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By Alyssa Palfey, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Junior twin cross country and track & field runners, Tim and John (Jack) McGowan, have been by each other's sides through it all.


The McGowan twins are from Northport, N.Y., and started their running careers around middle school after feeling slightly defeated trying out for other sports.


"I started running at 12 or 13. I only really cared about playing sports and music at the time," said Tim. "I walked into my lacrosse coach's office and he told me that I was "too small" to be on the team. I kept going out for other teams, but I was always the skinny guy."


When other sports didn't work out of the twins, they start running casually, and eventually found their place on the track team.


"My mom started encouraging me to run around the block to keep me occupied and out of trouble. My best friend told me to go for the track team, and by high school I just felt like I belonged," Tim added.


Tim ran all throughout high school and ended up being a 3,200-meter run state champion, a Long Island mile record holder, nine-time indoor county record holder, and five-time all-state. Nationally, he got third in the two-mile run at the 2014 New Balance Outdoor Nationals and was a six-time All-American.


John was a nine-time letter-winner in track and cross country, all-state and a three-time All-American. He finished 11th at the 2013 Nike Cross Country Championships and was a member of the 4xmile relay that broke the national record in 2014.


The twin brothers both ended up starting their collegiate running careers at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, but Tim quickly felt like he didn't belong there.


"There were some really nice people there, but pretty soon it was clear that it wasn't for me. I wanted a serious environment with teammates that will push me," said Tim. "Things aren't always what you think they will be and pretty soon I was training alone or just with Jack."


The first year running at Roger Williams was a huge wake up call for Tim and made him question his future in the sport.


"I felt pretty lost and disconnected from the sport. It wasn't an easy year, but I learned a lot about myself outside of running and it keeps me really grateful for everything the program has to offer here (at Penn State) and the teammates I have on both sides."


After running for a year at Roger Williams University, both Tim and Jack transferred to run for the Penn State cross country and track & field teams.


"Having Jack on the team feels normal to me. I was pretty scared to transfer, but having him here made it feel like less of a drastic move. Our friends, family and hometown on Long Island were so good to us in high school that it makes me feel like were both representing New York and bringing that pride with us wherever we go," said Tim.


Although competition would seem to be a natural thing between twins, they don't see each other as anything more than just another member on the team. 


"Jack and I have a good training thing going but at practice I don't think of him as much different than any of the other guys on the team," said Tim. "While he may be my brother and look kind of similar to me, we're a pretty close team and looking at him in a workout feels the same to me as looking at anyone else on the team. We're all going in the same direction and for the same goal." 


Tim is now one of the men's 2016 cross country captains and the top-finisher on the team. Jack is top-five runner for the team, and finished third on the team at the team's last meet (the Penn State National Open).


The McGowan twins and the rest of the Nittany Lions will be in action next at the Big Ten Championships in Minneapolis, MN, on Sunday, Oct. 30th.



By Alyssa Palfey, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State women's cross country team swept the Penn State National Open today, placing 1-2-3 with Tessa Barrett (20:11), Elizabeth Chikotas (20:14) and Jillian Hunsberger (20:17) leading the team.


Barrett's time of 20:11 is tied for the third-best performance at the Penn State National Open. She ran 20 seconds faster than last time running this course at the Spiked Shoe Invitational earlier this year.


The women's team win puts them in great position going into their next meet, which is the Big Ten Championships held in Minneapolis, MN.


"The team win is huge. We knew we were going to have some good competition out here today, and I think going into Big Tens now, we feel more confident," said Barrett. "There's definitely a lot left in us, I know we're all in really good shape, and we worked together really well out there today."


"It's been two weeks since we've raced and it's a really good confidence boost going into Big Tens knowing that our training has put us all at a great spot and this is the second time we've run this course; we're going to run it again at regionals. We ran it earlier this season at Spiked Shoe and I think across the board everyone ran a lot faster today, so that gives us a lot of confidence knowing that our training is paying off," said Chikotas.


"I think it's going to give us confidence and take control and take lead and not be scared. Last year we went into Big Tens as the underdogs, and this year we are going in with a target on our backs, so I think it's a really nice confidence booster," said Hunsberger.


Fifth place team finisher, junior Greta Lindsley (20:55), ran over a minute faster than her performance earlier in the season at the Spiked Shoe Invitational. After today's race, she knows that her and the team are both physically and mentally strong going into the championship season.


