Joe Kovacs’ Silver Leads the Way for Penn Staters in London

The first weekend of competition at the IAAF Track & Field World Championships in London was kind to a trio of Penn Staters. Joe Kovacs ’11, Darrell Hill ’15, and current Nittany Lion Isaiah Harris all made it to at least the semifinals of their events, with Kovacs taking home a silver medal for his performance in the shot put.

Kovacs, who won gold at 2015 world championships, was the top American in the event with a 21.66-meter throw en route to the silver. While his final throw would have narrowly won him the gold, Kovacs was flagged for a foul. The infraction was reviewed, the call was upheld, and Kovacs took to social media to address the decision.

Thank you for all the support! Proud to go down swinging with a winning distance on the last throw. A foul is a foul. Congrats @tomwalshsp !

A post shared by Joe Kovacs (@joekovacsusa) on

Kovacs was joined in the shot put final by Hill, who came in 11th during his debut at the world championships with a throw of 20.79 meters.

Harris, our July/August 2017 featured athlete, made it to the semifinals of the 800 meters. The rising junior registered a time of 1:46.66, good for fourth in his heat and 17th overall. Also competing on the track was volunteer assistant Eddie Lovett, who participated in the 110-meter hurdles and registered a time of 13.67 seconds.

There’s still one more Penn Stater who is slated to compete at the world championships: rising junior Keianna Albury will run in the 4×100 meter relay for the Bahamas on Aug. 12.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

August 9, 2017 at 4:46 pm Leave a comment

Afghanistan Through the Lens of Steve McCurry

Steve McCurry went to Afghanistan for the first time in 1979. Now, 38 years later, McCurry ’74 is releasing a new book highlighting some of his photography from the country.

Afghanistan comes out later this month, and features more than 140 images from McCurry’s time spent abroad. His work regarding Afghanistan and its people has made headlines—the most notable example, 1984’s Afghan Girlwas deemed “arguably the most iconic picture of all time” by CNN in 2016.

You can pre-order a copy of the book right here, and head to The Guardian to check out some of McCurry’s work in Afghanistan.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

August 8, 2017 at 4:10 pm Leave a comment

Summer on the Slopes

When Tyler Smith was a child, he’d head to his family’s condominium in Winter Park, Colo. and watch the Epworth Cup glacier race. Held each July on the Sunday after Independence Day, the race gives skiers in Colorado the chance to hit the slopes during the summer—Mount Epworth’s peak is more than 12,000 feet above sea level, and there’s still snow on the ground during the warmer months.

Fast forward to this year, and Smith ’14 finally got the chance to participate in the race alongside a group of fellow Penn Staters—Devin Dymeck ’15, Heather Derr ’15, and Tomasz Dobrzanski ’15—all of whom participated on the ski team while in college. The quartet ended up winning the whole thing.

“We talked about it last year but we didn’t have all of them out here yet,” Smith says. “[This year] we were all just out here at the same time and it worked out.”

The race requires skiing down a pair of courses on the mountain. Each team member goes down both courses once, all their times are added together, and the team with the fastest total time wins. Smith says this year’s race—the 52nd year—was significant, acting as a “passing of the torch” between those who started the event and a younger group of skiers.

Along with a trophy that the group gets to keep, their names will be engraved on the actual Epworth Cup. Additionally, Smith, Dymeck, Derr, and Powell earned the right to set the course for next year.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

August 7, 2017 at 1:29 pm Leave a comment

Dan Ott’s Massive Payday at the World Series of Poker

Dan Ott’s hopes of winning the 2017 World Series of Poker came to an abrupt end at 12:10 a.m. MST on Sunday, July 23. But the $4.7 million he ended up taking home isn’t a bad consolation prize.

Ott ’15 Altoona participated in the World Series of Poker this year for the first time, taking part in its no-limit Texas Hold ‘Em main event. He made it to the final two, where he went 1-on-1 with the eventual winner for 66 hands.

Unfortunately for Ott, his tournament ended because of an unlucky break—he went all in and had the odds firmly in his corner, but the final card to appear on the board gave his opponent the hand and the championship. You can watch how it all went down at the top of this post.

Despite the rough end, Ott didn’t seem too disappointed.

“The cards didn’t go my way,” Ott says. “But I got second place in the third-largest main event ever. I can’t complain about that.”

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

August 4, 2017 at 1:55 pm Leave a comment

Calvin Booth Is Heading to Denver

Photo via @PennStateMBB

Former Penn State basketball star Calvin Booth ’98 has accepted a job as the assistant general manager of the Denver Nuggets.

Booth moved into management after his 10-year NBA playing career came to an end in 2009: He has worked in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ front office since 2013, and held the role of director of player personnel for the last two years.

Jon Krawczynski of the AP notes that Booth has “quietly emerged as a respected evaluator of talent,” and that his new role will give Booth a voice in molding one of the league’s brightest young squads—Denver missed the postseason by just one game last year.

Booth appeared in 115 games for the Nittany Lions from 1995-99. He averaged 11.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.7 blocked shots per game for his career, and his 428 career blocks remain the most in Penn State history.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

August 2, 2017 at 4:44 pm Leave a comment

Tiffany Beers’ Decade-Long Project Could Change Sneakers Forever

Whoa, Im in the New York Times today. 🤓check it out and let me know what u think. Writer: @katierosman #thankyou also a big thanks to @jodances 👍link in bio. #nyt #women #engineer #careervibes

A post shared by Tiffany Beers (@tiffanybeers) on

Last year, Wired ran a story about Nike CEO Mark Parker ’77 and one of his most ambitious projects: The HyperAdapt 1.0, a self-lacing sneaker inspired by Marty McFly’s shoes in Back to the Future II. As it turns out, Parker wasn’t the only Penn Stater who played a major role in the development of these shoes.

In a recent profile, The New York Times deemed Tiffany Beers ’02 Behrend, the HyperAdapt 1.0’s lead engineer and product manager, the “mad scientist” behind the sneaker. Beers was personally selected to take on the project by famed Nike designer Tinker Hatfield in 2005. While she considered it a side project for nearly a decade, Beers’ hand was forced in 2014, when Hatfield announced to the world that the shoe would be ready by the following year. (The HyperAdapt 1.0 was eventually released in 2016.)

In addition to the nostalgia factor with these shoes, Beers hopes they serve a practical purpose for people who spend “20 or 30 minutes a day putting on and taking off their shoes” because they struggle to bend over and tie laces.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

July 25, 2017 at 4:27 pm 1 comment

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