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GENEVA, Ohio - The Nittany Lions opened day one of the Big Ten Indoor Championships with a statement. The women's team, the defending champs from last season, are currently second after six events with a score of 36-points trailing Wisconsin by 10-points and the men's team currently sits in eighth-place with 11-points after five events.
The first event of the day for Penn State, the Pentathlon, saw Maddie Holmberg put together a career-best performance in the event finishing with a score of 4,168 to take second-place behind defending champion Georgia Ellenwood of Wisconsin.
Holmberg posted marks of 8.49 in the 60-meter hurdles, 1.60m (5'-3") in the high jump, 14.03m (46'-0.50") in the shot put, 5.82m (19'-1.25") in the long jump, and finished with a time of 2:20.13 in the 800-meters. Holmberg's marks in the 60-meter hurdles and the 800-meters were personal best, while her mark in the shot put extended her own program pentathlon record.
In the 60-meters, Penn State qualified four Nittany Lions through to the final between the men and women's teams. For the women, Keianna Albury and Quenee Dale will back in the blocks after posting times of 7.50 and 7.51, respectively. Dale's time was a personal best. For the men, Xavier Smith (6.73) and Malik Moffett (6.78) will back into the blocks looking to claim a title in the 60-meter final.
Adding hurdles to the equation, Dale again found herself in a final tomorrow as her heat-winning time of 8.28 was the third-fastest qualifying time of the day.
For the men, three Nittany Lions will have the opportunity to put points on the board. Terrance Laird leads the trio into the final after posting the fastest-time during preliminary action for Penn State where the true-freshman set the school record in the 200-meters running 20.70 besting the old mark of 20.76 set by Malik Moffett during last year's Big Ten Indoor Championships. The very same Malik Moffett will join Laird in the final after his prelim run of 20.91 as well as teammate Xavier Smith
Stepping up to the 400-meters, Dan Chisena was the front-runner for the Nittany Lions advancing to the final with his heat-winning time of 46.92.
The 600-meters featured freshman Victoria Tachinski who's run of 1:30.81 was enough to move into tomorrow's final. Also making a 600-meter final was fellow freshman Gary Ross III who ran 1:18.69 to make the cut for tomorrow's final.
An event that featured two defending championships was the 800-meters where Isaiah Harris and Danae Rivers took to the track looking to repeat their title runs. Danae Rivers coasted to the final with her heat-winning time of 2:09.33 while Isaiah Harris punched his ticket to the finals running 1:49.92. Harris is undefeated in the 800-meters at Big Ten Championships capturing the last four titles between indoor/outdoor while Rivers doubled last year at 800-meters.
In the 3K, Jillian Hunsberger struck points for the Nittany Lions with a sixth-place finish running 9:21.26.
The final event on the track during the opening day of the championships saw Penn State finish runner-up in the DMR where Greta Lindsley, Kiara Lester, Victoria Tachinski, and Danae Rivers posted a season-best time of 11:11.91. The men's team of Billy McDevitt, Kier Miner, Isaiah Harris, and Colin Abert finished in scoring position with a time of 9:51.56 taking seventh-place.
In the field, Hannah Mulhern highlighted the women's pole vault with her third-place finish clearing 4.18m (13'-8.50"). Greer Gumbrecht also scored for the Nittany Lions finishing sixth in her first Big Ten Championship clearing 4.03m (13'-02.50") - a new personal best.
The Nittany Lions added points on the board again in the men's and women's long jump as Malik Moffett and Maddie Holmberg took silver in their respective fields with marks of 7.47m (24'-6.25") and 6.18m (20'-3.50").
In the final event in the field on day one, Jon Yohman added to the Nittany Lion total with his throw of 18.42m (60'-5.25") in the men's shot put final.
Penn State returns to the Spire Institute tomorrow for the final day of the Big Ten Championships as Penn State looks to defend its 2017 Indoor title on the women's side and add the first men's indoor title in program history.
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