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Archive for June 12th, 2020

Penn State places 350 Student-Athletes on All-Big Ten Academic Honor Roll

174 student-athletes among spring/at-large honorees

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – One hundred seventy-four Penn State student-athletes earned Spring/At-Large Academic All-Big Ten honors to boost the Nittany Lions yearly total to 350 for 2019-20. The 174 spring/at-large selections rank second in program history.

The 2019-20 total follows a school-record mark of 368 during the 2018-19 academic year. The latest 174 honorees bring Penn State’s total academic honorees to 6,953 since 1991-92.

Claire Swedberg (softball), Medora McCarthy (women’s fencing), Madison Carter (women’s lacrosse), Gracey Hirsch (women’s tennis) and Julia Paternain (women’s track & field) each maintained perfect 4.0 GPAs.

Penn State’s spring/at-large honorees include: Penn State Female Student-Athlete of the Year Danae Rivers (women’s track & field) and All-Americans Grant Ament (men’s lacrosse), Jack Kelly (men’s lacrosse), Mac O’Keefe (men’s lacrosse), Maddie Holmberg (women’s track & field), Alexa Parks (women’s track & field) and Taylor Suplee (women’s lacrosse).

Penn State Highest Academic All-Big Ten Yearly Totals
(3.0 GPA):

2018-19: 368*
2017-18: 360
2019-20: 350
2016-17: 299
2015-16: 299
2012-13: 296
2013-14: 287
*School Record

The Nittany Lions’ spring/at-large teams were led overall by men’s lacrosse with 23 honorees. On the women’s side, track & field and lacrosse each had 21 honorees.

Team by Team Honorees
Baseball – 10
Men’s Fencing – 9
Men’s Lacrosse – 23
Men’s Golf – 6
Men’s Tennis – 6
Men’s Track & Field – 18
Men’s Volleyball – 9

Softball – 9
Women’s Fencing – 12
Women’s Golf – 6
Women’s Hockey – 17
Women’s Lacrosse – 21
Women’s Tennis – 7
Women’s Track & Field – 21

One hundred forty-four Nittany Lions earned their degrees thus far during the 2019-20 academic year with additional graduates to come in August. The total includes 125 graduates earlier in May. Penn State student-athletes have led the athletic department to 34 Big Ten championships and nine NCAA National Championships since October 2013.

School-Record Twenty Teams Earn Perfect 1,000 APR Scores in 2018-19; Football Posts First Single-Year 1,000 APR Score
The 20 Penn State teams that earned perfect APR scores of 1,000 in 2018-19 were: women’s basketball, men’s cross country, women’s cross country, women’s fencing, field hockey, football, men’s golf, women’s golf, men’s gymnastics, women’s gymnastics, men’s hockey, women’s hockey, men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, men’s volleyball, softball, women’s swimming & diving, women’s tennis, women’s track & field and women’s volleyball.

The football team posted its first 1,000 single-year APR in program history, topping the previous high of 993 in 2014-15. The women’s cross country, women’s fencing, men’s golf, women’s golf and women’s track & field teams have perfect 1,000 yearly APR scores in four consecutive reports.

Nittany Lions’ Multi-Year APR Average Again Exceeds Division I Average
The average multi-year APR score for Penn State’s 29 varsity teams is 986, above the Division I average of 983, according to the NCAA. The men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track & field teams are combined in the APR data, reducing the number of Penn State teams from 31 to 29 in the compilation.

To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, students must be on a varsity team, as verified by being on the official squad list as of May 1 for spring sports, who have been enrolled fulltime at the institution for a minimum of 12 months and carry a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

The conference office will also present the Distinguished Scholar Award at a later date. Students eligible for the Distinguished Scholar Award must be a recipient of Academic All-Big Ten recognition in the previous academic year, must have been enrolled fulltime at the institution for the entire previous academic year (two semesters or three quarters) and earned a minimum GPA of 3.70 or better during the previous academic year (excluding any summer grades). The Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award was established by conference Faculty Representatives as an addition to the conference’s Academic All-Big Ten program.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Ryan S. Snyder; COURTESY PENN STATE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

