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Barbour Eager to Lead Penn State Athletics

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The 18th of August cannot come soon enough for Sandy Barbour.

Introduced as Penn State Director of Athletics on Saturday afternoon, Barbour is thrilled to begin her tenure as the leader of an athletic program that aspires to continue its long history of excellence on and off the field of play.

"When you spend a professional lifetime serving institutions and most importantly students, you dream about coming to a place like Penn State," Barbour said. "You dream about the opportunity to lead a program like Penn State athletics. Why? Because it represents the opportunity to have it all: Athletic excellence, academic achievement, community engagement and fiscal responsibility. So thank you, Eric [Barron]. I am absolutely thrilled, over the top excited about this opportunity and about being the athletic director at Penn State."

A graduate of Wake Forest where she was field hockey team captain, Barbour grew up on the East Coast and has always had a deep passion for Penn State University and its athletic department. That's what drew her to the position when she originally spoke with President Barron about the opportunity.

Immediately, Barbour felt a connection with the people, pride and remarkable accomplishments of Penn State University and its athletic department.

"I love the 'We Are Penn State.' I particularly love what it stands for. It stands for family," Barbour said.

Barbour desires to see national titles in all 31 sports on campus. But first and foremost, she will strive to lead a department with student-athletes who are elite performers in the classroom.

"We are athletic programs again that are all part of a university," Barbour said. "Our student-athletes will be students first, Penn State is incredibly proud of the academic performance of their students and we will continue to be."

Eager to hit the ground running when she begins her duties as athletic director in 23 days, Barbour wants to learn from everyone in the department, especially the head coaches leading Penn State's 31 athletic teams.

"Unity doesn't mean one opinion, and I actually embrace that, embrace the diversity of opinion, diversity in a variety of different ways, and I actually think that will make us stronger in our ability to move forward," Barbour said. "As I said before, I have something to learn from everybody, and I'll be doing a lot of listening."

Numerous head coaches were in attendance at Saturday's introductory press conference. The coaches and athletic department staff then had a chance to mingle with Barbour at a private reception before she boarded a flight to Chicago for Big Ten meetings. The head coaches in attendance exuded great confidence in the future direction of the athletic department.

"There is a culture, history and tradition of tremendous academic achievement at Penn State and that will continue," said head football coach James Franklin. "I know it's important to our president, athletic director and all of our coaches. That will continue. I know we'll spend as much time as we need to so we can start building."


"I am truly thrilled that Sandy Barbour will serve as the next athletic director for Penn State," Lady Lions head coach Coquese Washington said. "Sandy is a strong, dynamic and passionate leader. She is also an incredibly smart visionary and strategic thinker. It is exciting to imagine all the ways Penn State University, and Penn State athletics in particular, will be positively impacted by her leadership."

"I loved everything I heard today," head women's hockey coach Josh Brandwene said. "She has passion, vision and just a great understanding of the Penn State community. Both as a head coach and as an alumnus, I am really excited to start working with her."


Barbour will return to California in the coming days to prepare for her full-time return to Happy Valley on Aug. 18, and the new leader of Penn State Athletics is fired up to get started.

"We are Penn State. I'm all in. I'm ready to get going," said Barbour.

 


Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

From My View - Big Tens

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By Bernard Bennett-Green, GoPSUsports.com Student-Athlete Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Competing in my last Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships was definitely an experience that I will always remember. As a team we've been through a lot this year. As a result of everything that we've had to go through, we've become a stronger and closer group. As a unit we finished sixth overall, but we gave everything we had and that's all you can ask for at the end of the day. We had some individual champions with Darrell Hill in the shot put, Steve Waithe in the triple jump, and Michael Shuey in the javelin.


Watching all three of those guys become champions was a very special moment because they all have different stories of where they started out from to where they are now. Darrell started his career at Houston and transferred to Penn State last year. Steve started out at Shippensburg and transferred to Penn State this year. Michael started out as a multi last year but decided to dedicate all of his time and effort to the javelin throw this year. Watching these three guys put together successful performance makes me excited to keep tabs on their futures here at Penn State.

