**

Blog

Recently in Track & Field Category

11665707.jpeg


By Zach Reagan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With both the Penn State men's and women's track and field teams ranked in the top-25, the Nittany Lions look to keep using their depth as an advantage in this weekend's Sykes & Sabock Challenge Cup.

 

According to this week's United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's (USTFCCCA) National Computer Rankings, the men's side held the No. 21 ranking and the women made their debut in the top-25 by checking in at No. 25.

 

"Both teams being ranked really shows the depth that we have for both the men's and women's teams. If I sat here and listed everybody, I'd be talking about 50 people which shows the depth that we have this year," said head coach John Gondak.

 

Gondak noted the overall solid performances across the board in the sprints, mid-distance, women's pole vault, women's long and triple jump, women's shot put and weight throw.

 

"Our national level kids are really doing a great job and some of our developmental kids are really coming into their own and producing at a high level," said Gondak.

 

Record-breaking performances from seniors Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) and Tori Gerlach (Perkasie, Pa.) have led to several recent accolades. This week, Kidder earned USTFCCCA Division I Athlete of the Week and Big Ten Athlete of the Week honors with his phenomenal performances in the 800-meter event and in Penn State's distance medley relay as the anchor leg during last week's Penn State National.  

 

In the 800-meters, Kidder competed against one of the strongest fields of the weekend and won with a time of 1:47.01. The time is third in the NCAA and first in the Big Ten. During the distance medley relay (DMR), Kidder used a strong kick to come from behind to beat Stanford's Sean McGorty. Kidder split 3:55, which helped Penn State not only win the race, but move up to fourth on the all-time collegiate list.

 

Kidder was also named to The Bowerman Men's Watch List. He's the first Nittany Lion athlete to ever be named to the list. The Bowerman names the most outstanding male and female collegiate track & field athletes in the nation.

 

Also this week, Gerlach was nominated as a Big Ten Athlete of the Week for breaking the school record in the mile with a time of 4:37.83 during the Penn State National. She won the race easily by more than seven seconds. The Penn State women's mile record was previously held by 2012 Olympian Bridget Franek. Gerlach's time currently ranks No. 1 in the Big Ten and No. 7 in the NCAA.

 

As for this weekend's meet, the Nittany Lions are competing in the annual Sykes & Sabock Challenge Cup on Friday and Saturday. The pentathlon starts Friday at 1:30 p.m. and the track and field events start at 5 p.m. Saturday's portion of the competition starts with field events at 11 a.m. and track events at noon.

 

It's the first scored team competition of the year for the Nittany Lions. Among competition with eight schools, Penn State will get a chance to see where they stand in team scored events which can help the Nittany Lions get a preview for team postseason competitions further down the road.

 

The Sykes & Sabock Challenge Cup marks the fourth of five home meets of Penn State's 2016 indoor season schedule. The Sykes & Sabock Challenge Cup is named after the late "Dutch" Sykes and the late Dr. Ralph Sabock who were two long-time Penn State track and field officials. The event is in honor of their dedicated love for Penn State track and field and to the students of Penn State University.

 

Sykes and Sabock each served for over 30 years as Penn State track and field and cross country officials working as clerks of the course, starters and finish judges. They officiated NCAA Championships, all regular season meets, Special Olympics, and physically challenged events. Sykes was Intramural Director and Sabock was a professor in the Department of Kinesiology during their Penn State tenures. Sykes was impactful on the planning and construction of the original Intramural Building. Sabock was the author of the internationally known book "Coaching: A Realistic Perspective," currently in its tenth edition which is used at Penn State and in college coaching courses globally.


For more on Nittany Lion track and field, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.

11655211.jpeg


By Zach Reagan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State track and field team wrapped up the Penn State National Friday and Saturday with solid performances from a host of Nittany Lions in front of electric crowds at the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track.

 

Once again, the Nittany Lions competed valiantly to set personal records, break school records, and set standout marks among the NCAA ranks.