Gopsusports.com

 

Rutgers has a record 170 Student-Athletes earn All-Big Ten Spring Academic Honors

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (June 10, 2020) – A school-record 170 Rutgers student-athletes were recognized by the Big Ten as Spring 2020 Academic All-Conference on Wednesday to elevate the Scarlet Knights’ 2019-20 total to a record-setting 318 honorees, after 48 and 100 were selected in the winter and fall, respectively. Among the spring honorees is a five-time recipient in Adam Charalambides (men’s lacrosse), three four-time selections, 36 three-time honorees and 46 repeat selections.

 

“During a particularly challenging semester our student athletes brought their tremendous discipline to their remote classrooms and succeeded with record results,” said Pat Hobbs. “That’s three successive semesters of outstanding academic performance and we applaud their efforts.”

 

Charalambides, a 2019 All-Big Ten selection for men’s lacrosse majoring in Urban Planning & Policy Development, earned academic all-conference accolades for the fifth consecutive year. Conor Murphy (Men’s Track and Field) Dakota Pastore (Women’s Lacrosse) and Rhonda Rogombe (Women’s Track and Field) earned recognition for the fourth time in their respective careers.

 

To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, students-athletes must have been enrolled full-time at the institution for a minimum of 12 months and carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher.

 

Baseball (12)

Andy Axelson, So., Sport Management

Jared Bellissimo, So., Sport Management

Kevin Blum, Gr., Business and Science (3rd)

Garrett French, So., Criminal Justice

Kyle Muller, Sr., Sport Management

Jacob Newman, So., Pre Business

Jack Parkinson, Sr., Human Resource Management

Harry Rutkowski, Jr., Criminal Justice (2nd)

Richie Schiekofer, Jr., Communication

Parker Scott, So., Mechanical Engineering

Peter Serruto, So., Pre Business

Victor Valderrama, So., Sport Management

 

Men’s Lacrosse (26)

Garrett Bullett, Gr., Labor Studies And Employment Relations (2nd)

Adam Charalambides, Gr., Urban Planning & Policy Development (5th)

Eric Civetti, So., Biomedical Engineering

Tommy Coyne, Jr., Communication

Cole Daninger, So., Marketing

Zackary Franckowiak, Jr., Exercise Science (2nd)

Ryan Gallagher, Jr., Supply Chain And Marketing Science (2nd)

Brodie Gillespie, Sr., Economics (3rd)

Jaryd Jean-Felix, Jr., Leadership Management (2nd)

Brennan Kamish, Jr., Communication

Robert Marron Rutgers, Sr., Civil Engineering (2nd)

Zach Masessa, Jr., Finance

Owen Mead, Sr., Biological Sciences (3rd)

Kieran Mullins, Sr., Cell Biology & Neuroscience (3rd)

Sam Oltmans, Sr., Economics (3rd)

Jordan Pakzad, Jr., Communication (2nd)

Ben Pounds, So., Political Science

Ethan Rall, So., Communication

Bobby Russo, So., Marketing

Michael Sanguinetti, Jr., Economics (2nd)

Mark Schachte, Sr., Finance (3rd)

David Sprock, So., Computer Science

Demetrius Stevenson, So., Agriculture And Food Systems

Bradley Thompson, So., Finance

Jack Thompson, Sr., Aerospace Engineering

David Walker, Jr., Supply Chain And Marketing Science (2nd)

 

Men’s Golf (7)

Shayler Dance, So., Marketing

Jack Doherty, So., Economics

Christopher Gotterup, So., Communication (2nd)

Tony Jiang, Jr., Labor Studies and Employee Relations; Economics (2nd)

Putt Sridama, So., Human Resource Management (2nd)

Bobby Weise, Jr., Human Resource Management

Oliver Whatley, Jr., Communication

 

Men’s Track and Field (22)

Alanzo Aris, Sr., Exercise Science (3rd)

