Arizona State Olympic recap: opening weekend

July 30, 2012

It didn’t take long for the performances to start rolling in for the Sun Devils as the opening weekend of competition at the 2012 Olympic Games in London saw numerous Arizona State University alumni in action.

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The Olympic action actually got going a couple days before the Olympic ceremonies with women’s soccer.  The U.S. women and defender and ASU alumnus Amy LePeilbet have cruised through their first two rounds of pool play, overcoming an early 2-0 deficit against France to win 4-2 in the opening before shutting out the Columbians, 3-0, on Saturday.


Arizona State University is represented by three men and three different countries in these Olympic Games, tied for the most of any other school in the nation. 

Former Pac-10 Player of the Year Ike Diogu led the Nigerian national team to its first-ever Olympic victory in its first-ever appearance, scoring 13 point and 10 rebounds as the Nigerians downed Tunisia, 60-56.  

Another Pac-10 Player of the Year, James Harden, was part of a 98-71 route for the United States men’s team over France.  Harden have five points and one assist in just over 14 minutes for the American men.  

It was a tough day for Eric Boateng and the national team from Great Britain as the team fell, 95-75, to Russia while Boateng was held scoreless with just one rebound.  


Former ASU swimmer Gal Nevo got things going in the pool with a 10th-place finish in the men’s 400m IM.  Nevo was third in his heat in the qualifying rounds in 4:14.77 and was just over a second shy of advancing to the finals in the event for Israel.  

It was, however, the top finish for an ASU alumni in that particular event since Sweden’s Anders Peterson took ninth at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.  Nevo is the Israeli national record holder in the event and will still compete in the 200m individual medley later in these Olympics.


The pool was also an active place for past, present and future Sun Devils on Monday, July 30 as the opening rounds of pool play in the women’s water polo competition saw plenty of ASU action. 

Former Sun Devil Rowie Webster scored a goal for the Australian national team in the squad’s 10-8 victory over Italy.  Webster, known more for her defensive prowess, broke a 4-4 tie early in the second half that broke the game open for the Stingers as they would go on to open up a 8-4 lead and never looked back.

Incoming freshman Rita Keszthelyi was part of a thriller in the opening round as the Hungarian squad took the gold medal favorites from the USA to the limit in a 14-13 shootout that saw the Hungarians come just shy of the upset.  Keszthelyi, who is slated to compete as a freshman for the Sun Devils in 2013, had three assists in the match.

It was a tough day in the pool for the Chinese national team and current Sun Devil Gao Ao.  Gao was held scoreless and assistless as the squad fell to the Italian national team, 11-6.


It was a tough couple days for Alison Williamson, competing in her sixth consecutive Olympic games in archery.  The former Sun Devil All-American was 47th with a score of 310 in the rankings rounds and will now look to improve that standing in the elimination rounds beginning tomorrow. The Great British squad would then go on to get knocked out in the first round of team competition, falling 215-208 to Russia. 

For a complete schedule of Sun Devils at the Olympics, click here.

ASU Police Department announces assistant chief promotions

July 31, 2012

The Arizona State University Police Department announced this month the promotions of two assistant chiefs and the promotion of three officers.

The newly promoted assistant chiefs already serve the ASU Police Department and replaced recently retired assistant chiefs Richard Wilson and Allen Clark. Clark now is ASU’s director of emergency preparedness. Commanders Michael Thompson and James Hardina assumed their new assistant-chief roles July 23. Four men pose for the camera. Download Full Image

“Commanders Hardina and Thompson began their assistant-chief positions armed with valuable, institutional knowledge of ASU and the department,” said John Pickens, ASU Police Department chief. “While we conducted an extensive search, we found the right individuals here within our ranks. I am certain that all of our newly promoted officers will make significant, positive impacts within the department and university community. They will assist me to provide professional leadership and build partnerships to provide a safe environment.”

Due to the shift in leadership positions, two current ASU Police Department sergeants, Michele Rourke and Louis Scichilone, were promoted to commander rank, and Corporal Jason Latella now is a sergeant.

Each ASU Police Department officer who moves forward in a new role brings years of expertise and a distinctive outlook to his or her new post. In their own words, they describe what their new responsibilities mean to them.

Commander James Hardina – Patrol Operations

Hardina joined the ASU Police Department in May of 2000 as a police officer. He was promoted to corporal in February of 2004, to sergeant in July of 2004 and to commander in June of 2007. He has served as sergeant in patrol and investigations, department public information officer, and operations commander at the ASU Tempe, Polytechnic and Downtown Phoenix campuses. Hardina actively has been involved in promoting awareness about sexual-assault initiatives and neighborhood focus areas where officers are assigned to specific campus areas. He was instrumental in implementing social networking to members of the community through the ASU PD Facebook and Twitter pages.

