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Which Nittany Lions Have Qualified For Tokyo’s Summer Olympics?

Update, 5:50 p.m., July 2: Former Penn State swimmer Melissa Rodriguez was named to the Mexican Olympic Team Friday afternoon. She’s now the second Nittany Lion, alongside Gabe Castano, to represent Mexico in the Summer Games.

Rodriguez will swim in the 100 and 200-meter breaststroke events. She still holds the fastest all-time 200-meter breaststroke at Penn State.

Update, 10:20 a.m., July 1: Former Penn State track and field stand out Michael Shuey will represent the United States in Tokyo this summer.

The Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania native will compete in the men’s javelin event. He still holds the all-time Nittany Lion record in the event.

Update, 2:40 p.m., June 29: Former Penn State star swimmer Shane Ryan will also head to Tokyo and represent Ireland in the 100-meter backstroke. Ryan still holds the Nittany Lion record in that event with a blazing time of 44.78 seconds.

Original Story: At least 15 former Penn State star athletes will have a chance to showcase their skills on a global stage in just a few weeks at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

A long list of Nittany Lions have qualified for the Olympic Games, which will kick off on Friday, July 23, including standouts from women’s soccer, men’s and women’s volleyball, fencing, and several other sports.

Former Penn State goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher will be the sole Nittany Lion on the U.S. Soccer Women’s National Team. Naeher has been a member of the squad since 2013, and also competed in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. Fellow goalkeeper Erin McLeod, a former Penn State All-American, is headed to her third Olympic Games as an alternate, but with her native Canada.

Three former star Penn State fencers, Kaito Streets, Mohamed Hassan, and Andrew Mackiewicz are also headed to Tokyo. After wrapping up his collegiate career with a 101-52 overall record and a Men’s Saber National Championship, Streets continued to find success professionally and will now represent his birth country of Japan.

Hassan will represent Egypt this summer, while Mackiewicz will be the only Nittany Lion representing the United States. Mackiewicz won back-to-back NCAA titles for the Nittany Lions in 2015 and 2016, and most recently racked up three top-64 finishes during the Olympic qualifying period.

As for women’s volleyball, Micha Hancock and Haleigh Washington were both selected for the United States team, while Megan Courtney was picked as an alternate.

All three of the former Penn State stars played on the 2014 National Championship squad. Courtney was selected as the tournament’s MVP, Hancock was the AVCA National Player of the Year, and Washington was selected as Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2014.

As for the men’s volleyball national team, Nittany Lions Matt Anderson, Aaron Russell, and Max Holt will all make the trip to Tokyo. Anderson and Holt, who are headed for their third and second Olympic Games, respectively, both qualified for the 12-man roster, while Russell will feature as an alternate.

Former Penn State wrestler and four-time All-American David Taylor will represent the United States on the mat. He’ll compete in the men’s freestyle event at 86 kilograms. While he’s considered one of the most accomplished Nittany Lion wrestlers of all time, this is the first U.S. Olympic Team he’s qualified for.

Gabe Castano and Joe Kovacs wrap things up for the Nittany Lions in Tokyo. Castano swam a 22.01-second clip in the 50-meter freestyle event last weekend at Olympic Trials in Barcelona, and the Allentown native will now have a chance to represent Mexico in the Summer Games.

Kovacs, a former Penn State track and field standout, is headed to his second Summer Olympic Games after placing second in the men’s shot put event at trials. The Nazareth, Pennsylvania native earned a silver medal for the United States at the 2016 Summer Olympics and is already a two-time world champion in shot put.

Additionally, Penn State women’s rugby star Kayla Canett will join the Olympic Team in Tokyo alongside the Women’s Sevens team.

Editor’s note: We’ll update this post with more info on Penn State’s Olympians as more qualify this summer. Check back later to see who else will rep the Nittany Lions and compete for the gold!

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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