Will Berger, So., Molecular Biology & Biochemistry

A’nan Bridgett, So., Economics

Jarrod Brovero, Sr., Sport Management (2nd)

Andrew Comito, Sr., Industrial Engineering (3rd)

Ryan Downey, Jr., Industrial Engineering (2nd)

Greg Harnett, Gr. Supply Chain Analytics (3rd)

Aidin Hendriks, Jr., Mechanical Engineering

Cade Hindley, So., Cell Biology & Neuroscience

Nicholas Hutchison, So., Accounting

Christopher Jenkins, Jr., Health Administration (2nd)

Kamron Kobolak, So., Finance

Atharv Kulkarni, So., Computer Science

Sean Martinek, Sr., Sport Management (3rd)

Conor Murphy, Gr., Human Resource Management (4th)

Cole Pschunder, Sr., Economics (3rd)

Jared Skalski, Sr., Industrial Engineering (3rd)

Christopher Smith, So., Computer Science

Steven Steinberg-McElroy, Jr., Supply Chain And Marketing Science (2nd)

Michael Thomas, Sr., Supply Chain And Marketing Science (2nd)

Peter Tilton, So., Computer Science

Patrick Walsh, Jr., Planning And Public Policy (2nd)

 

Softball (6)

Hailey Hoklutubbe, Sr., Biological Science (2nd)

Anyssa Iliopoulos, Sr., Exercise Science (3rd)

Cambria Keefer, Sr., Communication (3rd)

Taylor Manno, Jr., Public Policy (2nd)

Corah Price, So., Human Resource Management

Katie Wingert, So., Exercise Science

 

Women’s Golf (4)

Lori Char, Jr., Communication (2nd)

Ana Cortes, Sr., Finance; Leadership And Management (3rd)

Carrie-Ann Lee, Sr., Supply Chain And Marketing Science (3rd)

Maeve Rossi, So., Economics

Women’s Lacrosse (20)

Riley Ban, So., Labor Studies & Employment Relations

Samantha Budd, Sr., Biomedical Engineering (3rd)

Sarah Cedarstrand, So., Information Technology & Informatics

Brianna Cirino, Sr., Psychology (3rd)

Jordan Drab, Jr., Information Technology & Informatics (3rd)

Monica Dresnin, Sr., Communication (3rd)

Marin Hartshorn, So., Psychology

Hannah Hollingsworth, Jr., Supply Chain And Marketing Science (2nd)

Jacquelyn Jester, Jr., Labor Studies & Employment Relations (2nd)

Julia Lytle, Jr., Cognitive Science (2nd)

Jenna Martinelli, Sr., Exercise Science (3rd)

Taralyn Naslonski, Jr., Public Health (2nd)

Dakota Pastore, Gr., Public Health (4th)

Dana Pena, Jr., Labor Studies & Employment Relations (2nd)

Christina Petito, Sr., Public Health­­ (3rd)

Mackenzie Porter, So., Criminal Justice

Samantha Scarpello, Sr., Communication (2nd)

Shannon Siebold, So., Cognitive Science

Alexis Watson, So., Biomedical Engineering

Linda Zamrowski, So., Accounting

 

Rowing (47)

Alexis Achenbach, Jr., Exercise Science (2nd)

Ashley Adamo, So., Health Administration

Isobel Ali, So., Criminal Justice & History

Gabrielle Bagdonas, So., Psychology

Rebecca Barglowski, Sr., English (3rd)

Barbara Benda, So., Astrophysics

Kathleen Butler, Sr., Exercise Science (3rd)

Sophia Catuogno, Jr., Chemical Engineering (2nd)

Tessa Catuogno, Jr., Biomedical Engineering (2nd)

Rebecca Chanin, Sr., Political Science & Middle Eastern Studies (3rd)

Hannah Davis, So., Psychology

Angelina Fomina, Jr., Biochemistry (2nd)

Nina Gangi, Sr., Ecology, Evolution And Natural Resources

Rosalina Guarino, Sr., Marketing (3rd)

