UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The postseason push for Penn State teams in March is on.
The first weekend of the month kicked off in fine fashion with two teams tallying Big Ten championships to go along with an individual being named the top performer at the Big Ten Men's Swimming & Diving Championships.
In dramatic fashion, the Nittany Lion women's track & field team notched its third conference crown at the Big Ten Indoor Championships on Saturday afternoon. It all came down to the 4x400-meter relay with the Lions leading Michigan by just half a point heading into the final event. The Lions stormed to a victory in the relay to seal the title.
"The women were outstanding today," said Director of Track & Field and Head Coach Beth Alford-Sullivan. "Michigan pressed us hard throughout the weekend, but we kept our composure and competed great. This is a championship win to remember."
Roughly 45 minutes after the women's track & field team was crowned champion, the Lady Lion basketball team finished off a 77-62 triumph over Michigan to clinch a share of its third-straight Big Ten regular season title. The Lady Lions join Ohio State and Iowa as the only programs to win three or more consecutive Big Ten titles.
"It's the first time in program history that we have won three Big Ten Championships in a row," head coach Coquese Washington said. "When this program has such a storied legacy, to be able to do something that this program hasn't done before, it's pretty hard. The program has accomplished so much and for this class and team to do something that sets them apart, that's really cool."
In the pool, sophomore Shane Ryan capped off a strong outing for the Nittany Lion men's swimming team by becoming the first Penn State men's swimmer to be named Swimmer of the Big Ten Championships on Saturday. Ryan broke the Big Ten record in the 100m freestyle, topping a mark set by former Northwestern Wildcat and 2012 London Olympics medalist Matt Grevers. Ryan is the first Nittany Lion to win two individual gold medals at the Big Ten Championships. His efforts powered the men's team to fifth in the team standings. The men's team's performance came one week after the Nittany Lion women's swimming & diving team took third at the Big Ten Women's Championships.
With a standout weekend in the books, the Nittany Lions are full steam ahead in postseason mode beginning on Friday when the Lady Lions kick off play as the No. 1 seed at the Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament in Indianapolis. Penn State will meet either Northwestern or Ohio State at noon (BTN) on Friday. The semifinals take place on Saturday, with the tournament final on Sunday in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
On Saturday, the three-time defending NCAA champion Penn State wrestling team will begin its Big Ten title defense at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis. Head coach Cael Sanderson and the Nittany Lions will look for their fourth-straight Big Ten title over the weekend. Additionally, seniors Ed Ruth and David Taylor have an opportunity to become Penn State's first four-time Big Ten individual champions. Junior Matt Brown is the third Nittany Lion in the lineup with a Big Ten individual title. The Big Ten finals will air live on BTN Sunday at 2 p.m.
There are several marquee events on the horizon following the action this weekend. The 2014 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament is slated to begin on March 13 in Indianapolis. The Nittany Lion men's hoops team will finish off its regular season this week with games at Northwestern and Minnesota. The Lions will learn their seed for the tournament on Sunday.
The track and field squads will also be in action during the third weekend in March. Penn State will travel to Albaquerque for the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 14-15.
Head coach James Franklin and the Nittany Lion football team will wrap up winter conditioning this week in preparation for the start of spring practice on March 17. The Nittany Lions will practice 15 times before the Blue-White Game on April 12 (1:30 p.m.).
The fourth weekend of March will feature no fewer than six postseason events for Penn State teams. The No. 1 wrestling team will begin its NCAA title defense on March 20 in Oklahoma City at the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships. The finals will take place on March 22. The ESPN family of networks will televise all six of the NCAA Wrestling Championships sessions.
In Happy Valley, the women's gymnastics team plays host to the Big Ten Championships in Rec Hall on March 22. Across campus, the Bryce Jordan Center is slated to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship. Games are slated for 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. on March 23 and 7 p.m. on March 25.
Out of town, the first Big Ten Hockey Tournament will take place in Saint Paul, Minn., beginning on March 20. The NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships begin on March 20 in Minneapolis, as well. The Penn State fencing teams also kick of NCAA Championships competition in Columbus on March 20.
The month will wrap up with a weekend featuring the NCAA Men's Swimming & Diving Championships, which begin on March 27 in Austin, Texas. The Big Ten Men's Gymnastics Championships begin on March 28 in Lincoln, Neb.
With two titles already in hand, it will be a busy month ahead for Penn State teams competing in postseason competition. Stay tuned for complete coverage of the postseason push on GoPSUsports.com.
Key Dates Ahead in March
March 7 - Noon (BTN) - Lady Lions vs. Ohio State/Northwestern (Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals - Indianapolis)
March 8 - 11 a.m./6 p.m. - Big Ten Wrestling Championships (Madison, Wis.)
March 9 - 12/2 p.m. (BTN) - Big Ten Wrestling Championships (Madison, Wis.)
