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Oakland Zoo Appears to be like to Deliver again the Glory Days with Pitt’s Sizzling Begin within the ACC

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The Oakland Zoo, the scholar part of Pitt’s basketball groups, established themselves as among the best in school basketball beginning within the early 2000s, coinciding with the rise of Pitt males’s basketball and the development of the Petersen Occasions Middle.

The Zoo helped to create raucous environments, putting worry into opposing groups and setting the tone for among the best dwelling courts within the nation, with among the best dwelling information to match.

Issues began to vary after the 2015-16 season when Jamie Dixon resigned as head coach to return to his alma mater at TCU. Pitt employed Kevin Stallings and the staff went from NCAA Match appearances to backside of the ACC in two seasons, with an 0-18 file in ACC play in 2017-18. Inside simply two years, the Oakland Zoo went from some of the vibrant, energetic pupil sections to abandoned, with solely 30 to 40 college students exhibiting up in attendance for some video games.

Pitt then fired Stallings after that season and changed him Jeff Capel to start out the 2018-19 season. Capel introduced again pleasure within the staff and college students confirmed again as much as fill the Oakland Zoo. Even with the reinvigorated pupil physique, Pitt groups underneath Capel noticed late season collapses, a COVID-19 pandemic and a poor 2021-22 season that noticed the staff solely win 11 video games.

Capel and the Panthers began the 2022-23 season off poorly as nicely, with a blowout loss to rival WVU at dwelling, one other giant loss to Michigan after which an in depth one to VCU to present them a 1-3 file.

As a substitute of reverting to outdated methods, Pitt is enjoying among the finest basketball that followers have seen since Dixon served as head coach. The staff has gone 12-2 since that poor begin and is now 13-5 general and 6-2 within the ACC, tied for second finest within the convention.

With curiosity on this Pitt staff at a excessive not seen in a few years, followers are actually exhibiting as much as the Petersen Occasions Middle in droves.

The Oakland Zoo is now attempting to construct again off this latest success, remaking itself as a domineering pupil fan base that performs an integral half within the Panthers success.

Oakland Zoo Wears Shirt for Damar Hamlin January 7, 2023 David Hague/PSN

Junior political science and communication double main Austin Hogeboom serves as a frontrunner for the Oakland Zoo this season and likewise did the season prior. He spoke in nice lengths on the group’s effort in attempting to capitalize on this momentum and try to carry out as many college students as they presumably can.

A lot of the work from the Oakland Zoo leaders has gone into schooling of scholars who aren’t conscious of the traditions and historical past of the famed pupil part. With COVID-19 and poor play impacting the previous two seasons, the leaders are working to get college students on board with the staff and their assist, notably with the largest class of first-year college students in Pitt historical past.

A few of this contains promotion specializing in utilizing Instagram as an alternative of Twitter for social media, because the Oakland Zoo Instagram profile has grown by three thousand followers within the final 12 months and a half. Others embrace creating new traditions, such because the gamers high-fiving these within the pupil part after a recreation, win or lose.

Whereas the Zoo leaders are at present spending their time convincing the scholar physique to indicate up for video games, previous to the season, gamers and coaches met with the Zoo leaders themselves to pitch their staff.

“We sat round with among the coaches and among the gamers originally of the 12 months,” Hogeboom mentioned. “They mentioned, “Look. We really feel that this staff is totally different. We would like the [Oakland] Zoo to be totally different with us. What can we get you and what can we do?”

That encouragement from the gamers and training employees gave the Oakland Zoo leaders, like Hogeboom, the boldness to let their fellow college students know that, even after a tough begin to the season, they need to nonetheless stick round and assist this gifted staff.

The Oakland Zoo leaders work with the Pitt athletic division to carry collectively designs for shirts, promotions, and different concepts that can carry college students to the video games. They primarily work with Aaron Fordyce, assistant director of selling, and likewise with Brigid St. Leger, director of selling, to ensure the whole lot so as in order that for recreation day, the Zoo leaders have their concepts prepared and put into no matter is required for that recreation.

