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Blue Wins Team Title at Blue-White Meet

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Brian Leap

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The "Blue" Team took top honors in both the men's and women's competitions, and went on to win the overall Penn State Track and Field "Triple Crown" at the annual Blue-White Instrasquad Meet, Saturday at Ashenfelter III Indoor Track. The effort included a trio of double winners on the Blue roster, including Brian Leap (Bellwood, Pa.), Brittney Howell (Wyncote, Pa.), and Melissa Kurzdorfer (Lancaster, N.Y.). Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio) was also picked up a pair of victories, competing for the White Team. Also highlighting the afternoon's events, was junior standout Brady Gehret (Altoona, Pa.), who set an Ashenfelter Track record in the 300 meters.

The Blue Team scored comfortable wins over the White Team on both the men's and women's sides, winning 67-60 in the women's standings, and 68-61 in the final men's tally. Overall, the Blue topped the White, 135-121, for bragging rights, as well as the combined title. The Blue Team also outdid it's White Team opponents in overall victories, claiming a total 16 wins out of 26 total events.

Leap - who will be entering his sophomore season this winter - handled things in the men's horizontal jumps, picking up victories in the long and triple jumps. The sophomore topped in the field with a leap of 22-4.25 (6.81) in the long jump, and turned in an effort of 49-1 (14.96) to take the triple jump. Howell also captured one of her double victories in the horizontals, winning with a leap of 18-4.50 (5.60). The junior would move on to top the field in the 60-meter hurdles, finishing in 8.76.

Kurzdorfer nabbed both her wins in the circle, taking top honors in both the shot put and the 20-lb weight throw. The junior came up just shy of the 50-foot barrier in the shot put, finishing with a toss of 49-9 (15.16), and took the weight, thanks to an effort of 63-11.50 (19.49).

Jones' victories came in the sprints, as the redshirt-junior sped to victory in the 60-meters in 7.52, and rebounded to win the 300-meters in 37.83. Jones also led off the winning 4x400-meter relay, which finished in 3:52.33 - along with teammates Kirsten Nieuwendam (Parimaribo, Suriname), Doris Anyanwu (Beltsville, Md.), and Kiah Seymour (Washington, D.C.).

Gehret led things in the men's sprints, clocking 33.39 to break his own facility record of 33.39. Gehret - competing for the White Team - was also just shy of Michael Timpson's long-standing 33.01 school record in the event, which was set in 1986. Junior and White Team member Brandon Bennett-Green (Philadelphia, Pa.) also ran well on the oval, anchoring the winning 4x400, in addition to his second-place standing in the 300. Bennett Green was joined by fellow White Team members Thomas Damiani (Tunhannock, Pa.), Casimir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.), and Bernard Bennett-Green (Philadelphia, Pa.) in the 3:22.32-victory.

Coming off a sensational freshman campaign in 2012, sophomore and Blue Team member Robby Creese (Mt. Airy, Md.) continued to impress the Ashenfelter Track faithful, outkicking freshman Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) of the White Team in the 3,000-meters in the most exciting finish of the afternoon. Creese outleaned Nittany Lion teammate, 8:16.03-8:16.10, to pick up another victory of the Blue squad. Junior Victoria Perri (Philadelphia, Pa.) was the winner in the event on the women's side, cruising to a five-second win in 9:37.66.

Loxsom would also picked up a victory in the middle distances, finishing in 2:59.77 to take the men's 1200 meters. Freshman Sarah Jane Underwood (Alexandria, Va.), also of the White Team, was tops in the event on the women's side, clocking 3:36.49. Senior Emunael Mpanduki (Harare, Zimbabwe) and sophomore Sancho Barrett (Amityville, N.Y.) - both competing for the Blue Team - also turned in top performances on the track, with Mpanduki taking the men's 60 in 6.99, and Barrett bettering the field in the men's 60 hurdles in 8.25.

The Blue Team swept the high jump, thanks to victories from team members Erika Morgan (Chesapeake, Va.) and Sean Reilly (Lagrangeville, N.Y.). Morgan topped out at 5-7.75 (1.72), while Reilly finished just shy of the seven-foot mark, clearing 6-11.75 (2.13). Marlene Ricketts (Westbury, N.Y.) posted a leap of 41-4.25 (12.60) in the triple jump to claim another victory for the Blue Team, while Jesse Laverdiere (Uniontown, Pa.) was also a Blue Team winner, clearing 13-11.25 (4.25) in the pole vault.

Rounding out the victories the field events were Nabil Mubarak (Loganville, Ga.) and Will Barr (Urbana, Ohio), who won the shot put and 35-lb weight throw, respectively. Mubarak won the shot with a mark of 54-6.50 (16.62), to earn a Blue Team victory, while Barr won for the White Team with an effort of 61-05.75 (18.74).

The Nittany Lions also contested the javelin indoors at nearby Holuba Hall, with the White Team's Laura Loht (McClure, Pa.) winning the women's competition in 160-5 (48.90), and Blue Team member Michael Shuey (Johnsonburg, Pa.) topping the men's field with a throw of 203- (61.87).

The Lions will be right back it in January, opening the regular season with the Penn State Relays, which are slated for Saturday, January 5, at Ashenfelter III Indoor Track.




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