Another great moment that happened during the championships was that the women's team captured another outdoor title. I don't know what's in the water on the women's team, but they always seem to get it done when championship season comes along. To win Big Ten outdoors last year, indoor this year, and outdoor this year is an incredible feat. My hat goes off to them because they know how to get it done when it matters. The men's team has the necessary pieces to capture its first team title some time soon its just the matter of putting them together and everyone being one the same page at the right time. The season is not over yet. We will be back in action in two weeks in Jacksonville, Florida for first round competition.  

From My View - Maryland Twilight

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By Bernard Bennett-Green, GoPSUsports.com Student Athlete Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - This past weekend, the team headed down to Maryland for the first time in our program's history. We usually have a week off before our home meet every year, but this year the calendar was a bit weird. The Maryland Twilight meet was a great meet overall for our program because a lot off people performed very well. A bunch of people stepped up, but a few that stood out to me were Dynasty McGee, Kiah Seymour, and Darrell Hill. |

Dynasty ran a personal best time of 53.25 in the women's 400-meter dash. That was huge for her because she's been waiting patiently to drop her time. Another great performance that stood out to me was Kiah Seymour in the women's 400-meter hurdles. Kiah didn't have her best race the week before at Penn Relays and seeing her bounce back by running a national-leading time of 55.88 was huge.

The last performance that really left a great impression about the future of this team was in Darrell Hill. Last week, he won Penn Relays with a toss of 63 feet so you would expect most people to come into a meet like Maryland just focused on putting a mark down and cruising to a win. Darrell was able to throw a personal best at Maryland with a toss of 64 feet! Darrell has really been finding his groove lately, which really excites me for his future.

Personally, this meet wasn't the best for me. Honestly, this outdoor hasn't been my best season. There are some things that I need to improve on and adjust for things to go the way that they should. I fully believe that when Big Tens come around in two weeks that I'll be ready to have the performance that I need to help my team chase down our first Big Ten title. In the meantime, I have to remain to be patient and focused on getting better every day.  

From My View - Penn Relays

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By Bernard Bennett-Green, GoPSUsports.com Student Athlete Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - This weekend, I was able to participate in one of the greatest and oldest track meets in the world that is known as the Penn Relay Carnival. The meet started on Thursday and lasted all the way until Saturday but I didn't run until Friday and Saturday. Traveling to Philadelphia for a track meet is always a special moment for me since I'm from Cheltenham High School, which is a small suburb right outside of Philadelphia.

It's always special because of all of the love and admiration that Penn State receives when we attend Penn Relays. From our performances in the field events and on the track we also receive positive praise and attention. Even though we are not the hometown team, many people look out for our performances around the country and expect nothing but the best from us.

I'll never forget Penn Relays this year because of all of the special moments that my teammates helped to create. From Darrell Hill winning shot put to actually being on the in field and watching Steve Waithe jump 53 feet to win triple jump. Another special moment that I thought was pretty cool was that I happened to be sitting next to a Penn State alum as I was watching our men's sprint medley relay win, and I didn't even know it until we began to talk. It's great to know that alums still follow the program and enjoy seeing your success on and off the track.

Race day was Friday and Saturday, and I got the opportunity to run the 4x400 meter relay. Friday's prelim heat didn't go as we expected it but we ran and made the IC4A final heat that took place on Saturday. On Saturday, we ran our season's best time of the year of 3:07.94 for our second consecutive IC4A title.

Penn Relays was a great meet because our team performed well as a unit. I'm looking forward to our upcoming meet in Maryland this weekend because we can punch a few more tickets to first rounds, which will be held in Florida. The next few weeks will fly by with graduation and my final home meet approaching rapidly. I plan on enjoying everyone moment that comes my way because many people have told me that my college years will be some of my best memories.

Women's 4x400m Relay Looks to Become Dream Team

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By Astrid Diaz, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With the 2014 outdoor season underway, the Penn State track and field team isn't taking any breaks as it looks to continue a record-breaking year.

