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SOUTH BEND, Ind.: March 3, 2012 - The Nittany Lion quartet of redshirt-sophomore Aaron Nadolsky (Altoona, Pa.), Brandon Bennett-Green (Elkins Park, Pa.), Casimir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.) and Brady Gehret (Altoona, Pa.) took full advantage of "Last Chance" weekend, clocking a new school record and NCAA automatic-qualifying performance in the 4x400-meter relay, Saturday at the Alex Wilson Invitational at Notre Dame. Also running well in South Bend was freshman phenom Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.), who dipped under the four-minute barrier in the mile for the second time this season.
The Lions, who combined for a blistering 3:05.22, would finish second overall, in a furiously fast final section of the 4x400, that yielded a total of four NCAA automatic performances. Penn State placed second to Mississippi State at 3:05.07, while nipping rival Pittsburgh at 3:05.35 in third. Ohio State also bettered the auto standard, finishing in 3:06.15. The Nittany Lions shattered the previous school-record 3:07.27, set at Notre Dame a year ago, with the foursome of Nadolsky, then-senior Lionel Williams, Loxsom and Gehret.
At press time, the Lions stand third in Division I, behind the Bulldog's mark from this afternoon, and Arkansas' 3:03.76 from last month.
Meanwhile, the fast-running freshman bettered his own personal best in the mile, running 3:58.94 to finish second overall - just off Oklahoma State's Kirubel Erassa, who won in 3:58.84. The freshman is now ranked second in the Penn State record books, trailing Ryan Foster's 3:58.49 from 2011. Nationally speaking, Creese's mark currently ranks in the top 20 in Division I.
On the women's side, Nittany Lions Dynasty McGee (Ypsilanti, Mich.), Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio), Kirsten Nieuwendam (Parimaribo, Suriname) and Ijeoma Iheoma (Holland, Pa.) clocked a season-best 3:35.43 to finish third in the women's 4x400-meter relay.
Elsewhere, the squad of Nittany Lions competed at the Virginia Tech Last Chance at Rector Field House, led by third-place efforts from Melissa Kurzdorfer (Lancaster, N.Y.) in the women's 20-lb weight throw, and Logan Caldwell (Ebensburg, Pa.) in the men's shot put. Kurzdorfer threw 64-10 (19.76) - just a centimeter off her season best, while Caldwell turned in a best of 58-7.25 (17.86) on the day.
A small contingent of Lions were also in action at the Armory in New York City, with senior Caitlin Lane (Greenwich, N.Y.) leading the way with a third-place finish in the mile run, thanks to a season-best 4:39.24. Also earning a high-place finish was Bekka Simko (Mentor, Ohio), who ran 2:07.21 to place second in the 800.
Official NCAA fields will be announced at 7:00 p.m., on Monday night on www.NCAA.com.