 

"It was a fantastic weekend for Penn State men's and women's track and field," said head coach John Gondak.

 

Highlighting the weekend's action were seniors Tori Gerlach (Perkasie, Pa.) and Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio). Normally a 3K and 5K distance athlete, Gerlach broke the school record in the mile by 12 one-hundredths of a second with a time 4:37.83. She won the race by a significant margin of more than seven seconds. In what was probably the collegiate race of the weekend, mid-distance runner Kidder followed up his Nittany Lion Challenge NCAA collegiate record in the 1,000-meter event with the top performance in the 800-meter event to put him second-fastest in the NCAA, with a time of 1:47.01.

 

Penn State continued their rich tradition of standout performances in the men's distance medley relay Friday. Kidder, the anchor leg on the men's distance medley relay, along with sophomore Jordan Makins (Perth, Australia), junior Alex Shisler (State College, Pa.), and freshman Isaiah Harris (Lewiston, Maine) set a NCAA-best time so far this season in 9:27.20. Kidder and Stanford's Sean McGorty battled in a tight one down the front stretch to the finish line in what would be the No. 1 and No. 2 times in the nation as of Friday night.

 

In the sprints, sophomore Xavier Smith (Douglassville, Pa.) out did his school record in the 60-meter event once again with a blazing time of 6.68 seconds. He beat Buffalo's Darien Johnson to the line by one one-hundredth of a second. Smith has bested his school record in each of the first three competitions this season.

 

Sophomore Malik Moffett (Erie, Pa.) won the 200-meter event and just missed the school record by four one-hundredths of a second.

 

The Penn State men of Alex Shisler, freshman Sam Reiser (Melbourne, Australia), Xavier Smith, and Isaiah Harris came away victorious in the 4x400-meter relay event with a time of 3:10.29.

 

The Nittany Lion women dominated in the pole vault with junior Lexi Masterson (Jeannette, Pa.) winning the event with a clearance of 4.09m (13'0.5"). Junior Kasey Kemp (Irwin, Pa.) and sophomore Hannah Mulhern (Altoona, Pa.) finished with a tie for third-place.

 

In the jumps, junior Dannielle Gibson (Nassau, Bahamas) set a personal indoor record with a winning jump of 6.11m (20'-0.5"). Gibson won the event by a difference of four inches.

 

In the throws, senior Rachel Fatherly (Williamsport, Pa.) and junior Alyssa Robinson (Saint Clairsville, Ohio) finished second and fourth respectively in the women's weight throw. Fatherly also finished second in the women's shot put.

 

The Nittany Lions will be back in action this weekend for the Sykes & Sabock Challenge Cup two-day event at the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor track. It will be Penn State's first team event of the year and a simulation of what it will be like to compete in team postseason meets. "It should be exciting to see how we can do in a scored competition," said Gondak.

 

For more on Nittany Lion track and field, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.

11644946.jpeg


By Zach Reagan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With two solid indoor performances in the books, the Penn State track and field team is ready to compete in one of the finest collegiate indoor meets in the country, this weekend's Penn State National.

 

The Nittany Lions have performed well and have notched numerous significant feats so far this season. One of the keys to success lies in the team's depth and competitive theme. Head coach John Gondak mentioned after Penn State's last meet that the team's success isn't only about the team's top athletes. Instead, it's all a product of the hard working members of the team that continue to push one another to get better during training. It's a process that has worked for the Nittany Lions and it's been showing in both the track and field events.

 

Penn State's team depth is noticeable on both the men's and women's teams. Thirteen women's events and ten men's events are in the top 30 among all NCAA performances.

 

In the first two meets, Penn State athletes have won a total of 30 individual event titles and have broken four school records, including Brannon Kidder's all-time NCAA record in the 1,000-meter. Sophomore Xavier Smith (Douglassville, Pa.) (60-meter), senior Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) (1,000-meter), senior Tori Gerlach (Perkasie, Pa.) (1,000-meter) and junior Lexi Masterson (Jeannette, Pa.) (pole vault) have all broken school records so far this season.