This year, the Nittany Lions have showed off every last bit of sweat, every extra minute of effort, and every ounce of dedication they've shed at practice. Their perseverance has been reciprocated with new record times and numerous event sweeps.

A big component of the track and field team is the group of women that make up the 4x400 meter relay team: One freshman, one sophomore, one junior, and one graduate student who not only won at the Big Ten Indoor Championships, but also broke a university record at the NCAA Championships with a fifth-place finish.

Relay and sprinting assistant coach to the team Randy Bungard says this group of women is one of the hardest working on the team.

"They do everything I ask them to do," Bungard says. "They always want to do better and I believe they can."

The relay team has brought together four women who are accustomed to individual competition and created a team of champions. That being said, a Big Ten title and a fifth-place finish at the NCAA level does not come without adversity and obstacles.

***

When the sun rises and the mind is racing and the nerves are wired and the adrenaline is pumping, it can only mean one thing - it's race day.


The starter pistol fires and off she goes, baton in hand, at full-blown All-American speed, the lead runner of the Penn State women's track 4x400 meter relay race, junior Dynasty McGee.

For McGee, race day is when you show how much you've been putting into practice. Race day is a reflection of dedication and time.

"How you practice is how you run. Practice makes perfect and if you practice hard, you run hard," McGee said. "And when it's time [to race], we're serious and we're praying. I'm trying to calm [the team] down while keeping myself calm."

This season is McGee's third with the team and, so far, her dedication and commitment to the track is evident. She's consistent in victory, as most all-American athletes are.

In the 2013 outdoor season, she won the 200m race at the Jim Thorpe Open, she won the 400 m race at the Bucknell Team Challenge, and she finished fourth overall at the Big Ten Championships, to name a few.

There is always room for improvement, she says, and she will continue to work on the things she needs to work on to reach her goals, individually and with her team.

"Practices are going really well. We are working on the things we need to. As a team, I feel like we are getting along really well," she said. "The team now is a totally different team than it was my freshman year. We get along a lot better and we support each other a lot more."

She reflects on the changes she's seen in herself and her team throughout her three years.

"As a freshman, it was hard for me [to transition] so the things that they did to me that I didn't like, I make sure that I don't do that. Freshman year we have a bunch of divas and we weren't walking around holding hands, but now we have a good relationship. I make sure that I'm easy to talk to. If they need something, I will do my best to provide that," she explains. "Without [the other team members], I wouldn't have these accolades. I'm very grateful to them."

Coach Bungard is a fan of McGee's consistency and ability to mentor those around her. He is certain that her tenacity will lead her to her goals.

"Dynasty is steady," Bungard said. "She will probably get to first rounds, which is the NCAA qualifying. She didn't get there last year and having a shot to make the NCAA championship is a big thing."

On race day, she nears the end of her lap and hands off the baton to the second runner of the relay team All-American sprinter and veteran member, Mahagony Jones.

Jones is finishing her fifth and final season with Penn State where she's spent five years growing into the person and the athlete she is today. In 2013 alone, Jones was an All-American, a two-time Big Ten Champion (200 m and 4x400 m relay) and the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Women's Mid-Atlantic Track Athlete of the Year.

"Mahagony is just Mahagony. She's always there when she needs to be," said Bungard.

She, like her teammates, spends day in and out on the field working on her goals.

"It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of motivation, and staying focused," she explains. "You can't get in your own way. You need confidence. You have to have confidence in yourself and in your teammates."

This season is more than just another one for the record books for Jones. This season is her final chance to leave her legacy at Penn State before venturing out to the world of post-collegiate track.

"Penn State track has raised me these past five years. I've definitely grown a lot since I got here," Jones said.

She wants to capture some more All-American moments, she says, which she will focus on for the rest of this year.

As for her post Penn State career, let's just say Jones does not plan on leaving the track behind her just yet. She hopes to one-day stand on a bigger podium, one where she will have the opportunity to represent something bigger than herself.

Halfway through the race.

Up next on the spotlight, the third runner of the relay and the youngest of the Nittany Lions, freshman Tichina Rhodes.

Rhodes is in her first season as an NCAA Division I athlete and it has definitely a road of adjustments.

