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Sports Columns

Nittany Lions jumping through high hoops

(This column was published Saturday and updated with the latest AP ranking today.) There’s never been a Penn State basketball season quite like the one that’s developing before our eyes. Yes, the Nittany Lions have had great players (Jesse Arnelle, Joe Crispin, Talor Battle), and yes, ...

Black coaches still a rarity in NCAA football

Colleges around the country wrapped up their football signing classes this week, proudly touting scores of African-American athletes as the next big stars. It’s a whole different situation on the sideline. Segregation still rules the coaching ranks. And not just the top guys. A review ...

Powerful messages for women

What a week it was. Sports headlines should have been dominated by preparations for the Super Bowl, but instead, the biggest show on earth was overshadowed by the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others in a California helicopter crash. In the days that followed, Bryant, ...

BG deserves homecourt edge, too

Perhaps the most interesting boys basketball game of the season in Blair County is set to be played Monday night. The concern centers around how many people will actually get to watch it. Altoona will visit Bishop Guilfoyle’s Pleasant Valley Gymnasium for the first time in four years, and ...

He’s seen it all in KC: Altoona native Moore part of Chiefs’ lore

Bob Moore’s cell phone has been blowing up lately. That’s what happens when you work for a team set to play in the Super Bowl. Moore has spent 40-plus years with the Kansas City Chiefs organization, first as its public relations director and the last 10 as the team’s ...

Excitement builds with start of D6 2A Duals

The excitement of the 2019-2020 wrestling season gets ramped up a little bit more tonight when the first round of the District 6 Class 2A Duals begins. Glendale (13-1) enters the Duals as the No. 1 seed, while returning runner-up Huntingdon (11-3) is the second seed. Yes, Huntingdon beat ...

BTN continues to pay off for PSU

It’s a big night of back-to-back Penn State action Friday on the Big Ten Network. A home hockey game against Notre Dame (6 p.m.) starts the evening and a wrestling match at top-ranked Iowa (9 p.m.) completes the doubleheader. Sure, football drives BTN — the popularity of that sports ...

Bellwood-Antis displays good sportsmanship

Sometimes you hear about the ugly side of high school sports like riots, shootings, trash-talking fans and fights in the stands. Then there’s the good side, like what happened at Thursday’s wrestling match at Bellwood-Antis. I figured there was going to be a big crowd for the Blue ...

Zero tolerance policy needed in pro sports

I grew up with a hard-core, old-school coach. My Dad preached the values of athletics to us from a very young age. While participating in sports, we were to learn skills, but also values; good habits, but also important lessons; and the biggest lesson of all was sportsmanship. We were to ...

Looks like the right time to take a look at postseason picture

Most of the area’s teams have played at least 11 games, meaning the regular season is more than half over. So let’s take a peek at where the teams in the Mirror’s coverage area stand and where they might be by the time the playoffs begin. We’ll start on the girls side where once ...

Giger: Lions right ship in crucial game

UNIVERSITY PARK — Most coaches won’t admit publicly that one contest is a must-win game, even when it’s pretty obvious. Like the game Penn State played Saturday afternoon. “Was it a must win?” Patrick Chambers replied when asked. “I don’t believe in that. I believe there’s a ...

Bellwood-Antis star maintains humility

CLAYSBURG — When Tuesday’s game at Claysburg-Kimmel was briefly stopped to honor Alli Campbell’s Blair County scoring record-breaking basket, it may have been the only moment Campbell felt out of place during the game. She was trying to get back on defense. Suddenly, teammates were ...

High school blowouts can be awkward both ways

BELLWOOD — Friday night was a special one for Bellwood-Antis coach Jim Swaney, who won his 500th game as a head coach. But as happy and emotional as he was after the game, he likely felt somewhat awkward during it. His Lady Blue Devils overwhelmed a rebuilding Moshannon Valley team that ...

Giger: Bad week, bad signs for PSU basketball

UNIVERSITY PARK — There was a distinct sound of bricks being thrown at the basket as Penn State started Saturday’s game 0-for-12, and the end of the disappointing loss to Wisconsin brought about the sound of people starting to jump off the Nittany Lion bandwagon. Maybe that’s unfair — ...

Goodman Shaffer: Hikes inspire celebration of state parks

Another new year (and an exciting new decade) is under way. For many of us, 2020 began with a hike at a Pennsylvania State Park. The First Day Hike initiative has become a tradition in our region and around the nation, one that’s growing every year. By the numbers: since 2012, all 50 ...

Penn State puts bow on year, ‘trending up’

DALLAS — After the Gatorade dousing of James Franklin and all the colorful confetti had fallen to celebrate Penn State’s 53-39 Cotton Bowl victory over Memphis, the Nittany Lions staged a mini-dance party in their locker room. Yes, they regretted the two losses this season, especially at ...

Memphis has impressive showing in defeat

DALLAS — How about a tip of the cap — or cowboy hat given where the game was played — to the Memphis Tigers. To be honest, I thought they were on the verge of getting blown out. Memphis started out well, but once Penn State figured out it could run at will and grabbed a 28-13 lead, ...

Keep your head in the game: Lions will need right mindset against Memphis

DALLAS — The bowl season, especially the non-College Football Playoff games, can be littered with duds. Witness the 14-0 (lack of) effort Miami — the U, not of Ohio — mailed in during Thursday’s Independence Bowl loss to Louisana Tech that resulted in the Hurricanes’ offensive ...

Coordinator needs freedom to make changes

This is exactly the kind of hire James Franklin should have made for the offensive coordinator job. The key word there is “kind.” I cannot sit here and tell you Kirk Ciarrocca is a home run hire who will do Joe Moorhead type of things for Penn State’s offense. No one can predict the ...