"Overall, it was definitely a confidence booster. There were a lot of ranked teams here and great individuals here, and we came out on top so that was very exciting. We have the fitness level there, but our mental focus definitely shot up after this race and we are extremely ready for Big Tens."


Senior captain Julie Kocjancic, who placed sixth for the Nittany Lions and 46th overall, knows all their hard work is paying off.


"This team win just showed us what we are doing in practice and workouts is enough," said Kocjancic. "It gave us confidence that we know that we aren't even near where we're going to peak later in the season, so it's an exciting place to be."


Head coach John Gondak is ready to ride the momentum after today's victory as they prepare for the Big Ten Championships.


"It's a really big confidence booster for both teams. The women came in and made a statement today, this was an excellent field and for Tessa, Liz, and Jillian to go 1-2-3, and for us to win with 47 points," said Gondak. "I was really proud of their efforts. They are just brimming with confidence and just added another layer of confidence to the team."


"With the guys, they were kind of a little uncertain with how they would finish today and we had a really specific plan, and they executed it and I'm really proud. Sixth place finish, I just said there were a couple teams here that we shouldn't even focus on, we have focus on a few teams that we should try to beat, and we did that today."


With two top-15 place finishers, the men's team came in sixth place overall today. Tim McGowan (25:11) and Colin Abert (25:15) lead the team placing eighth place and 12th place respectively.


The Big Ten Championships will be held Sunday, Oct. 30th in Minneapolis, MN. The race is set to start at 11:45 a.m. ET.


By Alyssa Palfey, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State cross country team will run their last home meet of the regular season at the annual Penn State National Open this Friday, Oct. 14th at the Blue-White Golf Course.


Last year at this meet, the women captured the top spot with their top three runners placing in the top-10, while the men got second as a team with their top five runners placing in the top-15.


This will be the last meet they compete in before championship season starts and will have several ranked teams present.


Along with being their last meet before championship season, this will also be Senior Day for the Nittany Lions.


Seniors on the men's team are redshirt senior, Conrad Lippert of Middletown, N.J., Brad Rivera of Bensalem, Pa., and Joseph Phifer of Union, N.J. For the women, the seniors include captain, Julie Kocjancic of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Cara Uilizio of Redondo Beach, Ca.


Senior Captain Julie Kocjancic reflects on how she has grown as athlete throughout her career at Penn State.


"I have improved from my freshman year by being able to get ready for competition and approach workouts with confidence in my training," said Kocjancic. "Also just figuring out the system of what works for me, whether it be my mileage or my diet and that has shown improvements in my time and fitness."


She also relives her favorite memory on the team, and is looking forward to the upcoming championship season.


"The most memorable part of my cross country career was last year winning Big Tens and all the fun I had with the team. We beat a No. 2 nationally ranked team when weren't even ranked in the top 10," said Kocjancic. "I am looking forward to this season more than I ever have any other season because we have a very talented team that is in a great spot, and it being my last cross country season since I was in sixth grade. These last few races will be very bittersweet."


Head Coach John Gondak, enjoyed coaching and watching Kocjancic grow over the past few years.


"Julie has come in and really grown as an athlete in XC, earning all-region honors last year and helping to seal the deal as our number 5 runner when we won the Big Ten last fall. It has been great to see her grow as a person and athlete," said Gondak.


On the men's side, redshirt senior, Conrad Lippert, is the only one left from his freshman year, but feels the team atmosphere is still the same as it was back then.


"There is no one else on the team right now who was also on the team with me my freshman year. In that sense, this team is completely different. In another sense, nothing has changed," said Lippert.


Lippert is ready to take on the rest of the season, as championship meets are coming up.


"I'm just looking to experience that underlying presence of Penn State XC that has been such a prominent part of the last five years of my life a few more times and make the most of this championship season," he said.


Gondak is happy to see Lippert competing hard for his final season as a Nittany Lion.


"It is great to see Conrad back in the mix and competing well for the team. This is his final semester and he is really taking advantage of it," said Gondak.


Coaching is a very rewarding job for Gondak. He enjoys watching his athletes grow as both athletes and people. 

"It is always exciting to see athletes grow from when they come in as wide-eyed freshman to where they leave as young adults with a Penn State education," said Gondak.