"When she first came in, she lacked a little bit of confidence. She wasn't sure what to expect and probably never expected to make this relay," said Coach Bungard. "She was overwhelmed with academics and the training was a bit different than she had done and I think without the other three [relay members] she probably wouldn't have survived."

"It's been a lot of fun but it has also been a lot of hard work. In high school, I was at the top. I was leading workouts and [I] come to college and [I] have to work my way up," said Rhodes. "[My teammates] push me a lot to better myself. Here I'm not always leading the workouts and they help out a lot."

Confidence is a fundamental for success and Rhodes has put all her trust in herself, her teammates, and her coaches, who have been working all season to mentor her to become the best she can be. Being a top-level athlete is no easy feat and coming off an up and down individual season, Rhodes is just working on progress.

She steps up the plate when necessary and her teammates smile when they talk about her dedication.

"She hasn't let us down yet," they say.


Almost at the finish line.

Anchoring the relay and running one of the most crucial last moments of race is sprinter, hurdler, All-American sophomore Kiah Seymour.

Last weekend, Seymour broke a 200-meter race facility record at the Bucknell Team Challenge finishing in 23.66 seconds.

Seymour is in her second year with the Penn State Track and Field team where she's already established her ability.

"Kiah is very mature and she's one of the top athletes on the team. She came in in such better shape this year," said Bungard.

"From this year to last year I would say I made a 180-degree change. I've progressed a whole lot more because I want it more now. I love what I do. I love the sport and that makes it easier for me and this is where I feel the most comfortable. That's really what motivates me and drives me to keep going," Seymour said.

Seymour is a quiet individual with a fierce competitive attitude. She sits quietly, still, and focused. As her time at Penn State passes, her drive only becomes greater.

It's evident to her teammates and those around that while she is great at what she does, she will one day be phenomenal. She's a force to reckoned with.

End race day.

This race day, however, ended with more than just tired legs. This race day ended with history. At the end of the day at the NCAA Indoor Championships, the women earned a fifth-place finish in their relay race, a Penn State record.

They just went out there and did what they know how to do: run hard, they said.

"We weren't expecting to break a record," said Jones. "We just went out there and did our best."

Modesty at its finest.

"But it was great," Jones said with a smile on her face.

Her teammates laughed with her.


***

The Nittany Lions are more focused now than ever as they enter the prime of their outdoor season.

This is what they train for, they said.

All four women agree that the most important part of racing is believing in yourself and in your teammates.

"Don't get into your own head," they all said. "Confidence is key."

McGee says their relationships on and off the field are great and they are key components in team performances.

"We have gotten a lot closer this year. Relationships outside the track definitely contribute [to success]," said McGee.

"They've got a pretty good natural chemistry and that's one of the things that I think is special about this relay," said Bungard.

For now, all four athletes will focus on their individual events.

McGee will look to qualify and impress at a national level.

Jones will strive for All-America status and she will look to break her own personal best.

"Mahagony was third indoor in the 200 [meter race] so she wants to at least be that good outdoor and [she] want to make the 100-meter final," said Bungard.

Seymour will look to surpass even her own expectations.

"Kiah didn't win the Big Ten in 400-meter hurdles last year so I know that's a goal of hers and she's leading the Big Ten; she wants to finish high in the NCAA," said Bungard.

Rhodes will look to grow to full Nittany Lion Division I potential. She will continue to work on her confidence and hopes to truly prepare herself and to make her presence known.

When they compete as a relay team, the women bring together their most valuable assets and they hope to outshine to competition. 

While Penn State will be losing a valuable runner in Jones come graduation, the future looks very bright. McGee, Rhodes, and Seymour will return next year with the Nittany Lions in search to break more records and Coach Bungard is confident that fans can expect nothing but great things from these four superstars, both individually, as a team, on and off the field.

Look out for these four dominant girls and the rest of the track team as they venture through their outdoor season. Up next is the Penn Relays held in Philadelphia, which begin on Thursday.