March 13-16 - Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament (Indianapolis)
March 14-15 - NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships (Albuquerque, N.M.)
March 17 - First Day of Spring Football
March 20-22 - NCAA Wrestling Championships (Oklahoma City, Okla.); NCAA Fencing Championships (Columbus, Ohio); NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships (Minneapolis, Minn.); Big Ten Men's Hockey Tournament (Saint Paul, Minn.)
March 22 - 12/5 p.m. - Big Ten Women's Gymnastics Championships (University Park, Pa.)
March 23 - 12:30/3 p.m. - NCAA Women's Basketball First Round (University Park, Pa.)
March 25 - 7 p.m. - NCAA Women's Basketball Second Round (University Park, Pa.)
March 27-29 - NCAA Men's Swimming & Diving Championships (Austin, Texas)
March 28-29 - Big Ten Men's Gymnastics Championships (Lincoln, Neb.)
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Recently in Track & Field Category
By Bernard Bennett-Green, GoPSUsports.com Student-Athlete Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - This weekend didn't go as planned for the men's team. The women's team did a great job of putting together a great meet when things weren't looking to well for them and ended up becoming champions.
Track and field is a very humbling sport. One day you are on top of the world after a great meet. Then the next day you compete and things don't go as planned. This weekend, we finished third, and I believe we earned that third place spot. Wisconsin brought the necessary energy and focus to win. We are still a team to be reckoned with, and at outdoor Big Tens, we will show that. Watching the girls celebrate really motivated me, and hopefully it motivates my teammates to go out and perform like we know how come outdoors. We definitely have the necessary pieces in place to become a championship team. We have kids who are willing to sacrifice their only personal glory for the betterment of the team. Kids like Nick Scarpello who paced the mile heat. And for Wade (Endress) and Robby (Creese), who really show what true sacrifice is about.
We also have kids who are resilient even when faced with adversity. My brother Brandon didn't make the 400m final but came back later in the day and ran an impressive 400m leg on the DMR and became a Big Ten champ in that event as a result. This weekend was a true eye-opener to what we have to do to become Big Ten champs. As long as we take things one moment and one day at a time, we will be champions this outdoor season. The indoor season isn't over yet because we still have NCAA Indoor National Championships in two weeks. We definitely have a chip on our shoulders to prove to the entire country not just the Big Ten that we are a team that everyone needs to look out for.
By Bernard Bennett-Green, GoPSUsports.com
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State track and field put on a remarkable effort as they split the squad and competed this past weekend on the west coast in Washington and in Ohio.
"We had a great weekend of competition in Ohio and Washington. Our teams have completed phase one of our big ten drive and that is to have a very successful regular season," said Director and Head Coach Beth Alford-Sullivan.
At the UW Husky Classic, sophomore Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio.) set the stage for the Lions, as he finished second in the mile in a personal best time of 3:58.49. This is the second time this indoor season that Kidder has ran under four minutes.
On the women's side, junior Leigha Anderson (Carlisle, Pa.) ran a new personal record of 16:32 in the 5000m. Senior Marta Klebe (Chesterbrook, Pa.) had another impressive weekend as she ran a life time best time of 4:42.81 in the mile.
At the SPIRE team invite, team captain Will Barr (Urbana, Ohio.) started things off for the team as he finished second in the weight throw with a toss of 68-3.75. Junior Darrell Hill (Philadelphia, Pa.) followed Barr's performance by finishing third in shot put with a season's best throw of 62-2.5.
"After struggling for most of the indoor season it felt good to put together a consistent meet at such a high level. Knowing that we'll back here in two weeks really sets my confidence high that I'll be able to get the job done at big ten's," said Hill.
Penn State continued to thrive in the field as juniors Steve Waithe (Parkville, Md.) and Brian Leap (Bellwood, Pa.) finished first and second in triple jump. Waithe put down a career best mark of 52-6 and Leap placed a mark of 50-9.25. Senior Jon Hendershot (Nazareth, Pa.) also did well in the field as he leaped to a mark of 6-11.75 in high jump for a second place finish.
The women also put on a show in the field as Melissa Kurzdorfer (Lancaster, N.Y.) and Rachel Fatherly (Williamsport, Pa.) finished first and second in the weight throw. Fatherly placed a toss of 62-8 while Kurzdorfer tossed the weight 64-6.5. Penn State finished third and fourth in the high jump as sophomore Ahmenah Richardson (Philadelphia, Pa) and senior Brittney Howell (Wyncote, Pa.) both leaped 5-7.75.
