Penn State Olympians to begin play Aug. 3 with U.S. women’s soccer opener

August 03, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s record contingent of 22 for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio begins competition on Wednesday, Aug. 3, two days before the opening ceremonies for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad.

The United States women’s soccer team begins Group G play Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET against New Zealand. Former Nittany Lion standouts and World Cup champions Ali Krieger and Alyssa Naeher are members of the squad. The match will air live on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN). Rio is one hour ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.

The next group of Penn Staters are set to begin competition on Saturday, Aug. 6:

  • The U.S. women’s soccer team is back in action against France at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN;
  • The U.S. women’s volleyball team, which includes former Penn State All-Americans Christa (Harmotto) Dietzen and Alisha Glass, begins group play against Puerto Rico at 4:05 p.m. on NBC;
  • Former Nittany Lion NCAA fencing champion Katarzyna Trzopek begins her quest for a medal Saturday at 8 a.m. on CNBC;
  • The Japan women’s basketball team opens competition against. Belarus at 6:45 p.m. Former Nittany Lion basketball standout Tom Hovasse is an assistant coach with the Japanese squad.

In addition to the NBC television networks, coverage of the Olympics can also be found on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports App.

The complete schedule for Penn State Athletics’ competitors and coaches and more can be found at the Nittany Lions’ Rio Olympics Central: http://www.gopsusports.com/olympians/rio-2016.html.

A school-record 22 Penn Staters are gearing up to represent their school and five countries at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Opening ceremonies are Friday, Aug. 5 and the closing ceremonies are Aug. 21.

The latest additions to Penn State’s contingent are track & field Associate Head Coach Erin Tucker and Eddie Lovett, who is a volunteer coach with the Nittany Lion track and field programs. Lovett will compete in the 110-meter hurdles for the U.S. Virgin Islands and Tucker will coach Lovett. Tucker will be coaching in the Olympics for the second time, having been a member of the Venezuela team in 2008 when he was an assistant coach at the University of Kentucky.

Lovett will be making his first Olympics appearance, bringing to 16 the number of first-time Nittany Lion Olympians.

The 2016 Nittany Lion contingent consists of 19 competitors in nine sports, including both male and female competitors in fencing and volleyball, and assistant coaches in women’s basketball, men’s track and field and men’s volleyball, for a total of 10 sports with Penn State representation.

In addition to the record total of 22 competitors and coaches, former Nittany Lion standouts Megan (Hodge) Easy and Nicole Fawcett are alternates on the U.S. women’s volleyball team in Rio.

Also, former Penn State All-American Meya Bizer is a traveling alternate in the U.S. women’s rugby team participating in the Olympics. Pete Steinberg, who led Penn State women’s rugby to nine national championships from 1995-2015, is an assistant coach with the U.S. women’s rugby squad in Rio.

Not including the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, where 65 countries did not participate, Penn State has sent athletes to each Olympic Games since 1948, a streak of 17 consecutive Games. Penn State sent a then-school record 17 competitors and coaches to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Fifteen former Penn State student-athletes and one current student-athlete will compete in Rio. Two former student-athletes will be coaching, two Penn State students who were not student-athletes will be competing, one coach will be competing and one coach will be coaching. Fifteen Penn Staters will represent the United States, three will represent Mexico, two from U.S. Virgin Islands, and one each from Ireland and Japan.

Penn State’s 2016 Olympians (22):

  • 15 former student-athletes competing (13 United States, 2 Mexico)
  • 1 current student-athlete competing (Ireland)
  • 2 former student-athletes coaching (Japan, Mexico)
  • 1 current student competing (U.S.)
  • 1 former student competing (U.S.)
  • 1 current coach competing (U.S. Virgin Islands)
  • 1 current coach coaching (U.S. Virgin Islands)

Five Penn Staters, including four former student-athletes, are returning after also competing in the 2012 Olympics: Matt Anderson (men’s volleyball), Miles Chamley-Watson (men’s fencing), Christa (Harmotto) Dietzen (women’s volleyball), Daniel Gomez-Tanamachi (men’s fencing; Mexico) and Bobby Lea (men’s cycling). Lea, who graduated from Penn State Lehigh Valley, is participating in his third consecutive Olympic Games. In addition, Alisha Glass is a member of the 2016 U.S. women’s volleyball squad after serving as an alternate on the team in 2012.

In addition to the above contingent, Penn State also will be represented in Rio by the following student-athlete competitors: Monica Aksamit (women’s fencing), Carlos Guerra (men’s volleyball; Mexico), Darrell Hill (men’s track and field), Max Holt (men’s volleyball), Joe Kovacs (men’s track and field), Ali Krieger (women’s soccer), Frank Molinaro (wrestling), Alyssa Naeher (women’s soccer), Aaron Russell (men’s volleyball), senior Shane Ryan (men’s swimming; Ireland) and Katarzyna Trzopek (women’s fencing). Molinaro is a Penn State assistant wrestling coach and graduate. Ryan will be a Penn State senior this fall after taking a one year leave of absence in order to train and try and make Ireland’s Olympic team.

Also representing the Nittany Lions in Rio are assistant coaches Ivan Contreras (men’s volleyball; Mexico) and Tom Hovasse (women’s basketball; Japan), both of whom were standout Penn State student-athletes.

Sixteen of the Nittany Lions’ contingent have earned their degrees, and U.S. men’s cyclist Matt Baranoski is on schedule to graduate in December after taking a two-year leave of absence as a full-time student in order to train for an opportunity to make the Olympic team.

Penn State’s three members on the U.S. men’s volleyball team are the most of any college or university. The Nittany Lions’ two members on the U.S. women’s volleyball squad are second-highest of any college and the pair of Penn Staters on the U.S. women’s soccer team are tied for third-highest among all colleges and universities. The complete Team USA roster for Rio is to be announced.

Penn State competitors have won 28 medals, including five gold-medal efforts, from its 93 previous Olympians. Five Penn State alumni earned medals at the 2012 Olympic Games. Harmotto and Hodge were part of the silver medal winning U.S. women’s volleyball team, which lost in the gold medal match to Brazil. In women’s soccer, Erin McLeod and Carmelina Moscato earned bronze medals as Canada defeated France in the bronze medal match. Natalie Dell, a 2007 graduate and member of the club-level Penn State rowing squad, helped Team U.S.A. earn a bronze medal in the women's quadruple sculls in 2012.

Suzie McConnell is the last Penn Stater to capture a gold medal, earning the medal as a member of the 1988 U.S. women’s basketball team. McConnell also took home bronze at the 1992 Games.

Check Penn State’s Olympics Central at http://www.gopsusports.com/olympians/rio-2016.html and the Penn State Athletics social media channels for the competition schedule for Penn State’s competitors and updates throughout the Rio Olympics.

  • Ali Krieger 2016 U.S. Olympic Team

    Ali Krieger

    IMAGE: Team USA
  • Alyssa Naeher 2016 U.S. Olympic Team

    Alyssa Naeher

    IMAGE: Team USA
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Last Updated August 12, 2016