2011-12 Athletic Accomplishments
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., July 3, 2012 - Penn State coaches and student-athletes produced another memorable year in 2011-12, winning several national and conference championships in addition to delivering more outstanding academic performances.
Nineteen Penn State teams were represented in their respective NCAA Championship, highlighted by Coach Cael Sanderson guiding the Nittany Lion wrestlers to their second consecutive national title.
The Nittany Lions finished No. 12 in the final 2011-12 Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings, earning their 14th Top 15 finish in the 19 years of the survey. Penn State is one of just nine schools that has been ranked in the final Top 25 since the Directors' Cup began in 1993-94.
Penn State has won 11 NCAA titles since March 2007, tied for best in the nation with USC over the past five years, and won 69 national championships all-time. The Nittany Lions' 22 NCAA Championships since their first full year in the Big Ten (1993-94) are more than double every other conference school (Iowa is second with 10).
Penn State captured five Big Ten Championships this year in women's basketball, field hockey (tournament), women's soccer, and wrestling (dual season and championship), improving its all-time total to 73 Big Ten titles. Penn State has won 32 Big Ten championships since the 2005-06 academic year.
Penn State had 61 All-Americans and 58 first-team all-conference selections, 49 of whom were first-team All-Big Ten honorees, this past year.
In October 2011, the NCAA reported that Penn State student-athletes compiled an 88 percent Graduation Success Rate (GSR), eight points higher than the national Division I average. The 88 percent figure was third-highest among Big Ten Conference institutions. The NCAA also reported the four-year federal graduation rate average for University Park student-athletes was 79 percent, significantly higher than the national average of 64 percent, and second to Northwestern (88) among Big Ten institutions.
Three Penn State student-athletes earned Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in 2011-12: Miguel Pineda (men's gymnastics/first-team at-large), Kelsey Amy (field hockey/third-team at-large) and Maya Hayes (third-team women's soccer). Pineda is a two-time first-team Academic All-American.
Penn State has 175 CoSIDA Academic All-America selections all-time, the third-highest total among NCAA Division I institutions and fourth-highest total among institutions from all NCAA divisions.
Please see below for Penn State's primary 2011-12 athletic and academic accomplishments:
- Penn State was No. 12 in the 2011-12 Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings, earning its 14th Top 15 finish in the survey. Penn State is one of just nine schools ranked in the final Top 25 of all 19 Directors' Cup surveys.
- Nineteen Penn State teams were represented in their respective NCAA Championship and the football team played in its 44th bowl game.
- The Nittany Lion wrestling team won its second consecutive NCAA Championship, giving Penn State 69 all-time National Championships. Penn State has won 11 NCAA titles since March 2007, tied for best in the nation with USC over the past five years. The Nittany Lions' 22 NCAA Championships since their first full year in the Big Ten (1993-94) are more than double every other conference school.
- Penn State captured five Big Ten Championships in women's basketball, field hockey (tournament), women's soccer, and wrestling (dual season and championship), improving its all-time total to 73 Big Ten titles. Penn State has won 32 Big Ten championships over the past seven years.
- Penn State had 61 All-Americans and 58 first-team all-conference selections, 49 of whom were first-team All-Big Ten honorees.
- The NCAA reported that Penn State student-athletes compiled an 88 percent Graduation Success Rate (GSR), eight points higher than the national Division I average. The 88 percent figure was third-highest among Big Ten Conference institutions.
- The four-year federal graduation rate average for University Park student-athletes was 79 percent, significantly higher than the national average of 64 percent, and second to Northwestern (88) among Big Ten institutions.
- Among the 2004-05 entering freshman class, the NCAA reported 80 percent of Penn State student-athletes earned degrees within six years, well above the 65 percent average for all Division I institutions, and second-highest to Northwestern (85) among Big Ten institutions.
- The NCAA reported that 23 of Penn State's 29 varsity teams have an Academic Progress Rate score equal to or above the NCAA Division I average for their respective sport. Four squads earned perfect multi-year APR scores of 1,000.