Penn State had a superb showing on the track, as sophomore Kiah Seymour (Washington, D.C.) led things off by running 52.74 in the 400m. Senior Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio.) followed suit by running a personal record of 23.34 in the 200m. The men fed off the women's performance with senior Bernard Bennett-Green (Elkins Park, Pa.) a lifetimes best of 46.55 in the 400m. Freshmen Byron Robinson (Chesapeake, Va.) ran 46.88 which stands as the second time this season that the freshmen has ran sub 47 seconds. The women's 4x400m relay team of Dynasty McGee (Flint, Michigan), Mahagony Jones, Tichina Rhodes (Philadelphia, Pa.), and Kiah Seymour finished the meet off strong by winning in a time of 3:35.31.
From My View
This was the first time this season that we got a chance to get on the road and compete away from home. I love competing at home, but I wish we got a chance to get on the road sooner just so the underclassmen could get a chance to be put in an unfamiliar environment so they could learn and grow from it. The four-hour drive to Ohio was great because we got a chance to get out of State College before the snow got too bad. Traveling with your teammates to a track meet gives you a great chance to bond with your teammates and connect with them in ways that you wouldn't by just having a track meet at home. When you are on the road all you have is your teammates, and that is a great feeling knowing that they have your back and you have theirs no matter what. Watching the field and track events this past weekend really got me excited for Big Tens in two weeks. I saw every single one of my teammates competing to the best of their abilities. I even saw a few of my teammates come up big when they were faced with unfamiliar circumstances. My teammate Steve Waithe had to wait two hours from his original time to triple jump because of the multiple flights that had to be run before him. He took all of that pent-up energy and emotion and jumped his career best on his first jump of the meet. Moments like the one that Steve had really put a smile on my face and makes me enjoy the sport of track and field more. I enjoy them because it shows even when you think things aren't going your way they still can as long as you keep the faith and believe in your self.
We are back in action in two weeks as we head back to Geneva, Ohio, for the Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships. If you can come out please support us as we run, jump, and throw for the glory.
Bernard Bennett-Green, GoPSUsports.com Student-Athlete Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State track and field put on an impressive show for its fans at the final indoor home meet of the year at the Sykes & Sabock Challenge Cup.
Sophomore Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio.) blazed the track in the 800m run with a win and a season-best time of 1:47.45. His teammate Za'Von Watkins (Liverpool, N.Y.) finished third in a time of 1:48.11.
"For both of them to come in and PR indoors and for Brannon to run the number one time in the NCAA right now and Za'Von being number five it was a very good performance for them," said associate head coach John Gondak.
On the women's side, senior Marta Klebe (Chesterbrook, Pa.) won the 800m run in a season-best time of 2:10.04.
In the field, freshmen Lexi Masterson (Jeannette, Pa.) vaulted 13-1.75 to win and set a new personal record. Her teammate Erin Knabe (Voorhees, N.J.) finished in second with a vault of 12-10. Staying on the ladies side, senior Marlene Ricketts (Old Westbury, N.Y.) won triple with a leap of 40-06. In the shot put, Sophomore Rachel Fatherly (Williamsport, Pa.) won with a throw of 51-05.
Senior Melissa Kurzdorfer (Lancaster, N.Y.) put on a show as she won the weight throw with a toss of 68-6. In the women's high jump, sophomore Ahmenah Richardson leaped to a win with her mark of 5-9.25.
On the men's side, senior Will Barr (Urbana, Ohio.) won weight throw with a season's best toss of 69-8.
"I felt really good. I wanted a couple more inches but it was a good note to end my home career on for indoors," said Barr.
Junior Darrell Hill (Philadelphia, Pa.) finished in second in the men's shot put with a throw of 59-7. In the men's long jump Penn State finished 1-2-3 as Brian Leap (Bellwood, Pa.) led the way with a mark of 23-6.75). Steve Waithe (Parkville, Md.) captured a victory in triple jump with a leap of 51-0.
Penn State dominated sprints action on the men and women's side. Senior Mahagony Jones won the 60m dash in a time of 7.40 while senior Brittney Howell (Wyncote, Pa.) won the 60m hurdles in a personal best time of 8.36. Kiah Seymour (Washington, D.C.) won the women's 200m dash in a season's best time of 23.77.
On the men's side, junior Sancho Barrett (Amityville, N.Y.) won the 60m hurdles in a time of 6.92. Freshmen Byron Robinson (Chesapeake, V.A.) continued his stellar freshmen campaign by winning the 200m dash in a time of 21.25.
Later in the day, both the men and women's 4x400m relay teams were able to bring home victories. The men's team consisting of Bernard Bennett-Green (Elkins Park, Pa.), Za'Von Watkins, Byron Robinson, and Brandon Bennett-Green (Elkins Park, Pa.) finished first in a time of 3:10.35. The women's team consisting of Dynasty McGee (Flint, Michigan.), Kiah Seymour, Tichina Rhodes (Philadelphia, Pa.), and Mahagony Jones won in a season's best time of 3:34.22.