The Penn State National Open will begin at 10:30 a.m. ET on Friday.  

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By Alyssa Palfey, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Despite being a Penn State newcomer, freshman Kathryn Munks of Chester, NY has proven herself to be a crucial asset in the Nittany Lions line up this season.

Munks attended Monroe-Woodbury high school where she was a lead runner for her team. She was a 4xmile school and section record holder, and was team cross country and track captain.

"The switch from high school competition to college competition has been an interesting transition. For my last two years in high school, I was working out on my own and I was the leader that the team looked up to," said Munks. "In college, I have a whole team of girls that push me not only in workouts but also in races and they set a high standard for the team."

The switch from high school to college can be a tough transition, especially when it comes to sports. Head coach Gondak explained the hardest adjustment for the athletes.

"The biggest adjustment for freshmen when they get to college is that they are used to being the very best in high school," said Gondak. "They are always used to being at the front of the pack and winning races, or if not winning, being in contention for it. Now, for some it's hard to dig down and give it your all when you're in 60th place and you're used to being in first or second from your high school races, and that becomes somewhat of an adjustment."

Munks has noted the competition shift and is aware of the changes she needs to make when competing collegiately.

"The competition from other college teams are much more competitive than in high school. In high school, being top ten or fifteen was pretty good but in college that changes because of how talented the field is," said Munks.

 "The toughest part has been trying to get myself into the mindset of a collegiate runner, sometimes my mind reverts back to the competitors and the training of high school," she added.  "I was considered a student of the game in high school, and I'm trying to repeat that in college. This includes being aware of other big ten schools and just knowing who the competitors are and how to efficiently race against them."

Munks has been a top finisher on the team this year, earning points for the team in big meets. In the Nittany Lions last meet, the Griak Invitational, which is one of the largest meets in the country, she placed 62th overall and fifth on the team. This placement helped earn them a third place team finish. 

"Munks was our fifth runner at the meet, the last point score for us, and was a pivotal reason as to why we were able to get third place as a team," said Gondak.

 As the season continues, Munks is looking to improve and continue her season past just the regular season meets. She is also hoping to help her team improve upon their national ranking.  

"It feels very weird that the season is halfway done," said Munks. "It feels like just yesterday that the season was starting. Looking ahead, my goals are to improve my time on our home course and to stay top five on our team.  As a freshman, making the meets in the championship part of the season would be amazing and a huge confidence booster. I also want our team to climb higher in the rankings."

Munks has gotten to where she is now by the motivation and hard work that her team members contribute to practice every day. 

"The girls on this team are incredible," said Munks. "They are kind and nurturing yet they are not afraid to push the freshman and tell us if we are doing something wrong."  

"The leaders on this team have definitely inspired me to be the best runner that I can be and they give the team motivation.  It is great getting to run with such a talented field of girls that always strive to be the best that they can be, and this pushes me to do the same."  


By Alyssa Palfey, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Redshirt sophomore Tessa Barrett of Waverly, Pa., was recently named USTFCCCA DI National Athlete of the week and Big Ten cross country Co-Athlete of the Week.


Barrett earned these honors after winning and breaking the meet record at Penn State's annual Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational on Sept. 10th. Barrett broke the 16-year-old meet record, formerly held by Michigan's Katie Jazwinski, by more than 20 seconds.


Barrett also competed in the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational as a redshirt freshman in September 2015, where she placed sixth overall, placing 5 spots higher this year as she won the invitational. Her time of 20:31 this year was over a minute faster than what she ran in 2015 at this meet (21:43). Barrett has shown great improvement since last year and continues to show improvement as the season goes on.


Winning these great honors of USTFCCCA National Athlete of the week and Big Ten cross country Co-Athlete of the week took Barrett by surprise.


"I was surprised and humbled to have been named the USTFCCCA Athlete of the Week," said Barrett. "Across the country, there were many great performances that weekend, so I feel very honored and grateful to have received that recognition."


Along with the USTFCCCA DI National Athlete recognition, Barrett also earned the honor of Big Ten cross country Co-Athlete of the Week.


Barrett's Big Ten honor is the first Penn State runner to earn it since her teammate, Tori Gerlach, won it in 2015 after the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational.


