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Feb. 1, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Track & Field Director and Head Coach Beth Alford-Sullivan was right when said that some of the Nittany Lions' best performances would come from the Penn State National. Fifteen Nittany Lions set personal records on Saturday; nine personal records were set in invitational events.
"We often have one of the best meets of the year here at home on this weekend and we had that again this year. We're going to progress very nicely...we're starting to see some things really tune in and get where they need to be going," said Alford-Sullivan.
Freshman Robby Cardina (Lancaster, Pa.) set three personal records on Saturday (60-meter hurdles, pole vault, and 1000-meter run) in addition to those he set on Friday. Cardina won the men's heptathlon by a long shot.
Sophomore Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) was the only athlete from any school to run the mile in under four minutes. He posted a 3:59.55 on his way to victory in the men's mile invitational. In the same event, junior Wade Endress (Altoona, Pa.) surmounted his previous personal record by three seconds as he posted a 4:04.51. Endress finished seventh overall. On the women's side, senior Marta Klebe (Chesterbrook, Pa.) broke her personal record by more than six seconds with a 4:44.80 in the mile run invitational.
Senior Jon Hendershot (Nazareth, Pa.) eclipsed his personal best in the high jump, clearing 7-02.50 on his way to a victory in the event. In the pole vault invitational, freshman Lexi Masterson (Jeannette, Pa.) and redshirt-freshman Erin Knabe (Voorhees, N.J.) finished fourth and sixth, respectively, as they set personal records. Masterson cleared 12-10; Knabe cleared 12-02.
In the shot put, sophomore Rachel Fatherly (Williamsport, Pa.) finished second as she broke her previous record by nine inches, throwing 49-09.25. On the men's side, junior Darrell Hill (Philadelphia, Pa.) threw 60-01.25 and won the event.
In the 400-meter invitational, freshman Byron Robinson (Chesapeake, Va.) and senior Brandon Bennett-Green finished third and fourth, respectively, as both set personal records with times of 46.73 and 46.74. Sophomore Kiah Seymour (Washington, D.C.) also set a personal record in the 400-meter invitational, posting a 53.26 and finishing second overall.
The greatest statistical personal improvement came from sophomore Tori Gerlach (Perkasie, Pa.) in the 3000-meter invitational. She finished in 9:14.75, which is 17.16 seconds faster than her previous best. She finished fourth in the event. Junior Matt Fischer (Kennett Square, Pa.) also set a new personal best in the 3000-meter invitational, posting an 8:04.21 and finishing fifth.
The Nittany Lions dominated the women's 4x400-meter relay invitational. Junior Dynasty McGee (Flint, Mich.), senior Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio), freshman Tichina Rhodes (Philadelphia, Pa.), and sophomore Kiah Seymour (Washington, D.C.) posted a 3:36.41, finishing 4.54 seconds ahead of second place.
"What this means for the team is that we're very good on both sides of the program, both men and women. We've had breakthrough performances from some kids, while others are just cleaning up and getting better bit by bit, each and every weekend," added Coach Alford-Sullivan.
The Sykes & Sabock Challenge Cup next weekend, Feb. 7-8, will be Penn State's final home indoor meet of the season. All events will take place on Horace Ashenfelter Indoor Track at the Multi-Sport Facility at the corner of University Drive and Dauer Drive on campus. Admission is free.