From My View
The Sykes & Sabock Challenge Cup was my last indoor home meet of my college career and it was one that I will always remember. On Friday night, I got the chance to just be a fan and watch my teammates compete. I got the opportunity to watch weight throw from start to finish for the first time in my career. Weight throw is a really intense and fun event to watch. Standing inside the throwing circle can be dangerous if you aren't paying attention to every thing that's going on. I got to watch Will Barr throw his season's best throw of the year on his final throw as a senior at home. It was a really special moment because he got the slow clap going which is unusual for Will to do. I also got to watch hard it is for officials in throwing events because if you aren't paying close attention you could change the outcome of a meet in an instance. I also got the chance to watch both men and women's hurdle races. It was great to see Brittney Howell run a huge personal record in the hurdles as she won the event. It was also great to watch Sancho Barrett come from behind and win his hurdle race. On Saturday, I ran the 200m dash for the first time this an ended up running a indoor personal record of 21.72. My teammates Byron Robinson and Alex Kenney put on a great performance as well during the meet. Byron ran a new indoor personal best of 21.25 and Alex ran a new season's best of 21.8. I'm excited to see what the rest of the indoor season has in store for us as a team because we are in a good spot to accomplish something that we haven't yet as a program.
We are back in action in next weekend as we split up the squad and head to Ohio and Seattle next weekend. If you can come out please support us as we run, jump, and throw for the glory.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State track and field displayed why they are considered one of the top teams in the country this past weekend at Penn State National.
Senior Brittney Howell (Wyncote, Pa.) started things off for the team by winning the pentathlon and scoring a personal best of 4,061 points. Howell's point total currently ranks her sixth in the country and second in the Big Ten. On the men's side, redshirt freshmen Robert Cardina (Lancaster, Pa.) was able to win the heptathlon and score a personal best of 5,257 points.
Director and head coach Beth Alford-Sullivan was very impressed with the Nittany Lions.
"Oh my god we were on fire. We had a great weekend. I mean honestly from start to finish it was a good twenty plus hours of track and field. We competed extremely well over two days of competition which is very useful when we get to championship time," said Alford-Sullivan.
In the sprints, Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio.) was able to finish as the top collegiate in the 60m dash with a time of 7.26. Red-shirt senior Evonne Britton (El, Paso, Texas.) finished third in the 60m hurdles but was able to break the school record with her time of 8.15. In the women's 400m dash, sophomore Kiah Seymour (Washington, D.C.) finished in second with a personal best time of 53.26.
On the men's side, freshmen Byron Robinson (Chesapeake, Va.) finished third in the 400m dash with a personal best time of 46.73 while his teammate Brandon Bennett-Green (Elkins Park, Pa.) finished in fourth with a season best time of 46.74. Currently, Robinson is ranked second and Bennett-Green is ranked third in the Big Ten.
In the field, Penn State demonstrated another strong showing across the board. Senior Jon Hendershot (Nazareth, Pa.) finished first in high jump with a mark of 7-2.5. Senior Will Barr (Urbana, Ohio.) continued his undefeated streak by winning in the weight throw with a toss of 68-3.75. Junior Darrell Hill (Philadelphia, Pa.) picked up his first win of the season by winning shot put with a toss of 60-01.25.
On the distance side, sophomore Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) was able to win and set a personal record in the mile with a time of 3:59.55. Also doing well in the mile was junior Wade Endress (Altoona, Pa.) who finished seventh in a personal best time of 4:04.51.
"It was good I felt strong. I haven't raced indoors in two years. I had my opening race two weeks ago and I dropped five seconds from then so I'm pretty happy with it," said Endress.
On the women's side, senior Marta Klebe (Chesterbrook, Pa.) finished fourth in the mile with a personal best time of 4:44.80. Her teammate Tori Gerlach (Perkasie, Pa.) also finished fourth but in the 3000m with a personal best time of 9:14.75.
Later in the evening, the women's 4x400 meter relay team of Dynasty McGee (Flint, Mich.), Mahagony Jones, Tichina Rhodes (Philadelphia, Pa), and Kiah Seymour won with a season's best time of 3:36.41.
From My View
The Penn State National was definitely a meet that I will not forget. Not because I didn't have my best performance but because all of my teammates had great performances across the board. My teammate Brittney Howell told me in the beginning of the week that her goal was to score 4,000 or more points in the pentathlon and she went out and did it. My other teammate Darrell Hill just wanted to get a positive marked down because he hasn't had the throws that he wanted yet this season. Both teammates were able to fulfill those goals that they set out to do. It's amazing to see how some one has a goal and they work towards it and accomplish it. I was also proud to watch Byron Robinson and my brother Brandon do well in the men's 400m dash. We all planned on running 46 seconds or better and they held up their end of the bargain. I unfortunately I wasn't able to hold up my end because I got boxed in during my race. It was definitely a learning experience that I realized and I will correct the next time I step out on the track. A quote that happened to pop up in my head after that race is, "Your true character shows when you are faced with adversity". I could of got mad and complained about my race but I didn't. I just went out and cheered on my teammates as they raced through out the day. In the sport of track and field it is all about the process. As long as you focus on the day-to-day process of getting better everything else will come together when it is supposed to.