"I was excited to be named Big Ten Co-Athlete of the week because I remember when my teammate, Tori Gerlach, was named the Big Ten Athlete of the Week last year as a senior and how inspired I was by that accomplishment," said Barrett.


Barrett was named Big Ten Co-Athlete of the Week with senior, Erin Finn of Michigan.


"Being named co-athlete of the week with Erin Finn of Michigan was also really cool," said Barrett. "Erin is an incredible athlete who I have always looked up to."


Barrett placed 12th this past weekend at the 31st Annual Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, MN, where the Penn State women's team took 3rd out of 34 teams. The Roy Griak Invitational is one of the largest meets in the country.


Barrett believes winning these honors will continue to motivate her for the remainder of the season.


"Receiving these accolades has been humbling, and it definitely keeps me motivated to continue training hard," said Barrett. "We still have a long way to go until championship season, and I hope that individually I can keep improving as the season progresses."


Cross Country and Track & Field head coach, John Gondak, believe Barrett's hard work and dedication to the sport, helped her win these honors.  

"Tessa is very passionate about her running," said Gondak. "She comes to practice every day with a purpose and that shows in her results."

Gondak also believes that her hard work and dedication that won her these honors will help inspire the rest of the team.

"I think winning awards like that, and winning honors like that, shows the rest of the program that if you come to practice and you put in the work, and you're passionate about what you do, you can be very successful in this sport," said Gondak. "Our sport is about putting in the conditioning and putting in the work so that you have a great mindset when it comes to race day and you're ready to go, and Tessa is very good at doing that."


By Alyssa Palfey, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions cross country teams will be traveling to Minneapolis, MN on Saturday, Sept. 24th to compete in the 31st annual Roy Griak Invitational. The invitational will be held at Les Bolstad Golf Course in Falcon Heights, MN.


The men's race is set to start at 12:20 p.m. CT, and the women's race is set for a 1:35 p.m. CT start.


The invitational was named after Roy Griak, a legendary cross country and track & field coach at the University of Minnesota. Griak coached the Minnesota Gophers for more than three decades, starting his coaching career in 1963.


Griak had coached three national champions, 47 All-Americans, 60 Big Ten champions and won three Big Ten titles as head coach.


Griak served on coaching staffs for more than 10 U.S. international teams, one being a head manager of the 1984 U.S. Olympic track & field team. He was also inducted into the Drake Relays Hall of Fame, the University of Minnesota 'M' Club Hall of Fame and was later inducted in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2001.


After Griak retired as head coach in 1996, the University of Minnesota honored him by naming their annual cross country meet after him. Griak passed away in July of 2015 at the age of 91. This will be the 31st annual meet in his honor.


This will be the first time Penn State will be competing in the Roy Griak Invitational since 2011. Penn State has never taken a first place team win.


With six collegiate races and over 4,000 runners, the Roy Griak Invitational is one of the largest meets in the country. Along with Penn State and host team Minnesota, other Big Ten teams that will be attending are: Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Rutgers, Iowa, Ohio State and Northwestern.


The Penn State women's team is nationally ranked No.13, but there will be other nationally ranked teams attending the invitational as well. Other nationally ranked teams include: Boise State (No.6), Michigan State (No.9), Michigan (No.10), Iowa State (No.17) and San Francisco (No.20). 


"I am really excited," said senior caption, Julie Kocjancic about the upcoming invitational. "It's another opportunity to race against great competition."


As well as being one of the largest meets in the country, the course is the same course that the Big Ten Championships will be held at later in October this year.


"This course will be one that will really make people grind it out, which is what this sport is all about," said Kocjancic. "I'm excited to get to preview it, but Big Tens is still awhile away, and I just try to treat every race individually."


Kocjancic was a part of the 2015 Big Ten champion team, where the women's team took first place in Chicago, IL. She got 22nd place as a junior.  


The 2016 Big Ten Cross Country championships are set to take place on Sunday, Oct. 30th at 10:45 a.m. CT in Minneapolis, MN.


Penn State's next meet will be their very own Penn State Open back home on Friday, Oct. 14th at the Blue and White Golf Courses.


By Alyssa Palfey, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State women's cross country team won their fifth-straight Harry Groves Spiked Shoe invitational this Saturday at their home Blue and White Courses.


