan (25:11) and Colin Abert (25:15) lead the team placing eighth place and 12th place respectively.


The Big Ten Championships will be held Sunday, Oct. 30th in Minneapolis, MN. The race is set to start at 11:45 a.m. ET.


By Tom Shively, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa - Games at Pegula Ice Arena are few and far between for the Penn State women's hockey team in the first few weeks of the season. Only one of the first six series is on home ice, so the Nittany Lions are looking to take full advantage of a pair of home games this weekend against Boston University.

"Between the fans and the atmosphere, it's very nice playing at home," junior Irene Kiroplis said. "You're in your own facilities, you're familiar with the place, you have your fans and your fanbase. You have your support staff here that you see on a daily basis."

"Pegula is a top-notch facility," senior Amy Petersen said. "It's a special opportunity every time we get to play here." 

 "The opportunity to play at home is something we want to take advantage of, head coach Josh Brandwene said. We're in our routine, we're home, we're having our pregame meal here at home. We want to take advantage of the wonderful facility we have here. The game day atmosphere in Pegula Arena is as good as it gets." 

Being at home also presents some time for players to settle into their routines more, not having to deal with the time spent traveling while on the road.

"Each person has their routine that they go through from game to game. It varies from person to person," Petersen said. "We try to keep the team stuff consistent while we're together, in our weight room, and then we break off. Some people tape their sticks in the stands, some people sit our here on the bench. Some just hang out in the lounge, maybe eat a snack. We play some soccer."

The home series this week also provided time for some of the players to get together earlier this week for a Canadian Thanksgiving celebration, something the team greatly cherished as a team-building opportunity. 

"It was a lot of fun," Kiroplis said. "Me and a couple of the freshmen girls just put a little homemade dinner together and we decided that, since the Canadians don't get to go home for Thanksgiving, we make it a little more special and a little homier. We had a little get-together to be thankful for all we have here at Penn State."

"They're a special group of people," Brandwene said. "It brings a smile to my face that they support each other in that way. It's really cool."

On the ice, the Nittany Lions were able to get their offense going stronger in an 8-1 road victory on Friday at Union College.

"Offense is something we're continuing to work on," Brandwene said. "Puck support, puck movement, especially in the offensive. "We're continuing to develop and get continued offensive support."

Boston University represents a new challenge for the Nittany Lions as the teams split their two meetings last year in Boston.

"We had a great series with them last year up there," Brandwene said. "It's going to be an exciting brand of hockey played by both teams and I think it's going to be very entertaining for the fans."

Puck drop is set for 6:00 p.m. Friday in the series opener. Game two will begin at 2:00 p.m. Saturday.


Taliaferro Impacting Lives Long After Penn State

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By Arielle Sargent,

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -  A leader. A fighter. An ambassador. All describe former Penn State Football student-athlete Adam Taliaferro, who has more than overcome tremendous odds to thrive after sustaining a career-ending spinal cord injury 16 years ago.

His courageous story doesn't simply involve a devastating injury and a miraculous recovery. Rather, where Taliaferro's story lives on, is within the lives of those he has been able to change in the years following his own life altering experience.

Flash back to September 1, 2001, when Taliaferro, who just 11 months prior had faced the unthinkable, led the Penn State team on to the field at Beaver Stadium in front of a record crowd of 109,313 joyous and emotional fans for the season opener against Miami (Fla.).

A moment that Taliaferro still finds hard to put into words and one his father, Andre, describes, as a moment where Adam's life had started anew.

The Injury
The week of September 23, 2000 was similar to any other game week for the true freshman cornerback from Voorhees, New Jersey, as the Nittany Lions prepared to open their Big Ten Conference slate at Ohio State in a nationally televised contest on ABC.

Filled with excitement, Taliaferro was poised to play in one of the biggest games of his rookie career, playing in front of a packed crowd at Ohio Stadium.

