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While You Were Away On Spring Break…

We’re back.

After a much-needed spring break, Penn State students are back in Happy Valley to finish out the final seven weeks of the semester. While you were in Fort Lauderdale or Cabo, you may have missed some of the happenings back here in State College or in the Penn State sports world.

Luckily, we have you covered!


  • Penn State launched a new platform to track recent trends in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) across University Park and all Commonwealth Campuses. The dashboard provides several years of information about enrollment and employment through the lens of ethnicity and race.
  • Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro proposed a 7.1% funding increase for Penn State’s 2023-24 academic year. His proposal is significantly lower than the 47.6% ($115.2 million) increase requested by Penn State administrators and student leadership. His proposed increase would bring Penn State’s general support funding to $259.3 million. Shapiro also proposed a 7.1% increase for the Pennsylvania College of Technology, a 2% increase for Penn State Agricultural Research and Cooperative Extension, $2.35 million for the Invent Penn State initiative, and $15.1 million for Penn State Health and the College of Medicine.
  • Penn State Libraries opened late on Friday, March 10, so employees could attend the funeral of a colleague. Earl Houser Jr., a collection maintenance supervisor, unexpectedly passed away on Friday, March 3, after suffering a heart attack at work.
  • State College plans to form a partnership with Nizhyn, Ukraine, as its first “sister city.” On Monday, March 6, the State College Borough Council unanimously approved a resolution to endorse the relationship. The borough can’t directly provide funds to Nizhyn, but it can highlight fundraisers and form a long-term partnership with it. 
  • Get your Tennessee Whiskey ready, Penn Staters. Country music star Chris Stapleton is coming to the Bryce Jordan Center on October 6 as part of his “All American Road Show.” Tickets go on sale March 17.


  • For the first time in program history, Penn State women’s hockey captured the CHA Championship trophy. Julie Gough’s overtime goal gave the Nittany Lions a thrilling victory that gave them an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament — its first-ever appearance. In the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Penn State battled hard but lost a heartbreaking, triple-overtime game to Quinnipiac.
  • Penn State wrestling legend Bo Nickal is still ridiculously dominant. The Nittany Lion won his UFC debut via first-round submission back on March 4.

“Man, I feel at home. I’ve been training my whole life for this,” Nickal said after the fight. “I feel like I was born, bred, and I train every day so I can come out here and dominate — and that’s what I did.”

  • Speaking of dominance, Penn State wrestling brought home many accolades during the Big Ten Championships. Not only did Cael Sanderson’s squad bring home the team title, but four wrestlers — Roman Bravo-Young, Levi Haines, Carter Starocci, and Aaron Brooks — all earned individual titles. Shortly after the tournament, Sanderson took home conference Coach of the Year honors, while Haines earned the Freshman of the Year award. Additionally, Haines won the Wrestler of the Week award following his upset win over No. 1 Peyton Robb.
  • Penn State men’s hockey was eliminated from the Big Ten Tournament by Ohio State in the first round. The Nittany Lions forced a game three but ultimately fell to the Buckeyes 3-1 in the win-or-go-home game. Guy Gadowsky’s crew now awaits its NCAA Tournament fate, with the bracket being announced Sunday, March 19.
  • Seven Penn State football players — Joey Porter Jr., Ji’Ayir Brown, Brenton Strange, PJ Mustipher, Parker Washington, Mitchell Tinsley, and Juice Scruggs — all participated in the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. With a chance to meet with teams and impress during on-field drills, Porter and Strange stood out among Nittany Lions.
  • Penn State men’s volleyball kept its stellar season going with a win over No. 1 Hawaii in the Outrigger Challenge. The Nittany Lions sit at 17-2 on the season, with losses to highly-ranked UCLA and Long Beach State.
  • Penn State men’s lacrosse defeated two top-10 opponents over spring break. First up was then-No. 10 Penn, which the Nittany Lions beat 15-9. Next, Jeff Tambroni’s team beat then-No. 3 Cornell on the road 10-6. The two impressive victories led to the Nittany Lions jumping to No. 5 in the latest rankings.
  • The New York Giants placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on star running back Saquon Barkley. Under the non-exclusive tag, Barkley is free to negotiate with other teams, but the Giants can match any offer or let Barkley sign with another team, which would result in New York receiving two first-round picks from that team.
  • What more can you say about Penn State men’s basketball? The Nittany Lions started their electric run with a 65-64 win over Maryland in their regular-season finale. Back-to-back tight victories over Illinois and Northwestern propelled Penn State to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals, where it upset Indiana 77-73 to advance to the championship game. Despite losing to Purdue 67-65 in the Big Ten Tournament Championship, the Nittany Lions battled hard against the Boilermakers and earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011. No. 10-seeded Penn State will take on No. 7-seeded Texas A&M at 9:55 p.m. on Thursday, March 16, in Des Moines, Iowa. During the tournament announcement chaos, the Big Ten announced that Jalen Pickett and Seth Lundy made the conference All-Tournament team.

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About the Author

Gabe Angieri

Gabe is a senior majoring in journalism and is Onward State's managing editor. He grew up in Lindenhurst, New York, and has had the absolute misfortune of rooting for the Jets, Mets, and Knicks. If you want to see his bad sports takes, follow him on Twitter @gabeangieri and direct all hate mail and death threats to [email protected]

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