- Three Penn State student-athletes earned Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America honors: Miguel Pineda (men's gymnastics/first-team at-large), Kelsey Amy (field hockey/third-team at-large) and Maya Hayes (third-team women's soccer). Pineda is a two-time first-team honoree. Penn State has 175 CoSIDA Academic All-America selections all-time, the third-highest total among NCAA Division I institutions.
- A total of 240 Penn State student-athletes were honored as Academic All-Big Ten honorees in December. The Nittany Lions have an all-time total of 4,024 honorees during the 19 years of the conference's all-academic program.
- During the first three weeks of May, 11 head coaches participated in the very well received Penn State Coaches Caravan, making 18 stops over nine days in seven states and Washington, D.C. Football coach Bill O'Brien participated in all 18 stops.
- The Penn State wrestling team added three new individual champions to its ledgers to complete a stellar run to the 2012 NCAA National Championship. Senior Frank Molinaro, sophomore David Taylor and sophomore Ed Ruth all were undefeated en route to claiming crowns as Penn State won its second straight NCAA team title. Coach Cael Sanderson's Nittany Lions outdistanced second place Minnesota by 25.5 points, as more than half of Penn State's line-up placed in the top three nationally and were All-Americans. Taylor was honored as the Hodge Trophy recipient, college wrestling's version of the Heisman Trophy, as the national Wrestler of the Year.
- Led by junior Alex Bentley and sophomore Maggie Lucas, the Lady Lion Basketball team returned to the national stage with its first Big Ten Championship and NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 berth since 2003-04. Under the direction of Big Ten Coach of the Year Coquese Washington, Penn State, which compiled a 26-7 overall record and 13-3 mark in conference play, finished the season ranked No. 9 in the ESPN/USA Today poll and 11th in the AP poll.
- The women's soccer team continued its conference dominance with its 14th straight Big Ten title and 17th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Sophomore Maya Hayes and junior Christine Nairn were named First Team and Second Team NSCAA All-Americans, respectively. Hayes was a Hermann Trophy finalist and was named the Big Ten Forward of the Year. Junior Lexi Marton and senior Ali Schaefer were First Team All-Big Ten.
- The field hockey team was crowned the Big Ten Tournament champions for the fifth time, defeating Michigan in the tournament championship game. Coach Charlene Morett's Nittany Lions finished the season with a 17-6 overall record, earning an NCAA First Round victory over the Northeastern Huskies. Junior Kelsey Amy, redshirt junior Ayla Halus and freshman Laura Gebhart earned All-America honors.
- The Nittany Lion football team earned a share of the inaugural Big Ten Leaders Division title with a 6-2 conference record and finished 9-4 overall. Penn State played in its fourth consecutive New Year's Day bowl. Defensive tackle and consensus first-team All-American Devon Still had a superlative senior season. He was selected the Big Ten Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year and the conference's Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year and was a finalist for the Nagurski and Outland trophies and the Bednarik Award.
- The women's lacrosse team posted a 12-7 record, earning the program's most wins and first NCAA Tournament berth since 2005 and advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals for the first time since 1999. Five of the wins came against ranked opponents, including three versus top 10 teams. Coach Missy Doherty's squad excelled on the road, registering a nation's best eight victories. Senior Dana Cahill and sophomore Lizzy Carney were named to the IWLCA second team All-America squad while Tatum Coffey was a third-team selection.
- The women's volleyball team made its 31st appearance in the NCAA Tournament, falling to eventual NCAA Champion UCLA in the regional semifinals to end its unprecedented streak of four consecutive national titles. The Nittany Lions are one of just two programs to participate in every NCAA Tournament since its inception in 1981. Sophomore Katie Slay was an AVCA Second Team All-American and earned First Team All-Big Ten honors.
- The men's volleyball team won its 14th consecutive EIVA title and earned its 28th berth into the NCAA Semifinals, falling to No. 1 seed UC-Irvine. Senior Joe Sunder was named a second team AVCA All-American.