"Any opportunity that I got to play was exciting, because for me, coming from South Jersey and playing in front of five or six thousand people and then playing in a place like Beaver Stadium or at The Horseshoe out in Columbus, I just remember a lot of excitement and enthusiasm," Taliaferro said.

On a routine play near the end of the matchup against the Buckeyes, Taliaferro recalls tilting his head down as he lunged toward Ohio State's Jerry Westbrooks to make a tackle he had made nearly 100 times in the past. He suffered a serious neck injury.

"I can remember the play, I can remember the position of him lying on the field and I can remember turning to the trainer, George Salvaterra, and saying, 'this is not a good situation,'" recalls Penn State's Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli, who was among the first to run out on to the field after the impact of Taliaferro's tackle left him motionless on the field.

Unable to move his arm, Taliaferro's first thought was a broken arm. Unable to gather his legs to get up, his next thought was stinger, a nerve injury in the neck and shoulder area.

"I had heard from other guys that when you get stinger you lose sensation for a little bit and then it eventually comes back."

As team physicians and trainers asked Taliaferro a series of questions, he felt no pain as he correctly answered his name and location, while medical professionals worked swiftly to provide care that would give him the best chances for recovery.

"I just kind of laid there and they told me not to move and they took me off the field but the thought of being paralyzed never really went through my head while I was unable to move on the ground," Taliaferro said.

In the critical moments after sustaining his injury, Taliaferro was carefully transported to The Ohio State University Medical Center. 

"I knew my mom (Addie) would be pretty upset and I knew my family was watching on TV, so I wanted to give a thumbs up," Taliaferro said. "As they were rolling me off the field and I could not move my hands and I remember thinking this could be kind of serious."

That's where it gets foggy for Taliaferro, though, as he remembers an x-ray before waking up and seeing the face of his father.

"I remember him saying to me, 'you've been injured but you're going to be ok,'" Taliaferro said.

The Recovery
After surgery the following Monday, Taliaferro knew from his family that his his injury was serious, but his family kept the initial prognosis from him -- a prognosis that included a less than five percent chance that Taliaferro would ever walk again.

"We wanted to give him every opportunity to get better," Andre said. "We didn't want him to have to deal with anything negative or anything that would suggest that he wouldn't get better."

"Since I didn't know any better, I just always went into it like I was going to walk out of it," Adam said.

Focused solely on a full recovery, Adam Taliaferro believed with all his heart from the very first day of his injury, that he was going to get better.

Four days after his injury, Adam was transferred to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, less than 20 miles from his home. Several days later, he was moved to Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia to begin his arduous rehabilitation.

Little by little, Taliaferro had to re-learn everything movement-related, with his largest task in regaining the ability to walk on his own again.

"We would do six hours of therapy a day," Adam said. "My physical therapist became like my football coach and I just tried to go into every therapy session like I would go into football practice, where I had to just get a little bit better every day."

Along with the constant support from his family, Taliaferro also drew inspiration from his coaches, teammates and Penn State Football family and administration, who were regular visitors throughout his rehabilitation in Philadelphia and later, at home. 

"They would come down every Thursday after practice and they would bring two or three players and I would see different guys," Taliaferro said. "It was exciting for me because as I was getting better, I would try every Thursday to show them that I was doing something new or that I was moving something new."

Spending weeks learning to move a single finger, Taliaferro celebrated every milestone along the way until major breakthrough presented a turning point.

Late one evening nearly two months into his rehabilitation, Taliaferro's nurse caught his toe moving and prompted him to attempt to move the toe again. Taliaferro successfully moved his toe on the next try, signaling hope.

Such a breakthrough called for a celebration, as Taliaferro's parents immediately returned to the hospital filled with joy, calling as many people as they could to share the promising news.

"We knew that from a medical perspective, once you wiggle a toe, you have about an 85 percent chance of walking so we were very encouraged at that point in time and literally within weeks he was on his feet," Sebastianelli said. 