Hogeboom mentioned that he speaks at the least twice every week with Fordyce to work on these concepts. He additionally praised Fordyce and the Pitt Athletic division for his or her quickness with the work to carry collectively the poster for folks to signal to ship to former Pitt defensive again Damar Hamlin, who suffered a cardiac arrest in an NFL recreation on Jan. 2 as a member of the Buffalo Payments.

Oakland Zoo Wears Shirt for Damar Hamlin January 7, 2023 David Hague/PSN

The Oakland Zoo is one thing that Hogeboom needs the scholar physique to see as one with them, likable and obtainable to take heed to their questions, wants and desires round Pitt basketball. He mentioned that there are different pupil sections across the nation that their pupil physique doesn’t view nicely, and he needs to be the exact opposite of that and to be clear together with his fellow college students.

“It’s actually necessary for us to keep up that type of connection at a grassroots stage as a result of that’s the extent we would like the staff to be at,” Hogeboom mentioned. “If we’re not like that, if our pupil group isn’t on the grassroots stage, the staff received’t be on the grassroots stage both. We would like this staff to be engrained within the pupil physique and we would like the scholar physique to be totally behind these guys.”

Oakland Zoo chief and junior well being informatics main Jack Neiman mentioned that they don’t essentially know all of the gamers on a first-name foundation, however they know the gamers nicely and converse with them outdoors of basketball-oriented occasions. This could possibly be seeing them at a bar or having a prolonged dialog at Piada, discussing basketball and life itself.

“I’ve by no means felt extra personally linked with a staff ever,” Neiman mentioned. “The connection that us as leaders have with all of the gamers, we care about them as folks, not simply as gamers. After they really feel upset, we really feel upset. We’re pissed off once they’re pissed off. However we’re additionally that assist system in the event that they want it. The motivation, the encouragement, and many others. So, the connection that we’ve with them this 12 months has been in all probability the most effective a part of doing this.”

Hogeboom and Neiman seen that the scholar part has continued to enhance with every win going ahead. Even throughout winter break, the scholar part noticed many college students attend, with Neiman even flying again to Pitt to go to the UNC recreation on Dec. 30.

Hogeboom additionally praised the Pitt Athletic Division for permitting college students from different universities to attend over winter break. This additionally linked the staff with former Zoo attendees and massive time Pitt followers that aren’t at Pitt anymore that introduced an “educated” vitality to the video games, similar to leaping consistently up and down on protection, which hasn’t been a factor since pre-pandemic. He believes that the first-years that noticed the Oakland Zoo traditions and emboldened them to additionally be a part of that custom going ahead.

Hogeboom additionally provides due to the earlier Zoo leaders that stored the traditions in place as finest they may over the previous six seasons when the staff struggled tremendously. He believes that their work will come to fruition with the staff’s enhancing efficiency.

Oakland Zoo – November 9, 2021 David Hague/PSN

That is additionally simply the second season with that the tv broadcast exhibits the Oakland Zoo. Previous to the 2019-20 season, the printed confirmed the benches, which have been in entrance of the Suites as an alternative of the raucous college students. Nationwide audiences will now see the Oakland Zoo in full pressure, that Hogeboom and Neiman imagine will function a terrific recruiting tactic.

Junior accounting main Dustin Bleiweis can be an Oakland Zoo chief who performs a big function in creating a terrific atmosphere. He watched Pitt basketball when he was youthful attending video games and seeing what the vitality was like throughout the most effective years of this system. Bleiweis actually believes that this system is on the rise and that the vitality introduced by college students and common followers alike will carry Pitt again to high kind.

“When the Oakland Zoo is rocking, it’ll beat any single soccer recreation,” Bleiweis mentioned. “I don’t care I’ll say that any day of the week. The Oakland Zoo is a lot enjoyable as a result of we’ve an precise affect on the sport. I’m simply so excited to see a full Zoo once more and it’s a full circle factor for me I’m within the season the place the Oakland Zoo has emerged once more.”

Hogeboom additionally mentioned that the success of different Pitt applications brings college students and athletes collectively throughout the college to construct all groups up. The success of the soccer applications has been a giant increase, but in addition of volleyball plus males’s and girls’s soccer have seen attendance information damaged, thanks partially to the Oakland Zoo encouraging college students to assist the opposite applications at Pitt.