We are back in action in our last indoor home of the season next weekend. Please come out and support us as we run, jump, and throw for the glory.
By Bernard Bennett-Green, GoPSUsports.com
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Picture beginning your summer as this average height athlete of 5-feet-3 and not knowing your true calling in a sport that you spend countless hours on. Now picture yourself at the end of your summer, three months later, transforming to the height of 6-feet-2 with your coach finally having the perfect idea of how to inspire you and help you flourish.
Many of us will never experience something like this but Penn State triple jumper Steve Waithe has.
"It was definitely my summer track coach my 10th grade year. I hit a growth spurt I was about five seven that summer. I got to about six two. So he was like let's try out triple jump. You know I was athletic and talented in long jump so he figured my height would definitely translate over to triple jump," Waithe said.
That one summer, everything seemed to change for Waithe. He began to jump well in high school by becoming the Maryland state champion and started to get consideration to attend big universities such as Clemson and Penn State to triple jump during his senior year.
The Baltimore native comes from a family full of experienced track and field athletes. His brothers Stann and Stevann ran for Michigan, while his sister Anneve ran at Wake Forest. His oldest brother Stann also competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing for Trinidad and Tobago.
Even though he comes from a strong track and field background, it didn't necessarily mean that he would follow in his siblings' footsteps and go to a Division I school and compete in track and field. Coming out of high school, Waithe didn't have the best grades so he ended up training with his brother Stann for a few months down in Atlanta after he graduated. He had dreams of jumping for Penn State, but ended up somewhere else before that chapter could begin.
"My original plan was to go to Penn State. High school-wise my GPA wasn't there so I had to go division two because I couldn't get into division one. Shippensburg was a kind of get up and go type of thing," said Waithe. "I was competing unattached at a Bucknell indoor meet and I saw the coach and my mom talked to him and literally that's how I found Shippensburg. I had no clue what Shippensburg was before that."
Waithe made a huge splash at Shippensburg by obtaining numerous prestigious awards after a historic first season with the Raiders. He was named the 2012 PSAC Outdoor Track & Field Freshman of the Year and Outdoor Championships Field MVP. He also continued his impressive freshmen year by taking advantage of the opportunity to represent his country of Trinidad and Tobago at the IAAF junior world championships in 2012 that was held in Barcelona.
"It was definitely a wake up call. I saw what the world has to offer and all the different countries. People can jump everywhere. I also had a bad meet. I don't think I was mentally prepared. I walked into it just kind of happy to be there. It made me more hungry for the future internationally," Waithe said.
Competing on the international level has helped the Waithe family flourish in their individual careers. The whole concept of family is something that has stuck with Waithe his whole life and what led him to Penn State.
"I've always liked the vibe at Penn State. I visited here twice. Once in high school and then came for another visit just to see what I was getting into. Just with the track team it's a family feeling. I've seen with Michigan and other schools like Auburn," said Waithe. "I used to train down south closer to Auburn. Not all teams have that comradery that Penn State has. That's big to me because that's what makes championships."
Once Waithe stepped on the runway at Penn State his vibe began to help inspire his teammates.
"Steve is a great teammate. He has a positive attitude. He's determined and he keeps the mood light. He's funny and meshed well with us right away," said teammate Michael McClelland. "He keeps all of the triple jumpers on their toes. He's helped lift all of us the extra step."
"He's real supportive. He jokes around a lot but he's really serious and really dedicated to the triple jump," said teammate Johnathon Jacoway. "He gives me pointers when my form looks bad and is really supportive when he can tell that I'm not really into it."
Not only has Waithe inspired his teammates but he has also impressed some of his coaches by performing well at Shippensburg and also at Penn States first few home meets.
"His potential at the conference and national level is really there. It gives a lot of depth and strength to the team. Then overall he's a great guy. This is a really cool kid. He brings a lot of experience but also a lot of confidence," said Director and Head Track & Field Coach Beth Alford-Sullivan.
Not only does he inspire others to do well but he also sets some high goals for himself as a result of watching his brothers perform on the big ten level.
"I definitely want to start off with being a big ten champ. That's something I've always wanted to do. Watching my brother grow up at Michigan he always had the opportunity to steal the big ten title in the 400. He fell short a few times so that's something that I want to do," Waithe said. "I think it's very well doable this year and just try and stay consistent through out the year. I want to be an All-American also because I think that's doable with the progress that I have going on right now."
By Bernard Bennett-Green, GoPSUsports.com
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State track and field followed its first meet with an impressive second meet across the entire section of the team this past Saturday.
Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio.) led the women's sprint events by winning the 60-meter dash in a time of 7.38 and the 200-meter dash in a time of 23.53. Jones 60m time ranks her 13th in the country and her 200-meter time ranks her fourth in the country.
"It was good. You know it was a good opener for me. It's my fastest opener that I've ran. My plan for Penn State National is to improve my time and keep progressing as the season goes along," said Jones.
Dynasty McGee (Flint, Mich.) was another women's sprinter who had an impressive day. McGee finished second in the 400-meter dash in a time of 54.07.
"I think my 400 went pretty well. Last season two weeks from now I was running fifty-four point one. To open up at fifty-four point zero I feel like I am in a good position," said McGee.
Not only were the Nittany Lions impressive on the track but they were exciting in the field, as well. Freshman Lexi Masterson (Jeannette, Pa.) continued her undefeated campaign in the pole vault with a clearance of 11-11.75. Continuing the freshmen winning efforts was India McCoy (Ambridge, Pa.) in the women's high jump. She won the event in a leap of 5-8.0.
On the men's side, Penn State had a strong showing on the track and in the field once again. Sophomore Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio.) finished in second in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:48.34 and teammate Za'Von Watkins (Liverpool, N.Y.) followed right behind him in a time of 1:49.47. Both times currently rank them second and third in the country.
In the field, senior Jon Hendershot (Nazareth, Pa.) was able to win high jump in a leap of 7-1.5. Another Nittany Lion that had a notable showing was junior Brian Leap (Bellwood, Pa). He finished second in long jump with an indoor personal record mark of 23- 7.25. Senior Will Barr continued his undefeated season in the weight with a toss of 67-1.25.
Later in the evening, the men's 4x400 meter relay team won in a time of 3:07.83 and the women's team finished second in a time of 3:338.81.
From My View
When you walk into the second track meet of the season you normally don't bring the same energy or intensity as the first meet. To my surprise, we were able to bring more energy and excitement to the meet through many different strong performances from what I witnessed. I got the chance to watch the men's 1000 meter run where junior Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md) just missed breaking his own record by 1.12 seconds. His strong performance really shows that he is ready to run fast in both the mile and in the 800 this indoor season. I also got the chance to watch the men's 800-meter run. I know Brannon and Za'Von both wanted to win but that wasn't the outcome for either of them. I'm glad that it happened because it leaves both of them determined and hungry to run faster the next time they step on the track.
I got the opportunity to open up in the 400-meter dash and I knew coming in that it would be a big one. A lot of people asked me what my goal was going in and I told every one that asked me that it was to run 46 seconds. Let me back track just a minute. When I arrived at Penn State I was apart of the mid-distance training group. As a senior in high school, I looked up to the Lionel Williams, Owen Dawsons and Ryan Fosters of the world so I thought that coming to Penn State I could run fast in the 800-meter run. When I arrived, I found out that I was completely wrong because the training was different from what I was used to in high school. I had never ran cross country in my life and when I arrived I had to train with cross country guys who were 10 times better than me. Luckily, I had an understanding coach in John Gondak who was completely fine with me switching to the sprints squad after we sat down and talked things out after my freshmen year. Fast forward three years later you now see what the byproduct of hard work and belief can do. I was able to run a personal best of 46.61 Saturday while running against a talent 400-meter runner in Carvin Nkanata from Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, Carvin beat me by running 46.36 but hopefully I get another opportunity to race against him soon. Penn State track and field really showed a lot of pride and passion this weekend and I am looking forward to the last two home meets of my career that we have ahead of us.
We are back in action the last weekend of January at the Penn State National two-day meet that will feature top talent from across the country. Please come out and support us in two weeks as we run, jump, and throw for the glory.
By Bernard Bennett-Green, GoPSUsports.com
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State track and field started off the season with a bang Saturday after winning more than 10 individual events and every relay event they contested.
Alex Kenney (State College, Pa.) highlighted the men's sprint events by finishing second in the 60m dash in a time of 6.81 after taking four years off from the sport to pursue football at Penn State. On the women's side redshirt senior Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio.) blazed the track winning the 60m dash in a time of 7.41.
In the field, sophomore Rachel Fatherly (Williamsport, Pa.) won the women's weight throw with a toss of 59-0.75. On the men's side, redshirt senior Will Barr (Urbana, Ohio) won the men's weight throw with a solid toss of (67-1.5). In the relay events, the men and women's distance medley relays captured impressive victories. The men beat the alumni team in a time of 9:59.94 and the women cruised to a victory in a time of 11:44.84. The men and women both collected wins in the 4x400m relay. The men ran a solid time of 3:11.58 and the women ran 3:43.65 with sophomore Kiah Seymour (Washington, D.C.) splitting a blistering 52.9 on her birthday.