The Rebirth
Having made significant progress in his recovery, Taliaferro incredibly walked out of Magee Rehabilitation Hospital on crutches on January 6, 2001 and went home, where he continued his rehabilitation. He returned to State College for the 2001 fall semester, where he would continue to rehab with Nittany Lion athletic trainers and team physicians, who made him like his regular self again.

"Tom Bradley, who was our defensive coordinator and my position coach, made me a student assistant coach," Taliaferro said. "I was still at all the practices and all the meetings and I was concerned because I was no longer a football player, but the coaches, the staff and my teammates still made me feel like I was an integral part of the team."

On September 1, 2001, surrounded by not just those who had directly supported Taliaferro along the way, but the entire Penn State community, he walked, then skipped and jogged in leading the Nittany Lions through the Beaver Stadium gates and on to the field. 

In the culmination of Taliaferro's relentless pursuit to defy the odds, he recalls the moment as one of the most exciting experiences of his life.

"It felt as though a mission had been completed," Andre Taliaferro said. "We knew that he wasn't going to play anymore, but the fact that he had recovered from an accident on the field and was told that he would never walk again, here he was and now he was going to start life anew."

By 2005, Taliaferro was crossing the stage on graduation day, having earned his undergraduate degree in labor and industrial relations. By 2008, he had earned his law degree from the Rutgers School of Law-Camden and was off to a successful career with Bristol-Myers Squibb. In November 2015, he was elected to his first full two-year term as member of the New Jersey General Assembly after being appointed to the seat in 10 months earlier. Taliaferro and his wife, formerly Erin Mulshenock, a Penn State swimmer, also welcomed a new addition to their family with the birth of their son last year.

Sparked by the tremendous amount of financial support his family had received due to the severity of his injury and his rehabilitation, the Adam Taliaferro Foundation was also born in 2001.

The process of recovering from a severe spinal cord injury is a lifelong journey. One that Taliaferro not only embraces on a personal level daily, but one that he continues to support through his dedication to the Adam Taliaferro Foundation.

"Penn State and Penn Staters had raised a lot of money for me and my hometown had raised a lot of money for me and my lifetime care, but thankfully, I didn't need any of those funds so we came up with the idea that if I don't need it, there are plenty of people out there who do," Taliaferro said.

With the mission to help athletes who have suffered devastating spinal cord injuries, the Foundation provides emotional, financial and educational support to student-athletes who sustain spinal cord injuries in sanctioned team events throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

Operating entirely through volunteer support, Taliaferro has been able to give back to those who gave so much to him along the way. 

Among countless individuals he has been able to impact, Taliaferro recounts being especially proud to help a high school senior secure the financial support for a full-time nurse so she could attend college and fulfill her dream to earn a degree, just like Taliaferro.

"It's little things like that that where we just had a small piece in it, but here's a young lady who was able to get back to living her life and get an education although she was paralyzed because we were able to provide a full-time nurse for her while she was away at college."

Back to living life is exactly where Taliaferro found himself and where he will continue to have an impact on those who embark on the same journey as he did.


By Jack Dougherty, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - When Megan Schafer pocketed her first shot of the game into the left side of the net in the 10th minute Thursday night at Jeffrey Field, it seemed as if Penn State would cruise to a carefree victory in front of 870 bundled-up fans.


Penn State continued to pass crisply in the midfield and create chances early in the game, but no one was able to stretch the lead in the first half.


"We definitely came out with a lot of energy," said Charlotte Williams, who recorded the assist on Schafer's goal. "We've been practicing a lot of different things and they've been starting to work. Our movement in the midfield was going really well and we were possessing. It's just the consistency of keeping that going."


Right before the halftime whistle, Rutgers' forward Madison Tiernan silenced the crowd with a 27-yard strike to the top right corner to beat Amanda Dennis and tie the game in the 43rd minute.


The carefree victory suddenly wasn't so.


The Nittany Lions outshot the Scarlet Knights 6-3 in the first half and controlled possession for the most part, but Rutgers was clearly riding more momentum going into the locker room.


