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April 28, 2013
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - The Nittany Lion men's 4x800-meter relay - sophomore Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.), freshman Za'Von Watkins (Liverpool, N.Y.), senior Casimir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.), and freshman Brannon Kidder(Lancaster, Ohio) captured a "Championship of America" victory for the second straight year, Saturday on the final day of the prestigious Penn Relays Carnival at Franklin Field. Thanks to a sizzling split on the 4x800, as well as an outstanding carry on Friday's winning distance medley, Loxsom was named "Most Outstanding Athlete for Relay Events."
Creese - the anchor on the winning DMR - was called upon to lead off the 4x800 effort on Saturday, bringing the Nittany Lions through in first place, thanks to a 1:50.53 split. Watkins was next up, putting a slight gap on the field going 1:48.22 on the second leg. The baton was then passed to Loxsom, who blew open the race with an impressive 1:46.30 - the fastest split of the afternoon, as well as his second sub 1:47 split of the weekend. Kidder would then cruise to victory, turning in a readout of 1:49.10 to break the tape at 7:14.14. The Nittany Lions dominated the field in the effort, as the next-best team was Villanova in second in 7:17.37.
"It was awesome. Absolutely awesome," said Director and Head Coach of Track and Field Beth Alford-Sullivan, who was also recognized as an "Honorary Referee" during the Relays. "The amount of energy we put into this weekend from start to finish was just the topper for us. This has been something we have had our eyes set on for years. We have moved through the ranks of not making championship sectors years ago--from third place, second place, first place and to back it up today with the win is just a testimony of the strength of these guys here, the people that came before them and the program."
Penn State now owns seven Penn Relays 4x800 crowns with victories in 1923, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 2012, and 2013. The seven titles are the fourth most by any program in Relays history.The Nittany Lions have been on a roll in the event over the past four years, posting four-straight top three standings in one of the Relays' signature events.
The Blue and White also scored an impressive finish in the men's 4xmile relay, finishing fourth in a stacked field with a time of 16:19.72, thanks to the efforts of Tyler Corkedale (West Windsor, N.J.), Matt Fischer (Kennett Square, Pa.), Ricky West (Toronto, Ontario) and Sam Masters (Columbia, Mo.). The Nittany Lions more than held their own against some of the nation's greatest milers, finishing behind only Oregon, Indiana, and Villanova. The squad put up impressive splits throughout the race, including efforts 4:01.4 - the third-fastest split of the afternoon - for West, 4:05.2 for Masters, 4:05.3 from Fischer, and 4:07.8 from Corkedale.
The Nittany Lions closed out the weekend in fine style, posting season bests in both the women's and men's 4x400-meter relays. The Nittany Lion women's squad held their own in the "Championship of America" section, taking fourth-place overall, thanks to a finishing time of 3:33.47 - the second-fastest performance among Big Ten squads this season. Freshman Kiah Seymour (Washington, D.C.) kicked off the effort with an impressive 53.1 leadoff leg to hand off to junior Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio). Jones kept the Nittany Lions in the thick of it, clocking 53.3 on the carry, with sophomore Shelley Black (Laflin, Pa.) covering leg three in 54.4. Sophomore Dynasty McGee(Flint, Mich.) blitzed to a 52.7 readout on the anchor, sailing down to home stretch to out-lean St. Augustine's for the fourth place spot.
On the men's side, the Nittany Lions were tops in the ICAAAA final, clocking a season-best 3:06.21. The squad, which included sophomore Matt Gilmore (Philadelphia, Pa.), freshman Alex Shisler (State College, Pa.), junior Bernard Bennett-Green (Philadelphia, Pa.) and junior Brandon Bennett-Green (Philadelphia, Pa.) now stand as the third-fastest foursome in school history in the event. The Nittany Lions blew away the field by over four seconds, with Brandon Bennett-Greenputting the finishing touches on the victory with a sub-46 second split on the anchor.
Leading the way for the Nittany Lions in the field events was junior Will Barr (Urbana, Ohio), who placed second in the "championship" hammer, posting a toss of 200-3 (61.04). Also turning in a top five finish in the throws was freshman Michael Shuey(Johnsonburg, Pa.). Shuey came away with a fourth-place showing the javelin, turning in a toss of 218-4 (66.57) on the day.
Other "championship" section finishers in the field events including senior Sean Reilly (Lagrangeville, N.Y.), who cleared 6-11.50 (2.11) to tie for sixth in the high jump, while sophomore Brian Leap(Bellwood, Pa.) went 49-5.50 (15.07) to take sixth in the triple jump.
Next up for the Nittany Lions is the Jim Thorpe Open on Friday, May 3 at Nittany Lion Track.
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