 

Also, in the first couple weeks of the season, Lexi Masterson and Brannon Kidder earned Big Ten Athletes of the Week accolades.

 

At the global level, during the Jan. 9 Penn State Relays, Penn State became home to the fastest men's and women's 4x800-meter relays in the world, as the relay of junior Julie Kocjancic (Pittsburgh, Pa.), sophomore Victoria Crawford (State College, Pa.), sophomore Elizabeth Chikotas (Hellertown, Pa.), and senior Tori Gerlach (Perkasie, Pa.) combined to post a world leading time of 8:45.85 -- missing the school record of 8:45.60 set in 1984 by 0.25 seconds. For the men, the 4x800-meter relay of sophomore Jordan Makins (Perth, Australia), sophomore Bobby Hill (Wellsbroro, Pa.), freshman Isaiah Harris (Lewiston, Maine), and senior Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) recorded their world leading time of 7:25.28.

 

Penn State looks to keep building on these early season highlights. This weekend will be a special opportunity for the Nittany Lions to add more standout performances to the growing list of personal bests, meet records and school records. With a wealth of nationally ranked teams coming to Happy Valley, Penn State will get a chance to see how they match up with some of country's best.

 

As for the two-day Penn State National, it starts Friday at noon and continues Saturday at 11 a.m. for track events and noon for field events at the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track. Among the 38 teams competing in the meet are nationally ranked No. 4 Virginia Tech, No. 14 Stanford, No. 21 Penn State and No. 23 Georgetown on the men's side, and No. 10 Georgetown, No. 14 Stanford and No. 25 Akron one the women's side.

 

The Penn State National will be streamed live on Flotrack.org, users must have a FloPro account to access the video.

 

For more on Nittany Lion track and field, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.

11620965.jpeg


By Zach Reagan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State track and field team showed no signs of resting on its laurels during Saturday's Nittany Lion Challenge.

 

The Nittany Lion Challenge marked the second competition of the year for the Nittany Lions. After the meet concluded, head coach John Gondak stressed that the team didn't have any letdowns even after a solid showing in last weekend's Penn State Relays. Though there can be a mental hurdle to overcome complacency after a successful first meet of the year, there wasn't any signs of complacency from the Nittany Lions this weekend.

 

The meet was filled with standout performances turned in by Penn State athletes in a wide-range of events both on the track and in the field events. Penn State went on to win 13 individual events, set four meet records, and break one NCAA collegiate record.

 

Gondak was ecstatic with the team's focus and passion. 


"Our theme of becoming competitors continues to be on display with the performances that our program is having," he said.  

 

The meet was highlighted by Penn State senior Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) who broke the NCAA collegiate record for the 1,000-meter dash with a time of 2:18.26. Kidder broke teammate Robby Creese's NCAA record. Before Kidder and Creese, former Nittany Lion Ryan Foster previously held the NCAA mark.

 

"We had planned on taking it out fast and just seeing what we had early. (Jordan) Makins brought me through 600-meters perfect, we got there and I felt pretty good so I just kept going," said Kidder.

 

Kidder never ran the 1,000-meter dash event in competition before Saturday. In the back of Kidder's mind, he thought he could have a chance at the record, but he was more focused on running a good 800-meters before the push to the finish line on the final lap.

 

In the sprints, sophomore Xavier Smith (Douglassville, Pa.) went on to once again break his school record in the 60-meter dash in back-to-back competitions with a time of 6.69 seconds. In last week's Penn State Relays, Smith ran a time of 6.70 seconds.

 

"It's always good when you run a PR (personal record), but I'm still headed in the right direction. I'm looking forward to two weeks of good training before hitting the track again at the Penn State National," said Smith.

 

In the throws, senior Rachel Fatherly (Williamsport, Pa.) threw 19.84m (65'-1.25") in the women's weight throw to set her season and personal best. Fatherly also threw a personal best of 17.08m (56'-0.5") in the women's shot put event.