"I’m looking forward to serving the Arizona State University community with added responsibilities as an assistant chief as we continue to make the ASU Police Department an exemplary agency focused on the safety of students, faculty and staff,” Hardina said. “In my new position, I’ll work to develop additional relationships with university and community partners that ensure that our officers become even more involved in the university community that they serve. It’s an honor to be part of ASU and our police department.”

Hardina is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, Session 235, LINAU (Leadership in the New American University): Mastering Leadership and has completed numerous law enforcement-related training courses. He received a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and currently is working towards a master’s of administration/leadership.

Commander Michael Thompson – Administrative Division

Thompson joined the ASU Police Department in May 2008. He previously spent 20 years with the Mesa Police Department in a variety of assignments, including sergeant, (patrol, jail, bike unit, community action, advanced training, school resource officer, lead instructor) detective and forensic artist. Thompson has served as commander at the ASU West campus and currently works as commander, administrative division, at the Tempe campus. He also implemented the ASU Police Honor Guard.

“The position of assistant chief truly is an honor that carries a responsibility I do not take lightly. I recognize, and look forward to the work ahead of me, and I am dedicated to that cause,” Thompson said. “I welcome the opportunity I will have to work with our university community and surrounding areas toward the common goal and challenges we have of making our students, faculty and staff successful academically as well as personally and professionally. The Arizona State University Police Department is nationally known for its professionalism and dedicated personnel and I am extremely proud to be a part of that.”

Thompson is a graduate of Leadership in Police Organizations and has completed numerous law enforcement-related training courses. He received a master’s of administration/leadership degree from Northern Arizona University and a M.Ed. from Northern Arizona University.

Sergeant Michele Rourke – commander, Administrative Division

Rourke joined the ASU Police Department in 1994 as a police officer. She was promoted to corporal in 1998 and to sergeant in 2006. She was recruit-training officer at the Arizona Law Enforcement Training Academy from June 2000 to May 2001 and November 2005 to March 2006. She served as the special events coordinator/fleet manager from July 2003 to November 2005. Rourke worked as interim sergeant from May to November 2006 and as interim commander from September to December of 2008. Since 2009, she has served as administrative sergeant. She has been very active in training and has eight years of experience as field training officer.

“Since I’ve been at the university for the past 18 years, Arizona State has become an important part of my life,” Rourke said. “I’m looking forward to helping the ASU Police Department grow in alignment with the aspirations of the New American University that is committed to excellence, access and impact. I’m excited and pleased to be promoted to commander and to help meet the challenges to continually improve the department and strive for excellence in everything we do.” 

Rourke has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Nazareth College and has completed numerous law enforcement-training courses.

Sergeant Louis Scichilone – commander, Polytechnic campus

Scichilone joined the ASU Police Department in the campus assistants program as a lead supervisor in 1996. He became a police officer in May of 2000. Upon completion of the Arizona Law Enforcement Academy, he was assigned to patrol operations. Scichilone was promoted to corporal in December 2004 and to sergeant in November 2006. He served as detective from 2004 to 2006. He successfully wrote a $200,000 grant that was used to upgrade the department’s Computer Aided Dispatch/Records Management System. He currently serves as the department’s DUI Task Force coordinator. Scichilone was interim commander at the ASU Polytechnic campus from December 2010 to April 2011 and most recently at the Tempe campus. Scichilone was recognized as Supervisor of the Year for 2011. He also was recognized for participation and charitable contributions to the ASU Police Holiday Toy and Food Drive.

“This promotion is the culmination of years of hard work and I couldn’t be happier with this opportunity for personal and professional growth,” Scichilone said. “I wish to use this experience to make meaningful contributions to both my agency and this community. I have always strived to be a productive member of this department and will continue to serve as a positive example for others. I have worked with this agency for over 15 years and I understand the unique challenges that we face. I am proud to have been given this chance to assume a new leadership role and look forward to many more productive years here at ASU.”

Scichilone received a Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies/Computer Science from Arizona State University. He is working toward a master’s degree in administration/organizational management from Northern Arizona University. He has completed numerous law enforcement-related trainings.

Corporal Jason Latella to Sergeant – Patrol Operations

Latella joined the ASU Police Department in November 2004 and was promoted to corporal in November of 2007. He previously was a field-training officer and currently is assigned to investigations.

“I’m looking forward to the new challenges that the position of Sergeant provides,” Latella said. “I’ll have the opportunity to interact with the university community on a personal level and stay better connected with what is happening at ASU. After working at the university for the past eight years, I’ve come to appreciate the size and scope of our department that offers opportunities to work in varied areas and learn many new skills.”

Latella received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from Arizona State University and has completed numerous law enforcement-related courses.

Julie Newberg,
Media Relations

Wendy Craft

Marketing and communications manager, Business and Finance Communications Group