Rutgers kept that momentum flowing out of the gate in the second half with a quick goal in the 50th minute on a defensive mishap by Penn State.


The tides had changed, and rather quickly.


For 15 minutes following the goal, not even the Park Avenue Army uttered a sound. A loud, jubilant first half crowd sharply shifted to feelings of shock and dismay.


The Nittany Lions, however, wouldn't stop fighting. Especially not Frannie Crouse.


The junior, who leads the team in game-winning goals (4), always seems to put the ball in the net at the most opportune times. Tonight was no different.


With everything going Rutgers' way, Crouse knotted the score up at two with a right-footed rip from 20 yards out into the bottom left corner of the net in the 67th minute.


It was her team-leading 10th goal of the season and the 31st of her career. The goal placed Crouse in a tie for 12th all-time in goals for Penn State.


"Frannie was all over the place tonight," said head coach Erica Dambach. "Her work ethic on both sides of the ball was incredible. We've got to live and die by those players. We've got to have special moments like we had from her and Schafer tonight on those goals. Big players step up in big games and that happened tonight."


In overtime, Crouse produced another chance in the 106th minute by dodging a defender and striking for goal with her left foot but her shot sailed just high of the bar. The draw was effectively sealed.


"I think it's a game we can be proud of," said Williams. "We always know Rutgers is going to bring a hard game, we have a lot of history with them. I'm definitely proud of all the girls. It says a lot about us as a team and what we're working at."


"They weren't going to walk home with a loss tonight," said Dambach. "This is a Penn State soccer team I want to coach right now and I'm enjoying working with these guys."


The top of the Big Ten is incredibly crowded following Thursday's draw. Penn State moved down a spot to second place in the conference, but they sit only one point behind leaders Minnesota and Northwestern.


The Nittany Lions will look to gain ground on the leaders Sunday against Purdue (4-10, 2-6) back at Jeffrey Field at 1:00 p.m.

B1G Men's Hoops Media Day in Washington D.C.

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WASHINGTON - Just a day after hosting their own event, Penn State men's basketball hit the road, traveling to Washington D.C. to participate in the Big Ten Men's Basketball Media Day. Nittany Lion head coach Patrick Chambers joined juniors Shep Garner and Payton Banks for the busy day.

Chambers opened the morning making his rounds through the media circuit, spending time with ESPN and the Big Ten Network. 

Check out the recap of Chambers' morning media circuit below.

Chambers capped off his morning media rounds with a brief press conference, taking questions from members of the national and local media.

"Penn State basketball is in a different place today," Chambers said in his opening statement. "We are going to get up and down, which we haven't done in the last five years. We're going to play and up-tempo style."

Check out Chambers' full press conference below. Transcript of the press conference available here.

Banks and Garner joined in on the media circuit in the afternoon, while also taking some time for a Big Ten photo shoot before closing out the day with a live appearance on the Big Ten Network. 

Both Banks and Garner echoed Chambers throughout the day, noting that the 2016-17 Nittany Lions are an all new team featuring experienced returners as well as a host of newcomers with plenty of potential.

Follow along with Banks and Garner below to see what they were up to this afternoon. 

Chambers followed the Nittany Lion duo with a live appearance on the Big Ten Network before hitting the road to return home to Happy Valley.

Penn State is set to open the 2016-17 campaign at home with an exhibition against Lock Haven Friday, Nov. 4 in the Bryce Jordan Center.

LionVisionVR Virtual Reality Channel Nears Debut

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.  - "Wow! Pretty cool. That's sweet."


Those were just some of the reactions Thursday as members of the local media had an opportunity to participate in a demonstration of Penn State Athletics' virtual reality initiative - LionVisionVR.


Intercollegiate Athletics and EON Sports VR announced in late August a partnership to create a virtual reality channel, LionVision VR, for the Nittany Lions' loyal and passionate alumni and fans. The experience-driven initiative will debut the week of October 24 and add content from all 31 teams during the remainder of 2016-17.