Seyma Guleryuz, So., Electrical And Computer Engineering

Melina Gurunian, Sr., Exercise Science

Ahri Han, So., Molecular Biology And Biochemistry

Amaris Hinton, So., Information Technology And Informatics

Rucha Janodia, Sr., Cell Biology And Neuroscience (3rd)

Kirsten Jeansson, Sr., Biological Sciences (3rd)

Omisha Jyothi, Jr., Business Analytics And Information Technology (2nd)

Samantha Levine, Jr., Communication

Grace Lewis, Jr., Labor And Employment Relations & Communication

Isabella Martins, Jr., Economics (2nd)

Kara McDermott, Jr., Sport Management (2nd)

MaryKate McGee, Jr., Sociology (2nd)

Emily Meade, So., Finance

Hannah Meade, So., Political Science

Erin Miners, So., Biological Sciences

Jillian Moran, Jr., Biological Sciences (2nd)

Audrey O’Neill, So., Exercise Science

Emily O’Neill, So., Exercise Science

Femke Paulis, So., Biomedical Engineering

Merve Pekdemir, Sr., Industrial Engineering (3rd)

Grace Pettit, Sr., Psychology

Jordan Policari, So., Pre Business

Julia Ruch, So., Economics

Meaghan Schneid, So., Landscape Architecture

Lindsey Shugar, So., Social Work.

Natalie Summerfelt, Sr., Exercise Science (2nd)

Emily Tarino, So., Communication

Ella Toa, So., Communication

Zoe Toner, Jr., Biological Sciences (2nd)

Rachel Usen, Sr., Sport Management (3rd)

Lalitha Vallabhaneni, Jr., Business Analytics And Information Technology (2nd)

Stephanie Welsh, Jr., Plant Science (2nd)

Julia Wilson, Sr., Communication (2nd)

 

Tennis (7)

Jaci Cochrane, Sr., Political Science (3rd)

Isabelle Da Silva, Jr., Exercise Science

Tess Fisher, So., Psychology

Maya Jacobs, Jr., Communication (2nd)

Kat Muzik, Sr., Human Resource Management (2nd)

Kyra Yap, Sr., Chemical Engineering (3rd)

Kristiana Zahare, So., Exercise Science

 

Women’s Track & Field (19)

Ajae Alvarez-Tyler, So., Communication

Emma Bergman, Sr., Public Health (3rd)

Erin Bertscha, So., Supply Chain & Marketing Science

Kathryn Campbell, Sr., Psychology (2nd)

Kelsey Farbanish, Sr., Chemical Engineering (3rd)

Alexa Gardner, So., Nursing

Dakota Gerges, Jr., Communication

Sara Gutter, Jr., Exercise Science

Alexandria Marko, So., Supply Chain & Marketing Science

Olympia Martin, Jr., Visual Arts (2nd)

Kiera Nealon, Jr., Exercise Science And Italian (2nd)

Reanda Richards, So., Criminal Justice

Brooke Riedy, So., Health Administration

Rhonda Rogombe, Gr., Political Science (4th)

Kayla Rosario, So., Criminal Justice

Gabriela Sanchez, So., Unspecified

Nadia Saponara, Sr., Environmental Policy, Institutions And Behavior (3rd)

Selena Thorne, Sr., Communication (3rd)

Chloe Wong, So., Nursing

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Bradly Derechailo; COURTESY RUTGERS ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

www.scarletknights.com

 

Penn State’s Parsons and Freiermuth named Preseason All-Americans by Walter Camp

Micah Parsons (courtesy 247sports.com)

Pat Freiermuth (courtesy gopsusports.com)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (June 11, 2020)

 

Parsons and Freiermuth Named Walter Camp Preseason All-Americans

Parsons was placed on the first team while Freiermuth earns a spot on the second team

 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State junior linebacker Micah Parsons and junior tight end Pat Freiermuth each earned a spot on the Walter Camp Foundation’s Preseason All-American teams, presented by Marcum LLP, it was announced on Thursday.

 

Parsons was one of 14 players who earned Walter Camp All-American recognition following the 2019 campaign who is on the 2020 preseason list.  The Harrisburg native was a second team selection in 2019.