From My View - Sun Angel Classic

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By Bernard Bennett-Green, GoPSUsports.com Student-Athlete Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - This weekend, we had the opportunity to travel to the west coast and run at Arizona State. We drove to Pittsburgh International Airport Thursday night after every one finished class and practice. We slept at the hotel connected to the airport and flew out to Phoenix, Ariz., at 6 a.m. on Friday. I'm usually good at being a morning person but 6 a.m. was rough.

We successfully made it to Arizona 4 hours and 15 minutes later. When we arrived we had to turn our clocks back three hours because of the time difference. My body didn't react too well to the time difference the next morning when I woke up at 5 a.m. because my 8 o'clock east coast body wanted to get up. Nonetheless the weather was perfect out in Arizona. It was 80 degrees with clear skies and a nice gentle breeze both days we were there.

Race day was Saturday, and I got the opportunity to run the 400 against indoor national champion Deon Leondore of Texas A&M. My race didn't go as planned, but luckily I have a few more meets to make some adjustments. My teammates did a tremendous job of showing up and competing. My teammate Alex Shisler ran well in his first meet back after an injury that cost him his entire indoor season. He ran a personal best of 47.25 in the 400-meter dash. Byron Robinson also had a great day in running a new personal best of 46.12 in the 400-meter dash. He was pretty upset afterwards that he didn't run 45 seconds, but he'll learn that this sport is all about timing and patience.

I'm glad that our coaching staff decided to put this meet on our schedule because it has helped us realize what we need to improve on as a team in the upcoming weeks and it is always nice to go and run in nice warm weather. 

From My View - Crimson Tide Invite

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By Bernard Bennett-Green, GoPSUsports.com Student-Athlete Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The outdoor season has officially begun! This past weekend we were able to take a huge part of our team down to the University of Alabama to compete at their team invite. Traveling for outdoor is completely different compared to indoor. We usually only have one or two travel trips indoor that are within driving distance.

During the outdoor season, we try and chase warm weather early so we fly down south or to the west coast for our first few meets. Flying with such a large team is always a fun and enjoyable experience when we arrive at airports because people don't normally see such a large group of athletes traveling together.

I enjoyed our trip down to Alabama this weekend a lot. The people down south showed so much love and hospitality. The hotel staff and the meet management really showed what the south is truly about.

Our first outdoor meet as a team was very successful. The women's team won as a team, and the men's team finished second. The women started off the season strong coming off their Big Ten championship.

I ran the open 400 to start off my season and finished third with a time of 47.81. It was not my best performance at all but it helped show what I need to practice and improve on the next couple of days before we hit the road again.

I got a chance to watch the men's and women's 400-meter hurdle races where Penn State did a phenomenal job. The women finished 1-2-3 with Kiah Seymour leading the way in a NCAA leading time of 57.12. On the men's side, freshmen Byron Robinson won his race in a time of 50.75 with no one even close the last 50 meters of his race. My teammates put on such an impressive showing and have gotten me excited and motivated to improve my performance next week at Arizona State.

With our first meet in the books it has helped show the team that we need to build off of our performance this past weekend and continue to work hard at practice so we can accomplish the goals we have set out individually and as a team. 

From My View - Looking Ahead to the Outdoor Season

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By Bernard Bennett-Green, GoPSUsports.com Student-Athlete Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The indoor season is officially over! It had its ups and downs but that's what this sport is all about. You have to be able to maintain a level head through the highs and lows. Our men's team came up a bit short at indoor nationals but every one is excited for this upcoming outdoor season.

The first week back of spring break is always rough and this week was no different for the sprinters. Our hardest work out of the week came on Friday where we had to run three 500s in a pretty intense pace with five minutes rest. I'm glad that we got a chance to get some intense work in because this outdoor season will be one to remember.

One reason I'm looking forward to the outdoor season is that I finally get to watch my javelin teammates compete. Since javelin is not contested indoor many of my teammates train through the indoor season and work as volunteers for our home meets. I'm looking forward to watching Cole Profit and Michael Shuey throw because they have been itching to throw all year. I'm also excited to watch All-Americans Lauren Kenney and Laura Loht throw because I know they want another All-American honor added to their impressive resumes. 

