Posts tagged ‘2016 Olympics’

Darrell Hill’s Biggest Fan Will Join Him In Rio

Photo via @B1GHomie

Photo via @B1GHomie

Darrell Hill ’15 clinched a spot on the U.S. Track and Field team for the Rio Olympics last month. He is one of two Penn State alumni who will compete in the shot put, alongside reigning world champion Joe Kovacs ’11.

Hill’s father, Ellis, will join him in Brazil. However, it didn’t look like Ellis would get that opportunity until this weekend, when a GoFundMe set up by a woman named Liz Pampel Willock raised $8,200 to send Ellis to Rio.

According to Willock, Ellis was her Uber driver one afternoon in Philadelphia. He mentioned that his son qualified for the Olympics and that he wanted to go watch him compete. Willock set up a GoFundMe with the hopes of raising the money that Ellis needed to make it to Brazil. Four days later, the trip surpassed its original goal of $7,500, thanks in part to one huge donation that really touched Darrell.

As of Sunday, all Ellis needed was to secure his passport. He plans on being in Rio from August 15-19. Darrell, meanwhile, got his dad tickets to the U.S. Track and Field events. Men’s shot put qualifications will take place at 9:55 a.m. EST on August 18, and the final will take place at 8:30 that night.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

August 1, 2016 at 2:18 pm Leave a comment

Matt Baranoski Gets Back on Track

Lehigh Valley Live published a story on Matt Baranoski, the Penn State student who will compete at the Olympics this summer (and who graces the cover of our July/August issue). An electrical engineering major who is on track to graduate in December, Baranoski is one of the premier cyclists in America.

Baranoski hit a serious bump in the road in 2012 that delayed his ascent to the top of American cycling. As he explains alongside his orthopedic surgeon, Baranoski had the opportunity to compete in nationals, but two weeks prior to the event, he broke his collarbone in a crash and needed surgery that required inserting a plate and eight screws.

Baranoski bounced back from that injury in a big way, and now, he has his eyes set on a gold medal in the keirin at Rio 2016. If you’d like to watch Baranoski compete, all of the men’s keirin races will take place on Tuesday, August 16. You can find the day’s schedule right here.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

July 29, 2016 at 12:03 pm Leave a comment

Tom Hovasse Hopes to Win a 金メダル This Summer

Photo via The Japan Times

Photo via The Japan Times

Penn State basketball fans may recall Tom Hovasse ’89, who suited up at forward for the Nittany Lions from 1985 to 1989 and averaged 14.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game over his career.

Hovasse will be in Rio for the Olympic Games this year. Since he’s a little past his playing days, he’ll instead go as an assistant coach with Japan’s women’s national team. After playing in Japan for several years during his pro career, Hovasse returned to the country in 2008, when he became the head coach of a professional team. Then, in July of 2015, Hovasse joined the national team as an assistant.

While it will be a tough task knocking off the United States – the No. 1 team in the world and winners of the last five Olympic gold medals – Japan has a relatively favorable draw in group play, so medaling isn’t that crazy of a thought for the No. 16 team in the world. Japan has played well recently, beating two top-10 teams (fifth-ranked Czech Republic and eighth-ranked China) during the lead-up to the Games.

For more on Hovasse and the Japanese women’s national team, check out this story from PennLive. And if you would like to follow Japan during the Olympics, here is the team’s schedule.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

July 18, 2016 at 10:29 am Leave a comment

Joe Kovacs and Darrell Hill are Headed to Rio

Photo via @JoeKovacsUSA

Photo via @JoeKovacsUSA

Nine Nittany Lions competed in the USA Track & Field Olympic Trials that wrapped up over the weekend, and two earned spots at next month’s Olympic Games.

Both of the Penn Staters who qualified participate in the men’s shot put. Reigning world champion Joe Kovacs ’11 (far right) took second place in the finals, registering a throw of 72′-0.25″. Coming in third was Darrell Hill ’15 (left), whose personal record throw of 70′-11.75″ helped him secure a spot.

It’ll be the first Olympics trip for both Kovacs and Hill; this was Hill’s first attempt, while Kovacs narrowly missed the 2012 Games when he came in fourth in qualifying.

A trio of Nittany Lions – Casimir Loxsom ’13, Brannon Kidder, and Isaiah Harris – made it into the field for the men’s 800 meters, with Loxsom and Harris reaching the finals. Harris, a rising sophomore, came in sixth, while Loxsom recorded a ninth-place finish. Kidder, a rising senior, made it to the semifinals, where he finished eighth in his heat. Robbie Creese ’14 made it to the semifinals of the 1,500-meter run, while Brian Leap ’16 participated in the triple jump.

Former Olympian Bridget Franek ’10, whom we wrote about in our May/June 2016 issue, tried to make it back to the Games in the 3,000-meter steeplechase but came up just short, placing sixth in the final. Rachel Fatherly ’16 and Mahagony Jones ’13 competed in the women’s shot put and 200 meter dash, respectively.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

July 11, 2016 at 2:16 pm 2 comments

Five Men’s Volleyball Alumni Are Rio-Bound

via GoPSUSports

via GoPSUSports

Five former Penn State men’s volleyball players are heading to Rio this summer. Matt Anderson ’08, Max Holt ’09, and Aaron Russell ’15 (right) will represent the United States at this year’s Olympic Games, while Carlos Guerra ’03 will represent Mexico. Additionally, Ivan Contreras ’97 will serve as one of Mexico’s assistant coaches.

Anderson is the only person going with Olympic experience, as the 2015 United States Player of the Year was a member of the 2012 squad that came in fifth place. However, Anderson, Holt, and Russell—who line up at opposite hitter, middle attacker, and outside attacker, respectively—were all members of the USA team that won a gold medal at last year’s world championships in Japan.

Guerra, a wing spiker, captained Mexico at the 2014 world championships, where the team came in 17th. As for Contreras, he had a big career at Penn State, as he was a member of the national championship-winning team in 1994, won the AVCA Player of the Year in 1997, and was inducted into the EIVA Hall of Fame in 2013.

We’ll let you know how both teams progress throughout the Olympics. Also make sure you check out our upcoming issue, which will feature an article on past and present Penn State Olympians.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

June 22, 2016 at 3:18 pm 1 comment

A Weekend Worthy of Praise

Photo via Mark Selders / news.psu.edu

Photo via Mark Selders / news.psu.edu

Frank Molinaro ’12 had one heck of a weekend. His performance for the United States’ wrestling team at the Freestyle World Cup led to Molinaro getting named FloWrestling.com’s Wrestler of the Week.

Molinaro wrestled four times for the U.S., which came in fourth place at the event. He won all four matches over wrestlers from Azerbaijan, India, Iran, and Georgia en route to an individual gold medal. The win over Iran’s Sayed Mohammadi – who is ranked seventh in the world in the 65kg weight class – was especially impressive, as Molinaro came back from 3-0 down to win 4-3.

Here’s to hoping that Molinaro keeps racking up wins all the way through this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio. Also, make sure you check out our July/August issue, which will include a feature on Penn State at the Olympics.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

June 15, 2016 at 9:13 am Leave a comment

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