Lasting legacy: Penn State students gathered on the Old Main lawn last night to honor Nelson Mandela, who passed away Thursday. The vigil was organized by Penn State’s NAACP chapter, the African Student Association, and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. Several students, including ASA member Precious Anizoba, spoke about Mandela’s legacy: “Here was a man who simply set his goals then went out and accomplished them. He had a passion for his work. We risk mediocrity if we do not find and pursue our passions.”
Harrowing details: Last week, we told you about Lone Survivor, an upcoming film based on the mission that took the life of Lt. Michael Murphy ’98, among 18 other American casualties. This morning, NBC’s Today Show featured an interview with Marcus Luttrell, the only Navy SEAL to survive. The details of how the mission (which included a three-hour gunfight) played out are intense, and Luttrell says the movie’s reenactment is accurate — and powerful.
Snow days galore: Lots of snow days for students at Penn State branch campuses this morning, thanks to some serious snow in Southeastern PA. At last count, the Mont Alto, Berks, York, Lehigh Valley, Abington, and Brandywine campuses closed today due to inclement weather. Check @psutxt on Twitter for updates, and stay safe out there.
Splurge control: Here’s some timely research news from Penn State’s S. Shyam Sundar, distinguished professor of communications. According to an online study, long transactions can cause online shoppers to become more impulsive with their purchases, a result of “decision fatigue”— which, for me, goes a little something this: Monogrammed? No. Overnight shipping? No. Gift-wrapped and dipped in chocolate? FINE! Fortunately, according to Sundar’s research, shoppers can regain some self-control when their decisions express their personalities — for instance, when someone concerned about the environment is given eco-friendly options that “affirm their green identity.” Interesting stuff.
Somehow, I managed to let almost three years go by between the first time I photographed a Penn State wrestling dual and the second one. In January 2011, I shot the Penn State-Iowa dual in Rec Hall, and yesterday I spent the afternoon at the Bryce Jordan Center photographing the historic meet against Pitt.
Part of what was cool about yesterday’s meet was that the mat was on an elevated platform. Usually the wrestling takes place at floor level, and photographers have to either sit or kneel mat-side for the whole meet. (The really dedicated ones lie on their stomach to shoot.) I had brought one of those Crazy Creek folding portable camp chairs for back support, but when I walked in and saw the chest-high platform, I knew we were in for a different experience. The photographers spent the afternoon bellied up to the edge of the platform; some shot with their elbows on the platform, while others (more…)
We’ve got a hawk of some sort who’s a frequent visitor to the grounds outside the alumni center. Today he (or she?) spent about a half hour on a tree branch outside Ryan Jones’ office, and then it moved to the top of the pergola outside our main entrance, where it sat for another good hour. There were plenty of students walking along the sidewalk below it, but the hawk seemed unconcerned about the students—and vice versa.
I took this photo with my back to the Electrical Engineering Building. The stone building you see is the old president’s house, which is part of the Hintz Family Alumni Center.
As always, click on the photo for a bigger and crisper version.
And if you can ID the species of hawk based on what little is visible here, I’ll be very impressed.
Tina Hay, editor
A record weekend: Senior guard Maggie Lucas scored 30 points Sunday in a 77-68 win at Georgetown, in the process becoming just the fifth player in Lady Lion history to reach 2,000 points. The reigning Big Ten Player of the Year and a preseason All-American, Lucas (below) is on pace to pass Kahadeejah Herbert ’86, Tyra Grant ’10, and Susan Robinson Fruchtl ’92 en route to second place on the Penn State scoring list. The school record—2,919 points, set by Kelly Mazzante ’04—is probably safe.
Meanwhile, the top-ranked Nittany Lion wrestlers capped a 2-0 weekend with a 28-9 victory over Pitt—a “home” win, but not in the usual sense. Instead of grappling in their usual Rec Hall digs, the Lions hosted the Panthers in front of 15,996 fans at the Bryce Jordan Center, setting records for both the largest crowd to see an NCAA dual meet and the largest crowd to see a sporting event at the BJC. If you missed it, our resident wrasslin’ expert Lori Shontz ’91 has you covered.
More from Mitchell: Late Friday, former Sen. George Mitchell released his fifth quarterly report on Penn State’s progress in meeting the Athletics Integrity Agreement—and once again, the university received a glowing review. (more…)
For some people, getting ready for a wrestling match in the Bryce Jordan Center probably meant some changes in routine. The ticket office, for instance, had more than double the number of tickets to sell compared to regular old matches in Rec Hall. And the fire marshal apparently had to determine if enough people to break the NCAA record for dual match attendance could fit safely into the BJC.
For the wrestlers and coaches? No big deal, unless you count weighing in at Rec Hall and then taking vans to the match across campus. “A wrestling mat’s a wrestling mat, wherever it is,” coach Cael Sanderson said. “Whether people are watching you or not, you should be the same person.”
