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March 4, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Sophomore Kiah Seymour (Washington, D.C.) has been named the 2014 Big Ten Women's Track Athlete of the Championships, while Head Coach and Director of Penn State Track & Field/Cross Country Beth Alford-Sullivan was selected Women's Big Ten Indoor Coach of the Year.
"To have Kiah win the Track Athlete of the Championship gives a lot to credit to the type of person she is... a true competitor with the heart of a lion," said Alford-Sullivan. "It is a great honor for her as a sophomore."
Seymour earned Track Athlete of the Championships after winning a pair of titles and adding a runner-up finish at the Big Ten Championships over the weekend. She won the 400-meter dash and anchored the winning 4x400 relay team that boosted the Nittany Lions to the team title, their third in program history. Seymour also finished second in the 200-meter dash. The Track Athlete of the Championships honor is the fourth for a Penn State female and the first since Bridget Franek in 2010.
After leading Penn State to its third Big Ten Women's Indoor Championship, and its first since 2010, Alford-Sullivan was selected as this year's Coach of the Year by her peers in the Big Ten. She also earned the honor in 2004 and 2010.
"It is an honor to be named Big Ten Coach of the Year, but this is truly a staff effort," said Alford-Sullivan. "I see the award as a staff award! It was a great championship and it is awesome to come out with the win."
With their finishes at the Big Ten Championships over the weekend, several Nittany Lions from the men's team earned All-Big Ten honors, including two-time champion sophomore Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio), for wins in the Distance Medley and the 800-meters. Kidder was joined on the first team by relay teammates senior Brandon Bennett-Green (Elkins Park, Pa.), sophomore Za'Von Watkins (Liverpool, N.Y.), and junior Ryan Brennan (Chester, N.Y.). Junior Steve Waithe (Parkville, Md.) earned second-team honors for his runner-up finish in the triple jump after finishing just one centimeter out of first place.
Several Nittany Lion women also earned All-Big Ten honors after earning first or second place finishes. First team All-Big Ten honorees (Big Ten champions) included 3,000-meter winner sophomore Tory Gerlach (Perkasle, Pa.), 4x400-meter relay champions junior Dynasty McGee (Flint, Mich.), senior Mahogany Jones (Cleveland, Ohio), freshman Tichina Rhodes (Philadelphia, Pa.), and Seymour. Jones also captured the 200-meter dash title, while Seymour was the 400-meter run champion. Redshirt-senior Evonne Britton (El Paso, Texas) was a second team All-Big Ten honoree after her runner-up finish in the 60-meter hurdles.
The Big Ten Conference office also recognizes student-athletes from each team as Sportsmanship Award Honorees. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. In addition, the student-athletes must be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. Penn State's Big Ten Sportsmanship Award Honorees this year were Bernard Bennett-Green (Elkins Park, Pa.) from the men's squad and junior Dani Kocjancic (Kane, Pa.) from the women's team.
The NCAA Indoor Championships on March 14-15 in Albuquerque, N.M., are next up for the Nittany Lions.