 

"Coming into today, throwing over 17-meters was a goal of mine, said Fatherly. "On the second throw, I threw 55' but I released it too early, I knew I had more. The next throw, I was a little aggressive and ended up all over the toe board. In the transition in-between prelims and finals I was able to calm down and the first throw of finals I threw 56'. There are still a lot of technical things that I need to fix, but based on where I was at this point last year I'm way ahead so far this season."

Several other Penn State athletes set personal best in their respective events including: Patrick Anderson (pole vault), Malik Moffett (long jump), Jordan Makins (mile), Morgan Shigo (weight throw), Elizabeth Chikotas (mile), Dannielle Gibson (triple jump), Tori Gerlach (1,000-meter dash), and Quenee Dale (60-meter hurdles).

Penn State has a crucial training period of two weeks to fine tune some things before its next competition. Gondak is excited to see the team compete against some of the nation's best. The Nittany Lions will get the opportunity to do so in the Penn State National at the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track on Jan. 29-30. The Penn State National will be streamed live on Flotrack.org.


For more on Penn State track and field, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.



By Zach Reagan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State track and field program is nearing the official start of its indoor season. GoPSUsports.com caught up with senior distance runner Tori Gerlach and senior mid-distance runner Brannon Kidder to get a preview of this year's athletes.
 

Members of the women's cross country team look to transition their success onto the track in the distance events after claiming both the Big Ten and Mid-Atlantic Regional championships this past fall. It was a memorable season for the Nittany Lions, as they were ranked as high as No. 9 in the country. Penn State went on to advance to the NCAA Cross Country Championships for the sixth-time in the last seven years.

Tori Gerlach (Perkasie, Pa.), who leads the distance group, believes the group had a strong fall and looks forward to the indoor season. "It's really nice that now a lot of distance girls can run together," said Gerlach. Gerlach qualified for the 2015 NCAA East Prelims in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and the 5,000 meter run where she posted personal-best performances in both events to advance to the last season's NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Other members of the strong women's distance group include sophomore Elizabeth Chikotas (Hellertown, Pa.), sophomore Jillian Hunsberger (Pittsburgh, Pa.), and freshman Tessa Barrett (Waverly, Pa.). Chikotas earned her way to in the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships with an eighth-place finish in the 5,000-meter run at the NCAA East Prelims. Barrett is coming off the an impressive 38th place finish at the 2015 NCAA Cross Country Championships where she earned All-American honors. The performance was the best Nittany Lion finish since 2011.

For the men, Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) leads the middle distance group. There's a solid mix of veteran runners and talented young runners, according to Kidder. "It's been a good fall for us, we've got a lot of solid strength work in," said Kidder.

Kidder recorded a runner-up finish in the 800-meter run at last season's NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships which earned him first team All-American honors.

Senior Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.), senior Wade Endress (Altoona, Pa.), junior Conner Quinn (Horsham, Pa.), and freshman Colin Abert (Easton, Pa.) are other standouts for the men's side this year. Creese placed 13th in the 1,500-meter run at the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships which earned him second team All-American honors.

Both Gerlach and Kidder stressed it is important for the team to continuing to train through the winter break in order to be in prime condition. With some fine tuning after the break, the Nittany Lions will be ready to put their offseason training to the test in the opening Penn State Relays on Jan. 9th.

For more information on Penn State Track and Field visit www.GoPSUsports.com or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.

By Zach Reagan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State track and field preseason training is officially underway and the program is nearing the start of its indoor season. GoPSUsports.com caught up with jumps and multi-events coaches Fritz Spence and Kevin Kelly to get a preview of this year's athletes.

 

Coach Spence enters his tenth campaign with the Nittany Lion track and field program, and is looking forward to seeing the women's jumps and multi-events groups doing well. "All of the event disciplines have been very successful in training and in the weight room," said Spence.

 

The Nittany Lion have returning women athletes in the high jump and triple jump events, and have added some freshmen to round out the group. Notable women jumpers and multi-event athletes under Spence's tutelage are senior Ahmenah Richardson (Philadelphia, Pa.), juniors Dannielle Gibson (Nassau, Bahamas), Tal Ben-Artiz (Kibbutz Gazit, Israel) and freshman Madeline Holmberg (Greensburg, Pa.).

 

The veteran Richardson qualified for the NCAA East prelims in the high jump in the last outdoor season. She looks to lead the jumping group this season and improve on a personal best in the high jump of 5-11.25 feet which put her into a tie for second in the all-time Penn State record books. Gibson qualified for the NCAA East Prelims in the long jump and the triple jump in the last outdoor season after solid performances at the 2014 Big Ten Outdoor Championships in both events.

 

The versatile Ben-Artiz competes in the pentathlon and heptathlon events for the team. She set a pentathlon personal-best at the 2014 Big Ten Indoor Championships with a score of 3,861 points and a heptathlon personal-best at the heptathlon with a score of 4,937 points.

 

Holmberg is ready to make an impact after an impressive high school career in which she was a four-time PIAA state champion (2013: 4x100 relay, 2014: long jump, 300-meter hurdles, 4x100-meter relay) and 2014 PIAA Women's Track Athlete of the Year.

 

Coach Kelly in his fourth year at Penn State believes that the group he coaches is formidable in all areas. "For the first time since I've been here, we have strength in all event areas that I coach," said Kelly. Also, several athletes have the ability to compete in multiple events.

 

The Nittany Lions have depth at pole vault according to Kelly. There are five female pole-vaulters in junior and NCAA East Prelims qualifier Lexi Masterson (Jeannette, Pa.), junior Kasey Kemp (Irwin, Pa.), junior Erin Knabe (Voorhees, N.J.), sophomore Hannah Mulhern (Altoona, Pa.) and freshman Megan Fry (State College, Pa.).

 

As for the men, senior pole-vaulters Dylan Bilka (Seven Fields, Pa.) and Patrick Anderson (Kane, Pa.) are veteran leaders looking to contribute for the Nittany Lions.

 

As for the jumps, senior Brian Leap (Bellwood, Pa.) finished second in the triple jump with a personal-best leap of 52-6.75 feet at the Big Ten Indoor Championships last year and earned second team All-American honors at the 2015 NCAA Indoor Championships.

 

Sophomore Bryce Williams (State College, Pa.), who qualified for the 2015 NCAA East Prelims during the outdoor season in the triple jump, "has just looked beyond what he looked like at any point last year," said Kelly.

 

Senior Robert Cardina (Lancaster, Pa.) returns this season for the Nittany Lions. At the 2014 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Cardina earned first team All-America honors as he placed eighth with his lifetime-best score of 7,666 points. That score made him the first Penn State student-athlete to be named an All-American in the decathlon since 1998. It was also the highest Penn State finish in the decathlon at the NCAA Championships since Dave Masgay placed seventh in 1987.  

 

The Nittany Lions have talented multi-event freshmen athletes in Luke Rarig (Catawissa, Pa.) and Alex McCord (Lititz, Pa.). Rarig was a five-time PIAA State medal winner and 2015 PIAA 110-meter hurdle state champion

 

Coach Kelly said that the high jump has been a strength of the program for years. Freshmen Devin Bradham (Williamstown, N.J.) and Chisom Ifedi (Columbus, Ohio) look to keep that tradition going throughout their Penn State careers. Both freshmen have been pleasant surprises according to Kelly. Bradham was a three-time New Jersey state champion in the high jump and Ifedi was a gold medalist at the 2014 USA Track & Field Junior Championships in the high jump. Junior Malik Moffett (Erie, Pa.) looks to give the Nittany Lions a boost at high and long jump as well.

 

Penn State track and field athletes are continuing to train and prepare for the first official competition of the season next Saturday. The indoor season kicks off with the annual intrasquad Blue-White Meet on Dec. 12. Following the Blue-White Meet, is the opening home Penn State Relays on Jan. 9.

 

For more information on Penn State Track and Field visit www.GoPSUsports.com or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.  

 

 




By Zach Reagan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State track and field preseason training is officially underway and the program is nearing the start of its indoor season. GoPSUsports.com caught up with throws coach Patrick Ebel to get a preview of this year's athletes.


Ebel enters his fourth season with high expectations for the Nittany Lion throwing group. He's coached numerous athletes who have notched phenomenal throwing performances while winning titles and breaking records in his first three years at Penn State. Ebel had the pleasure of coaching Penn State great, and now professional thrower, Darrell Hill (Philadelphia, Pa.), who graduated last year after a remarkable throwing career in which he capped it off with a second place finish in the shot put at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a throw of 66 feet, 8.25 inches


Not having Hill competing will be different for the Nittany Lions, but he's left an impact beyond what he's done in the shot put circle. Coach Ebel mentioned that when Hill threw for Penn State he gave advice to the younger throwers on how to throw in big events. Even though Hill won't be suiting up in the blue and white this year, he can still be found at the Multi-Sport Facility working on his craft. The throwers that Hill has impacted look to follow up on his career with success of their own.


This year's throwing contingent has depth with a combined total of 22 throwers between the men and women. The group of women throwers returns three of its top performers in the shot put, weight throw, hammer, and discus events. For the women, senior Rachel Fatherly (Williamsport, Pa.), sophomore Obeng Marfo (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), and junior Alyssa Robinson (Saint Clairesville, Ohio) were all Big Ten place winners last year and look to build upon those accomplishments this season. Coach Ebel expects big things from all three throwers.


Fatherly went on to qualify for the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships in shot put last season. She finished 10th at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a throw of 54 feet, 8.25 inches.


The men's side is made up of many underclassmen throwers. Ebel said the group largely consists of incoming freshmen, redshirt freshmen, and sophomores. There are two seniors on the men's side, one of those throwers is Michael Shuey (Johnsonburg, Pa.). Shuey is looking to repeat once again after winning the Big Ten outdoor javelin title the last two seasons with throws of 236 feet, 8 inches in 2014 and 236 feet, 2 inches in 2013. He also won the Big Ten outdoor competition in 2013 by over 26 feet. Coach Ebel expects a fair share of men throwers to represent Penn State at the Big Ten Championships and NCAA Championships.


Both the men and the women throwers are continuing to train and prepare for the first official competition of the season in a few weeks. The indoor season kicks off with the annual intrasquad Blue-White Meet on Dec. 12. Following the Blue-White Meet, is the opening home Penn State Relays on Jan. 9.


For more information on Penn State Track and Field visit www.
GoPSUsports.com or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.  

By Zach Reagan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State track and field preseason training is officially underway and the program is nearing the start of its indoor season. GoPSUsports.com caught up with first-year sprints, hurdles, and relays coach Erin Tucker to get a preview of this year's athletes.

Tucker brings a wealth of experience and success to the Penn State program. He's been a part of three national championships at Florida in recent years, and has coached several student-athletes that have competed at the Olympics. He looks to keep the winning tradition going with the Nittany Lions during this year's indoor and outdoor seasons.

Tucker's sprinting groups are filled with many young athletes looking to contribute and build off of what they accomplished last season. On the men's side, there is more depth than last year. There are nine sprinting athletes in comparison to last season's total of just four athletes. "The fact that we have nine, we've already moved a little bit up the ladder and stepped up the curve so to speak," said Tucker.

For the men, local senior Alex Shisler (State College, Pa.) is coming off an All-American indoor season in the distance medley relay last season. Tucker looks for Shisler and freshman Sam Reiser (Melbourne, Australia) to have solid years in the 400-meter dash event. Reiser won three national gold medals for Team Australia at the World Junior Championships in his high school career.

Returning sophomore short sprinter Xavier Smith (Douglassville, Pa.) looks to improve upon an impressive 2015 track season. "He's shocked a lot of people this year in how he's progressing this fall," said Tucker.