 

Micah Parsons Bio:

 

  • 2019 Big Ten Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year.
  • Became the first sophomore in Big Ten history to win the award.
  • 2019 first team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and media.
  • Named a Consensus All-American by the NCAA.
  • Was a first team All-America selection by numerous outlets, including the Associated Press, USA Today, ESPN, the AFCA, Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report and Pro Football Focus.
  • Earned additional All-America honors from by Sporting News, CBS Sports, the FWAA, Walter Camp Foundation, The Athletic and Phil Steele.
  • Has six career forced fumbles, seventh all-time at Penn State.
  • Tallied four forced fumbles in 2019, tied for fifth in a single season for the Nittany Lions.
  • The four forced fumbles were tied for third in the Big Ten and tied for fifth nationally.
  • Earned the 2019 Most Valuable Defensive Player at the team’s awards banquet.
  • Was a finalist for the Butkus Award and a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award.
  • Appeared in 13 games in 2019, making 12 starts, and finished the season with 10 or more tackles in three-straight games and six of the final seven games.
  • Secured 10 tackles and registered two tackles for loss in the win over Buffalo (9/7/19).
  • In the victory over Pittsburgh (9/14/19), collected nine tackles, seven solo, and registered two tackles for loss, while adding a pass breakup and a QB hurry.
  • Recorded two tackles for loss, a sack and five tackles in the win over Purdue (10/5/19).
  • In the Michigan win (10/19/19), tied a career high with 14 tackles, including six solo, with eight of those 14 tackles holding Michigan to one or less yard.
  • Collected 12 tackles and broke up a pass in the win at Michigan State (10/26/19).
  • Secured 11 tackles, six solo, and tallied two TFLs and a sack at Minnesota (11/9/19).
  • Recorded seven tackles and forced a fumble in the first quarter in the victory over Indiana (11/16/19).
  • Registered 10 tackles at Ohio State (11/23/19), while adding two tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a recovery.
  • Made 10 tackles and added a solo sack in the Rutgers win (11/30/19).
  • In the Cotton Bowl win over Memphis (12/28/19), registered a career-high three tackles for loss and two sacks, while also forcing two fumbles and adding a personal best two pass breakups.
  • Tied a career high mark in tackles with 14 against the Tigers and was named to the AP All-Bowl Team, ESPN All-Bowl Team and Sports Illustrated All-Bowl Team.

 

Pat Freiermuth Bio:

 

  • Named a 2019 second team All-American by the AFCA and The Athletic.
  • Voted a 2019 All-Big Ten second team by the coaches and media.
  • Named the team’s 2019 Most Valuable Offensive Player at the awards banquet.
  • Has caught a pass in 25-straight games.
  • Has 15 career touchdown receptions, tied with Mike Gesicki (2014-17) for the PSU record for tight ends.
  • The 15 TD grabs are good for a tie for ninth all-time at Penn State with current Penn State assistant head coach Terry Smith (1988-91), Joe Jurevicius (1994-97) and Mike Gesicki (2014-17).
  • Made 13 starts and was a team captain during his sophomore season in 2019.
  • Ranked seventh in the Big Ten with seven touchdown receptions and held fourth among FBS tight ends with the seven scores.
  • Hauled in a career-best eight receptions for 99 yards in the victory over Buffalo (9/17/19), pulling in two touchdown receptions.
  • Made a seven-yard touchdown grab in the win over Purdue (10/5/19).
  • Scored on a 17-yard touchdown grab in the victory over Michigan (10/19/19).
  • In the win at Michigan State (10/26/19), made five receptions for 60 yards and caught a career-high three touchdown receptions, becoming the ninth time in program history that a player has caught three touchdown passes in a single game.
  • Caught seven passes for a career-high 101 yards at Minnesota (11/9/19).
  • Made eight touchdown receptions his freshman year in 2018 (No. 2 among PSU tight ends and tied for No. 11 overall among PSU receivers).

