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Feb. 23, 2013
GENEVA, Ohio - Juniors Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio), and Marlene Ricketts (Westbury, N.Y.) each earned silver medals, leading the Nittany Lions to a fourth-place finish in the team standings, Saturday at the Big Ten Indoor Championships at SPIRE Institute. With the fourth-place finish, the Nittany Lions achieved their 11th-straight top four finish in the women's standings, thanks to a total of 73 points.
Illinois captured the women's crown with 115 points, narrowly edging Nebraska with 112. Michigan followed in third with 89, while Ohio State finished out the top five with 66.
Jones was on top of her game all afternoon, beginning with a second-place finish in the 60 meters, where she zipped to a finishing time of 7.42. Jones would come back to add to the Nittany Lions' point total in the 200 meters, taking fourth overall with an effort of 23.56. Jones was one of a trio of Nittany Lions in the 200 final, with redshirt-sophomore Kirsten Nieuwendam (Parimaribo, Suriname), and freshman Kiah Seymour (Washington, D.C.) taking seventh, and eighth, respectively.
Ricketts also rose to the occasion, turning in a lifetime-best 42-04.75 (12.92) to garner silver-medal status in the triple jump. Ricketts' leap is also the second best in the all-time Penn State standings. Also excelling in the field was junior Melissa Kurzdorfer (Lancaster, N.Y.), who launched a personal-best 65-0.75 (19.83) in the weight throw.
The Lions would enjoy several top five finishes in the track events, including a fourth-place showing from senior Natalie Bower (Pleasant Unity, Pa.) in the women's 5000 meters. Bower powered down the homestretch, overtaking several competitors on her way to a finishing time of 16:19.58 - just off her personal-best 16:17.81. Also coming up with a big finish in the event was junior Emily Giannotti (Coudersport, Pa.), who earned her first-career conference scoring effort via an eighth-place finish in a PR 16:36.19.
Penn State also scored two in the women's 400 meters, thanks to a four-five showing from sophomore Dynasty McGee (Flint, Mich.) and Seymour. McGee would cross first, finishing in 54.16 - just ahead of Seymour in fifth at 54.41. Seymour would mount one of the more promising performances of the weekend for the Nittany Lions, making the final round in both the 200 and 400-meters - as one of just three athletes to complete the double, and the only freshman.
Sophomore Shelley Black (Laflin, Pa.) also scored in the sprints, taking fifth in the 60-meter hurdles, thanks to a lifetime-best 8.43. Black's effort is also the fifth-fastest performance in the Penn State record books.
Picking up additional Lion points in the field were senior Erika Morgan (Chesapeake, Va.), and sophomore Sarah Palmer (Schuylerville, N.Y.), who both topped out at 5-07.25 (1.71) to tie for fifth place in the high jump.
The Nittany Lions will be back at it again next weekend, traveling to both Virginia Tech and Notre Dame for "Last Chance" competitions. Qualifiers will then proceed on to the NCAA Indoor Championships, which are slated for March 8-9, at the University of Arkansas.