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Feb. 4, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Both Nittany Lion track and field squads turned in team titles to highlight an outstanding day of performances at the Sykes & Sabock Challenge Cup, Saturday at Ashenfelter III Indoor Track. The men's squad scored a total of 142 points to best second-place U Conn, while the women's team racked up 181 points, well ahead of Cornell in second place. The meet also served as the Nittany Lions' second-annual fundraiser for breast cancer research "Compete for a Cure."
The Nittany Lions enjoyed a slew of personal bests and event victories in both the men's and women's competitions, led by a stellar clearance of 7-1.75 (2.18) by junior Sean Reilly(LaGrangeville, N.Y.) in the high jump. Reilly's effort is the fourth best in the Nittany Lion record books, and stands as the best clearance in the Big Ten this year.
Another of the marque efforts of the day came from freshman Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.), who came oh-so-close to breaking the 4:00 barrier, running 4:00.68 - the second-best mark in school history - in the mile run to finish second to Princeton's Peter Callahan. Callahan set a new meet record with a finishing time of 3:58.86 - marking the second-straight week of sub-4:00 efforts at Ashenfelter Track. Classmate Wade Endress(Altoona, Pa.) also impressed in the race, finishing in 4:07.34.
Also running well on the men's side, was the sprints trio of sophomore Brandon Bennett-Green (Elkins Park, Pa.), sophomore Aaron Nadolsky (Altoona, Pa.), and sophomore Bernard Bennett-Green (Elkins Park, Pa.), who claimed victories in the 200-, 400-, and 600-meters, respectively. Brandon Bennett-Green sprinted to a season-best 21.54 in the 200, and also claimed second place in the 400 in 47.16 - just off of Nadolsky's winning and PR performance of 47.08 in the quarter mile. At press time, Nadolsky's winning time stands as the top time in the conference this year, as well as the fourth-fastest run in school history. Freshman Matt Gilmore (Elkins Park, Pa.) made it a clean sweep in the 400, placing third in 47.90 - also a personal collegiate best. Bernard Bennett-Green would take the 600 in the PR 1:19.10, followed by freshman Ryan Brennan(Chester, N.Y.) in 1:19.77.
Gilmore, Nadolsky, Brandon Bennett-Green, and junior Casimir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.) also picked up a victory in the 4x400-meter relay, running 3:10.21 - to better the field by nearly five seconds. The Nittany Lions saw similar results in the women's 4x400, as the quartet of freshman Kirsten Nieuwendam (Parimaribo, Suriname), sophomore Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio), senior Ijeoma Iheoma (Holland, Pa.), and freshman Dynasty McGee(Ypsilanti, Mich.) combined to run 3:39.06, to finish over three seconds in front of the next-closest competition.
Jones was a double winner on her own, winning the 60 meters in 7.54, and coming back to take the 200 in 23.90. Nieuwendam also picked up a blue ribbon individually, placing first in the 400 in 55.09, followed by Iheoma in second. Junior Evonne Britton(El Paso, Texas) added another victory in the sprints and hurdles, taking the women's 60-meter hurdles in 8.28.
Turning in a stellar day all around was sophomore Brittney Howell (Wyncote, Pa.), who not only took second overall in the five-event women's pentathlon, but came back to win the open long jump. Howell would start the day with a career-best total of 3778 in the pentathlon - the fourth-best total in the Penn State records book - followed by a season-best leap of 18-8 (5.69) to finish first in the long jump. Also competing well in the horizontals was senior Tanaya Lloyd(Philadelphia, Pa.), who placed second in the triple jump with an effort of 40-2 (12.24).
The Lions were equally as successful in the men's jumps, with senior Hanif Johnson (Harrisburg, Pa.) picking up the victory in the triple jump with a performance of 49-11.25 (15.22), while senior Doug Moppert(Malvern, Pa.) claimed runner-up standing in the long jump with a season-best 23-8.25 (7.22).
Sophomores Will Barr (Urbana, Ohio), and Melissa Kurzdorfer (Lancaster, Pa.) made it double wins for the Nittany Lions in the weight throw, with Barr grabbing a narrow victory in the 35-lb toss with a throw of 61-7.75 (18.79), and Kurzdorfer snagging the 20-lb win with a performance of 63-9 (19.43). Kurzdorfer would also nab second place in the shot put, via a throw of 49-10 (15.19). Senior Logan Caldwell(Ebensburg, Pa.) was the top finisher in the men's shot, placing third with an effort of56-11.25 (17.35).
The Lions will split squads across the country next weekend, competing at the Akron Invitational at Akron, Tyson Invitational at Arkansas, and the Husky Classic at Washington. All three competitions are slated for Friday and Saturday, February 10-11.
For more on Nittany Lion track and field, log on to www.GoPSUsports.com.