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May 12, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - At the completion of winter competition, Penn State jumped five spots in the 2008-09 Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings and is currently fifth. The Nittany Lions are seeking their ninth Top 10 finish in the 16 years of the Directors' Cup.
On the strength of 100 points for fencing's 11th National Collegiate Championship, Penn State has accumulated 702 points. Stanford cleads with 1025.25, while Minnesota is in second place with 776.25, North Carolina is third with 740.75 points and Michigan sits in fourth with 715.30.
The Penn State men's and women's fencing teams hosted the 2009 NCAA Fencing Championships at PSU's Multi-Sport Facility and used the home site advantage to claim the school's 11th NCAA Championship (an NCAA record). Nine individuals earned All-America status, four of whom became National Champions. Sophomore Doris Willette claimed her second NCAA women's foil title with a first place finish while teammate Allison Glasser earned All-America status with a seventh place finish. Anastasia Ferdman won her first individual crown with the NCAA women's epee title. Monica Aksamit rounded out the women's All-Americans with a fifth place finish in the saber. On the men's side, Nick Chinman won the NCAA men's foil title while Miles Chamley-Watson took third in that weapon to become an All-American. Aleksander Ochocki won the NCAA men's saber title and teammate Daniel Bak took third in that weapon to earn All-America laurels. James Moody rounded out Penn State's men's All-Americans with a sixth place finish in the men's epee.
The men's gymnastics team finished tied for seventh in the nation, highlighted by the performances of senior Casey Sandy. Sandy was the 2009 Nissen-Emery Award winner (the highest honor presented in collegiate gymnastics) and placed seventh in the vault at the individual event finals of the 2009 National Collegiate Championships. The honor was his ninth career All-America honor, bringing to a close one of the most distinguished careers in Penn State men's gymnastics history. The team's seventh place finish garnered 55 points for Penn State's total.
Women's gymnastics finished tied for ninth in the country behind All-America performances from juniors Brandi Personett and Alexandra Brockway and freshman Whitney Bencsko. The Nittany Lions, who advanced to their first NCAA Championships since 2005, posted a 196.100 in the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships Team Preliminaries during Session I, a mark that was the highest NCAA team score under head coach Steve Shephard and was the best team finish since 2000 when the squad placed seventh. The squad grabbed 69 points for Penn State's total.
The Nittany Lion women's track & field team tallied a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships this winter, highlighted by a second-place finish from senior Gayle Hunter in the pentathlon - the highest individual NCAA finish of her storied career. The Lions also saw a third-place finish from the women's 4x400 including Hunter, Fawn Dorr, Aleesha Barber, and Shavon GReaves. Barber and Greaves would earn All-America standing on their own, with Barber finishing fourth in the 60-meter hurdles and Greaves posting a 10th-place finish in the 200. Bridget Franek would pace the Lions in the long distances, notching a fourth-place standing in the 5,000-meters. All told, the Lions brought home eight All-America certificates from the indoor championships and earned 72 Director's Cup points.
Bolstered by a third-place finish from senior Ryan Fritz, the Nittany Lion men's track and field team finished 39th overall at the 2009 NCAA Indoor Championships. The 39th place finish grabbed an extra 34.5 points for Penn State's Director's Cup total. At the conference level, the Lions tallied a third-place finish at the Big Ten Championships behind winning efforts from Ryan Foster in the 800-meters and Clarence Smith in the triple jump.
With a 17th place finish, the wrestling team earned 57 points for the Nittany Lions' total. Six PSU wrestlers advanced to the 2009 NCAA Championships, three of which were returning All-Americans. While the returning All-Americans all got shut out of repeat status, two Penn State freshmen emerged among the nation's elite. Frank Molinaro, an unseeded wildcard at 141, stormed the national field to take eight place and earn All-America laurels. True freshman Quentin Wright, the No. 11 seed at 174, far-outdid his seeding by taking sixth place and becoming Penn State's first true freshman All-American since 1998..
The men's swimming team finished the spring strong, placing 32nd at the NCAA Championships with 42 points. Representing Penn State at the event were Patrick Schirk, Vincent Reydams, Jason Goldner, Basil Kaaki and Brian Alden. Schirk earned Honorable Mention All-America status with a 14th place finishes in the both the 100 and 200 backstroke. Reydams, Kaaki, Alden and Goldner earned Honorable Mention All-America accolades of their own with a 16th place finish in the 400 freestyle relay. For the fifth time in program history and second in two years, all men's swimmers representing Penn State at the NCAA Championships earned at least Honorable Mention All-America laurels. The team grabbed 42 points for PSU's tally with its efforts.
The women's swimming and diving team swam to a 38th place finish at this year's NCAA Championships, totaled three All-America honors and earned 28 points for Penn State's Director's Cup total. Kaitlin O'Brien grabbed her fourth career honorable mention All-America honor in the 400-yard IM while Kelly Nelson gathered honorable mention All-American finishes by placing 12th in the 200 butterfly and 14th in the 200 freestyle. With her performance, Nelson ends her collegiate career with nine All-America accolades.
The Directors' Cup was developed as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today. More than 300 Division I institutions are eligible to be ranked in the standings. Points are awarded based on each institution's finish in up to 20 sports - 10 men's and 10 women's.
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