Pitt begins their three-game homestand in opposition to Florida State this Saturday, Jan. 21 at 3 p.m. They tackle Wake Forest subsequent Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. and conclude with No. 17 Miami subsequent Saturday, Jan. 28 at 4 p.m.

With the Panthers seeking to bolster their NCAA Match resume, they’ll have the chance to earn some good wins in opposition to each the Demon Deacons and the ranked Hurricanes, each of whom are tied with Pitt in second place within the ACC.

They’ll even have the Oakland Zoo behind them, cheering and supporting them the entire method, as they appear to start out a brand new period of top-quality basketball.

“We’re gonna assist them,” Hogeboom mentioned. “We’re going to make that atmosphere the whole lot that they want it to be to have a terrific dwelling benefit. We’re going to do no matter it takes. We all know so many individuals need to see or not it’s good and we’re going to do our half.”



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HPD releases “Acura ARX-06 The Origin Story” Documentary

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HPD launched a 48-minute documentary offering an inside view into the event of the Acura ARX-06 prototype racing automobile debuting this weekend on the Rolex 24 at Daytona.  Meyer Shank Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport will marketing campaign the brand new automobile within the GTP class of the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. 

On Sunday, January 22, 2023 Tom Blomqvist certified on the pole for the GTP class within the Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-06 for the endurance racing basic.

The movie highlights the preliminary ideas and objectives for the ARX-06, in addition to design, improvement and testing.  The origin story locations the ARX-06 within the line of Acura sports activities automobiles courting again to the unique Acura ARX-01 of 2007.  Styling, aerodynamics, energy unit, integration and simulation methods, challenges and triumphs are highlighted within the movie by means of the eyes of the hard-working women and men chargeable for the creation of the Acura ARX-06. 

Acura’s latest prototype racing automobile follows within the footsteps of the ARX-05, which received the previous two Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona races total and three of the previous 4 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship producers’ titles.  The ARX-06 debuts with the inception of the brand new GTP class in IMSA, which is the preeminent North American sports activities automobile racing championship.



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2024 3-Star OL Anthony Crawford ‘Ready Patiently’ For Pitt Supply After Junior Day Go to

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Anthony Crawford hasn’t obtained a suggestion from Pitt, however throughout his most up-to-date go to to Pittsburgh, the teaching workers made him really feel like he was already a part of the household.

Crawford, a 6-foot-6, 310-pound three-star offensive lineman from Union Metropolis Excessive in Union Metropolis, New Jersey, made a visit to Pittsburgh for the Junior Day festivities, and he was in a position to spend extra time with the teaching workers than ever earlier than.

“We went to the basketball recreation, we had a gathering with (offensive line coach Dave Borbely) and I like how he coaches,” Crawford instructed PSN. “He worries in regards to the little stuff, and he makes certain his linemen get the fundamentals down earlier than shifting on to the exhausting issues. So, I like the best way he coaches.”

However whereas Crawford was in a position to spend a while with Borbely, he spent most of his time with tight ends coach Tim Salem.

In talking with Salem, he was handled with nothing however respect — like he was already dedicated to the Pitt household. It’s a sense that actually wasn’t misplaced upon Crawford.

Salem mentioned that he likes what he’s seen from Crawford’s tape, however he actually has room to proceed to develop going ahead. It’s one other message that he took to coronary heart, strengthening his resolve going ahead.

Massachusetts and Ole Miss have already supplied Crawford, and whereas Pitt hasn’t prolonged a suggestion but, he’s eager for the way forward for the connection.

“I’m ready patiently,” Crawford mentioned. “If (Pitt) supplied me, that will be one of many high colleges on my record positively, I’d actually be wanting ahead to that college. I actually prefer it there.”

However whereas Crawford has seen how he’d match within the soccer side, as a giant, mauling offensive sort out who helped Union Metropolis to a 9-2 report in 2022, he could also be much more impressed by the best way the teaching workers treats its gamers as individuals.

“They care about you off the sphere greater than being a soccer participant,” Crawford mentioned. “They care about how your grades are, what you do moreover soccer, if you happen to go to church and stuff like that. They care about you getting your diploma.