The Penn State women had four runners place in the top ten. Redshirt-sophomore Tessa Barrett won the meet, breaking the 16-year-old meet record set by Katie Jazwinski of Michigan in 2000. Barrett ran the 6k in a time of 20:31, over a minute faster than she ran last year in this meet.


"I'm really happy with how I performed today. We've been working hard as a team these past few weeks, so it's great to see all the hard work come to fruition," said Barrett. "I had no idea what the course record was, I was just trying to run as strong as a race as I could to put my team in the best position possible. I'm so proud of how we did today as a team."


Junior Elizabeth Chikotas came in second overall with a time of 20:53. Chikotas also made her way on the meet record board, setting the third-fastest time ever ran at this meet.


"It feels really good. We stayed as a pack, we worked together," said Chikotas. "It's just good to come together and run well on a really hot day on our hard course and get a good one under our belts." 


Jillian Hunsberger came in next for the Nittany Lions, placing fourth overall (21:13). Freshmen Kathryn Munks came in tenth overall (21:29). Following was redshirt-sophomore, Greta Lindsley (22:03), Victoria Crawford (22:13) and Rachel Banks (23:08) coming in 20th, 24th, and 33rd, respectively.


"It feels awesome. The 6k is a real grinder, you know it's really hard, very big difference from the 5k even though it's not too much more," said Munks. "We have a great team and a really young team this year, they push us in workouts and races. It's awesome to be around them. This is the best team I could've picked. I'm so happy I did."


The women were pleased with their first big meet of the season, but still felt the meet on the home course was challenging.


"It's a hard course, but it is forgiving because you do have these downhill segments to open up your legs. At the same time, it's pure cross country because your gate is constantly changing. You don't get to get in a good rhythm like you do if you're on a track," said Chikotas. "You're just constantly opening up then going short strides. It's brutal, but I definitely say the whole thing is hard."


"The most challenging part of the course is the final gradual incline after the three-mile mark. At this point, the legs are feeling pretty heavy and you still have a ways to go until the finish line," said Barrett. "We have a challenging course, but I'm happy about that because it makes us tougher competitors and gives us a great home course advantage."


The men's team was led by junior, Tim McGowan, who placed fifth overall (26:35). McGowan felt good about his first big meet of the season on the tough course.


"It's awesome. We always try to say, save it for the end, not to hammer it, but I felt pretty conservative," said McGowan. "The last 3k, it started to go at 3 miles, initially you feel good, but then you really start to try to find a happy place, as they say."


After McGowan for the Nittany Lions was redshirt-senior, Bobby Hill (27:29), John McGowan (27:31), Jaxson Hoey (27:47) and Colin Abert (28:49), who finished 26th, 27th, 33rd and 55th-place, respectively.


The men's team came in fifth overall.


The Penn State cross country team will next be action in Minnesota for the Annual Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 24th.


By Alyssa Palfey, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The 2016 Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational is set to take place this Saturday, Sept. 10 at the Penn State Blue-White golf course.


This annual meet is named after Penn State's former head track and field coach, Harry Groves. Groves coached track and field for 53 years, 38 of them being head coach at Penn State.


Groves began his coaching career in 1953, where he started as a coach of the post track team at Fort Eustis, VA. Two years later, he became an assistant cross country and track coach at William and Mary. He then became head coach a year later and remained there until he came to Penn State in 1968.


With 11 American record-holders, 21 national champions, 14 Olympians and 227 All-Americans under his coaching career, Groves is known to be one of the most respected track and field coaches in history.


Groves has also been named Regional Coach of the Year a combined 26 times and is a five-time National Coach of the Year.


Current head coach, John Gondak, is inspired by Groves' coaching success.


"Harry was a phenomenal coach here at Penn State. He added some great traditions and history to the program. I'm honored to be coaching after him and Coach Sullivan."


The Penn State cross country team swept titles at the annual Dolan Duals last Friday, Sept. 2 in Lock Haven, PA. The men's team nearly missed a perfect score of 15 by scoring a team totally of 16.


Gondak was impressed by the team's performances, but knows the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational will be challenging.


"For the men's team, this will be a different challenge than this past weekend. Our home course is a lot different, so we'll need to have a different racing strategy. There will be good Division I competition that will also be challenging," said Gondak.


The women's team finished the meet last weekend with a perfect team score of 15, sweeping the top five positions. 


