About this time four years ago, I decided to attend the University of Pittsburgh with plans of becoming a physical therapist or an athletic trainer. I saw that career path as a way for me to stay involved with sports past high school, while also learning the skill at one of the best programs in the country. It took me just one semester at Pitt to realize that science wasn’t really for me.
So naturally, like many other students, I changed majors to something better suited for my personal interests. Luckily, it didn’t take much time or thinking to decide on a new major, and therefore a new career path. All I had to do was think back to my eighth-grade yearbook, where pages filled with superlatives and other fun facts about our graduating class had a section titled, “What do you see yourself doing in 15 years?”
My answer was simple: anchoring for ESPN.
After taking some journalism classes, including Sports Writing with research assistant professor Doug Swanson, I knew this was the field for me. During the fall of my junior year, I began working at The Pitt News sports desk. In my two years working here, there were plenty of ups and downs in regard to Pitt’s athletics.
Pitt football making ACC Championship
One of my proudest watching head football coach Pat Narduzzi lead the team to an ACC Championship game last season, something that no one outside of Pittsburgh predicted. I was lucky to be in attendance for that game against Clemson, the eventual National Champion, down in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was the most riveting sports event that I’ve ever experienced, despite the bad weather and final score. The atmosphere of big-time college football is like no other, and I’m glad to have experienced it.
Taking down Penn State in 2016
One of my best memories as a fan was, without a doubt, the Penn State football game of 2016. Thanks to a last second interception by defensive back Ryan Lewis, Pitt upset our in-state rival 42-39. Shockingly, South Oakland did not burn to the ground, but I bet it came close with how excited students were after the victory.
This past season, South Oakland was once again filled with energy when Penn State returned for a prime-time night game — something rare for Pitt football. Sadly, the score of this game was as bad as the downpouring rain. Either way, I can’t talk about my college experience without mentioning the Penn State game days, the tailgates and of course … the Gravel Lot, the tailgate haven for Pitt students up until it was closed off in 2016, RIP.
Seeing NBA talent at the Petersen Events Center
As for Pitt basketball, I fell in love with the Oakland Zoo my first year at Pitt. There’s nothing like jumping around with friends while sitting in some of the best seats in all of the Petersen Center for an ACC basketball game. A few times in my first year, there were sleepovers inside the Pete lobby for games against top-ranked teams like Duke and Virginia.
Over the course of my four years I watched Zion Williamson, Marvin Bagley III, Brandon Ingram, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum and plenty other current NBA players. I’d say Zion Williamson was the best in person, while Duke’s Grayson Allen was the grittiest player, despite being a chronic tripper.
There have been tons of great players in my time at Pitt across all sports. With that being said, a quick Mount Rushmore of my favorite Pitt players from fall 2015 through spring 2019 is as follows and in no ranking order — Cameron Johnson, Jamel Artis, James Conner and Rozelle Nix.
What are the odds
My time at The Pitt News is something I’ll forever be thankful for. I was given the opportunity to write about the sports events or topics that I love. This past year, I concentrated on sports gambling with a weekly column where I broke down games and gave analysis. I kept track of my record each time, going 45-35 this semester and recording a full-year total record of 82-70. If that was the MLB, I’d be on track to make the playoffs with 10 games remaining on the season.