STATE COLLEGE – With just over a month remaining until opening ceremonies for the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, past and present Penn State athletes from all sports are entrenched in qualifiers and trials for the international competition.
International Olympic Committee members last year postponed the scheduled Olympic Games because of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Rising sophomore swimmer Cal Stanford on Monday earned a 15th-place finish in the 50-meter freestyle during Monday’s U.S. Olympic Trials in the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska.
Nittany Lions’ senior Gabe Castano over the weekend recorded a fifth-place in the 50-meter freestyle (22:23) in Barcelona, Spain, as part of the 2021 Mare Nostrum tour, an Olympic qualifier. In 2019, Castano inked a Mexican national record with a time of 22.20.
Next week marks the beginning of Wave II of the U.S. Olympic Trials. A quintet of Penn State swimmers will compete in the event: rising senior Michael Daly, 2020-21 senior Hayden Harlow, 2019-20 senior Maddie Hart, rising sophomore Jake Houck and 2020 senior Will Roberson.
Stephen Nedoroscik, a Penn State 2020 senior, claimed the national title after posting scores of 15.1 on the pommel horse in two routines during the three-day event that concluded on Saturday. The win advances Nedoroscik to the upcoming U.S. Olympic Trials later this month in St. Louis.
“Coming into this meet there was a lot of pressure. It’s a very important meet to me. There was a lot on the line,” Nedoroscik said in a statement. “The last few weeks of workouts haven’t been the best, but I was able to get here and change my mindset completely. I was able to go from almost dreading this competition because of how poor I was doing in the gym to someone that was confident and feeling myself out there. I was able to find my zone and stay in it.”
Penn State women’s volleyball alumnae Micha Hancock and Haleigh Washington were announced as two of the 12 members of the Team USA roster. Hancock starred at Penn State from 2011-14, and along with Washington, was on the Nittany Lions’ squad that won the 2014 national championship. Hancock (setter) also won a national championship during the 2013 season.
Washington (blocker) starred at Penn State from 2014-17. Her .492 hitting efficiency during the 2017 season gave her the third-best single-season hitting efficiency in the history of the NCAA.
Former Nittany Lion Megan Courtney (libero) secured a spot on Team USA as an alternate.
Earlier this spring, three wrestlers affiliated with the State College-based Nittany Lions Wrestling Club claimed Olympic Trials Championships: Thomas Gilman (57 kg), David Taylor (86 kg) and Kyle Snyder (97 kg).
Penn State sent its first athletes to the Olympics in 1904 held in St. Louis. as Nate Cartmell and Fred Englehardt competed in track-and-field events. Twenty-two Nittany Lions competed in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Since 1904, Penn State athletes have won 54 total medals (13 gold, 14 silver and 27 bronze).