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Feb. 14, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.– Director and Head Coach of Track and Field/Cross Country Beth Alford-Sullivan has been officially named Head Women’s Coach for the United States at the 2013 IAAF World Championships, announced by USATF on Thursday. Sullivan - in her 14th year at the helm of Nittany Lion women’s track and field/cross country, and seventh as the Director of the combined men’s and women’s program – is no stranger to international competition, having served as U.S. Olympic Coach during the 2004 Athens Games. The World Championships are set for August 10, in Moscow, Russia.
“It’s an honor to represent the US as the head coach for the upcoming World Championships,” said Sullivan. “Team USA is an amazing program and I look forward to helping lead the charge in Moscow this summer”
Since arriving in Happy Valley in 1999, Sullivan has coached 138 All-Americans, not to mention 78 Big Ten Individual Champions, and 16 conference-winning relays. Her efforts have not gone unnoticed in the sport, as she has been named “Coach of the Year” on a total of 25 occasions. Most recently, Sullivan was named the 2012 United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA) Mid-Atlantic Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year after leading the women’s cross country squad to its first-ever victory at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Cross Country Championships. Sullivan would then coach the team to a 14th-place standing at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, marking the Nittany Lions’ fourth-straight NCAA appearance, and third top 14 finish in the last four years.
The Nittany Lions have enjoyed outstanding success under Sullivan, highlighted by a total of six Big Ten conference titles. Sullivan’s Nittany Lions made program history in 2009-10, capturing the Big Ten “Triple Crown” via conference championships in cross country, and indoor and outdoor track and field.
Nationally speaking, the Nittany Lion women have captured a pair of “trophy team” finishes with Sullivan at the helm, finishing fourth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in both 2008 and 2010. In 2010, the Nittany Lions were named “USTFCCCA Scholar Team of the Year,” which is awarded to the highest finishing team with the highest grade point average. Sullivan has also coached three individual NCAA Champions and one NCAA-winning relay during her tenure, including Deshaya Williams in the discus in 2003, Shana Cox in the 400 meters in 2008, and Bridget Franek in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 2010. The Nittany Lions doubled up on the NCAA victories in 2008, winning the 4x400-meter relay, thanks to efforts from Cox, Dominique Blake, Aleesha Barber, and Gayle Hunter.
Sullivan’s international resume is also a lengthy one, having coached at most major international championships, including the Olympic Games, World Championships, IAAF Continental Cup and World Cross Country Championships. In her last international outing, Sullivan was the Head Women’s Coach at the 2011 Pan-Am Junior Championships in Miramar, Fla., where she helped the U.S. squads to a total of 26 gold-, 21 silver- and 12 bronze medals throughout the course of the competition.
“I look forward to working with such an outstanding and accomplished staff, and to work alongside the men’s coach – Mike Holloway,” continued Sullivan. “This is an exciting time for me professionally, and it is a great honor to be representing the United States as Penn State at an international level.”
Sullivan’s charges are already in the midst of another sensational campaign in 2013, as the indoor season has already included two collegiate records, as well as five school-record performances. Sullivan’s men’s squad is also on record-breaking pace this year, as the Nittany Lions currently stand at No. 5 in the latest USTFCCCA rankings – the program’s highest-ever appearance in the weekly poll.
The season has also seen senior Casmir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.) turn in an American Collegiate Record 1:15.79 in the 600-meters, which stands as the second-fastest performance ever run by an American, as well an NCAA-leading 1:46.98 the 800 meters. Last weekend, standout sophomore Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.) blitzed to a sizzling school-record 3:57.11 in the mile at the Husky Classic at the University of Washington, to go along with a 3,000-meter effort of 7:54.52 from senior Sam Masters (Columbia, Mo.), which also bettered the long-standing Penn State record in the event.
The Nittany Lions also posted school and collegiate-records in the men’s 4x200-meter relay (1:24.70) this winter with the team of Emunael Mpanduki (Harare, Zimbabwe), Matt Gilmore (Philadelphia, Pa.), Brandon Bennett-Green (Philadelphia, Pa.), and Aaron Nadolsky (Altoona, Pa.).
Equally as successful in the field events this year, redshirt-junior Will Barr (Urbana, Ohio), has already set and reset the school record in the men’s weight throw, recently posting a toss of 67-11.75 (20.72) – a top 10 mark in the NCAA this season.
The majority of the Nittany Lion squad will train through this weekend, with a small contingent set to travel to the Millrose Games at the historic Armory Track and Field Center in New York City. From there, the Nittany Lions will move on to the Big Ten Championships, set for February 22-23, at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. For ticket information, log on to www.spireinstitute.org.