Women's 4x200 Relay break record
The women's 4x200 relay that consisted of freshmen Megan Osborne (Chillicothe, Ohio), Kiah Seymour, junior Dynasty McGee (Flint, Mich.), and Maghony Jones broke not only Penn State's record but also the national collegiate record in a time of 1:35.65. The previous record was 1:36.43.
"We kind of didn't expect it. We didn't really know. We hadn't talked much about it. We felt like we had a nice relay to put out there," said Director and Head Track & Field Coach Beth Alford-Sullivan.
Transfers shine in home opener
The newest Nittany lions made huge splashes in the field along the runway. Shippensburg transfer Steve Waithe (Parkville, Md.) started his career off by jumping a new personal best of 52-2.5 to finish in first place.
"To see Steve wearing Penn State across the chest and just really putting together a great triple jump was really rewarding to us," said coach Alford-Sullivan.
Penn State Behrend transfer Dylan Bilka (Seven Fields, Pa.) vaulted (16-00.75) to take first place.
"He stepped right in and won the event yesterday. We haven't had a guy win the pole vault in a lot of years," said Alford-Sullivan.
From My View
The atmosphere from our first meet was like no other season that I've been apart of. We had a huge alumni fan base that was in town for the meet some who were racing and others who were coaching for other schools. It was great to see that even when you graduate from Penn State you can still be apart of the program in some facet. Every one of my teammates was fired up and ready to go. I got to be apart of the meet and experience it first hand by running the 500m dash and the 4x400m relay. The 500m dash is a totally different race because it isn't a standard race in track and field. Usually people run the 400m dash but we never have a 400m dash at our first home meet. I got the opportunity to run against my twin brother Brandon in the 500m dash and we were able to put on quite a show. The day before, my mom saw that we were in the same heat and told us that she would be cheering for both us and that one of us better win the whole thing. I secretly know she wanted to tell my brother she was cheering for me but we won't get into that. I ended up winning the race by .01 with a lean at the line. My brother still thinks that I didn't beat him. I ran a time of 1:03.01, and my brother ran 1:03.02, which now, puts us at fifth and sixth on Penn State's all-time list. In the relay, freshmen Byron Robinson (Chesapeake, Va.), junior Za'von Watkins (Liverpool, N.Y.), sophomore Alex Shisler (State College, Pa.), and myself were able to run a pretty smooth opening time of 3:11.58. One of our team members had an unfortunate injury as we were warming up but thankfully Za'von was able to step and handle the task. As a whole the meet was great across the board on the track and in the field for both the men and women's team. One event that I got to witness was the men's triple jump. Steve Waithe jumped a huge mark of 52 feet! I'm looking forward to seeing how much more he will progress this year because the sky is the limit for him.
We are back in action on Saturday in the Nittany Lion Challenge, which will feature a host of talented teams, such as Ohio State and Miami. Please come out next weekend and watch us run, jump, and throw for the glory.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Happy New Year, everyone! Hello, my name is Bernard Bennett-Green and I am a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. I am from Cheltenham, Pa., which is a diverse suburb right outside of Philadelphia. I am currently one of the team captains on the track and field team where I compete in the 200-meter and 400-meter dash.
The whole purpose of this post is to give you a little bit of background knowledge of where I'm from and what I plan on doing this semester as a track and field blogger for GoPSUsports.com. This semester, I plan on giving you a different perspective of what goes on in an every day life of a track and field student-athlete at Penn State. I will provide some of my own experiences and I will also be covering different stories on the track team's performances each week. A lot of people believe that we just run in circles for fun but there is a lot more that goes into just running in circles. Also many people don't recognize the field events enough and I plan on maintaining a healthy balance of coverage from the track and from the field.
I enjoy being a track athlete at Penn State because not only do we get to travel the country and run but also we get so many opportunities to grow and learn together. I came to Penn State for many different reasons but one main reason was the many opportunities that the school provided to be successful on and off the track. Penn State has one of the best communications programs in the country, and coming from a high school like mine you would jump at an opportunity to be a part of something this special. I remember coming on my visit here back in the spring of 2010 while the whole school was on spring break and some of the team was still here because they were getting ready for indoor nationals. The campus view was like love at first sight coming down the dotted hill of General Potter highway when I saw Beaver Stadium's majestic beauty in the distance. It took my breath away that day and everything from the academic support to the Penn State pride that every one showed was icing on the cake. I'll go into more detail about the opportunities and experiences that I have encountered here as the semester goes along.
Track and field has two seasons unlike most sports, which are indoor and outdoor. This indoor season, we have four home meets spanning from Jan. 11 to Feb. 8. We finally get to hit the road and travel to Ohio twice at the end of February and the beginning of March. One of the most important goals this year for the indoor season is to have as many people as possible qualify for the Indoor National Championships, which will be held in Albuquerque, N.M., during our spring break.
