Hazleton, Pa. - Today's senior spotlight highlights the career of four men's soccer player Jacob Pryma from Coatesville, Pa. During his freshman and sophomore years, Pryma helped the Nittany Lions to back to back Penn State University Athletic Conference championship game appearances. After the 2017 season, Pryma developed into a team leader on the field and in the locker room, being named a team captain during his junior and senior seasons.
Jack made 12 starts in the midfield during his junior year when the squad finished just a half a game outside of a fourth consecutive berth in the conference playoffs. However, due to turnover in the coaching ranks, Hazleton would enter the 2019 season without a clear-cut choice at the goalkeeper position. Pryma would utilize the off-season, to train and develop those skills in the net to meet that challenge, sacrificing time at his natural position for the good of his team. Jack went on to make five starts in goal for the Nittany Lions during the final year of his career, securing one shut-out and 24 saves during that stretch before an injury took him out of the starting lineup.
Despite the injury Jack continued to lead from the sidelines, assuming a coaching role at practices and games. Characterized as a dedicated and hard-worker throughout his entire career, Jack worked tirelessly behind the scenes to rehab the injury. The two-time captain of the Hazleton squad would succeed in his efforts to make one final start, wrapping up his career in Hazleton's senior day game against Penn State Mont Alto on October 19, 2019 and fittingly go on to win the John Fritz Sportsmanship Award for his dedication to his teammates and the soccer program.
Jack is finishing up his degree in Information Systems and Technology and will graduate in the spring of 2020 and plans to begin employment shortly-thereafter, performing IT work for an insurance company in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Jack made some time for us earlier in the week for a brief Q & A:
So Jack…what are you up to during the quarantine?
I'm too busy with school to do much of anything else. I'm pretty much in class every day from the early afternoon until eight at night. Other than that I try to get out an run or work out a little just to mix things up. Maybe watch a movie before I head to bed and do it again the next day.
What impact did athletics have on your college experience at Penn State Hazleton?
I made so many great friends because of it. You really become part of the campus and build great relationships that otherwise would not have been possible. It allowed me to have a network of support that I could share a lot of great times with and help me get through some of the difficulties as well.
What was your favorite memory while playing soccer at the campus?
It seems like a long time ago but our win in the semi-finals against Penn State Beaver during my freshman year has always stuck with me. It was phenomenal game played in the mud and we took them to penalty kicks to win the game. Brandon Yocum made some incredible saves and we all stormed the field to celebrate.
If you could play another sport, what would it be and why?
Professional ultimate frisbee. I'm really good.
What advice do you have for younger teammates or future players?
Don't ever quit. You may join a team with a lot of talented juniors and seniors ahead of you and it was easy to get frustrated, but as you go along you realize that they got good by putting in the time on the practice field and in the off-season. If you commit yourself and work hard, you'll get there too.
Who is your favorite teammate to follow on social media?
Probably Benny (Pasukinis). He makes me laugh and we have similar tastes and humor.
What were your favorite classes you took at Penn State Hazleton?
IST 402 with Professor Jon Trosky. He made it fun for us while be able to learn at the same time. I also really enjoyed Emerging Technology class with Dr. Carl Frankel. He was a very down to earth professor and I thought it was a great way to teach.
Are there any teammates, coaches or family members you want to thank for having an impact on your career?
A big thank you to my family and close friends for supporting me over the years. I also want to thank Coach Jesse Shadle and Coach Mikael Stephensson. For different reasons, they both made a big impact on me. Oh…and Head Coach Ryan Allen. He was a tactical genius.