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BLOG: Nittany Lions Ready For Big Ten Indoor Championships

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Lexi Masterson
Feb. 25, 2016

By Zach Reagan, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It's all about the team aspect when the Penn State track and field program competes against other Big Ten institutions in the 2016 Big Ten Indoor Track & Field Championships at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio this Friday and Saturday.

After months of preparation dating back to late August, head coach John Gondak and the Nittany Lions have reached a meet they've had circled on the calendar. The Nittany Lions feel like the six meet indoor regular season has them prepared and battle-tested for an opportunity to pursue both men's and women's team titles.

"This weekend is a weekend where we try to go have people win individual Big Ten championships as well as score as many points as we can as a team," said Gondak.

When individual athletes win their events it definitely helps the team strive towards winning a title, but Gondak believes there is an underlying factor to team championships.

"A championship isn't won by the people that win their meets, a championship is won by people that place in fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth can get those extra points for your team," said Gondak. .

Instead of competing for times and measurements in normal regular season meets, it's now essentially about beating the competition. Two athletes who have been setting quick times and beating most of their competition this year are senior Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) and junior Lexi Masterson (Jeannette, Pa.).

Kidder, one of the middle-distance runners on the No. 17 nationally ranked men's team, comes into this weekend with the fastest men's 800-meter time (1:47.01) in the Big Ten and fifth in the country. He's also the anchor leg on the Big Ten leading men's distance medley which is third nationally. For Kidder, the importance lies in the overall team's success this weekend.



"Big Tens is always a fun meet because it means a lot more when you're racing for the team and not just for yourself," said Kidder.

Masterson, the leader of the pole vault event group has broken the Penn State school record multiple times this year with her highest clearance of 13' 9.25" (4.20m).

"Coming into this week I'm expecting big things from my group. I'm just hoping to score well for the team," said Masterson.

Kidder and Masterson are just two athletes of a long list of standout Penn State athletes. Here are a few of the top Nittany Lion track and field athletes that are looking earn Penn State valuable individual points in the 2016 Big Ten Indoor Track & Field Championship.

Athletes to watch on the men's team (TFRRS rankings coming into the weekend):

Athlete(s) Event Time/Distance Big Ten Rank NCAA Rank
Jordan Makins, Alex Shisler, Isaiah Harris, Brannon Kidder Men's Distance Medley 9:27.20 1st 3rd
Brannon Kidder 800m 1:47.01 1st 5th
Isaiah Harris 800m 1:47.31 2nd 7th
Xavier Smith 60m 6.68 seconds 1st 23rd
Malik Moffett 200m 21.02 seconds 1st 17th
Chisom Ifedi High Jump 7' 1.5" 3rd T-16th

Athletes to watch on the women's team (TFRRS rankings coming into the weekend):

Athlete(s) Event Time/Distance Big Ten Rank NCAA Rank
Dannielle Gibson Triple Jump 43' 1.5" 1st 14th
Tessa Barrett 5,000m 15:46.08 2nd 7th
Rachel Fatherly Shot Put 56' 8" 2nd 7th
Rachel Fatherly Weight Throw 6' 3.25" 3rd 20th
Tori Gerlach 3,000m 9:13.65 2nd 12th
Tori Gerlach Mile 4:37.83 3rd 18th
Quenee Dale 60m Hurdles 8.26 seconds 3rd 20th
Lexi Masterson Pole Vault 13' 9.25" 3rd T-21st
Elizabeth Chikotas 5,000m 16:04.66 4th 26th


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