Posts tagged ‘USA Today’

It’s Go Time for Cael Sanderson at World Wrestling Championships

Cael Sanderson graces the cover of USA Wrestling's world championships media guide. His opponent in in trouble here.

So it’s time for Cael Sanderson to take his comeback to the next level and attempt to do something he’s never done before—win a gold medal at the world wrestling championships.

He’s already won the U.S. World Team Trials after a seven-year layoff, and he dominated in his first international tournament since the 2004 Olympics. The worlds, which are being held in Istanbul, Turkey, started earlier this week with Greco-Roman and women’s events preceding the freestyle, and the hype has been building.

Check out this cover story from Wednesday’s USA Today, which mentions both his competitive success and his success coaching Penn State. It’s also worth clicking on this Des Moines Register link for a slide show of Sanderson’s Iowa State years, which includes a photo of Sanderson with some of his drawings (No. 4), a bobblehead that looks nothing like him (No. 14), and a posed shot with Iowa coach Tom Brands (No. 33).

Sanderson is considered the favorite at 185 pounds … by the Americans, at least. As this survey of international wrestling journalists shows, he’s not the consensus favorite. The Iranian writer picked the wrestler from Uzbekistan, for instance, and the Japanese journo likes the Russian. (And that’s how the U.S. writers tend to refer to wrestlers from other countries, by their nationalities. I keep wondering if Sanderson is known outside our borders as “The American.”) And it’s worth noting that Sanderson never dominated internationally the way he did in the U.S. The 2010 world champion, Bulgaria’s Mihail Ganev, is also in the field, and “the Uzbek,” Zaurbek Sokhiev, won the 2009 world title. (more…)

September 15, 2011 at 1:04 pm 1 comment

It’s Game Week!

I know I’m not the only Penn Stater for whom this is one of the best weeks of the year: Football is back. The Nittany Lions enter the 2011 season with all sorts of unanswered questions, and there’s little in the way of consensus on how this team will fare. Many of the most pressing questions were addressed Monday and Tuesday, first when the preseason depth chart was revealed, and again when Joe Paterno met the media for his first game-week press conference of the season.

The release Monday of the depth chart confirmed a couple of things, one of which was that Robert Bolden and Matt McGloin will enter the season as co-first team quarterbacks. (“I’m surprised you asked me about the quarterbacks,” Paterno deadpanned Tuesday.) One of them will technically “start” Saturday against Indiana State, but it looks like both QBs will get plenty of snaps.

There’s no such ambiguity at linebacker, where Glenn Carson is listed as the starter in the middle (you can read more about him here). The sophomore must’ve made quite an impression over the summer; as of the Blue White spring game, junior Michael Mauti was listed as the starting middle linebacker, and he was expected by many to star at the Lions’ most high-profile position. That’s largely why we (more…)

August 30, 2011 at 8:06 pm Leave a comment

Another Season, Another Spot in the Top 25

When the Penn State football team kicks off its 2011 season four weeks from Saturday, it will do so as a ranked team: the Nittany Lions sit 25th in the preseason poll released Thursday by USA Today. Penn State’s ranking, voted on by coaches, is somewhat surprising given the team’s brutal schedule and uncertainty at quarterback (don’t expect a starter to be named until the week of the opening game), but with 15 starters back from last year’s squad, there are reasons for optimism. Penn State is one of five Big Ten teams ranked in the preseason poll.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

August 4, 2011 at 6:43 pm Leave a comment

For Tamba Hali and Cameron Wake, Sacks = Success

This story is a few days old, but I’m posting it today for a couple of reasons — the first is that it’s just a really compelling read. The second is because Tamba Hali ’06 is keeping himself newsworthy. In a good way.

Hali (left) built his reputation at Penn State as a playmaking defensive end, ultimately starring on the Nittany Lions’ 2005 Orange Bowl-winning team. He’s in his fifth season with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he’s become one of the best defensive players in the NFL. More compelling than his on-field play is his backstory, a tale of surviving childhood in war-torn Liberia and never losing the perspective that experience gave him. This Kansas City Star feature does a great job conveying Hali’s focus and determination — including a great bit about how, when his NFL workouts haven’t been sufficiently challenging or intense, he comes back to Penn State to get serious about working hard.

That work has paid off, as Hali goes into this weekend’s games with 11 sacks, putting him among the league leaders. As USA Today notes, that production makes Hali a candidate for NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Also among the top handful of candidates? Cameron Wake ’04, who has a league-high 14 sacks for the Miami Dolphins. Like Hali, Wake took an unlikely path to NFL stardom. Like Hali, he has emerged as one of the best in the game.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

December 16, 2010 at 6:42 pm Leave a comment

Mr. Wonderful Goes to Detroit

Phil Davis ’08 is getting back in the octagon. The former NCAA wrestling champ turned mixed martial artist is back in action Saturday night at UFC 123 in Detroit, the showcase event of the sport’s top league. It’s the first time on the main card for Davis, who takes a 7-0 record into his light heavyweight fight with Tim Boetsch.