As for impact freshmen athletes, freshman Cody Minnig (Levittown, Pa.) looks to switch over from long jumping to contribute for the short sprinting group.  Anton Porter (Bronx, N.Y.) also looks to contribute in the short sprinting events, and David Marrington (Langhorne, Pa.) looks to run well in the outdoor hurdles.

The women's side is made up of a lot of young athletes. "We have a number of young ladies that were here last year that got an opportunity 'to get their feet wet' (in the Big Tens and the NCAAs)," said Tucker.

For the women, juniors Tichina Rhodes (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Megan Osborne (Chillicothe, Ohio) both ran on the 4x400-meter relay that qualified for nationals last season. They know what it takes to succeed at the collegiate level, according to coach Tucker. Remarkably, Rhodes had a lot of success in the 400-meter dash last season without the use of blocks. Coach Tucker said she's been working on her block mechanics to build upon what she accomplished last year.

Sophomore Quenee Dale (Ypsilanti, Mich.) looks to improve on her freshman year in the short sprints, hurdles, and relay events. Coach Tucker is extremely excited to see what freshman Keianna Albury (Nassau, Bahamas) can do this season as she brings great size, strength, and ability to the team. Albury won the 200-meter dash at the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Junior Championships. "Her potential is limitless," said Tucker.

Freshman Lauren Costa looks to contribute for the relay events. She has been a great teammate by helping her teammates out at practice.

Both the men and the women sprinters are continuing to train and prepare for the first official competition of the season in less than a month. The indoor season kicks off with the annual intrasquad Blue-White Meet on Dec. 12th. Following the Blue-White Meet, is the opening home Penn State Relays on Jan. 9th.

For more information on Penn State Track and Field visit www.GoPSUsports.com or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.  

 



By Zach Reagan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - To coach cross country and track and field, it takes a special individual that has passion for the craft of running and the internal drive to get the most out of their student-athletes. Just a few months into her Nittany Lion coaching career, Angela Reckart has already left an impact on the State program.

 

Reckart commonly referred to as "Coach Reck" by student-athletes and staff is not new to the coaching ranks. She previously served as an assistant at the University of North Carolina before making the move to join Penn State head coach John Gondak's staff. In Reckart's time at North Carolina, she coached the cross country and track and field teams to historic seasons for the program. She's looking to bring that same continued success to Penn State.

 

The high-energy distance coach is a 2008 graduate of the College of New Jersey (TCNJ) and a former standout track athlete herself. During her time at TCNJ, she was a member of the track and field team and posted All-America honors seven times. She was a member of two national championship 4x400-meter relays. After her collegiate running career concluded, she started coaching at TCNJ by helping with the middle distance program. Then, she moved on to be a graduate assistant and volunteer coach at North Florida before her stay at North Carolina.

 

She combines her athletic experiences, her exercise science background and personable personality to coach up the Nittany Lion runners. Reckart's easy-going personality makes it easier for the team to connect with her.

 

Hailing from New Jersey, Reckart has always thought highly of Penn State and about how special it would be to coach at Penn State. Now that she earned the opportunity, she has shown that she is loving every second of it. Reckart has taken to social media on many occasions to display her Penn State passion and pride. Here are a few of her tweets since she's been on campus since July. 

 

Coach Gondak and Reckart have lead the cross country program to an impressive 2015 campaign. Both the men's and women's sides have worked hard at practice during the off-season and in-season to achieve this success. The women's team has been nationally ranked all season and is currently No. 15 in the USTFCCCA rankings.

 

Coming up for the Nittany Lions...

 

The Nittany Lions are preparing for post-season competition, which begins with the Big Ten Championships on Sunday, November 1 in Chicago.

By Zach Reagan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Six coaches from various parts of the world made the trip to Penn State last week to work with the Penn State track and field coaching staff and student-athletes as a part of the eighth edition of the International Coaching Enrichment Certificate Program (ICECP).

