On campus: Valparaiso’s Sam Ficken sets new home mark in PSU’s win
By John Mutka Post-Tribune senior correspondent September 23, 2013 11:12PM
Updated: October 25, 2013 6:24AM
On a day when it rained, Penn State’s Sam Ficken shined.
The Valparaiso junior’s 54-yard field goal set a Beaver Stadium record by a Penn State kicker and was the longest since 1979. Ohio University’s Gary Homer owns the overall stadium record with a 57-yarder in 1973.
“The rain didn’t affect my steps at all,” said Ficken, who set a school record of 15 straight field goals dating back to his last 10 attempts in 2012. The streak ended with a 57-yard miss in a loss to Central Florida on Sept. 14.
“It was pretty much normal kicking that I do in practice four times a week,” Ficken said in postgame interviews. “On the long ones you have to go in with the mindset that it’s an extra point. If you hit it well it’s going to go through.”
In Saturday’s victory over Kent State, Ficken also booted a 25-yarder and four extra points. He is now 7 for 8 on field goals, has converted all 16 extra points and is averaging more than 62 yards on kickoffs.
Mason Zurek’s (St. John/Andrean) workload increased with a second quarter injury to Wabash’s star running back Tyler Holmes (ACL).
Zurek responded with 63 yards and a touchdown in 14 carries in the 50-13 rout of previously unbeaten Denison. He also caught one pass for seven yards. Teammate James Kraus (North Judson) added 34 yards on two receptions.
St. Joseph’s Gavin Voss (Wheeler) kicked a 22-yard field goal and four extra points in a 45-17 romp at Alderson Broaddus.
Keaton Lyons (Rensselaer) chalked up a team-high eight tackles, including two sacks, in Franklin’s 48-7 rout of winless Manchester.
Wide receiver Stephen Simms (Valparaiso) boosted his season total to 10 with two receptions in St. Xavier’s 41-10 rout of previous unbeaten Robert Morris. He scored on a five-yard pass play.
In a relief role Joe Gill (Munster) completed three of five passes for 24 yards. He also uncorked a 41-yard punt.
Jordan Ransome (LaPorte LaLumiere) figured in three tackles in Butler’s 30-23 loss to visiting Dartmouth. The defensive lineman boosted his three-game total to seven stops.
Rachel Zajac (St. John/Lake Central) was IUPUI’s first-ever top-10 finisher in the annual Indiana Intercollegiate Invitational. Her 5K time of 18:28.31 was good for ninth place. Teammate Jordan Hanaway (Hebron) followed with a personal-best 19:10.30 in a meet dominated by Indiana.
St. Joseph’s placed eight in a field of 26 teams in the National Catholic Invitational with the help of Trisha Hanlon (Hebron), who finished 37th among 207 runners with a time of 19:39.2 at Notre Dame. Morgan Kleinaman (Crown Point) also scored with a 60th-place finish for the Pumas.
Now that Michael Lipton (Crown Point) is a graduate student, he’s using his fifth year to transition from dribbling basketballs to kicking and headers. St. Joseph’s Pumas benefited over the weekend, beating Maryville 1-0 on the former starting guard’s first goal.