Yesterday, the women's lacrosse team officially started its 2012 season. After a month of training through winter break, we completed the dreaded run test. Afterward, we walked to our new stadium together for a cool down and team meeting. It is always rewarding to get new things, and the new stadium, next to the indoor sport complex, is breathtaking. The turf is fresh, and the paint is bright. Some teammates were so happy to be on the new field that they danced around and did "turf angels." We are very excited for this season and are honored to play for Penn State this spring and continue the new era of women's lacrosse. With a nice balance of leadership and new talent, the lacrosse team has a bright future. In one month, we will compete in our first scrimmage at Cornell, followed by a game at Bucknell, and then we will face 2011 national runner-up University of Maryland at home on Sunday, February 19. We are motivated for the challenges ahead and ready to make a name for ourselves this year.
Our season has officially begun! We came back ready to work hard the day after Christmas. We worked our butts off for the rest of December until our first meet on Sunday, January 8. Against WVU, we performed just like we do in workout. We had a few falls, but those minor errors didn't get our team down. Everyone stepped up and did her job, not counting any of the falls into our team score. I am proud to say that this team received the highest score in a season opener in Penn State history! I couldn't be happier. We are a group of fighters. This upcoming weekend we face the UNH Wildcats; the following weekend we are home. Please come out and support your Nittany Lion Gymnasts as they take on Michigan State, Cornell, and reigning National Champion Alabama on January 21 at 7:00p.m.in Rec. Hall.
Winter Training Trip Brings Team Together
Training trip is truly a unique time of the year for the swimming team. While we have to leave our families and friends at home after the holidays, we get to travel to Naples, Florida, for some quality time as a team both in and out of the pool.
Happy New Year!
Kevin Dare Fundraiser: Reflections about the day from Track and Field
Track and Field
On a regular football Saturday afternoon in State College, many students were getting ready to watch the Alabama Penn State faceoff in beaver stadium. For over 200 student athletes, however, the afternoon was a little different. At 11 am on Saturday September 10th, student athletes of various teams gathered together for a special cause. As a member of the Track and Field team, we came together for Kevin Dare, a former pole vaulter for PSU Track. Kevin Dare was a Big Ten Athlete who died while competing in the pole vault. Since then, his family has dedicated much of their time, effort and money to keeping Kevin's legacy alive and to work on improving the safety of the pole vault. To aid the Dares, we as a team, participated in the selling of Kevin Dare raffle tickets. The experience of working with the Dares is something that I personally will never forget. Not only was it a team bonding experience, but it was also a chance to get to interact with the many people that make up the Penn State community. If it were not for their support and generosity towards the Dare's cause, the program would not be a success. It was truly amazing so see that so many people were willing to help and continue Kevin's legacy.
The Penn State Swimming and Diving team came together with other student-athletes to raise money for the Kevin Dare Memorial Foundation on September 10th prior to the Alabama whiteout game. Each year before the biggest home game of the season, family and friends of Kevin Dare organize a tailgate for athletes who volunteer to sell raffle tickets to tailgaters around Beaver Stadium to raise money for the foundation. Proceeds go towards a scholarship in Kevin Dare's name as well as equipment that promotes the safety of pole vaulting.
Alumni Weekend and More
The women's lacrosse team is looking forward to an exciting October. This past weekend, we participated in the Annual Alumni game which was a lot of fun for everyone, despite the weather. It was a lot of fun to laugh and run around with the people that support us and continue to keep our program running. We also followed the game with our banquet in honor of the 2011 season which included a delicious meal at the Penn Stater and lots of laughs shared, thanks to some entertaining slide shows. It was entertaining to look back at the memories and also great to see some of the graduated class come back to play and eat with us. On Sunday, we got to see our first real competition of the season against University of Maryland. It's always great to get out on the field against someone other than your teammates. We look forward to meeting them again in a couple weeks when we will be headed to Alexandria, Virginia to take part in the Parkinson's Tournament (along with the men's team). The following weekend, October 22nd, we will face James Madison at their home field. The team also looks forward to participating in the THON 5K and the Student Athlete Pageant on the 23rd. October will be busy, but will definitely be rewarding and exciting as we look to continue to change the atmosphere of Penn State lacrosse under our new coach, Missy Doherty.
A "Sweet" Day in Hershey
Last month, my teammates and I got to experience the joy of giving back. The seniors on the swim team made a special trip to the Hershey Medical Center. Coach John Hargis accompanied the upperclassmen to Hershey, Pa., where we visited with children and their families in the pediatric trauma center. We autographed team posters and t-shirts before playing with the kids for the rest of the day. It was truly a wonderful experience for everyone involved. The children had so much fun, but I think my teammates and I had just as much fun "cooking dinner" with faux food, sculpting SpongeBob SquarePants out of Play-Doh, and racing Thomas the Tank Engine trains. Seeing their little faces light up made the whole trip worthwhile and I will never forget this experience. This was the first year that the swim team made the trip to the Hershey Medical Center, but we hope to make it a yearly tradition.
Track and Field Update
For all Track and Field athletes, the fall is a time for intense conditioning, strengthening and technique work. Although this tends to vary from group to group, the overall goal of the fall/off-season is to get prepared for competition that will occur from January through the summer. However, for our Cross Country team, the fall is a season of its own. The Cross Country team is in full competition mode, coming off two successful road trips to Notre Dame and Minnesota, respectively. They will take the next few weeks to train as they turn over into Big Ten mode. After a home meet in the middle of October, both men's and women's Cross Country will be headed to Illinois for the Big Ten Championships.
In the past month, the Men's Gymnastics team has been very busy. Our official practices started at the beginning of October, and since then we all have been working very hard to prepare for the season. We have been putting together routines for the last couple weeks, and they have been looking really strong. We are definitely going to be contenders for the National Championship this year. The true test will come this Thursday (11/3) when we have our first intra-squad of the year. An intra-squad is basically a practice meet where we split up into two teams (blue and white) and compete for bragging rights. It's a lot of fun and great preparation for the nerves that come with competing in Rec Hall.
Trick or Treat
SAAB is important to me because I think it is beneficial to be involved in things outside of lacrosse and school. Many times, it is easy to get wrapped up in our own busy lives, but through SAAB, we have the opportunity to give back to our community in ways that work with our demanding schedules. I find it especially fulfilling to be involved in events with kids because I can remember how much I looked up to the athletes in my community growing up. In October, we put on an event for the public to come trick-or-treating in the All Sports Museum. The costumes were creative, from princesses to monsters, and even a miniature Joe Pa. They were putting smiles on our faces in return for the candy. It was a treat to see the little ones light up as they learned the ways of trick-or-treating and the veteran's mischievous smiles while they snuck handfuls of candy against their parent's desires. I look forward to more events to give back through the holiday season.
Code Blue Blast
Swimming & Diving
As part of a building tradition, the Men and Women's Swimming and Diving teams hosted a Code Blue event for our first home meet against West Virginia University on October 22nd. Fans of all ages came out to support us and they all helped to create an exciting environment. Both teams came out victorious over the Mountaineers. The women won 137-96 and men won 143-98. After the meet, Amy Modglin was named Big Ten Swimmer of the Week after winning three events (200 back, 400 IM, and 400 free relay).