"For the women's team, I think they are in position to take the title," said Gondak.


At last year's Spiked Shoe Invitational, the women's team won the title with Elizabeth Chikotas, Jillian Hunsberger, Tessa Barrett and Greta Lindsley placing in the top ten.


The meet will take place this Saturday, Sept. 10 at Penn State's Blue-White golf course. The women's 6k race is set to start at 10 a.m., with the men following.  


By Alyssa Palfey, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The 2016 cross country team has spoken and officially named their captains for the upcoming season.


"We took a vote from the team," said head coach John Gondak about the selection of this season's captains.


"They, as a group, spend a significant amount of time together above what we do as coaches, so I think they have a good pulse of who their leaders are. We let them vote for who their captains were this year, and I think they picked some very good individuals."


Captains for the 2016 season on the women's side are senior Julie Kocjancic, junior Tessa Barrett and junior Elizabeth Chikotas. For the men, captains are junior Tim McGowan and sophomore Colin Abert.


"I was a little loss for words because it came to me as kind of a surprise," said McGowan on the captain title. "It's cool to get to talk to the freshmen and lead them a little bit."


Barrett, who finished last year's season as a NCAA All-American, and Chikotas are excited to lead the freshmen on the women's side as well.


"It's pretty cool to be able to usher them through the learning process, helping them with things that we might not have known as freshmen," said Chikotas.


The men's team finished 6th at the 2015 Big Ten Championships, and are hoping to change that this year. The new captains have set some goals for the 2016 season.


"We've got a young team, so I think a big thing we're trying to do is get them accumulated, make sure we don't have any hiccups, no injuries or anything. With the returning guys, we have a lot of scorers coming back, so I don't think top five in the Big Ten in cross is out of the question," said McGowan.


"We do have a really young team on the guys' side, but that kind of allows us to shape the team how we want it to be for the next few years," said Abert. "I think we have a good group of guys. We're going to turn some heads; they aren't going to be ready for it."


The women were 2015 Big Ten Cross Country Champions and won the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional. They also finished 16th at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships. They are hoping to defend their Big Ten and Mid-Atlantic titles from last year's season.


"We're also ranked first in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference right now," said Chikotas. "We want to continue on what we did last year, definitely placing better at nationals."


"We want to take everything day-by-day, train week-by-week, putting in the time now and being patient," said Barrett on preparing for the championship meets. "At the national meet we want to get out, be aggressive and competitive and see what happens."


Coach Gondak is satisfied with how the team is looking early in the season.


"I'm pleased with where everybody is right now. How we're going to do this year? It's too early to tell. I usually like to wait until after our first couple of meets to see how they go out and compete and where their mindset is from a racing standpoint," said Gondak. "Probably after the Spiked Shoe Invitational we'll sit down and come up with some more goals moving forward."


The annual Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational is Penn State's first home cross country meet of the season. Races are set to start at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10th.


"I'm most excited about going to Lock Haven, and putting the uniform on and racing our first race of the year," said Gondak.


The Nittany Lions first meet of the season is the Dolan Duals this Friday at 6:00 p.m. in Lock Haven.

BLOG: Fall Sports Media Day in Review

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While the Penn State Fall Sports season may have kicked off with women's soccer in action last week, Nittany Lion fans got a unique perspective from the annual athletics Fall Sports Media Day.

Coaches and student-athletes from seven different Penn State programs set to compete this fall met with members of the media to talk 2016 and their expectations for the upcoming year. 

Check out some highlights and links to videos, transcripts and extra coverage from today's event.

Men's and Women's Cross Country
In his third year at the helm of the program, head coach John Gondak highlighted his opening statement with high expectations for the Penn State Open, which comes to Happy Valley Friday, Oct. 14.

"We've got an outstanding group of teams coming in ... and it's going to be one of the premier competitions in the country again and we're going to continue to grow that," Gondak said of the upcoming Penn State open.  

 On both the men's and women's side, Gondak is excited to begin the season. The returning Big Ten Champion women's team will look to defend its title once again with three decorated leaders in Tessa Barret, Elizabeth Chikotas and Jillian Hunsberger.  The men's team will look to develop a young group, welcoming in some accomplished freshman for the season. 

Press conference video
Periscope session with Tessa Barrett


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