PARK, Pa. - Penn State made history Sunday afternoon, as the Nittany Lion men
were crowed Big Ten Outdoor Champions, earning their first Big Ten title in
the momentum of a standout opening day throughout the three-day event, the Penn
State men finished 14 points ahead of second-place Ohio State (103) to lock up
event for the first time since 2007 and just the third time in program history,
the Nittany Lions wasted no time setting the tone, with three of four day one silver
medalists coming on the men's side.
been, personally, a date that I've had on the calendar for three years," Penn
State head coach John Gondak said. "When we first found out we were going to
host in 2017, it was a goal to host a great championship and have two teams that
By the end
of the first day, even with some unpredictable weather, the Penn State men had rocketed
to the top of the team standings with nearly double the team score of
second-place Nebraska and Wisconsin.
went out and from the first day, scoring 40 points in three events, which is
something we weren't expected to do, and just jumped out to a big lead like
that," Gondak said.
powered through day two, highlighted by a school record performance in the long
jump. Fueled by the energy of the crowd, Malik Moffett joined an elite group
with a jump of 26'-3" (8 m) to surpass a school record set by David Coney in
It wasn't until
just after the record-setting gold medal performance that Moffett realized he
had etched his name into program history.
out and my coach picked me up and I thought, did that really happen, I'm in the
eight meter club," Moffett said. "It's a nice club to be in and not too many
people can say that so I'm pretty psyched about it."
already qualified for the 200-meter finals a day prior, sprints had actually
been the focus of the senior Nittany Lion leading up to the weekend.
stopped doing a lot of long jump stuff and focused more on sprints," Moffett
said. "I only really practiced long jump two times out of the week and I don't
know why, but I guess it worked.
team All-Big Ten selection, Moffett, wasn't finished, claiming the 200-meter
title with a time of 19.87w to ascend to the top of the all-condition standings
in program history.
also saw fellow first team All-Big Ten selection Isaiah Harris pour on the
points, extending his stretch of dominance in the 800-meter race. With a time
of 1:49.68, Harris earned his fourth consecutive Big Ten title, having now won
each indoor and outdoor titles consecutively across the last two years.
I come to the conference meet I know there's going to be good competition out
there so it means a lot to go out there and defend a title against that many
good guys," Harris said.
conditions, Harris wasn't fazed by the snippets of unfavorable weather
throughout the weekend.
really windy out there today so I wanted to tuck in behind someone and let them
break the wind for me and then the last 250 I just went for it," Harris said.
Just two of
a wealth of key performances and top contributors across the weekend, it's the
entire team effort that has Gondak most impressed at the end of the weekend.
obviously a goal of ours to try and win a men's and a women's title on the same
day, we came a little bit short on the women's side today, but the men came
through and it's a testament to them and their passion and their competitiveness,"
women's side, Dannielle Gibson was among two to earn gold on the final day of
competition. With a 45'-1.75" (13.76m)w mark, Gibson locked up the triple jump
title to help propel the Nittany Lion women to a third-place finish in the
final team standings.
training and preparation, pure joy took over as Gibson peered to the results to
find out she'd be taking home the title.
"It was an
exhilarating feeling, nothing like it to be honest," Gibson said. "More so not
proud for myself, but proud to contribute points to my team, that was the major
thing I was focused on so it was a wonderful feeling."
feeling is greater than the sight of the Nittany Lion men's team hoisting their
first Big Ten trophy in program history, circled by the support of the entire
men's and women's team.
guys able to make history right here on our own track, it's like a whole
different level," Gibson said.
and Harris, it's the culmination of years of hard work, especially for those in
their final season in the Blue and White.
time we came to this facility Penn State said, they've never won a Big Ten
title and they've always kept on hammering us about it," Moffett said. "To make
it reality is just amazing."
Reach Arielle at email@example.com or follow on Twitter @arielle_sargent