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Feb. 27, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Senior Casimir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.) has been named Big Ten Track Athlete of the Championship, and Big Ten Track Athlete of the Year, while rookie Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) was voted conference Freshman of the Year, announced by conference offices on Wednesday. Loxsom earned conference laurels, thanks to his record-setting victory in the 600-meters at the Big Ten Indoor Championships last weekend. Kidder led off the Nittany Lions' winning distance medley relay, and came back to win an individual crown in the 800 meters.
Loxsom clocked a sizzling 1:15.42 to run away with top honors in the 600, setting new Big Ten, meet, facility, and school records, last Saturday at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. Statistically speaking, Loxsom's effort is the fastest ever run by an American, as well as the best performance by a collegiate athlete, and the third-best time ever run in the event indoors. Loxsom was also a member of the third-place 4x400-meter relay at the conference meet, helping the squad to a finishing time of 3:08.56 - just off their season best.
The senior has been on fire this indoor season, staking claim to the collegiate record in the 600 last month by running 1:15.79 at the Penn State National. The week prior, Loxsom clocked a sizzling school-record 1:46.98 for the 800 at the Nittany Lion Challenge. The time is the 10th-fastest ever clocked on a 200-meter track, as well as the second-best performance in the country this year. The New Haven, Conn., native garnered Big Ten Athlete of the Week honors on two occasions this year, and was also named USTFCCCA Division I Athlete of the Week following his record-setting 800.
Kidder proved to be one to watch on the Big Ten scene in the coming years, covering the 1200-meter lead off on the Lions' winning DMR. Kidder split 2:56.5 on the 1200-meter opener, giving the Nittany Lions the early lead in the event. Kidder was joined by teammates Matt Gilmore (Philadelphia, Pa.), Ryan Brennan (Chester, N.Y.) and Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.) on the DMR, which captured the Lions' second-straight conference title in the event.
Kidder was just as impressive as an individual, taking home top honors in the 800 in a wire-to-wire victory, thanks to a finishing time of 1:49.73. Kidder, who a 21-point haul by the Nittany Lions in the event, was trailed by fellow freshman Za'Von Watkins in third at 1:50.32. Brennan followed in fifth place, stopping the clock at 1:50.65. Senior Ricky West (Toronto, Ontario) rounded out the scoring, taking seventh overall in 1:50.79. With Kidder's victory, the Nittany Lions have now won five of the last six indoor 800 titles, including victories in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.
Loxsom is the first athlete from the Penn State men's program to garner either Big Ten honor during the indoor season. Kidder is the second-straight Nittany Lion to cop indoor Freshman of the Year status, following current sophomore Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.), who won the award during the indoor campaign in 2012.
Also earning conference recognition were sophomore Darrell Hill (Philadelphia, Pa.) and freshman Kiah Seymour (Washington, D.C.), who both received the Big Ten "Sportsmanship Award."
The Nittany Lions will continue their postseason stretch this coming weekend, participating in "Last Chance" competitions at Virginia Tech and Notre Dame. The NCAA Indoor Championships are set for March 8-9, at the University of Arkansas.