Alumni Spotlight - Ariel Rowlands

Ariel Rowlands outpaces a defender.
Ariel Rowlands outpaces a defender.

Hazleton, Pa. - Ariel Rowlands from Dorrance, Pa. received her degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services with a minor in Psychology in the fall of 2019 after wrapping up a stellar four-year career with the women's soccer program. Rowlands, along with five others, built a legacy of success for the program, transforming the team from its humble beginnings into an annual contender. In the short history of the program, Rowlands tallied the third highest career goal total, finding the back of the net 20 times during her run as a midfielder and forward for Penn State Hazleton.

During her final three years of action, Rowlands consistently ranked as a top goal-scorer in the PSUAC and earned a 1st Team All-Conference selection for her play during the 2018 regular season. But Rowlands would suffer a back injury shortly after the 2018 regular season, forcing her to the sidelines for the team's postseason run. Ariel was determined to continue her career and after months of rest and rehabilitation, Rowlands worked her way back to the pitch for the 2019 season. Her best effort came in the form of a two-score game against Penn State Lehigh Valley, adding one assist in the win. Rowlands went on to notch six goals and three assists in what became and 8-3-1 regular season. Her final appearance came in the Hazleton's second straight trip to the PSUAC Championship. Although the squad finished runner-up in the conference, it was the culmination of a great comeback for Rowlands.

In addition to her Bachelor's Degree, Rowlands earned an Associate's Degree from the Physical Therapy Assistant program in 2017. She earned Dean's List status on a number of occasions while making the PSUAC All-Academic Team for all four years of her athletic career. After graduating in the fall, Ariel continues to work in the area with hopes to obtain an EMT certification and become a paramedic.  

We tracked down Ariel earlier in the week to discuss her time at Penn State Hazleton…..and a few other things.

What has been your favorite memory while participating in athletics at your campus?

I would say every time that I put my uniform on at the beginning of each game. I enjoyed getting that feeling of adrenaline and being on the field with my friends and teammates while being able to represent Penn State.

What impact did athletics have on your experience as a college student?

Well, freshman year I ate lunch in my car so that about sums it up. When I joined the team, I made all of my best friends and playing soccer had a big influence on my decision to return and obtain a four-year degree.

If you could play any other sport, what would it be and why?

Competitive ping pong would be kind of my speed. It's still an Olympic sport, right? So that would give me the best chance to get there.

What is your favorite memory outside of athletics at Penn State?

Not so much one memory but getting to know the athletics staff and other faculty members and Barb of course. I still stay in touch with those people from the campus and all the connections I made are great.

If I gave you one mulligan for your athletic career, would you use it?

No hard feelings but I wouldn't have gotten in the car with Maddy Polumbo on October 26, 2018. It ended poorly.

What role will athletics play in your life going forward?

Once all this crap is over with, I would like to get back to playing soccer and join a rec league. I also do sick ollies on my skateboard.

What is the best class you took while attending Penn State Hazleton?

I like pretty much all of them. If I had to pick, I think Anatomy with Amy Yenser and the Psychology of Child Abuse with Peter Crabb would be up there as my favorites.

What's the worst movie you've ever seen?

Space Mutiny, which coincidentally is also my favorite movie. Birdemic is a close second.