14 Penn State Athletes to Represent Team USA at 2024 Summer Olympics

Penn State will lead the Big Ten in Team USA athletes at the 2024 Summer Olympics — for about a week at least, until UCLA and USC officially join the conference. Fourteen current or former Penn State athletes will compete for Team USA at the Paris Games, the most of any (very current) Big Ten program. Only UCLA (17) and USC (16), which officially become Big Ten members Aug. 2, will send more athletes to Paris.

Penn State is tied with Texas for the fourth-most number of athletes on Team USA’s roster. Here’s a look at the 14 Penn State athletes who will represent Team USA at the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Matt Anderson, Volleyball

Anderson, who played volleyball at Penn State from 2005-09, is competing in his fourth Olympics. He helped Team USA to a bronze medal in Rio in 2016. A 6-10 outside hitter, Anderson helped Penn State to the NCAA title in 2008 before turning pro after his junior season. He has led the U.S. men’s team in scoring annually since 2011. Anderson is one of three former Nittany Lions on the U.S. men’s team.

Aaron Brooks, Wrestling

Brooks just completed one of the great careers in Penn State wrestling history. He became the program’s second four-time NCAA champion, won the Hodge Trophy as the nation’s top college wrestler and defeated Penn State legend David Taylor for the 86 kg freestyle title at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Brooks, who won a 2023 under-23 world title, can join Taylor as the only Penn State wrestlers to win Olympic gold.

Kayla Canett, Rugby

Canett played rugby, a club sport, at Penn State from 2016-20 and became the program’s first U.S. Olympian at the 2020 Games in Tokyo. Canett, who helped Penn State to a 2017 national championship, also has competed in two Rugby World Cups.

Sam Coffey, Soccer

Coffey, who began her college career at Boston College and played for the Penn State women’s soccer team from 2019-21, made her first U.S. Olympic Team. The midfielder, who plays professionally with the Portland Thorns of the NWSL, has made 17 appearances with the USWNT, scoring one goal. Coffey is among four team members playing in their first senior world tournament.

Phia Gladieux, Field Hockey

The only current Penn State athlete representing Team USA in Paris, Gladieux is the reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and a four-time All-American. She has scored 74 career goals in four seasons and will return for a fifth this fall.

Margherita Guzzi Vincenti, Fencing

Guzzi Vincenti, 33, won an NCAA fencing title as a freshman and was a four-time All-American at Penn State. Originally from Italy, she made the country’s national team at 14. She will compete in epee in her first Olympics.

Olympic fencer Margherita Guzzi Vincenti throws out a ceremonial first pitch before a Major League Baseball game.

Olympic fencer Margherita Guzzi Vincenti throws out a ceremonial first pitch before the Milwaukee Brewers game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at American Family Field in Milwaukee. / Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Alexis Holmes, Track & Field

Holmes spent one season at Penn State, winning Big Ten indoor and outdoor titles in the 400 meters and was named the Big Ten women’s freshman of the year for the indoor season. Holmes then transferred to Kentucky, winning the SEC indoor 400 title. Holmes will compete in the 400 in Paris.

Maxwell Holt, Volleyball

A three-time Olympian and 2016 bronze medalist, Holt reunites with former Nittany Lions teammate Matt Anderson for Team USA. A 15-year veteran of international volleyball, Holt was a two-time, first-team All-American at Penn State and joined Anderson on the 2008 national-championship team. Holt has played professionally in China, Russia and Italy.

Joe Kovacs, Track & Field

Kovacs is among the most decorated shot-putters in U.S. history, winning two world titles and two Olympic silver medals. He has competed against fellow American Ryan Crouser for more than a decade. Crouser is the two-time defending Olympic champ, but Kovacs has the world’s top throw this season (23.13 meters). Kovacs’ wife Ashley, his personal coach, serves as the women’s throwing coach for Team USA.

Joe Kovacs throws the shot put in a stadium at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

Joe Kovacs places second in the shot put at 22.43 meters during the US Olympic Team Trials at Hayward Field. / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Alyssa Naeher, Soccer

Team USA’s veteran goalkeeper is playing in her third Olympics with more than 100 international appearances. She won 50 games as Penn State’s goalkeeper and has managed the U.S. net for two World Cup titles. Naeher ranks third in caps, wins and shutouts among goalkeepers in U.S. women’s soccer history.

U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher smiles after a referee makes a call during an international soccer match.

U.S. Women’s National Team goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher reacts to a call by the referee during the second half in a match against the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team. / Dustin Safranek-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Nedoroscik, Gymnastics

Nedoroscik made his first Olympic team as a specialist on the pommel horse. Nedoroscik, who competed at Penn State from 2016-20, won the 2021 world championship on the pommel horse.

Zain Retherford, Wrestling

Retherford, a three-time NCAA champ at Penn State, nearly retired from freestyle competition in 2023. But working with the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club, Retherford devised a weight-management and training program that helped him win the 65 kg title at the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Trials. Retherford is one of four U.S. Olympians representing the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club in Paris.

Wrestler Zain Retherford pauses during a match as blood runs down his face at the U..S. Olympic Wrestling Trials.

Zain Retherford competes in the 65 kg freestyle weight class at the 2024 U.S. Olympic Wrestling Trials in State College. / Dan Rainville / USA TODAY NETWORK

Aaron Russell, Volleyball

An alternate in 2020, Russell returns to the U.S. roster this year to compete in his second Olympics. He was part of the 2016 team that won bronze in Rio. A 6-9 outside hitter, Russell was a two-time first-team All-American at Penn State and was named to the NCAA all-tournament team in 2015. He also was a three-time EIVA player of the year.

Haleigh Washington, Volleyball

Washington, a 2017 Penn State graduate, has been a member of the national team since 2018 and was named the top middle blocker at the 2020 Games in Tokyo, where the U.S. won gold. She was a three-time All-American at Penn State, leading the team to the 2014 NCAA title.

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AllPennState is the place for Penn State news, opinion and perspective on the SI.com network. Publisher Mark Wogenrich has covered Penn State for more than 20 years, tracking three coaching staffs, three Big Ten titles and a catalog of great stories. Follow him on X (or Twitter) @MarkWogenrich.

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