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By Zach Reagan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State track and field won team titles in both the men's and women's competitions of the Sykes & Sabock Challenge Cup, with strong performances from several Nittany Lions this weekend.
Penn State continued to dominate the Sykes & Sabock Challenge Cup, which has been commonplace in the history of the event. The women led throughout both days of the competition while scoring 211 points. The men battled back from a day one deficit to earn the victory on day two with a total of 178 points.
"It was an outstanding competition. We had our first scored meet of the year. Obviously, it gives you a metric to see how you stack up against other teams when comes to team score," said head coach John Gondak.
The weekend's action was highlighted by performances from senior Rachel Fatherly (Williamsport, Pa.) who earned women's co-athlete of the meet. On day two, she won the women's shot put with a school record breaking throw of 17.20m. Fatherly had the school record in mind when she set her personal goals at the beginning of the season.
"On that first throw I told myself `stay down and relax' and then I hit it and I knew it was huge," said Fatherly. "I walked out of the circle I ran back to the measuring tape and it was over 17.20m so I knew it was a school record and I started jumping and screaming in excitement."
Fatherly's motivation for a big shot put throw came from a bit of dissatisfaction with her performance in the weight throw event the previous day despite winning the competition.
Sharing the women's co-athlete of the meet with Fatherly was junior Lexi Masterson (Jeannette, Pa.) who won the women's pole vault event while breaking the school record with a clearance of 4.20m. Masterson once again reset her own school record for the second time this season.
On the men's side, freshman Isaiah Harris (Lewiston, Maine) ran the fifth-quickest time in the country in the 800-meter event. Harris benefitted from Brannon Kidder's pace to set his personal best.
"Coach set it up with (Brannon) Kidder pacing the field through 600-meters and Kidder went through 600-meters perfect. I knew I had it in me I just had to get the pacing right and everything went perfect today. I felt smooth and coach said I looked smooth so good day overall," said Harris.
Other men's event winners were sophomore Xavier Smith (men's 60-meters), senior Alex Shisler (men's 400-meters), sophomore Riley Gaibler (600-meters), freshman Chisom Ifedi (men's high jump), and sophomore Jon Yohman (men's shot put).
Other women's event winners were junior Tichina Rhodes (women's 400-meters), sophomore Quenee Dale (60-meter hurdles), women's 4x400 meter relay (junior Megan Osborne, freshman Frances Bull, sophomore Deja Davis, and junior Tichina Rhodes), senior Ahmenah Richardson (women's high jump), junior Dannielle Gibson (women's long jump), and senior Kaitlyn Lopez (women's triple jump).
On Sunday, Penn State track and field alum were welcomed back to Happy Valley. Former Penn State athlete Joe Kovacs, 2015 IAAF world champion in the shot put was honored to celebrate his outstanding achievement.
For the first time this indoor season, the Nittany Lions will be competing away from the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track this upcoming weekend. The team will split up with some Penn State athletes competing at the two-day Husky Classic in Seattle, Washington and some competing at the Fastrack National Invite in Staten Island, New York.
For more on Nittany Lion track and field, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.