Fans will be able to check out LionVision VR during Fan Fest on Curtin Road prior to the Oct. 22 primetime clash with Ohio State.


Through EON Sports' proprietary technology, Penn Staters can view exclusive, dynamic content via their iOS or Android based smartphone. LionVision VR will provide fans a behind-the-scenes views of practice, pre and post game locker room coaches' talks and a wide array of iconic Penn State experiences, while immersed inside a customized virtual reality environment.


 The partnership between Penn State and EON Sports VR, the world's leading virtual reality sports training and fan experience company, is among the first offerings nationally in intercollegiate athletics to provide fans with an all-access virtual reality channel.


The partnership has extended to Penn State's Applied Research Lab (ARL), which has significant experience in working with virtual reality in the research work it does for the Department of Defense.


Thursday's demonstration was led by a trio of Penn Staters who are making LionVisionVR a reality: Michael Cross, Assistant Athletic Director for New Business; Jim Nachtman, Assistant Athletic Director for Media and Video Production and Tim Shaw, who directs the ARL's Synthetic Environment Applications (SEA) Lab.


"This is incredible technology," said Cross. "Virtual reality will allow fans to see things in ways they've never seen and see things the public can't typically see. It will let our fans see what our student-athletes experience.


"There's no playbook," Cross added. "We're taking a leadership position (nationally in college athletics)."


Among the experiences available for viewing on Thursday were the Nittany Lion football team running onto the field from the perspective of a Penn State Blue Band member, a kickoff, squad members warming up in pre-game, Coach James Franklin's post-game press conference and the Nittany Lion mascot getting the Beaver Stadium throng ready for a game.


In addition to fan experiences, Cross and Nachtman said that virtual reality could be used in recruiting, development, promotional and sponsorship opportunities, among other areas, once LionVisionVR is launched. In the not too distant future, coaches could take a LionVisionVR headset with them during recruiting visits to show a prospective student-athlete and his or her family numerous aspects of the program and student life at Penn State.


"We can use technology to help remind our fans about their experiences at Penn State," Nachtman said. "Virtual reality is not new, but it's new to us. There aren't a lot of colleges doing much in this space. Tim Shaw and his group have been doing things on a global scale. We've created a strategic partnership that has ramped up our learning curve.


"There are different types of virtual reality," Nachtman added. "We're starting with these football experiences and will soon be adding men's and women's soccer and field hockey experiences" en route to having experiences on all 31 programs during this academic year.


Nachtman added that live coverage of selected events will be discussed, as long as they are in accordance with the Big Ten media rights agreements.


To access LionVision VR, Penn State fans will have the opportunity to purchase an annual subscription to LionVision VR for $29.95 in launch first year. The 2016-17 subscription will run through June 30, 2017 and include a free, Penn State branded Dodocase VR headset, sent directly to subscribers who sign up by October 24.


Shaw said that Penn State's Applied Research Lab has been working on virtual reality the past 15 years with the Department of Defense. He stated that virtual reality and augmented reality is forecast to be a more than $30 billion industry by 2020.


Assisting the LionVision VR efforts has been Adam Geiger, a member of Nittany Lion football team in 2013 and '14. Geiger is a senior and an ARL intern. The computer science major is interested in virtual reality coding after he graduates next spring.


"This project has been a unification of a lot of strengths," Cross stated. "Our partnership with the Applied Research Lab is a good partnership across campus."

LionVisionVR technology and hardware is available for purchase at Fans who subscribe by October 24, 2016, will receive a free Penn State branded head set to view the content in VR. Penn State plans to debut the new technology to fans the week of October 24, building toward content from all 31 teams during the upcoming year.


By Zach Reagan, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State extends its reach internationally as an academic institution and the men's soccer team is doing its part with having four international players on the roster, three of whom are from the country north of the United States, Canada.