 

About the Walter Camp All-American Team:

Walter Camp, considered the “Father of American Football,” first named an All-American team in 1889. The 2020 season will be the 131st edition of the team.  In late November, the 2020 All-America teams will be selected by the head coaches and sports information directors of the 130 Football Bowl Subdivision schools and will be certified by Marcum’s New Haven-based accounting firm.

 

Camp – a former Yale University athlete and football coach – is also credited with developing play from scrimmage, set plays, the numerical assessment of goals and tries and the restriction of play to eleven men per side. The Walter Camp Football Foundation – a New Haven-based all-volunteer group – was founded in 1967 to perpetuate the ideals of Camp and to continue the tradition of selecting annually an All-America team.  The Foundation is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game’s predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Greg Kincaid; COURTESY PENN STATE STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS

 

Penn State Men’s Volleyball welcomes 7 Newcomers to 20-21 Squad

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 12, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State men’s volleyball team is proud to introduce its incoming freshman class during for the 2020-21 school year. The group includes seven student-athletes from six different states plus one from Poland.

The group joins a roster with 13 returning players from the 2020 season, which went undefeated in EIVA conference play (7-0) and was ranked 10th in the AVCA Coaches poll before the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Mitch Tucker
Hometown: Fairport, N.Y.
Height: 6-6
Position: Outside Hitter

BEFORE PENN STATE
Named team captain of the Fairport High School boys’ volleyball team for senior season in 2019…Chosen to Section V Class A Boys Volleyball all-tournament team in 2019…Helped Red Raiders to 2018 Division I New York state championship after an undefeated season (22-0).

PERSONAL
Full name is Mitchell Ryan Tucker…Parents are Michelle and Scott Tucker…Has one brother, Evan, and one sister, Abby…Intends to major in security and risk analysis…Born October 25, 2001 in Fairport, N.Y.

COACH PAVLIK ON MITCH
“Mitch is another Western New York product who plays the game well and will bring a good arm into our gym.”


Luke Snyder
Hometown: Manhattan Beach, Calif.
Height: 6-3
Position: Setter

BEFORE PENN STATE
Awarded three varsity letters as a setter for Mira Costa High School…Helped Mustangs to a runner-up finish at the 2019 SoCal CIF Regional…Senior season in 2020 canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic…Won 2019 Boys Junior National Championship with Southern California Volleyball Club (SCVC) in the U17 Open Division.

PERSONAL
Full name is Luke Oliver Snyder…Parents are Janiece and Richard Snyder…Has three sisters, Samantha, Lily, and Ella…Plans to enroll in the Division of Undergraduate Studies…Born January 28, 2002 in Manhattan Beach, Calif.

COACH PAVLIK ON LUKE
“Luke is a competitive setter who has great quickness and a winner’s history.”


Ian Argento
Hometown: Seymour, Conn.
Height: 6-9
Position: Middle Blocker

BEFORE PENN STATE
Selected to the A1 Division of USA Volleyball High Performance team in 2019 with current Nittany Lion teammate Michael Valenzi… Placed sixth with Team USA Blue at the 2019 USAV High Performance Championships…Chosen team captain senior year (2020) at Saint Joseph High School before season cancellation due to COVID-19 pandemic…Named to Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) all-conference team three times (2017-19)… Won back-to-back New England Championships with Mizuno East Volleyball Club…Selected for membership in the National Honors Society, the National English Honors Society, and the National Spanish Honors Society.

PERSONAL
Full name is Ian Adrian Argento…Parents are Vivian and Adrian Argento…Has two sisters, Ava and Simone…Enrolled in the Schreyer Honors College and intends major in biochemistry and molecular biology…Born June 12, 2002 in Seymour, Conn.

COACH PAVLIK ON IAN
“Ian is a big middle with another good arm. He has the potential to be an offensive force for us going forward.”


Toby Ezeonu
Hometown: North Brunswick, N.J.
Height: 6-7
Position: Middle Blocker

BEFORE PENN STATE
Named team captain senior season (2020) for North Brunswick Township High School before season cancellation due to COVID-19 pandemic…Selected to all-conference team junior season (2019) as a middle blocker…Chosen Team MVP three times (2017-19)…Helped Raider Birds to 2017 Greater Middlesex County championship…Played club volleyball for Warren Sixpack.