Our first meet as a team will be next weekend at the University of Alabama. Two of my teammates (Brittney Howell & Rob Cardina) actually have the honor of opening up the season for Penn State at Texas Relays this weekend as they compete in their respective multi events. Track and field is a unique sport because we are able to split our squad up and compete at different places during the same weekend. Half of our team will be heading to the University of Alabama for our first meet and another half will be out Stanford University competing.
 I wish we were able to bring the rest of the team to Texas Relays this weekend but I don't have control of scheduling where everyone competes. Our second meet is at Arizona State April 11-12.

With the sport of track and field you have to run in warm weather if you want to run fast times. Since our first two meets are in perfect conditions weather wise you should expect some great results from the Penn State men and women's team in the upcoming weeks!

Busy March Begins with Two Big Ten Team Titles

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The postseason push for Penn State teams in March is on.

The first weekend of the month kicked off in fine fashion with two teams tallying Big Ten championships to go along with an individual being named the top performer at the Big Ten Men's Swimming & Diving Championships.

In dramatic fashion, the Nittany Lion women's track & field team notched its third conference crown at the Big Ten Indoor Championships on Saturday afternoon.  It all came down to the 4x400-meter relay with the Lions leading Michigan by just half a point heading into the final event.  The Lions stormed to a victory in the relay to seal the title.

"The women were outstanding today," said Director of Track & Field and Head Coach Beth Alford-Sullivan. "Michigan pressed us hard throughout the weekend, but we kept our composure and competed great. This is a championship win to remember."

Roughly 45 minutes after the women's track & field team was crowned champion, the Lady Lion basketball team finished off a 77-62 triumph over Michigan to clinch a share of its third-straight Big Ten regular season title.  The Lady Lions join Ohio State and Iowa as the only programs to win three or more consecutive Big Ten titles.

"It's the first time in program history that we have won three Big Ten Championships in a row," head coach Coquese Washington said. "When this program has such a storied legacy, to be able to do something that this program hasn't done before, it's pretty hard. The program has accomplished so much and for this class and team to do something that sets them apart, that's really cool."

In the pool, sophomore Shane Ryan capped off a strong outing for the Nittany Lion men's swimming team by becoming the first Penn State men's swimmer to be named Swimmer of the Big Ten Championships on Saturday.  Ryan broke the Big Ten record in the 100m freestyle, topping a mark set by former Northwestern Wildcat and 2012 London Olympics medalist Matt Grevers.  Ryan is the first Nittany Lion to win two individual gold medals at the Big Ten Championships.  His efforts powered the men's team to fifth in the team standings.  The men's team's performance came one week after the Nittany Lion women's swimming & diving team took third at the Big Ten Women's Championships.

With a standout weekend in the books, the Nittany Lions are full steam ahead in postseason mode beginning on Friday when the Lady Lions kick off play as the No. 1 seed at the Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament in Indianapolis.  Penn State will meet either Northwestern or Ohio State at noon (BTN) on Friday.  The semifinals take place on Saturday, with the tournament final on Sunday in Bankers Life Fieldhouse. 

On Saturday, the three-time defending NCAA champion Penn State wrestling team will begin its Big Ten title defense at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis.  Head coach Cael Sanderson and the Nittany Lions will look for their fourth-straight Big Ten title over the weekend.  Additionally, seniors Ed Ruth and David Taylor have an opportunity to become Penn State's first four-time Big Ten individual champions.  Junior Matt Brown is the third Nittany Lion in the lineup with a Big Ten individual title.  The Big Ten finals will air live on BTN Sunday at 2 p.m.

There are several marquee events on the horizon following the action this weekend.  The 2014 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament is slated to begin on March 13 in Indianapolis.  The Nittany Lion men's hoops team will finish off its regular season this week with games at Northwestern and Minnesota.  The Lions will learn their seed for the tournament on Sunday.

The track and field squads will also be in action during the third weekend in March.  Penn State will travel to Albaquerque for the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 14-15.