That said, Sunday’s 28-9 victory over Pitt at the BJC was hardly routine.
It did have an NCAA atmosphere, with a the mat on a raised platform (“It makes a pretty sweet sound when you pick the guy up and slam him down on it,” said 184-pounder Wes Phipps, who knows because he did it), the wrestlers being followed by a spotlight as they ran onto the mat, where the Nittany Lions’ names were beamed onto the mat (last names except for Nico Megaludis and Zain Retherford, who were apparently too long), and athletic trainer Dan Monthley wearing a tie, the kind of wardrobe adornment he saves for the biggies.
The weather likely kept some fans home—not every seat was filled—but the announced attendance, 15,996, not only broke the NCAA record for a dual-meet crowd (15,955, at a 2008 match between Iowa and Iowa State), but it was also (more…)
Road to Seattle: Senior women’s volleyball players Deja McClendon, Katie Slay, and Ariel Scott began their Penn State careers with a national title—they were freshmen when the Nittany Lions won the last of their four consecutive national titles in 2010. They’re hoping to end their careers in the same way. The Nittany Lions open NCAA tournament play in Rec Hall at 7:30 p.m. tonight against LIU-Brooklyn. The winner of that game will face Yale or Utah, which play tonight at 5, on Saturday. The Nittany Lions are seeded No. 2 overall, and they’re a blast to watch.
Art and football: What is it with Penn State football players and the art world? Former defensive end Matthew Rice is making a name for himself as a mural painter, and now here’s former defensive end Aaron Maybin, whose NFL career never really took off after he left Penn State early in 2009 with an exhibition at Art Basel, a big-deal festival in Miami that’s going on right now. In this video, Maybin discusses the relationship between football and art, saying he gets the “same joy” creating art as he gets from athletic competition, that he believes an artist is “the truest version of a storyteller that still exists,” and that he’s ready to paint when “I’m tormented by an idea.” There’s some adult language, but it’s an interesting conversation. And you can check out some of his work here.
Yoga with Doug: I love that Onward State decided to write about Doug Hayward, teacher of the only Penn State fitness class that has a name attached to it—yes, Yoga With Doug, which is not to be confused with any other yoga classes around here. I was lucky enough to take an on-campus class from Doug a couple of summers ago, and it is truly an experience. I spent half the time in awe of the way he contorted his body (and he didn’t need a mat!) and the other half learning that my body was capable of way more than I’d realized. If you’re in town, you can always check out the offerings at his State College studio, too.
Big stage: One of the cool things about covering Penn State’s wrestling team is the atmosphere in sold-out Rec Hall, which is always packed with fans who know the sport and who can be loud when the occasion calls for it. We’ll see this weekend what that fan base can do in a larger arena—the Bryce Jordan Center, which is sold out for Sunday’s match against Pitt. That’s 15,000 wrestling fans. This also gives me the chance to quote the most entertaining two paragraphs I’ve read this week, from the last item in the weekly notebook by Centre Daily Times wrestling writer Travis Johnson ’09:
“The plan is to have our guys running out like they do at the nationals and just kind of having fun with it,” Sanderson said. “There’s been talk of fireworks and cannons and those kind of things. I’ve kind of lost track of what they’re doing. We talked about it a couple of months ago. I think that’s the plan.”
A Penn State spokesman said pyrotechnics would not likely be used.
The wrestling team is warming up for that spotlight match in an awesome way—competing tonight at Boston University, which is dropping its team at the end of this season. When Sanderson, who’s been an ambassador and advocate for the sport asked the BU coach if there were anything to he could do to help, the coach asked if Penn State could come up and wrestle them. So Penn State is, and it’s hoping the attention will help to save the program.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
Back in August, after I posted some photos from a Penn State football practice, I got an email from Clint Mickel ’05, who does a little football photography of his own.
Clint is not one of the photojournalists who cover Penn State football for the news media. He’s just an alumnus (and former Lion Ambassador) who now works in marketing in Garwood, N.J., and has season tickets to the games at Beaver Stadium. He shoots with a Canon EOS 60D and a 70-300mm lens, and he has the other things that go into good photos as well: a good eye, patience, persistence, and the willingness to shoot in all kinds of weather.
He also has pretty good seats—in the first row along the corner of the north end zone.
“It’s a great seat for the outstanding views,” he adds, “but I constantly have photos of people’s backs as they walk in front of me to go to the concession stand.”
Anyway, I’ve been following Clint’s photographic efforts via his Flickr page over the course of the season, and now that the season’s over, I’ve pulled about a dozen of his photos that I thought you might enjoy. I’m sharing them with his permission—see the slide show below. In the meantime, you can follow him on Twitter (@SupportPSU) or go to Flickr to check out the other stuff he photographs.
Tina Hay, editor