Dayonn Harris, Aymar Sigue, and Mitchel Bringolf make up the trio of players on Penn State's roster from the second-largest country by area in the world. Each come from different provinces throughout the vast country. Harris, a speedy sophomore forward hails from Milton, Ontario, only a five-hour drive away from campus. Sigue, a junior transfer is from Tulsa and physical forward from St. Albert, Alberta, which is above Montana, a trip that can't be covered in one day by car from University Park. Bringolf, an impact freshman defender hails from Montreal, Quebec, about eight hours away.

With the growing trend of more collegiate programs looking internationally for players, head coach Bob Warming knew he could take advantage of Penn State's proximity to Canada. Penn State and Warming have made a splash by tapping into the talent from all over Canada in recent years.

"There aren't many foreign countries you can drive to," said Warming. "They're closer to us than a lot of the other American players that we have."

Location isn't the lone factor for recruiting Canada. Warming applauds the people of Canada, especially the Canadians on the team for their genuine kindness and overall positive nature.

"No offense to any other country in the world including our own but Canada has to be the nicest bunch of human beings on the planet," said Warming. "They're very positive people and all of us need positive people around us. I absolutely love the guys."

"If we get an opportunity, we'll go back and get a couple more," said Warming with a grin on his face.

Summer Canada Trip

This summer, Penn State men's soccer traveled north to Canada for a 10-day foreign tour, training, competition and touring Montreal and Quebec. The Nittany Lions also happened to be in Montreal for St. Jean Baptiste Day.

The trip impacted the team in a variety of positive ways and the Nittany Lions experienced much more than just playing of the game of soccer. From a Niagara Falls tour to exploring Toronto and Montreal to going to two MLS matches, the team used these experiences to prepare for this season and beyond.

About the Canadians

I sat town with the three Nittany Lion Canadians to learn more about the group from up north. 

#10 Dayonn Harris

What's it like to be Canadian on the team? "The guys kind of make fun of me for my accent, like how I say 'aye'. It's all out of fun though."

Favorite memory from the summer Canada trip: "We went to downtown Toronto and saw the CN Tower, the Rogers Centre and went shopping. It was amazing for the guys to see my hometown. We were pretty close to where I live.

What was the impact of the summer Canada trip? "We grew as a team for sure, just from little things like team dinners, jokes and banter helped make us more of a team. We actually played my home team. It was great to score on them for bragging rights as well."

Why did you choose Penn State? "Coach Warming traveled to Canada to watch me play and train. He came and watched me hit an upper-90 shot in training and it was amazing. "I was always looking to come to the United States ever since high school. The family environment felt welcoming from everyone here especially the seniors. They welcomed me in open arms."

What strengths do you bring to the team? "My speed is my strength, being able to run into channels to get us opportunities and alleviating pressure off our defense."

#7 Aymar Sigue

Being from Western Canada, what's it like being far from home and is the culture different? "I'm used to it. I lived far from home for a while but the culture in definitely different. Sports here are a lot bigger and the football culture is different especially."

Favorite memory from the summer Canada trip: "I've never been to Montreal before being from the Western Canada. I speak French so it was nice to actually be around people who also spoke French. I'm not French Canadian but I speak French. It's a question I get a lot."

What was the impact of the summer Canada trip? "It made the team a whole lot closer especially for me since I was an outsider coming in. It allowed us to have a common experience to bring us together."

What made you choose playing collegiate soccer in the U.S.? "I had the option to stay with the Vancouver Whitecaps academy team but I thought I might as well get a degree and keep playing. I go back to Vancouver during the summers to train with the team."

Why did you choose Penn State? "I transferred from Tulsa. I'm from the west side of Canada but I wanted to try something new. The winning culture and coach Warming is great. The campus is beautiful and the alumni group is really supportive."

What strengths do you bring to the team? "I'm a physical presence. We have smaller players like Dayonn who are quick forwards. I offer a different dimension to the team."

#15 Mitchel Bringolf

Is there a difference between Canada and the United States? "I don't really find that there's a big difference. Canada and the United States are very similar."

