Gerlach Wins Big Ten 3,000-meters Title to Pace Nittany Lion Women on Day One
Feb. 28, 2014
GENEVA, Ohio - The Nittany Lions saw an inspiring victory in the 3,000-meters from sophomore Tori Gerlach (Perkasie, Pa.) to cap off an outstanding day 1 of competition at the Big Ten Indoor Championships. Her victory was the first Big Ten Championship for the sophomore and came in outstanding fashion. Storming home over the last lap to move from third to first, Gerlach clocked 9:10.76, just shy of Bridget Franek's Penn State record. After an aggressive early pace, the sophomore used an incredible kick in the last 300-meters to make up a large deficit and snatch victory in the last 50-meters of the race.
The Nittany Lions saw scoring performances from senior Melissa Kurzdorfer (Lancaster N.Y.), sophomore Rachel Fatherly (Williamsport, Pa.), and Alyssa Robinson (Saint Clairsville, Ohio) in the women's shot put. Fatherly led the Lions with a fourth place standing with a throw of (52-1.75). Kurzdorfer finished just behind in fifth with a toss of 50-8.75, while freshman Robinson snatched the last scoring position by finishing eighth with a throw of 48-3.25.
"Our ladies showed up today in championship form," said Director and Head Coach of Track and Field Beth Alford-Sullivan. "We executed extremely well, and I feel that we are up against some great competition from Michigan. We will continue to press forward with a championship attitude, and I look forward to another Big Ten battle."
Also adding to the day one score was the women's distance medley relay contingent of Abbie Benson (Elma, N.Y.), Tichina Rhodes (Philadelphia, Pa.), Cara Ulizio (Redondo Beach, Cali.), and Leigha Anderson (Carlisle, Pa.). The squad combined to clock a finishing time of 11:34.83, which was good for eight place.
Rounding out the Nittany Lion scoring was freshman Lexi Masterson (Jeannette, Pa.) in the pole vault. Masterson cleared 12-1.5 to tie for eighth place and score a valuable 0.5 point.
Highlighting the Penn State effort through the preliminaries was the Lions' sprints and hurdles contingent. Redshirt-senior Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio) advanced in the both the 60-meters and 200-meters, where she will be joined by teammate Kiah Seymour (Washington, D.C.). Seymour also combined with junior Dynasty McGee (Flint, Mich.) to put two Nittany Lions into the 400-meter final.
Redshirt-senior Evonne Britton (El Paso, Texas) and Howell will represent the Nittany Lions in tomorrow's 60-meter hurdle final. Britton scorched to an 8.19 recording while Howell interrupted her pentathlon effort to record 8.37, good for a third-fastest qualifying time to tomorrow's final.
In the middle distance, Marta Klebe (Chesterbrook, Pa.) advanced in both the mile and 800-meter run. Klebe took an auto qualifying spot in the mile recording a time of 4:46.65. Returning to the track just hours later Klebe snatched up the last qualifying spot to the women's 800-meter final recording a time of 2:08.33
Michigan is out to an early lead on the women's side, totaling 38 points with six events completed. Indiana currently stands second with 35, with Nebraska in third with 30. The Nittany Lions are currently fourth with 28.5.
Action at SPIRE continues on Saturday, beginning at 10:00 a.m.