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Ray Vinopal Transformation Tuesday.jpg

Red-shirt senior, Ray Vinopal, was able to take a few minutes to chat between finals, lifting, watching film and preparing for the upcoming bowl game.  

My one-on-one with the football captain Ray Vinopal reminded me once again just how little I miss finals week, and more importantly just how great of a transformation we all go through from freshman year until it's time to graduate.

How would you say you have grown inside the classroom here at Pitt?

Vinopal:
"I've definitely developed a sense of pride in being attentive at every moment in the classroom, which has really enabled me to do well. I've grown as an athlete and as a student by putting in the effort every single day and in every single class."

What has been the greatest transformation for you in terms of your athletic career?

Vinopal:
"I've grown as an athlete by taking on the mental side of the game. I've learned the mental preparation is just as important as the physical preparation."  

You transferred into Pitt, and due to NCAA transfer protocol you were required to sit out for one year. Now, you are a true leader of this team both in the locker room and on the field. How do you describe that journey?

Vinopal:
"I'm fortunate and grateful for where I am today. I take pride in working hard consistently and someone you can count on, because I'm always going to work hard. That has always been the goal for me. I'm both fortunate and blessed that my teammates respected it and picked up on it."

"I'm grateful I made it into this role and that I was accepted into this role. To have the support of my teammates is huge and it means more than anything."

Were there any teammates along the way that helped inspire you to become the leader you are today?

Vinopal: "Aaron Donald is someone who helped me along the way, because he is such a hard worker. Especially this year, I put in so much extra film time and it's directly because of Aaron and seeing how he prepared last year. I look up to him and respect the way he works."

"Another former teammate who falls into that category is Tom Savage. As a quarterback, you have to be vocal and lead the team. He's similar to AD in how he puts in the time and works hard. Even though he was only eligible for one year with us, the team really respected him and he wouldn't be afraid to say things to other teammates. I view both of them as winners. You always respect and look up to winners."

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VIDEO: Courtside - The City Game Highlights

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Pitt Men's Basketball vs. Duquesne
1st Half 2nd Half Final
Pitt 39 37 76
Duquesne 27 35 62


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VIDEO: The City Game Postgame Press Conference

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Pitt Men's Basketball vs. Duquesne
1st Half 2nd Half Final
Pitt 39 37 76
Duquesne 27 35 62


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THIS IS OUR HOUSE chants from @theoaklandzoo. #TheCityGame Final Score: Pitt 76, Duquesne 62. #H2P

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We've got the best shots from the first half of #TheCityGame just for you! Check it out.

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ROC won the mascot dance off. HANDS DOWN. #TheCityGame

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They're here and they're loud. They are @theoaklandzoo - the best student section in the country! #H2P

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One-On-One with Senior Track and Field Thrower, Taylor Slaney

Taylor Slaney Transformation Tuesday.jpgPhotographs Courtesy of Pitt Athletics and Taylor Slaney.

Q: What has been the most surprising transformation over the past four years?
Slaney:
"Being on this team for four years with the same people you learn to develop your skill set, but more importantly you become a family."

Q: How has your mentality changed towards throwing from freshman year until now?
Slaney: "I have and will always want to win. I came in a bit naive as a freshman so I quickly learned that you don't always win and that was the hardest part for me."

Q: As a senior, what is the main goal heading into your final season?
Slaney: "Now that it's getting towards the end of the road, I need to get to nationals. The pressure heading into my senior year compared to previous years is much different.  Now as a senior, every meet counts more and more. It's stressful, but I work well under pressure. Last year, I broke a school record. This year, my only goal is to make it to nationals and to become an All-American."

Q: What has been the biggest surprise in your Pitt athletic career? 
Slaney: "If someone would have told me freshman year, I would break a school record and throw for 50-meters, I would have told them they were crazy. When I came in I expected to improve and throw far, but I would have never expected 50-meters. Breaking the school record was an awesome feeling. It had nothing to do with getting my name on some piece of paper. Personally, it was a huge deal for me."

Q: Personally, how did you acclimate to life as a student-athlete?
Slaney: "It was really, really hard for me coming in as a freshman and it still is hard for me. I have learned better ways to manage my time toward school work and being an athlete. I can never use being an athlete as an excuse, because we have the assistance at Pitt to be successful. During the season, we travel almost every weekend, but the time is available to get our work done. We bring our work with us almost any where - even our track meets, because sometimes that's what you have to do." 

Pitt Women's Basketball vs. Loyola
1st Half 2nd Half Final
Pitt 5430 84
Loyola 22 24 46

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Pitt Women's Basketball vs. Loyola
1st Half 2nd Half Final
Pitt 5430 84
Loyola 22 24 46

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VIDEO: Pitt Football defeats Miami, 35-23

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Postgame Coverage: Pitt Football vs. Miami

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Pitt Football vs. Miami
1st Quarter 2nd Quarter 3rd Quarter 4th Quarter Final
Pitt 14 7 7 7 35
Miami 3 10 10 10 23

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We're here. Time to put on the pads! #H2P

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It's a Pitt Football game day in Miami! Kickoff set for 7:00 p.m. on ESPN2. #H2P

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