- The men's and women's fencing team finished fifth at the NCAA Championships. Senior Aleksander Ochocki won his second NCAA men's saber title and was a four-time All-American.
- The Penn State men's gymnastics team finished in third place at the team finals of the 2012 National Collegiate Men's Gymnastics Championships. Seven Penn State men's gymnasts earned All-America honors with top-eight finishes in the individual finals, the program's most since the most since the 1959 national championship team equaled that number.
- Women's gymnastics junior Sharaya Musser earned NACGC/W All-America status at the NCAA Championships, giving her six NACGC/W All-America honors in her career. Musser secured Second Team All-America status on beam and floor.
- The Penn State baseball team won 16 of its last 21 regular season games to earn a 15-9 Big Ten record, finishing third in the final regular season standings. Junior Steven Hill threw a no-hitter in a 2-0 win at Iowa, Penn State's first no-hitter since Nate Bump in 1995. Jordan Steranka led the Lions as a first-team All-Big Ten selection.
- The men's and women's outdoor track and field teams qualified 16 participants for the NCAA Championships and came away with two top 30 performances. The men's team finished 21st at the Outdoor Championships and the women's team finished 29th, earning eight NCAA Outdoor All-Americans. Brady Gehret ran a personal best to qualify for the finals in the 400 meters at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.
- The men's lacrosse team narrowly missed an NCAA Tournament berth, earning a 5-1 record in CAA play and winning at Notre Dame, which advanced to the NCAA semifinals. Senior attackman Matthew Mackrides was an honorable-mention All-American and first-team All-CAA and sophomore goalkeeper Austin Kaut was named a third-team All-American nd first-team All-CAA.
- The men's swimming team finished one of the best performances in school history at the NCAA Championships, taking 17th place overall. Penn State had two All-America relays and Nate Savoy was an All-American and qualified for the semifinals in the 200 back at the U.S. Olympic Swimming and Diving Trials. Scott Marino also earned honorable mention All-America honors.
- Women's swimmers Mackenzie Powers, Katie Pulos, Erin Thomas and Paige Whitmire earned first-team All-Big Ten honors. The quartet, along with U.S. Olympic trials semifinalist Merritt Krawczyk and Chelsea Weedman, qualified for and had a strong showing at the 2012 NCAA Championships, where the Nittany Lions finished 22nd overall, their best finish since 2006.
- Penn State men's tennis players Russell Bader and Jason Lee qualified for the NCAA Men's Tennis Championships doubles bracket as one of the top 32 doubles tandems in the nation.
- The women's tennis team was No. 2 in the Atlantic Region, its highest final regional ranking in more than a decade.
- The men's track and field team had an outstanding indoor season, which concluded with a second-place finish by the men's 4x400-meter relay at the NCAA Indoor Championships. The Nittany Lion 4x400-meter relay team of redshirt sophomore Aaron Nadolsky, sophomore Brandon Bennett-Green, junior Casimir Loxsom and sophomore Brady Gehret ran to a second-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
- Senior Caitlin Lane, the Big Ten Champion, ran to a 16th-place finish, earning her first career All-America finish at the 2011 NCAA Cross Country Championships. Lane's outstanding finish propelled the Nittany Lion women to a 13th-place finish in the team standings - the highest finish of any Big Ten program in the race, and the best effort by a Penn State women's squad since 1996.
- Penn State Hockey celebrated the official groundbreaking of Pegula Ice Arena on April 20. Pegula Ice Arena will be a 200,000-square foot, 6,000-seat multi-purpose arena. The facility will be completed prior to the 2013-14 season, coinciding with the men's and women's hockey teams' second year at the NCAA Division I level.
- Three Nittany Lions were recognized with 2012 University Student Achievement Awards, honoring them for the highest levels of academic excellence, outstanding leadership, and meritorious service. Men's gymnast Miguel Pineda and women's swimmer Erin Thomas were selected as the 2012 recipients of the Ernest B. McCoy Memorial Award while women's gymnast Natalie Ettl was named a John W. Oswald Award recipient.
As of July 3, 2012