Nittany Lions Poised for NCAA Indoor Championships
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.: March 7, 2013 - The Nittany Lion track and field squads will take on the nation's best this weekend, competing at the NCAA Indoor Championships at the University of Arkansas on Friday and Saturday. The No. 10 ranked Nittany Lion men's program will field a healthy contingent of competitors, including senior Casimir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.) in the 800 meters, sophomore Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.) in the mile, and redshirt-junior Will Barr (Urbana, Ohio) in the weight throw, along with the top-seeded distance medley relay, which clocked a collegiate-leading 9:26.60 at the Alex Wilson Invitational at Notre Dame last weekend.
The Nittany Lions will also have a pair of representatives in the women's field, including redshirt-junior Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio) in the 200 meters, and junior Marlene Ricketts (Westbury, N.Y.) in the triple jump. Action in Fayetteville is set to begin on Friday morning.
Penn State is one of three Big Ten programs slated for a top 10 finish at the championships, including Wisconsin at No. 4, and Nebraska at No. 7. Host Arkansas is currently the national leader on the men's side, while stalwart LSU is the current No. 1 in the women's rankings.
The Nittany Lion quartet of freshman Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio), junior Brandon Bennett-Green (Philadelphia, Pa.), freshman Za'Von Watkins (Liverpool, N.Y.) and Creese proved to be one of the nation's top contenders in the distance medley, clocking a sizzling school-record time of 9:26.60, which also stands as the second-fastest performance ever run by a collegiate squad. Kidder has proved to one of the Lions' most reliable relay legs over the past several weeks, also leading off Penn State's winning DMR at the Big Ten Indoor Championships. The rookie was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year following victories in the DMR, as well as the 800, last month.
Loxsom, and Creese will take on the NCAA field as individuals, with both Nittany Lions entering the competition with top five performances nationally in their respective events. Loxsom, who is already a four-time USTFCCCA All-American, has been on a tear this indoor season, running 1:46.98 for the 800, which also stands as a Penn State record. The senior and recently named USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Track Athlete of the Year was also an individual winner at the Big Ten Championships, taking the 600 meters in a blistering 1:15.42. The time stands as the fastest performance ever run by an American or a collegiate athlete.
Creese enters the mile in fine standing, coming into the weekend with a season-best 3:57.11 - the fourth-fastest performance among this weekend's field.
Barr also stands to make a splash in his first-career NCAA Indoor appearance, as the junior goes in as the 10th-rated participant in the men's weight, thanks to a PR and school-record attempt of 69-10.75 (21.29), at the VT Final Qualifier last weekend.
Jones and Ricketts will also be making their first-career NCAA appearance, with Jones coming into the competition with personal-best seed time of 23.47. The redshirt junior has had an outstanding indoor season overall, recently finishing second in the 60-meters at the Big Ten Championships, to go along with a fourth-place standing in the 200.
Ricketts, who also garnered silver medal honors at the conference meet, boasts a career-best 42-4.75 (12.92) in the triple jump this season, which stands 16th nationally. The junior also affirmed her position as one of Penn State's all-time greats in the event this season, as she currently ranks No. 2 in the Nittany Lion record books.
Nittany Lion Notes ...
USTFCCCA Award Winners:
Men's Big Ten Wrap Up:
Women Fare Well at Conference Meet:
Millrose Record Breakers:
For more on Nittany Lion track and field, log on to www.GoPSUsports.com