More Penn Staters Heading to Rio
With the 2016 Summer Olympics drawing nearer, more Team USA squads are being set. Penn State Women's Soccer alums Ali Krieger and Alyssa Naeher will be joining the US Women's National Team in their hunt for Olympic gold. Krieger and Naeher are both making their Olympic debut after winning the Women's World Cup last year. The duo hope to help the USWNT do something that's never been done - win the World Cup and Olympics in back-to-back years. Congrats Ali and Alyssa!
On the floor, former Nittany Lions Christa Dietzen (Harmotto) and Alisha Glass have both been selected to the US Women's Volleyball team. Additionally, Megan Easy (Hodge) and Nicole Fawcett will join the team as alternates. Currently ranked #1 in the world, the US team looks to improve on its silver medal finish in 2012. Congratulations to Christa, Alisha, Megan, and Nicole!
Speaking of Warmer Climes . . .
After spending last summer in Mexico to learn, Penn State Men's Hockey forward David Goodwin headed to Cuba this summer to teach English at a Cuban university. The senior Spanish major led the team in the 2015-2016 season with 38 points on 11 goals and 27 assists. Cuba is not an unheard of destination for Penn Staters, as the baseball team previously spent a week there, playing against the Cuban National Series.
Meanwhile, A Wild Odrick is Sighted in the Frozen North
Jared Odrick, the former Penn State defensive tackle and first round NFL draft pick, has moved to Toronto this off-season. No, he's not fleeing in advance of the upcoming Presidential election - he's immersing himself in Canada's counter-culture as a way to hone his mind and body during the off-season. It's an amazing look into both Toronto life, as well as some of the lengths that players in the NFL go to in order to further their careers.
Student-Athletes More than Just Wins and Losses
Sometimes the fact that Penn State athletes are also students can get lost in the madness of on-the-field records, standings, rankings, and recruiting. Well, that fact isn't lost on the athletes themselves, as a record 482 student-athletes attained a 3.0 GPA during the spring semester. This marks the fourth straight year that the school record has been broken, and overall the number of 3.0 GPAs is up 26.6% from 2011!
Elsewhere, for the third consecutive year, members of the football team visited the Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital. The players signed autographs, helped patients with arts and crafts, and played games, helping to put some smiles on the faces of the tough, resilient kids at the hospital. It's heartwarming to see the team give back to the community in such a way.
Making It Rain
After last year's Pennsylvania 2015-2016 budget impasse, many in the Penn State community are glad to hear that the Commonwealth's legislature passed the final 2016-2017 budget, which Gov. Tom Wolf has signed. The new budget includes a 2.5 percent increase in Penn State's general support appropriation, and marks the second such increase since 2008. The new budget also gives increased appropriations to the Pennsylvania College of Technology (owned by PSU), the Penn State Agricultural Research and Cooperative Extension, and the Penn State Hershey Medical Center.
It's Never a Bad Time for a Season Preview
NFL Mocks takes an early look at Penn State's 2016 season, including a summary of coaching and player changes. While this analysis takes a look at some of the dynamic players on both sides of the ball, as well as noting the uptick in offense at the Blue-White game, they don't appear to be all that bullish on Penn State's chances in 2016. Guess the boys in blue and white better go out and prove them wrong!
Gotta Catch 'Em All!
As you may have heard, Pokémon GO has completely taken over the world, leading to some pretty weird interactions. Our friends over at Onward State took some time to wander around campus to see what they could catch - and the results are in. Between a Squirtle digging holes in a fraternity's lawn, and a Hitmonlee karate kicking a statue of frolicking kids, the best sighting had to be a Magikarp, flopping around on the ground by the Osmond fountain. That crazy fish!
Kenny Brooks Gets a Pay Day
Former Men's Hockey forward Kenny Brooks has signed a deal with the Atlanta Gladiators of the East Coast Hockey League, a Boston Bruins affiliate. A member of the first recruiting class after the hockey team jumped from a club sport to Division I, Kenny finished his collegiate career with 48 points over 120 games played. Brooks has always been known as a selfless player - back in the middle of 2014-2015 season, he switched to starting on defense after a rash of injuries, and filled in ably - so seeing him sign a professional contract is extremely satisfying. Congrats Kenny!
Busy Weekend in Happy Valley
In case you hadn't heard, Arts Fest is this weekend! The annual event kicked off on Wednesday, with Children and Youth Day taking center stage. This year marks the 50th time the festival will be held, and it helps to serve as a nice event to draw people back to State College during the long summer off-season.
While the downtown area figures to be filled with students, alumni, and fans, the football team will be quite busy as well. Penn State will be hosting a pair of football camps - one on Friday night, and another Sunday afternoon. These camps bookend the annual Lasch Bash and Lift for Life events on Saturday, which will see a good number of recruits in attendance - and certainly James Franklin will be looking to end the commitment drought. While a pair of new walk-ons will certainly be welcome, the coaching staff is certainly hoping to start building recruiting momentum as we near the start of summer camps.
Hope everyone has a fun weekend up at Dear Old State!