“Even if you happen to don’t end all 4 years of faculty, and also you go to the league, he nonetheless needs you to get your diploma, he’s nonetheless going to be on high of you in your diploma though you don’t play for him anymore.”

Crawford realized loads throughout his go to to Pittsburgh Saturday, however after his time with the teaching workers, he seems like he’ll have the ability to be taught much more.

He’s planning on studying extra about Pitt, Syracuse and Rutgers, with visits deliberate for Syracuse and Pitt within the spring.

247Sports hasn’t rated Crawford but, however On3 charges him because the 775th-ranked recruit within the class (51st-ranked offensive sort out and Twenty third-ranked recruit from New Jersey) and Rivals charges him because the Twenty fifth-ranked recruit from New Jersey.



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Jeff Capel Named Coach of the Week by ESPN

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Pitt males’s basketball and head coach Jeff Capel had fairly the week to deliver January to a detailed. 

The Panthers secured two essential victories to their NCAA event hopes and broke away from a five-way tie for third place in ACC play. Pitt defeated Wake Forest and No. 20 Miami, each at house, to maneuver into sole possession of third place. 

Pitt is knocking on the door of the AP Prime 25, receiving 9 votes in Monday’s newest replace.

The workforce held off a surging Wake Forest workforce that outscored the Panthers 40-32 within the second half to win by two within the last seconds. The Miami win was much more spectacular. In entrance of a sold-out crowd of 12,508 contained in the Petersen Occasions Heart. Pitt erased an 86-60 deficit within the last two and a half minutes to shut on an 11-0 run in a recreation you needed to be there to consider. 

For his efforts in guiding this system to a 2-0 stretch, Capel was named by ESPN Employees Author Jeff Borzello as NCAA Coach of the Week

“Just a few months in the past, it appeared like Capel’s days at Pitt could be numbered. He was on the teaching scorching seat on the finish of final season – his fourth consecutive marketing campaign ending under .500. Pitt was picked 14th within the 2022-23 preseason ACC ballot in October, after which began the season with three losses in 4 video games. Quick-forward 2 ½ months, and the Panthers are 15-7 general, 8-3 within the ACC and third within the convention standings. They’re coming off arguably their most essential week of the season, too, beating fellow ACC bubble workforce Wake Forest on Wednesday, then gorgeous Miami with a game-ending 11-0 run to win by three within the last minute. In accordance with ESPN’s win likelihood, Pitt had a 4.9% probability to come back out with a victory when Miami led by eight with 2:05 left. The Panthers now personal wins over Virginia, Miami, North Carolina, NC State and Northwestern.” – Jeff Borzello, ESPN Employees Author

Capel has powered this system again to nationwide relevance and is held in excessive regard by former Pitt head coach Ben Howland, who was available Saturday because the Panthers honored the twentieth anniversary of the 2003 Massive East Championship workforce.  

“They’re very effectively coached,” Howland stated. “Coach is doing an excellent job when it comes to getting them to all mesh collectively. Nice schemes each offensively and defensively.”

Jamarius Burton pressured a turnover by Miami guard Isaiah Wong, stealing the ball and driving to the basket because the Panthers took a one-point lead. Blake Hinson tipped in Burton’s missed layup to go forward 69-68 with 26 seconds left. Burton recorded one other steal throughout Miami’s subsequent possession, however Greg Elliott stepped on the baseline whereas not in a position to run to provide the Hurricanes one other alternative. Elliott made up for it on the following inbound, stole the ball again, and related on two free throws to seal the three-point win. 

“You’ve simply gotta maintain preventing,” Capel stated after the Miami win. “In the event that they hit a troublesome shot, don’t drop your head and no matter, simply come again. There’s one other battle that can most likely occur throughout the subsequent 30 seconds, and we’ve got to win that one. If you happen to carry the earlier one over, then it’s going to have an effect on you. We should be current on a regular basis, each play.”

Pitt faces North Carolina (15-6, 7-3 ACC) Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. in Chapel Hill. The Panthers defeated UNC on the Pete earlier this season 76-74 on Dec. 30.



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