Uplifting Experience

Penn State football team tackles a great cause with its annual strength and conditioning event at Holuba Hall.

He was drenched in sweat and clutching a mostly empty sports drink container, but Stephfon Green looked genuinely thrilled Friday after his workout at Penn State's Lift For Life fundraiser.

Green was happy to be back in action after recovering from leg and ankle injuries he received in the Nittany Lions' 38-24 loss to Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl – a loss for which the sophomore tailback said he blames himself because of his second-quarter fumble, which set up a demoralizing Trojans touchdown just before halftime.

But mostly he was happy to be part of a valiant effort – the fight against kidney cancer.

"You have no other emotion in your body other than to be happy, because you're doing it for such a good cause," said Green, whose four-man Lift For Life team, Monstars, also featured Devon Still, Ollie Ogbu and Johnnie Troutman. "The people who come out and watch you every Saturday are the same people we're giving back to. It means a lot. It's a good feeling knowing we're doing this for a great cause."

Green missed spring practice but said his ankle has been feeling OK for about a month. He said he's "full go" and is eager for the start of preseason practice.

Players up and down the roster were full-go on Friday for what many consider one of their most physically demanding experiences at Penn State.

"There's really nothing you can do to prepare for this workout," sophomore safety Drew Astorino said. "But it's fun and it's for a great cause. You get a little pumped up because there's a crowd here. We do a lot of stretching so nobody gets hurt, but it's a tough lift. … It's definitely one of the toughest, if not the toughest workout of the year. But we stay in touch with some of the patients and the families we help out, and there's nothing better than doing something like this for cancer patients."

Though the temperatures outside were in the mid-70s with little of the humidity for which Arts Festival weekend is renown, the conditions in Holuba Hall were as grueling as ever. Players took part in 11 events, beginning with leg curls and ending with the tire flip, in which they were required to repeatedly lift a massive tractor tire and propel it across one of Holuba's practice fields.

Those strength-sapping events were particularly challenging for 4th and Long, a team consisting of punters Jeremy Boone and Ryan Breen and place kickers Collin Wagner and David Soldner.

"We thought we'd give the crowd something to laugh at," Boone joked. "We do the same weight as these linebackers and linemen who are pulling sleds and flipping tires. We just thought it would be nice for the crowd to see if the kickers can hold their own. … We compete hard on every event that we have. But for us, it's about completion. We don't want to call it quits or pass out at any of the stations. We kind of do the best we can do and complete the event. "

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