PERSONAL
Full name is Tobenna Derek Ezeonu…Parents are Udenma Okafor and Walter Ezeonu…Has two brothers, Jideobi and Bryan, and one sister Tatianne…Intends to major in kinesiology…Born December 25, 2001 in North Brunswick, N.J…Named pronounced “Easy-oh-new.”

COACH PAVLIK ON TOBY
“Toby is a very good jumper and has a great wingspan who we can see developing into a very physical player.”


Michal Kowal
Hometown: Rzeszów, Poland
Height: 6-2
Position: Outside Hitter

BEFORE PENN STATE
Named team captain twice (2019-20) and team MVP once (2019) with AKS Resovia Rzeszów…Won two Boys’ Youth Polish Volleyball championships (2016 and 2018)…Attended high school at V Liceum Ogólnokształcące.

PERSONAL
Full name is Michal Piotr Kowal…Parents are Magdalena Kowal and Andrzej Kowal…Andrezej has coached professional volleyball in Poland since 2004 and is the current head coach of Ślepsk Suwałki…Has one sister, Monika…Plans to enroll in the Division of Undergraduate Studies…Born June 29, 2001 in Rzeszów, Poland…Named pronounced “Co-vall.”

COACH PAVLIK ON MICHAL
“Michal is probably the most experienced player in this group. His success playing in Poland bodes well for how soon he can contribute as a Nittany Lion.”


Will Kuhns
Hometown: Greensburg, Pa.
Height: 6-3
Position: Outside Hitter

BEFORE PENN STATE
Chosen team captain and team MVP junior season (2019) as an outside hitter at Hempfield Area High School…Named second team All WPIAL twice (2018-19)…Chosen first team all section twice (2018-19) and second team all section once (2017)… Senior season canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic…Played club volleyball with the Steel City Volleyball Club…Selected for membership in the National Honors Society.

PERSONAL
Full name is William James Kuhns…Parents are Kathy Wotus and Jim Kuhns…Has two sisters, Gabby and Sadie…Kathy was a volleyball player at Gannon University 1989-1992 and was elected to the school’s Hall of Fame in 2011…Intends to enroll in the Division of Undergraduate Studies…Born November 12, 2001 in Greensburg, Pa.

COACH PAVLIK ON WILL
“Will is another Western PA athlete with a good spring and quick arm and he will be fun to see develop.”


Michael Valenzi
Hometown: Boca Raton, Fla.
Height: 6-2
Position: Outside Hitter

BEFORE PENN STATE
Selected to the A1 Division of USA Volleyball High Performance team in 2019 with current Nittany Lion teammate Ian Argento…Won silver medal with Team USA Red at the 2019 USAV High Performance Championships…Named to USAV HP Tournament All-American Team…Chosen team captain all four years for Cardinal Gibbons High School…Helped Chiefs to undefeated state championship run at 28-0 in 2018…Selected to Miami Dade and Broward First Team All-County team three times (2017-19)…Chosen Cardinal Gibbons Player of the Year junior year (2019)…Senior season canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic…Named AAU Nationals All-American twice with Ocean Bay Volleyball Club (2018-19).

PERSONAL
Full name is Michael Anthony Valenzi…Parents are Kathy and Steve Valenzi…Steve graduated from Penn State in 1985…Has one brother, Stephen, and one sister, Rachel…Intends to major in business marketing…Born April 4, 2002 in Sewickley, Pa.

COACH PAVLIK ON MICHAEL
“Michael is a skilled player with a great team personality and a heavy arm. His explosiveness and quickness will serve him well at this level.”


For more information on Penn State men’s volleyball, follow the Nittany Lions on Twitter @PennStateMVBALL and Instagram @pennstatemvball and “like” the Penn State men’s volleyball page on Facebook.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Kevin J. Stoicovy; COURTESY PENN STATE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS