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By Zach Reagan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Senior Brannon Kidder earned an opportunity to compete in the distinguished Millrose Games at The Armory in New York this Saturday as the rest of the Penn State track and field program competed at home in the Penn State Tune-Up.
The Lancaster, Ohio native ran against some of the finest 800-meter athletes in the world. In the 800-meter event, Kidder rallied from the middle of the pack and continued to move forward in the field. During the last lap, Kidder caught up to the leader Duane Solomon as they ran side-by-side to the finish line. Solomon, a 2012 Olympian edged out Kidder at the line by a smidgen of .07 seconds.
Second-place is never fun in any sport but Kidder was pleased with his performance.
"Today was just about having fun and trying to compete. I competed but I couldn't quite get him. Overall good day though," said a cheerful Kidder after the race.
Kidder was joined in New York by head coach John Gondak. "It was a great effort and exactly what we were looking for; it was a great experience for him," said Gondak.
An experience like the Millrose Games for Kidder can be pivotal towards coming out on top in the all-important meets in the coming weeks. While Kidder competed at the Millrose Games, the rest of his Nittany Lion teammates were finishing up the Penn State Tune-Up meet at the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track.
Ten Penn State athletes took first-place finishes on the day across all event areas. In a fast field of 600-meter Penn State competitors, freshman Isaiah Harris (Lewiston, Maine) set a personal with a time of 1:17.50. His time was good for fourth-best in the country as of Saturday.
Another personal record went down as sophomore Obeng Marfo (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) took the victory in the women's shot put. Marfo threw 52'-1.75" (15.89m) to clinch the win. Senior Rachel Fatherly (Williamsport, PA) sat out of the shot put event in order to rest up for the Big Ten Championships but did earn first-place in the weight throw with a toss of 67'-3.25" (20.50m).
In the men's shot put event, junior Jon Yohman (New Wilmington, Pa.) bested his competition by over seven feet with a throw of 56'-8.75" (17.29m).
In the field events, junior Lexi Masterson (Jeannette, Pa.) dominated the pole vault event once again. Masterson cleared 13'-5.25" (4.10m) while junior Dannielle Gibson (Nassau, Bahamas) led a Nittany Lion contingent to win the women's long jump with a leap of 19'-4.75" (5.91m).
In the sprinting competition, freshman Lauren Costa (North Fayette Township, Pa.) recorded the fastest 60-meter time of 7.68 seconds. She missed her personal best by .01 seconds which she set in last weekend's Fastrack National Invite.
The Nittany Lions also found success in the long distance races. More personal records were broken by the two freshmen in Frances Bull (Mentor, Ohio) and Colin Abert (Easton, Pa.). Bull ran 1:32.75 in a women's 600-meter victory. Abert won the men's mile title with a 4:03.92 time.
In the longest race of the afternoon, graduate student John Dugan (Ramsey, N.J.) won the 5,000-meters. He completed the 25 lap race in a time of 15:07.13. The indoor regular season slate came to an end this weekend. Penn State will compete next in the Big Ten Indoor Championships at the SPIRE Institute in Genera, Ohio starting Friday and wrapping up Sunday.
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