By Michael James McClelland, GoPSUsports.com
Geneva, Ohio - From my view, with a fourth place finish for the men and the women tying for third place, it is safe to say that both Penn State squads left the SPIRE Institute without accomplishing all they wanted to at the Big Ten Championships. Though the team scores left something to be desired, our individual efforts were outstanding and should not be overshadowed.
On the men's side, we found an abundance of personal records and champions. Captain Darrell Hill was seeded first in the men's shot put in which he followed through with his seemingly effortless victory. Brian Leap came through with a lifetime best jump of 52-6.75 to secure second place in the triple jump, with Steve Waithe close behind in third. On the track, we got to see Robby Creese and Brannon Kidder dominate the men's mile with a first and second place finish, respectively. Robby Creese also came through with a huge victory in the men's 3k and Matt Fischer finished well in the event to score us three points.
On the women's side, we found an equally impressive amount of notable performances. Without a doubt, one of the performances that stood out in my mind is one that may not have scored us points, but definitely motivated us as a team. Sophomore Kasey Kemp has been battling an injury for years and came into the Big Ten Championship with a season best of only 11-10, and came through with a lifetime best of 12-9.25. Kemp's teammates Hannah Mulhern and Lexi Masterson came through with season bests.
As for the first event on Friday, the women spurred into action with season bests from Kiah Seymour in the 400m dash, Shelley Black in the 60m hurdles, and a truly determined victory from Tori Gerlach in the 5k.
All in all, this weekend was not what we wanted, but it's what we do with this feeling going into the outdoor season that will make all the difference. As a squad, I know we are all close friends and all want to see each other succeed. Outdoors we have the great additions of Mike Shuey in the javelin and a healthy Rob Cardina in the decathlon. With the inclusion of their leadership qualities and our ability, as a unit, to synthesize this frustration into motivation, I truly believe outdoors will yield us spectacular results. Best of luck to those competing at Indoor Nationals. Go State!