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Jan. 5, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.: January 5, 2013 - Bolstered by 18 victories on the afternoon, the Nittany Lion track and field squads got the 2013 season off to a stellar start, Saturday at the Penn State Relays at Ashenfelter III Indoor Track. Among the list of top-notch performances were school-record efforts in both the men's and women's 4x200-meter relay, along with meet-record setting showings by senior Jane Swenson(Brandon, S.D.) in the women's shot, and freshman Victoria Gerlach (Perkasie, Pa.) in the women's mile.
"Actually it went really well," said Director and Head Coach of Track and Field Beth Alford-Sullivanof the teams' performances. "Being so early, we didn't have a lot of expectations for this meet. The purpose of this one is to shake off the rust, and get started, but really just to get out there and compete. And I really liked the competition level of the team today. For the most part, we really had a great opener."
The Nittany Lion foursome of junior Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio), redshirt-sophomore Kirsten Nieuwendam (Parimaribo, Suriname), senior Doris Anyanwu (Beltsville, Md.), and freshman Kiah Seymour (Washington, D.C.) got the ball rolling in the relays, combining to run 1:37.25 in the 4x200 to better the previous facility, meet, and school record of 1:37.76 - set in 2006. Following up with the second school-record performance of the day was men's contingent of senior Emunael Mpanduki (Harare, Zimbabwe), junior Brandon Bennett-Green (Philadelphia, Pa.), junior Aaron Nadolsky (Altoona, Pa.), and sophomore Matt Gilmore(Philadelphia, Pa.). The relay ran away from the field with a finishing time of 1:25.52, to upend the prior Penn State record of 1:26.24 from 2005. In fact, the squad's 1:25.52 is the fourth-fastest effort in collegiate history.
Penn State had a productive day in the sprints overall, with both the men's and women's 4x400-meter relays picking up event titles, beginning with Anyanwu, Jones, Nieuwendam, and Seymour, who took top honors in the women's race in 3:41.18. Nadolsky, Gilmore, and Bennett-Green - along with senior Casimir Loxsom(New Haven, Conn.) on the third leg - nabbed the victory in the men's competition, finishing in 3:09.97.
Swenson led the Nittany Lion effort in the throws, bettering her own meet record in the shot put, thanks to a personal indoor best toss of 49-7.25 (15.12). The senior led a bang-up effort by the Nittany Lions in the event, with junior Melissa Kurzdorfer (Lancaster, N.Y.), and freshman Rachel Fatherly(Williamsport, Pa.) following in second and third respectively. Kurzdorfer would also pick up a win, taking the women's 20-lb weight throw with a season-best 60-5.75 (18.43). The same Penn State trio covered the top three spots in the weight, with Swenson in second, and Fatherly in third.
The Lions also topped both throwing events on the men's side, with senior Nabil Mubarak(Loganville, Ga.) leading the way in the 30-lb weight throw with an effort of 60-11.50 (18.58). Mubarak would also take second in the shot put, behind newcomer Darrell Hill (Philadelphia, Pa.), who posted a toss of 53-11.25 (16.44) to earn a victory in his first Penn State appearance.
Penn State produced a bevy of winning efforts across the field events, including victories from both junior Jon Hendershot (Nazareth, Pa.), and Erika Morgan (Chesapeake, Va.) in the men's and women's high jump. Hendershot topped out at 7-0.50 (2.15) - an indoor PR - to win the men's competition, while Morgan soared over 5-10.50 (1.79) - a lifetime best, as well as third-best clearance in the Penn State record books. Morgan now trails only Antoinette O'Carroll (1987) and Brittany Maun(2010), who are currently co-owners of the PSU record at 5-11.25 (1.81).
Elsewhere in the jumps, junior Marlene Ricketts (Westbury, N.Y.) powered to a victory in the triple jump, via a personal collegiate-best 41-9.25 (12.73). Ricketts also found her way to the all-time Penn State Top Five, as her effort is now tied for third in the Nittany Lion record books. Sophomore Brian Leap (Tyrone, Pa.) took top honors in the men's triple jump, going 48-2.50 (14.69). The Lions also turned in event titles in both the men's and women's pole vault, with freshman Patrick Anderson (Kane, Pa.) finishing first on the men's side, and fellow rookie Kasey Kemp(Norwin, Pa.) winning the women's competition.
In the distances, Gerlach showed well in her first PSU indoor appearance, winning the mile run in a meet-record 5:02.92. Adding another Nittany Lion victory individually was junior Kalyn Fisher(Lewisburg, Pa.), who won the women's 1,000-meters in 3:10.26.
The Nittany Lions picked up a win in the women's 4x800-meter relay, with Colleen Shannon (Andover, Mass.), Sarah Jane Underwood (Alexandria, Va.), Audrey Houghton (Purcellville, Va.), and Marta Klebe (Chesterbrook, Pa.) putting together an effort of 9:05.13. Also turning in a relay win was the men's distance medley relay, including Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.), Mpanduki, Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio), and Mark Fuller(Camp Hill, Pa.). The squad ran 9:53.87 to take top honors.
Penn State will be back at it next week, hosting the Nittany Lion Challenge on January 12. The Nittany Lions will also be celebrating "Parents' Day" during the event.