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Nittany Lions Send Squad to SPIRE, Washington

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Junior Brandon Bennett-Green

Feb. 7, 2013

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.: February 7. 2013 -

After an entire month of competition in the friendly confines of Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track, the Nittany Lion track and field squads will hit the road for the first time in 2013 this weekend, splitting squads between the SPIRE Division I Invitational in Geneva, Ohio, and the Washington Husky Classic in Seattle, Wash. With the trip, the Nittany Lions will also get their first look at the facilities at the lauded SPIRE Institute, which will also play host to the Big Ten Indoor Championships at the end of the month.

The Husky Classic is slated to feature some of the best distance competition in the country this season, including programs from across the country, as well as some of the top professionals in the event area. The SPIRE Division I field will be equally as competitive - especially in the sprints and field events - and also give the Nittany Lions a look at some Big Ten foes for the first time this season, as several conference rivals are slated to take to the track in Geneva.

The Nittany Lions have been well served at the Husky Classic over the past several indoor campaigns, including Robby Creese's (Mount Airy, Md.) first-career sub-4:00 minute performance at the Classic a year ago. Creese would clock 3:59.52 in 2012, to become just the third Nittany Lion in program history to crack the barrier.

About the SPIRE Invitational ...
When: Friday-Saturday, February 8-9
Where: SPIRE Insitute (Geneva, Ohio)

About the Husky Classic ...
When: Friday-Saturday, February 8-9
Where: Dempsey Indoor (Seattle, Wash.)

Nittany Lion Notes ...

Lucky No. 13 - The Nittany Lion men are currently touted 13th nationally, according to the most recent United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) rankings. The Nittany Lions are third among an impressive five Big Ten squads in the top 15, following Indiana and Minnesota, who stand at No. 7, and No. 8, respectively.

The One to Watch - Senior Casimir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.), who has been on a record-setting tear so far in 2013, has been added in the "Also Receiving Mention" category on the most recent Bowerman "Watch List." The Bowerman, which debuted in 2009, is presented annually by the USTFCCCA to the most outstanding male and female collegiate track & field athletes in the nation. More information can be found at

Rising to the Challenge - The Nittany Lion track and field squads swept both the men's and women's team titles over outstanding competition on February 2, ending their home season with a bang at the Sykes & Sabock Challenge Cup at Ashenfelter III Indoor Track. The Nittany Lion women bettered the rest of the field by almost 100 points, scoring 177.50 points to run away from second-place Princeton with 86. The Nittany Lion men totaled 133 points to best UConn in second with 106.

Remembering Dr. Lucas - The Sykes & Sabock also marked the inaugural "John Lucas Athlete of the Meet" award, which featured Nittany Lion winners on both the men's and women's sides, including women's winner Mahagony Jones(Cleveland, Ohio), and men's honoree Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.). The award was named after Dr. John Lucas, who was a long-time professor at Penn State University, and former Nittany Lion men's coach. Lucas, who was also one of the world's most respected Olympic historians, passed away in November of 2012.

Whiting's World Leader - Also highlighting the events at the Sykes & Sabock Challenge Cup was volunteer assistant and 2012 Olympian Ryan Whiting, who tossed a facility record and world-leading 70-10 (21.59) in the "invitational" shot put. Whiting, who is the first may to ever better the 70-foot barrier in Ashenfelter Track, was competing alongside veterans from the Wounded Warrier Project as part of Military Appreciation Day.

Stupendous Steeple - Sykes & Sabock also saw another Penn State first as the Nittany Lions hosted the first-ever indoor 2000-meter steeplechase. Senior Natalie Bower (Pleasant Unity, Pa.) took top honors in the women's event, running 6:29.38 in what will be consider a new school and facility record.

A (Collegiate) Record-Setting Weekend - The men's 4x200-meter contingent of Emunael Mpanduki (Harare, Zimbabwe), Matt Gilmore (Philadelphia, Pa.), Brandon Bennett-Green (Philadelphia, Pa.), and Aaron Nadolsky (Altoona, Pa.) kicked off the two-day Penn State National in record-setting fashion, setting a new collegiate record in the event, on January 25. The foursome blitzed to an all-time collegiate-best 1:24.70 - bettering Rutgers' 1:25.05 from 2007. The same quartet broke their own school record of 1:25.52, which was set earlier in January.

Locked on Loxsom - Senior Casimir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.) garnered Big Ten Athlete of the Week honors for the second time this season on Monday, following his record-setting performance in the 600 meters at the Penn State National on January 26. Loxsom posted a sizzling 1:15.79 over three laps, setting new Penn State and Ashenfelter III facility records, as well as an American Collegiate Record in the event.

Big Throws in the Weight - The 4x200 weren't the only Nittany Lions to get their names in the record books, as junior Will Barr (Urbana, Ohio) set a new Penn State best in the men's weight throw. Barr was on a tear at the PSU National, ending up with a day's best toss of 67-3.50 (20.51), bettering Dorian Lowe's previous school record - 66-5.75 (20.26) - on three of his six attempts.

Sub-4:00 Standout - True freshman Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) dipped under the 4:00 mile barrier, last Saturday at the Penn State National, highlighting a slew of outstanding performances across the board at Ashenfelter III Indoor Track. Kidder's effort made it seven-straight years of at least one sub-4:00 performance during the PSU National, while the rookie became just the fourth Nittany Lion to join the sub-4:00 club, and the third in the last three years. Kidder joins former Nittany Lion standouts Ryan Foster, and Larry Mangan on the Nittany Lions' sub-4:00 list, as well as current sophomore Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.), who bettered the barrier as a freshman during the 2012 campaign. Kidder's performance is currently tops among Big Ten competitors, and ranks sixth in Division I. The freshman trails only Foster (3:58.49), and Creese (3:58.94) in the all-time Penn State standings.




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