The ICECP is a six-week intensive coaches' education program broken into four modules that provides coaches from around the world an opportunity to attend lectures and presentations while participating in hands-on coaching work in the United States for the benefit of their education and career.

Penn State head track and field coach John Gondak and his coaching staff hosted Emanuela Aparecida Santana Coito (Brazil), Leyhor Tolud (Suriname), Josephine Mary Singarayar (Malaysia), Rashid Burnashev (Uzbekistan), Nedim Covic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Niuone Eliuta (Tuvalu) for a week of experiences while sharing with them the track and field facilities, workout routines, coaching strategies, sport science and introducing them to Penn State student-athletes.

The visit with the Penn State track and field program was a part of the ICECP's second module relating to sport-specific apprenticeship that allowed participants to observe and interact with coaches from National Governing Bodies (NGBs), university athletic teams or elite sport clubs in each of their respective sports.

Coach Gondak gave the coaches the opportunity to do hands-on track and field work focusing on the specific disciplines of sprints, mid-distance and jumps. Gondak's experience with the coaches allowed the coaches to participate in activities different from normal ICECP lectures and presentation trainings.

"I'm very thankful to the ICECP because they give us the opportunity to come and explore Penn State," said Singarayar, a sprinting specialist from Malaysia and Malaysian women's 800 meter record holder.

Singarayar noted that she definitely learned a lot from the Penn State coaches. Most importantly she would llike to take the sports science aspects back to her country to try out. She also marveled at the Penn State track and field program's way of doing things. "The system they are brought up on is amazing to see," the former track standout said.

The student-athletes impressed Singarayar as well. "They (the student-athletes) are very confident, very self-motivated and very independent. What I mean is they come, they know what they have to do, they warm up and the coaches are there ready to give them the workout. The moment they are finished they are back to their own life," she said.

Gondak and the Penn State track and field coaching staff took some time a break from the program to have some fun as they headed over to the Pegula Ice Arena to ice skate. This was the first time some of the coaches ever ice skated. "I liked it. It was very funny and it was my first time," said Aparecida Santana Coito, a youth coach from Brazil focused on physical education.

Not only is the program fun and valuable for the coaches, it remains very important to the Penn State track and field program. "Over the years, the staff has been incredible ambassadors for the US Olympic Community, their sport, Penn State and the United States. They have demonstrated all that is good about sport in the US. They have not only shared with the coaches, but they have embraced the experience so that the Penn State coaching staff and student athletes have benefitted. Penn State track and field has contributed to making the world a better place through sport and I thank them," said the Dr. Matthew J. Robinson, Professor of Sport Management University of Delaware and Director of the ICECP.

"The Penn State University track and field program's contribution to the success of the International Coaching Enrichment Certificate Program (ICECP) over the past eight years cannot be quantified. In the early stages of the program Coach Gondak and Coach Beth Alford-Sullivan helped us define the apprenticeship experience, which is an essential part of the six week experience," said Robinson.

The ICECP is in conjunction with the United States Olympic Committee, the University of Delaware and the International Olympic Committee, the International Coaching Enrichment Certification Program which aims at assisting national-level coaches in developing proficiency in the areas of sport sciences, talent identification, athlete development, safe sport, coaching education, coaching management and grassroots sport development, according to the ICECP's website.

The intended outcome is for ICECP participants to return to their countries and serve as coaches within their respective sports, while becoming foundation builders for future coaches and athletes and spreading Olympic spirit.

This year's ICECP features coaches representing five continents, 34 countries and 14 sports. Through the first seven years of the program, the ICECP has reached 198 participants from 23 sports and 87 countries. Last year's segment at Penn State included four coaches from around the globe.

Before Penn State, the visited the University of Delaware for part of the program. As the experience finished up at Penn State, the group of coaches from the ICECP class of 2015 will travel to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado for the third module then lastly to the International Olympic Committee's headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland for the last module of the program.

 

GoPSUsports

Instagram