Davis, nicknamed “Mr. Wonderful” for reasons that seem almost too odd (and occasionally inconsistent) to believe, is considered one of the top up-and-coming fighters in MMA. He’s also got a ton of personality, which is why UFC promoters figure to be rooting for him. You can find informative interviews with him at USA Today and on, and, for the heck of it, watch him shoot some ugly but surprisingly effective free throws earlier this week at a Detroit Pistons game, where he was a celebrity courtside guest.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

November 19, 2010 at 3:35 pm Leave a comment

Penn State Women’s Volleyball Takes Over the Triangle

The three-time defending NCAA champion women’s volleyball team opens the season Friday at the Carolina Classic, facing host North Carolina at 8 p.m. Penn State is ranked No. 1 in the preseason polls — understandable given the team’s 103-match winning streak — but coach Russ Rose is skeptical. In an article Thursday in USA Today, the longtime Nittany Lion coach says his team is too unproven — having lost a couple of first-team All-Americans and boasting a roster with nine true freshman — to justify such a ranking. Of course, a couple of his returning players (and most of those incoming freshmen) were college or prep All-Americans last season, so maybe those poll voters know what they’re doing.

As for the tournament, Rose’s players should feel right at home in the opposing gym: The Triangle Chapter of the Alumni Association is inviting all Penn Staters in the area to meet up for a Friday afternoon happy hour before heading over to the game. If you’re within shouting distance of Chapel Hill, you’ve now got plans for Friday night.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

August 26, 2010 at 3:43 pm Leave a comment

A Top-20 Preseason Ranking, and a Looming Tide

The USA Today preseason coaches’ poll was released Friday, with Penn State ranking 14th in the initial survey. The Nittany Lions are one of four Big Ten teams in the Top 25, led by No. 2 Ohio State. And the preseason No. 1? Alabama. The defending national champs were an almost unanimous choice, and should be heavily favored when they host Penn State in Tuscaloosa on Sept. 11.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

August 6, 2010 at 4:43 pm Leave a comment

Paterno the Center of Attention at Big Ten Media Day

This Associated Press photo was taken when Paterno spoke with mostly local Penn State media in the hall after his formal press conference Tuesday.

Joe Paterno is always good for some snappy one-liners when he faces the press, and his appearance Tuesday at Big Ten Media Day (which you can watch here) was no exception. He characterized the illness that kept him from making public appearances over the summer as not intestinal but “something lower than that,” and he name-dropped Mark Twain in joking that “the rumor of my death has been over-exaggerated or something.”

That said, Paterno looked tired. He’s lost weight. And his speech was notably slower and a little slurred, which is reflected in the coverage. You can check out a nicely framed and written story from The Daily Collegian here, the observations from the astute and often controversial Dave Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News here, and the story by USA Today’s Marlen Garcia, who kicked off the press conference by asking Paterno if he would coach until he died, here.

And if you want to hear more directly from Paterno, you can watch a here’s a post-press conference video from Fight on State here.

Paterno said repeatedly that he’s doing fine and is ready for the season, which is rapidly approaching. Driving past Beaver Stadium on my way home yesterday, I noticed that the numbered “parking stops” marking the spaces are already in place along Park Avenue.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

August 3, 2010 at 10:26 am 1 comment

USA Today: Penn State Played in Two of All-Time Best National Title Games

As part of its coverage of tonight’s BCS title game between Texas and Alabama, USA Today has listed its picks as the top 10 bowl games that decided the national championship.  Among the choices: the Nittany Lions’ victory over Georgia in the 1983 Sugar Bowl for Joe Paterno’s first national title, and their triumph over Miami in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl for JoePa’s second championship.

Click here to see the list and to cast your vote for the most exciting of the games. Pretty tough call between those two bowl games (and I don’t think I can get fired for admitting how much I enjoyed Miami’s 31-30 victory over Nebraska in the 1984 Orange Bowl). I think I’d have to pick the Fiesta Bowl, mostly because I was a high school senior, “committed” to Penn State, so to speak, and leaped off the couch when Pete Giftopoulous sealed the deal by intercepting Vinny Testeverde.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

January 7, 2010 at 2:27 pm 3 comments

Tom Golarz Battling a Lot More Than LSU

Tom Golarz

Jill Semmer ’88, a member of our Alumni Council, called my attention to a very interesting article by Mike Lopresti in USA Today this week about a little-known Penn State football player and his even less well-known backstory.

Tom Golarz is a senior, a walk-on who plays mostly on special teams. Since he was 17 he has suffered from a rare disease called sclerosing cholangitis—the same liver diease that affected Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton and led to Payton’s death at the age of 45. Golarz is hopeful that his prognosis is better, given that his illness was diagnosed relatively early (the average age at which sclerosing cholangitis is diagnosed is 40), but even so, it’s likely that he’ll eventually need a kidney transplant.

Golarz’s official bio on the Penn State Web site doesn’t mention his illness, and the USA Today piece is the first that I’ve seen anyone write about it. The article is well worth reading. And if you want to watch for Golarz in the Capital One Bowl tomorrow, he wears No. 39 and is on the field mostly for kickoff and punt returns.

Tina Hay, editor

December 31, 2009 at 2:44 pm Leave a comment

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