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Jan. 28, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions wrapped up competition with a bang at the Penn State National, turning in a total of eight event victories, as well as a winning-effort in the inaugural "Joe Paterno Invitational" men's 4x400-meter relay, Saturday at Ashenfelter III Indoor Track. Among the winners were distance standouts Caitlin Lane (Greenwich, N.Y.) and Kara Millhouse (Boiling Springs, Pa.), who were both on the Nittany Lions' record-setting distance medley on Friday night, as well as Kyle Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.) and Casimir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.). The Nittany Lions also impressed in the field events, with Melissa Kurzdorfer (Lancaster, N.Y.) picking up a win - her second of the weekend - in the shot put, and Sean Reilly (Lagrangeville, N.Y.) bettering the field in the high jump.
The Penn State National has developed a reputation for its fast times and great races in the distances, and this year was no different with Saucony athlete and former Ohio State Buckeye Jeff See taking the mile run in a facility record 3:56.51 to make it six-straight years of sub-4:00 miles at the Penn State competition. See wasn't the only one to better the barrier, with Ohio State's Cory Leslie taking second in 3:56.85, and Villanova's Sam McEntee finishing in 3:57.86 - both under the NCAA automatic standard. Senior Owen Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.) - who was running unattached, but has outdoor eligibility remaining - also PR'd in the event, going 4:01.37.
The Nittany Lions rolled through the elite "invitational" sections Saturday afternoon, picking up wins in the women's mile, and men's and women's 3,000 meters. Starting things off in the mile was Lane, who pulled away from UConn's Lindsay Crevoiserat in the closing laps to win in 4:39.31 - bettering the rest of the field by over three seconds. Lane, whose mile performance currently ranks third in the NCAA, has had a productive indoor season thus far, bettering her own school record in the 1,000 meters two weeks ago, before leading off the school record DMR last night, and adding another individual victory in the mile run this afternoon.
Millhouse, who split 4:41 on the DMR on Friday night, kept things going in the 3,000, mounting her signature finishing kick to outdo Claire Richardson of Riahda in the final lap, and finish in a PR 9:19.42. Millhouse wasn't the only Nittany Lion to earn a top five standing in the event, as Brooklyne Ridder (Cincinnati, Ohio) turned in a fifth-place finish in 9:30.78.
Dawson pulled off a come-from-behind victory in the men's 3K, holding back in the pack throughout much of the race, before pulling away in the closing laps to finish in the personal-best 8:06.36. The depth of the Lion distance contingent was also apparent in the men's race, with Tyler Corkedale (West Windsor, N.J.) and Matt Fischer (Kennett Square, Pa.) placing fifth and seventh, with finishing times of 8:15.68, and 8:18.59, respectively.
Loxsom would cover the middle distances, winning the 800-meter "invite" section in 1:48.24. Freshman Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.) won his heat and finished second overall in the event, going 1:48.63. Classmate Connor Manley (Jamison, Pa.) also ran well, turning in a finishing time of 1:50.54 to place fifth overall. Sophomore Bekka Simko (Mentor, Ohio) placed seventh in the women's 800, finishing in 2:06.91 - which stands as the second-fastest time in Penn State indoor history.
The men's 4x400 brought the competition to an exciting close, with the foursome of Brandon Bennett-Green (Elkins Park, Pa.), Aaron Nadolsky (Altoona, Pa.), Loxsom and Brady Gehret (Altoona, Pa.) holding off a hard-charging Pittsburgh squad to finish in a meet-record 3:08.87. The women's 4x400 contingent of Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio), Kirsten Nieuwendam (Parimaribo, Suriname), Ijeoma Iheoma (Holland, Pa.), and Dynasty McGee (Ypsilanti, Mich.) also ran well, finishing as the top collegiate team in the field in 3:37.10.
Following up on her victory in the 20-lb weight throw last evening, Kurzdorfer turned in a personal-best toss of 50-2 (15.29) to win the shot put. Teammate Jane Swenson (Brandon, S.D.) made it two in the top three for the Nittany Lions, placing third with a throw of 47-11.75 (14.62). Also putting up a big personal record in the throws was Logan Caldwell (Ebensburg, Pa.), who threw 58-0.50 (17.69) to finish fifth overall and as the second-best collegiate on the day. Joe Kovacs (Nazareth, Pa.) placed first in the competition, with an effort of 63-4 (19.30). Kovacs has one season of outdoor eligibility remaining.
Also turning in a win in the field events was Reilly, who skied over the 7-foot barrier in the high jump, clearing 7-0.50 (2.15) to become the second Nittany Lion to better the 7-foot marker this season. Taking over fifth place in the all-time Penn State standings was redshirt-junior Hanif Johnson (Harrisburg, Pa.) in the triple jump. Johnson posted a leap of 51-9 (15.77) to place second in the competition, and score the sixth-best mark in the country this season. On the women's side, senior Tanaya Lloyd (Philadelphia, Pa.) also placed second in the triple jump, with an effort of 40-7.75 (12.39).
The Nittany Lions are back in action next weekend, hosting the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup, which is slated for Saturday, February 4, at Ashenfelter III Indoor Track. The competition will also feature Penn State Track and Field's second-annual fundraiser for breast-cancer research - Compete for a Cure.
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