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Jan. 12, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.: January 12, 2013 - Senior Casmir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.) ripped to a facility, school, and meet record 1:46.98 in the 800 meters, Saturday at the Nittany Lion Challenge at Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track. Loxsom's performance - which is the NCAA leader in 2013 - was one of a grand total of 17 victories by the Nittany Lions on the weekend.
In the effort, the senior bettered his own Ashenfelter facility record of 1:47.36 - set in 2011 - and also overtook Ryan Foster's 1:47.32 school record in the event, which has stood since 2010. Loxsom wasn't the only Nittany Lion to impress in the 800, as freshman Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) blitzed to an impressive 1:48.17 - the second fastest effort in the NCAA this year, and the fourth-best mark by a Nittany Lion in the Penn State record books.
Also shining in the middle distances were senior Ricky West (Toronto, Ontario) and freshman Za'Von Watkins (Liverpool, N.Y.), who turned in a one-two finish in the men's 1,000 meters. West took top honors with a sizzling effort of 2:21.95, while Watkins finished a close second in 2:22.02. The duo's performance currently rank first and second nationally, and well as third and fifth in the all-time Penn State standings.
The Lions were equally as successful in the field events, led by Marlene Ricketts' (Westbury, N.Y.) career-best leap of 42-0.50 (12.81) to win the triple jump. The junior's mark bears national merit, as the effort now stands as the top performance in the Big Ten this year, as well as the third best in the collegiate ranks. Ricketts also climbs to second overall in the all-time Nittany Lion rankings, following only Chi-Chi Aduba's 44-1.50 (13.45) from 2004. The junior had a solid day overall, also placing second in the long jump via a season-best leap of 18-10.50 (5.75). Sophomore Brian Leap (Tyrone, Pa.) would make it a clean sweep for the Lions in the triple jump, taking the men's competition with a jump of 49-00.25 (14.94).
Highlighting the Nittany Lion results in the men's field events was sophomore Michael McClelland (Washington, Pa.), who soared over a career-best 7-1 (2.16) - the top clearance by a Penn State athlete this year - to place third in the high jump. McClelland held his own in a sensational field, which saw a total of four athletes clear over seven feet. Senior Erika Morgan (Chesapeake, Va.) was the top finisher in a very competitive women's high jump, topping out at 5-9.25 (1.76) for second place.
Both junior Melissa Kurzdorfer (Lancaster, N.Y.), and redshirt-junior Will Barr (Urbana, Ohio) turned in season-best performances in the throws, as well as event victories in the women's 20-lb, and the men's 35-lb weight throw, respectively. Kurzdorfer launched a toss of 62-10 (19.15) to better the women's field by over four feet, while Barr went 64-5.25 (19.64) to come away with the men's title.
The Nittany Lions would enjoy a stellar outing in the sprints and hurdles, earning victories in both the men's and women's 200- and 400-meters, as well as the women's 60-meter hurdles. Freshman Kiah Seymour (Washington, D.C.) made good on her first individual appearance for the Nittany Lions, taking the women's 200 in 24.20, while junior Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio) topped the women's 400 field, going 54.59. Meanwhile, junior Brittany Howell (Wyncote, Pa.) picked up a win in the hurdles, finishing in 8.62 - just ahead of teammate Shelley Black (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.), who finished second in 8.66.
In the men's sprints, junior Brandon Bennett-Green (Philadelphia, Pa.) was tops in the 200 - thanks to a season-best 21.77 - and senior Emunael Mpanduki (Harare, Zimbabwe) clocked 48.44 to earn the win in the 400. Mpanduki, and Bennett-Green, along with Alex Shisler (State College, Pa.), and Bernard Bennett-Green (Philadelphia, Pa.) would combine to cap off the day, winning the 4x400-meter relay in 3:14.79.
The Lions were solid in the relays all afternoon, picking up victories in both the men's and women's distance medleys. Senior Tyler Corkedale (West Windsor, N.J.), West, junior Nick Scarpello (Jamison, Pa.) and senior Sam Masters (Columbia, Mo.) took top honors on the men's side via a meet-record 9:56.85, to go along with a winning showing by the women's foursome of Kerrin Jennings (Glenn Mills, Pa.), Sarah Jane Underwood (Alexandria, Va.), Kalyn Fisher (Lewisburg, Pa.) and Tori Gerlach (Perkasie, Pa.), who finished in 11:42.55.
The Nittany Lions dominated the men's distances in general, also racking up first-place finishes from Scarpello in the mile (4:11.87) and Chris Campbell (Newtown, Pa.) in the 3,000-meters (8:34.14). Junior Marta Klebe (Chesterbrook, Pa.) was also a distance winner, taking top honors in the women's 1000 in 2:52.25.
The Nittany Lions are set to host the Kevin Dare High School Invitational on January 19, before welcoming an outstanding field for the Penn State National on January 25-26.