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Jan. 26, 2013
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - True freshman Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) dipped under the 4:00 mile barrier, Saturday at the Penn State National, highlighting a slew of outstanding performances across the board at Ashenfelter III Indoor Track. Junior Casimir Loxsom(New Haven, Conn.) would add another bullet point to his resume on Saturday afternoon, setting an American Collegiate Record in the 600 meters. All told, the Nittany Lions turned in nine victories over the two-day competition, including a collegiate-record setting performance from the men's 4x200-meter relay on Friday evening.
Kidder's effort made it seven-straight years of at least one sub-4:00 performance during the PSU National, while the rookie became just the fourth Nittany Lion to join the sub-4:00 club, and the third in the last three years. Kidder joins former Nittany Lion standouts Ryan Foster, and Larry Mangan on the Nittany Lions' sub-4:00 list, as well as current sophomore Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.), who bettered the barrier as a freshman during the 2012 campaign. Kidder's performance is currently tops among Big Ten competitors, and ranks sixth in Division I. The freshman trails only Foster (3:58.49), and Creese (3:58.94) in the all-time Penn State standings.
Also running well in Kidder's section was senior Sam Masters (Columbia, Mo.). Masters turned in a PR 4:02.67 to finish fifth in the race. Kidder and Masters currently stand first and third, respectively, among Big Ten milers.
Loxsom, who already holds the World Junior Record in the 600 at 1:16.98, shattered his own Penn State and Ashenfelter III Indoor Track records via a sizzling effort of 1:15.79. Loxsom also overtook the American Collegiate Record in the event, bettering Harun Abda's 1:15.86 from 2012. Coincidentally, the senior's performance came just a few hours too late to overtake the American Record, as Duane Solomon ran 1:15.70 to break set the American Record as a part of the British Athletics Glasgow International Match in Glasgow, Scotland on Saturday afternoon. Both athletes bested the former record of 1:15.80, set by Chip Jenkins in 1987.
Proving the mettle of the Nittany Lion middle distance contingent were senior Ricky West (Toronto, Ontario) and freshman Za'Von Watkins(Liverpool, N.Y.), as the duo took second and third, respectively, in the men's invite 800 meters, clocking 1:48.92, and 1:49.03. Along with Loxsom (1:46.98), and Kidder (1:48.17), the Nittany Lions now own four of the top nine times in the NCAA in the event.
Working off the momentum from the Nittany Lions' collegiate record 4x200 on Friday, the Blue and White continued to excel in the sprints on Saturday, paced by a season-best 23.71 from junior Mahagony Jones(Cleveland, Ohio) in the "Invitational" 200-meters. Jones' time, which was good for the event title on the day, was just .03 off her lifetime best.
Also running well in the sprints was sophomore Dynasty McGee (Flint, Mich), who took third in the women's invite 400 meters, behind all-time Penn State great Shana Cox. Cox, who was an IAAF World Indoor Champion in the 4x400-meter relay last year, as well as an 2012 Olympian for Great Britain, took top honors in the hot heat with a finishing time of 53.35. McGee wasn't far behind, crossing the finish line in 54.18 - the current Big Ten leader.
The Lions were equally as successful in the men's 400, with Brandon Bennett-Green (Philadelphia, Pa.) leading the way with a finishing time of 47.21, which was good for a heat victory, and fifth-place overall. The men's 400 was an all in the family affair for the Nittany Lions, as brother Bernard Bennett-Green(Philadelphia, Pa.) clocked a PR 48.26, for top honors in his section, and eighth-place in Saturday's field.
Jones, McGee, and Brandon Bennett-Green are all ranked among the top 15 performances in the country this year.
The Nittany Lions would also claim a trio of victories in the field events, including senior Sean Reilly (Lagrangeville, N.Y.), who soared over 7-0.25 (2.14) to win the men's high jump. Reilly's clearance also extends another Penn State National streak, as the meet as now seen eight-straight years with at least one athlete clearing seven feet or better.
Also coming away with an outstanding performance and event victory was junior Marlene Ricketts (Westbury, N.Y.). Ricketts garnered a first-place standing in the women's triple jump, thanks to an effort of 42-2.25 (12.86). Ricketts, who bettered the rest of the competition by almost a foot and a half, remains the Big Ten leader in the event, and currently stands 12th in the country.
Brian Leap (Bellwood, Pa.) was the top collegian in the men's triple jump - and second place overall - with a PR effort of 50-8 (15.44). Leap currently ranks second among Big Ten competitors on the year.
Leading the Lions in the throws was sophomore Darrell Hill (Philadelphia, Pa.), who captured a victory in the men's shot put, via a toss of 59-4.75 (18.10). Senior Nabil Mubarak (Loganville, Ga.) made it a one-two finish in the event, going 58-5.25 (17.81) - a season best by more than four feet. Junior Jane Swenson (Brandon, S.D.) was the top finisher in the women's throws, posting an effort of 49-2.50 (15.00), which was good for third in the shot put.
The Nittany Lions had several stellar finishes in Saturday's invitational distance events, with Brooklyne Ridder (Cincinnati, Ohio) going 9:23.82 to finish third in the 3000 meters. Matt Fischer (Kennett Square, Pa.) was the top Nittany Lion in the men's 3K, finishing fourth in 8:10.02. Both Ridder and Fischer are now among the top five performers in the conference this winter.
The Nittany Lions will host their final home competition of the indoor season next weekend with the Sykes & Sabock Challenge Cup set for Saturday, February 2. The competition is also set to feature Senior Day, Officials' Recognition Day, and Military Appreciation Day.