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Staff Picks: Ultimate Penn State Draft

With Penn State’s rich history and tradition, as well as modern characters and landmark locations, five of our staffers undertook an ultimate, all-things-Penn State draft to rank and compete with a team of Happy Valley icons.

The rules are simple. Five teams of seven things were drafted in a snaking order. We prioritized making a well-rounded squad encompassing all sorts of Penn State experiences, including sports, famous alumni, events, and downtown.

Which collection do you think best embodies Penn State?

Jack Scott

  1. The Nittany Lion
  2. McLanahan’s
  3. Champs Downtown
  4. The Willard Preacher
  5. The White Loop
  6. Berkey Creamery
  7. South Allen Winter Lights

Blessed with the first pick, I had to take the undisputed, lock-of-all-locks, prospect in the pool: the stately Nittany Lion mascot. What can’t he do? One-handed push-ups, Bob Ross paintings, ear flapping, and wrestling Scarlet Knights are just a few of his biggest strengths — he’s truly the Symbol of Our Best.

McLanahan’s and Champs are my picks for the downtown State College role. The best bar and best meatball subs in town can’t be beaten. The Willard Preacher made my team because his red sweatshirt and jeans are quite possibly the most Penn State getup outside of basic blues.

The White Loop is a serious sleeper for student life. The Berkey Creamery in the sixth round was the steal of the century, with world-famous ice cream. Finally, I opted for a more abstract feeling for my final pick. South Allen Street in the wintertime with lights aglow is sure to make any Penn Stater, young or old, feel warm and fuzzy.

Nolan Wick

  1. Joe Paterno
  2. Guy Gadowsky
  3. Onward State
  4. Keegan-Michael Key
  5. Raising Cane’s
  6. Jahan Dotson
  7. Rec Hall

My team is easily the best. JoePa is the most significant figure in Penn State history, as he was a legendary figure both on and off the field.

Onward State is the best publication on this campus — it always has been and always will be. Meanwhile, Jahan Dotson is on his way to becoming a superstar in Washington. Keegan-Michael Key is both extremely successful and funny. Guy Gadowsky, Raising Canes, and Rec Hall are also amazing pieces that give my team an all-star caliber lineup with lots of depth. It doesn’t get better than this.

Ashley Connington

  1. Saquon Barkley
  2. Beaver Stadium
  3. West Dining Cookies
  4. Ty Burrell
  5. Doggie’s Pub
  6. Women’s Soccer
  7. Bryce Jordan Center

Starting off strong, I took Saquon Barkley. No list could be complete without Barkley, especially one of mine, as I’ve been obsessed with Barkley since 2016 like many other people. Barkley embodies Penn State as a star athlete and stellar person, and he is one of the biggest names in the NFL. Everyone knows and loves him.

Of course, there would be no Barkley without Beaver Stadium, the holy grail of Penn State football. It also holds the No. 1 student section in the country. The third pick went to West Dining cookies because they are simply the best cookies on campus. Who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies?

Penn State alum Ty Burrell is one of the most genuine celebrities in Hollywood, and he plays everyone’s favorite dad, Phil Dunphy, in Modern Family, possibly the best sitcom created. I also took Doggie’s Pub because my brother has taken his dog there, and that’s just amazing to me. When I turn 21 years old, I would go to Doggie’s just to hope there are a lot of dogs hanging out there.

Penn State women’s soccer has national team players and just won the Big Ten Tournament, so I think that’s enough of an explanation. I somehow managed to get the Bryce Jordan Center as my last pick, as it not only hosts concerts, freshman orientation, and basketball games, but it’s also the home of THON. The last hours of THON and all the line dances need a home, and the BJC provides that, helping THON be the huge event it is.

Marie Moyer

  1. Panda Express
  2. Hockey Valley
  3. Halal Cart
  4. THON’s Final Four
  5. The Waffle Shop
  6. The HUB
  7. Tailgating

My picks are based on the memories made at Penn State. Halal Cart and the Waffle Shop have consistently rejuvenated me and my friends in times of poor health.

Tailgating includes some of the best food you can get with a food economy that rivals the barter system in a utopian-level community of tents, buffalo chicken dip, and Cornhole. The HUB is my refuge for long nights of studying, and Panda Express comes in clutch with its weeklong, late-night hours.

Lastly, Hockey Valley and The Roar Zone, along with THON’s Final Four, have made me elicit so much emotion — both intense tears and excitement. My team is a winner on shared emotion and memory alone.

CJ Gill

  1. The White Out
  2. Old Main
  3. The Lion Shrine
  4. Bo Nickal
  5. Family Clothesline
  6. Women’s Volleyball
  7. The Arboretum

I have the most complete team to win an everything Penn State competition. Do you want sports? I have it. Do you want to go downtown? I have it. Do you want famous landmarks? I have that, too.

I have my stars in the White Out and the Lion Shrine. The White Out is the best event of the year for Penn State students, and the Lion Shrine is one of the best symbols of the university. Those two together make a dynamic duo to lead my team. Alongside them is my sneaky Penn State women’s volleyball pick. Remember, the team won four consecutive national titles not too long ago!

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