Our outdoor schedule is great because we get to travel to warmer places throughout the spring. State College isn't the perfect place to have a track meet every weekend because of its cold winter weather patterns, but we do have one home meet this year towards the end of the season. I'll go into more detail about the outdoor schedule when we get closer to that time. If any of my readers are in town this Saturday please come out and support the track team at our first home meet as we embark on our quest to win a Big Ten title this year. The meet will beginning in the morning and will last all day so come out and watch the Penn State track and field team run, jump, and throw for the glory.
By Tyler Feldman, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the Penn State cross country and track and field teams, what began as just an idea quickly became a reality this past Sunday. An event called "Fit for Fritz" took place inside the Ashenfelter III Indoor Track Facility in an effort to raise awareness and funds for assistant coach Fritz Spence.
This past July, Spence was diagnosed for the second time in five years with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a rare form of cancer that directly attacks the blood and bone marrow.
Since his re-diagnosis in July, Spence has had to undergo several circuits of chemotherapy, as well as cell-growth injections and a bone marrow biopsy. Currently, Spence is in remission again. He is simply waiting to hear from his doctor regarding yet another blood transplant.
To put into words what Spence has gone through during his fight with cancer is difficult, but for those around him, the one word that has been constant throughout is inspirational.
"We felt it was time to step up and do something to honor coach Spence and his battle and all that he brings to the table," said cross country and track and field head coach Beth Alford-Sullivan. "And also just to help he and his family in the world of this medical experience that he is going through, as well as the costs and finances that he's facing."
The event was a culmination of the coaching staff, a committee of student-athletes and the Penn State athletic department working as one team to put on the Walk-A-Thon event. Those involved in organizing the function were amazed at how a person's stroke of bad luck could bring the team and community together.
"It was really cool in a sense of a team effort, for us to all come together and rally behind coach [Spence] like that," said senior jumper Jon Hendershot. "Just seeing him in here with his little mask on to stay healthy as he prepares for surgery is just inspiring. All we have to deal with is classes and staying on schedule. What he is going through with his family is really inspiring to see that he's so much invested in us that he's still coming in to work with us."
Sunday alone, Penn State cross country and track and field managed to raise $10,521 to help Spence financially support he and his family during his second clash with cancer. Since then, however, a couple more donations have trickled in, pushing the total above $11,000.
"It means so much," said Spence. "Just to see the kids take time out of their busy schedules to organize the whole event and to sacrifice walking the three hours shows how much they appreciate me, and for me, how much I appreciate them, the coaching staff and the whole athletic department from the AD down."
With this being the inaugural "Fit for Fritz" fundraising event, Alford-Sullivan had no idea how well the turnout would be for Spence. In the end, the camaraderie and energy that was poured into the day made it one amazing experience.
"We pulled it off on Sunday," said Alford-Sullivan. "We hit it out of the park. It was just a home run. It had all the elements to it, from the simple aspect of fitness and 'Fit for Fritz' and all that we are about as a track and field and cross country program to the emotional side of doing things for someone who is giving so much back to us."
Even though the women's cross country team and Matt Fischer from the men's cross country team could not participate due to the fact that the nine of them will be competing at the NCAA Championships this upcoming Saturday in Terre Haute, Ind., the remaining 100 cross country and track and field student-athletes were split into teams of four, totaling 25 teams for the event.
The Walk-A-Thon incorporated three unique stages, with the team who accumulated the most laps winning and being dawned as the most "Fit for Fritz."
The first step was for each team member to walk on the track a quarter-mile at a time and then pass a baton to the next teammate for three continuous hours.
During the 10 to 12 minute span when three out of the four team members were not walking with the baton, the next course of action took place. A fitness circuit that included jumping jacks, plyos, pushups and sit-ups was created. If an entire fitness circuit was completed in the 10 to 12 minutes, an extra two laps were added on to the team total.
The final and most fun aspect of the event was karaoke. To keep everyone entertained, a karaoke guru was hired to play some great music. If a participant in the event sang a karaoke song, his or her team earned another two laps.
However, there was a catch to the karaoke. Let's just say that teammates and coaches learned quite a bit about some of the student-athletes who got carried away with the mic.
"I don't think the DJ played a full song because everybody was singing the whole time, back-to-back-to-back for three hours straight the entire team was just doing different karaoke songs," said Hendershot. "It was funny because you got to see some of the teammates characters really come out, people who you wouldn't expect to do karaoke were just goofing around."
As the three hours of walking ticked down to zero, many people, including Spence, noticed the success of the inaugural "Fit for Fritz" and could see this becoming an annual fundraiser in the future for not just AML but for all types of cancer.
"Life is life. Life is like track and field. You have your ups; you have your downs. You have your good days; you have your bad days," said Spence. "I always thought that I could beat this cancer. I have to continue to fight, continue to push. Being around this atmosphere keeps me motivated, strong, and gives me the energy to continue to push."