Head coach James Franklin and the Nittany Lion football team will wrap up winter conditioning this week in preparation for the start of spring practice on March 17.  The Nittany Lions will practice 15 times before the Blue-White Game on April 12 (1:30 p.m.).

The fourth weekend of March will feature no fewer than six postseason events for Penn State teams.  The No. 1 wrestling team will begin its NCAA title defense on March 20 in Oklahoma City at the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships.  The finals will take place on March 22.  The ESPN family of networks will televise all six of the NCAA Wrestling Championships sessions.

In Happy Valley, the women's gymnastics team plays host to the Big Ten Championships in Rec Hall on March 22.  Across campus, the Bryce Jordan Center is slated to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship.  Games are slated for 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. on March 23 and 7 p.m. on March 25.

Out of town, the first Big Ten Hockey Tournament will take place in Saint Paul, Minn., beginning on March 20.  The NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships begin on March 20 in Minneapolis, as well.  The Penn State fencing teams also kick of NCAA Championships competition in Columbus on March 20.

The month will wrap up with a weekend featuring the NCAA Men's Swimming & Diving Championships, which begin on March 27 in Austin, Texas.  The Big Ten Men's Gymnastics Championships begin on March 28 in Lincoln, Neb.

With two titles already in hand, it will be a busy month ahead for Penn State teams competing in postseason competition.  Stay tuned for complete coverage of the postseason push on GoPSUsports.com.


Key Dates Ahead in March

March 7 -
Noon (BTN) - Lady Lions vs. Ohio State/Northwestern (Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals - Indianapolis)
March 8 - 11 a.m./6 p.m. - Big Ten Wrestling Championships (Madison, Wis.)
March 9
- 12/2 p.m. (BTN) - Big Ten Wrestling Championships (Madison, Wis.)
March 13-16 - Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament (Indianapolis)
March 14-15 - NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships (Albuquerque, N.M.)
March 17 - First Day of Spring Football
March 20-22 - NCAA Wrestling Championships (Oklahoma City, Okla.); NCAA Fencing Championships (Columbus, Ohio); NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships (Minneapolis, Minn.); Big Ten Men's Hockey Tournament (Saint Paul, Minn.)
March 22 - 12/5 p.m. - Big Ten Women's Gymnastics Championships (University Park, Pa.)
March 23 - 12:30/3 p.m. - NCAA Women's Basketball First Round (University Park, Pa.)
March 25 - 7 p.m. - NCAA Women's Basketball Second Round (University Park, Pa.)
March 27-29 - NCAA Men's Swimming & Diving Championships (Austin, Texas)
March 28-29 - Big Ten Men's Gymnastics Championships (Lincoln, Neb.)



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From My View - Big Ten Championships

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By
Bernard Bennett-Green, GoPSUsports.com Student-Athlete Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - This weekend didn't go as planned for the men's team. The women's team did a great job of putting together a great meet when things weren't looking to well for them and ended up becoming champions.

Track and field is a very humbling sport. One day you are on top of the world after a great meet. Then the next day you compete and things don't go as planned. This weekend, we finished third, and I believe we earned that third place spot. Wisconsin brought the necessary energy and focus to win. We are still a team to be reckoned with, and at outdoor Big Tens, we will show that. Watching the girls celebrate really motivated me, and hopefully it motivates my teammates to go out and perform like we know how come outdoors. We definitely have the necessary pieces in place to become a championship team. We have kids who are willing to sacrifice their only personal glory for the betterment of the team. Kids like Nick Scarpello who paced the mile heat. And for Wade (Endress) and Robby (Creese), who really show what true sacrifice is about.

We also have kids who are resilient even when faced with adversity. My brother Brandon didn't make the 400m final but came back later in the day and ran an impressive 400m leg on the DMR and became a Big Ten champ in that event as a result. This weekend was a true eye-opener to what we have to do to become Big Ten champs. As long as we take things one moment and one day at a time, we will be champions this outdoor season. The indoor season isn't over yet because we still have NCAA Indoor National Championships in two weeks. We definitely have a chip on our shoulders to prove to the entire country not just the Big Ten that we are a team that everyone needs to look out for.