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Reppin’ in Rio: Penn Staters Earn Medals in Fencing and Track

A trio of former Nittany Lions have come away with medals for the United States, and there still may be a few more joining them.

Olympics: Track and Field-Evening Session Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

We’re nearly two weeks into the Olympics and while the games are (sadly) coming to close this Sunday, they haven’t been without their moments (not including what a crap-tastic liar Ryan Lochte is), nor have they been devoid of Penn Staters in action, a few of who even came away with medals. We already covered former PSU fencers Miles Chamley-Watson and Monica Aksamit’s bronze medals earned from their respective team competitions in Tuesday’s SwH, but here’s a breakdown of your other fellow PSU alums’ accomplishments in Rio:


The favored U.S. women’s side suffered an upset loss to Serbia on Thursday in a fiercely-fought match that went the full five sets (25-20, 17-25, 21-25, 25-16, 13-15). While this unfortunately means that Christa Dietzen (Harmotto) and Alisha Glass will not be able to go for the gold, they will still have a shot at salvaging a bronze medal on Saturday against The Netherlands.

Meanwhile on the men’s side, a Matt Anderson and Aaron Russell-led U.S. team will face Italy, who won Group A in pool play. The U.S. will be seeking revenge against the Italians, who beat them in the first meeting during pool play. Should the U.S. exact such revenge, they will await the winner of Russia and Brazil in the gold medal match on Sunday. The Mexican side led by Carlos Guerra (and coached up by asst. coach Ivan Contreras) however, was unable to advance to the playoffs, going winless in Group A during pool play.

Track Cycling

PSU alum Bobby Lea and current PSU student Matt Baranoski competed in the omnium and keirin events, respectively. I realize most of you reading that last sentence had no idea what I was talking about, so here’s a handy link explaining the different track cycling events. Unfortunately, neither Lea nor Baranoski was able to come away with a medal. Here’s to hoping we see both of them come back and make another run at it in 2020.

Track and Field

Joe Kovacs and Darrell Hill both competed for the U.S. in the shot put and Kovacs earned a silver medal by throwing the shot put 21.78 meters (that’s 71 12 feet to us Americans). Darrell Hill may not have had one of the top performances out there (Hill placed 23rd), but it’s hard to argue that he didn’t have the best personal story amongst the other shot putters in Rio.

Eddie Lovett also represented PSU on the track, competing for the U.S. Virgin Islands in the 110-meter hurdles. Unfortunately for Eddie, he did not make it out of the preliminary rounds.

Women’s Basketball

Tom Hovasse assistant-coached Japan made it out of pool play with a 3-2 record and fourth-place finish in Group A, earning themselves a quarterfinals date with the United States. Channeling Hovasse’s PSU playing days, the heavy underdog Japanese hung right with the Americans, trailing by merely two points with a minute and a half to play in the first half before the U.S. closed the half with an 8-0 run to go up 56-46. The second half saw the U.S. pick up where they left off, blowing the doors off the Japanese to emerge with a dominant 110-64 victory.


Frank Molinaro will wrestle in the 65kg weight class this Sunday.