Nittany Lions Head to Last Chance Qualifiers
March 1, 2013
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The Nittany Lion track and field squads will give it one last go at qualifying for next week's NCAA Indoor Championships, heading to a pair of "Last Chance" competitions this weekend, sending teams to the Alex Wilson Invitational at Notre Dame, as well as the VT Final Qualifier at Virginia Tech. The NCAA will accept the top 16 performances per event, as well as 12 teams for relay races, for the NCAA Indoor Championships, which are set for March 8-9, at the University of Arkansas.
The Nittany Lions, who are currently ranked No. 10 in the men's national rankings, will send much of its distance contingent to the high-powered Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, which will feature some of the nation's top distance athletes, particularly in the distance medley relay events. The Lions have been on fire in the middle distances this season, led by senior Casimir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.), sophomore Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.), and freshman Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio). All three Nittany Lion standouts won individual titles at the Big Ten Championships last weekend, while Kidder and Creese bookended Penn State's winning DMR.
Kidder and Creese were joined by sophomores Matt Gilmore (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Ryan Brennan (Chester, N.Y.) on the DMR, which combined to run a season-best 9:39.87 to capture the Lions' second-straight victory in the event. The relay is currently ranked sixth nationally, but will take on a stellar field on Friday evening. The Alex Wilson entry list is set to include a total of 27 squads, who are all hoping to garner a trip to Fayetteville.
Penn State has also entered many of its top sprinters in South Bend, having posted NCAA-qualifying performances in the 4x400-meter relay at Alex Wilson in both 2011 and 2012. Junior Brandon Bennett-Green (Philadelphia, Pa.) has been the Lions' most outstanding quarter milers throughout the 2013 campaign, having copped silver-medal honors in the 400-meters at the conference meet last weekend.
The Virginia Tech competition will provide an opportunity for the Nittany Lion field event athletes, including redshirt-junior Will Barr (Urbana, Ohio), who currently holds a top 15 standing nationally in the men's weight throw via a school-record toss of 68-5.75 (20.87) at the Big Ten Championships. Junior Marlene Ricketts (Westbury, N.Y.) is also in position to advance to the NCAA Championships, as she currently stands at No. 16 in Division I with a lifetime-best leap of 42-4.75 (12.92).
About the Alex Wilson Last Chance:
About the Virginia Tech Last Chance:
Nittany Lions Notes:
Big Ten on TV: The Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships will be aired on the Big Ten Network on Saturday, March 2, beginning at 12:00 p.m., ET.
Men's Big Ten Wrap Up:
Women Fare Well at Conference Meet:
Millrose Record Breakers: