Two Champions Highlight Sixth-Place Finish for Men's Track & Field Team
Feb. 27, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Penn State's men's track & field team finished in sixth place at the 2011 Big Ten Indoor Championships after tallying 62.66 points. Senior Ryan Foster (800 meter run) and Joe Kovacs (shot put) were both crowned Big Ten Champions, while Brady Gehret (400 meter dash) and Casimir Loxsom (600 meter run) both took the runner-up spots in their respective events.
"Our men got phenomenal efforts from Foster and Kovacs," said Director and Head Coach of Track and Field Beth Alford-Sullivan. "It's great to see athletes like that take advantage of a situation and execute at this level with national-caliber performance. The men certainly faced some tough competition, and we had a few mishaps keep us from a top five finish, but I'm confident our men's team will bounce back with an outstanding showing at the NCAA Indoor Championships."
After Kovacs' Big Ten title on Day 1, Foster (Tasmania, Australia) was the headliner on Day 2 capturing his third consecutive Big Ten Indoor title in the 800 meters. Foster ran a 1:49.98 en route to the championship. Two Penn State runners came in just shy of the top spot on the podium, with freshman Gehret (Altoona, Pa.) running a 47.19 to finish second in the 400 meter dash and sophomore Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.) clocking a 1:17.63 to place second in the 600 meter run. The runner-up finishes earned the duo Second Team All-Big Ten honors.
Minnesota took the team title with a score of 117.33, followed by Indiana in second with 104.50, and Wisconsin in third at 88.
Foster's title was his third-straight indoor victory in the half mile, as well as his fourth-career conference title. In fact, with his fourth conference victory, Foster has now claimed more Big Ten titles than any Nittany Lion in men's program history.
Also turning in a podium effort was redshirt-sophomore Hanif Johnson (Harrisburg, Pa.), who earned bronze-medal honors in the triple jump at 50-7.25 (15.42). The effort is Johnson's second-straight top three finish at the Big Ten Indoor Championships after capturing runner-up honors a year ago. The men's 4x400-meter quartet of Lionel Williams (Staten Island, N.Y.), Emunael Mpanduki (Harare, Zimbabwe), Loxsom, and Aaron Nadolsky (Altoona, Pa.) would also snag a spot of the medal stand, thanks to an effort of 3:14.78 - good for third-place overall.
Also scoring in the field events was sophomore Sean Reilly (Lagrangeville, N.Y.), who turned in a sixth-place finish in the high jump. Reilly topped out 6-9.75 (2.08), while teammates Jon Hendershot (Nazareth, Pa.) and Bryson Hartzler (Belleville, Pa.) finished as two of three members of a three-way tie for eighth, both finishing with a clearance of 6-8.25 (2.04).
Senior Samuel Borchers (Yellow Springs, Ohio) turned in a scoring finish on the track, placing seventh in the mile in 4:09.64. Also earning a seventh-place standing was junior Anya Uzoh (Laurel, Md.), who totaled a season-best 5250, with efforts of 8.75 in the 60-meter hurdles, 14-5.25 (4.40) in the pole vault - a personal-indoor best - and 2:49.64 in the 1,000-meters to close out day two of the seven-event competition.
Following the conference meet, the Nittany Lions will make one last bid to qualifying for the NCAA Indoor Championships, attending Last Chance competitions at Notre Dame on March 4-5, and Virginia Tech on March 5.