What's it like to be Canadian on the team? There's just a lot of making fun of us for saying 'aye' or the stereotypes of igloos, moose and other stuff."

How were you involved in the summer Canada trip? "I didn't go because I'm a freshman but I actually played against Penn State. We tied 1-1. My club team was the only team Penn State didn't beat."

How do you feel about going to school in another country? "Obviously I miss home but it's nice to experience something else. Even though it's a bit similar. Living on campus and living with everyone else, there still a little difference than living at home."

What was your path to Penn State? "I played with a USL team in Montreal and studying at McGill University in Montreal but it wasn't connected. The school didn't care that I played soccer and soccer didn't care about schooling. If I would have stayed, I would have had to choose one or the other."

Why did you choose Penn State? "Honestly, it was a mixture between one of the best athletic programs in the nation plus this school academically is one of the best schools in the nation plus the second I started talking to the coaching staff, it just all felt good."

What strengths do you bring to the team? "I'm a defensive player so my work ethic, being solid defensively and being clean with the ball are my strengths."

For more information on Nittany Lion men's soccer, log onto and follow the team on the various social media platforms.


By Alyssa Palfey, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State cross country team will run their last home meet of the regular season at the annual Penn State National Open this Friday, Oct. 14th at the Blue-White Golf Course.


Last year at this meet, the women captured the top spot with their top three runners placing in the top-10, while the men got second as a team with their top five runners placing in the top-15.


This will be the last meet they compete in before championship season starts and will have several ranked teams present.


Along with being their last meet before championship season, this will also be Senior Day for the Nittany Lions.


Seniors on the men's team are redshirt senior, Conrad Lippert of Middletown, N.J., Brad Rivera of Bensalem, Pa., and Joseph Phifer of Union, N.J. For the women, the seniors include captain, Julie Kocjancic of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Cara Uilizio of Redondo Beach, Ca.


Senior Captain Julie Kocjancic reflects on how she has grown as athlete throughout her career at Penn State.


"I have improved from my freshman year by being able to get ready for competition and approach workouts with confidence in my training," said Kocjancic. "Also just figuring out the system of what works for me, whether it be my mileage or my diet and that has shown improvements in my time and fitness."


She also relives her favorite memory on the team, and is looking forward to the upcoming championship season.


"The most memorable part of my cross country career was last year winning Big Tens and all the fun I had with the team. We beat a No. 2 nationally ranked team when weren't even ranked in the top 10," said Kocjancic. "I am looking forward to this season more than I ever have any other season because we have a very talented team that is in a great spot, and it being my last cross country season since I was in sixth grade. These last few races will be very bittersweet."


Head Coach John Gondak, enjoyed coaching and watching Kocjancic grow over the past few years.


"Julie has come in and really grown as an athlete in XC, earning all-region honors last year and helping to seal the deal as our number 5 runner when we won the Big Ten last fall. It has been great to see her grow as a person and athlete," said Gondak.


On the men's side, redshirt senior, Conrad Lippert, is the only one left from his freshman year, but feels the team atmosphere is still the same as it was back then.


"There is no one else on the team right now who was also on the team with me my freshman year. In that sense, this team is completely different. In another sense, nothing has changed," said Lippert.


Lippert is ready to take on the rest of the season, as championship meets are coming up.


"I'm just looking to experience that underlying presence of Penn State XC that has been such a prominent part of the last five years of my life a few more times and make the most of this championship season," he said.


Gondak is happy to see Lippert competing hard for his final season as a Nittany Lion.


"It is great to see Conrad back in the mix and competing well for the team. This is his final semester and he is really taking advantage of it," said Gondak.


Coaching is a very rewarding job for Gondak. He enjoys watching his athletes grow as both athletes and people. 

"It is always exciting to see athletes grow from when they come in as wide-eyed freshman to where they leave as young adults with a Penn State education," said Gondak.


The Penn State National Open will begin at 10:30 a.m. ET on Friday.