Nittany Lion Men Wrap Up Sensational Indoor Campaign
March 14, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Nittany Lion men’s track and field program wrapped up a record-setting indoor campaign last weekend, posting a ninth-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships at the University of Arkansas. Penn State was paced by a pair of runner-up finishes at the championships, and brought home a grand total of six USTFCCCA First Team All-Americans in the effort. The Nittany Lions were on fire throughout the indoor season, claiming school records in nine events in 2013, while also setting all-time collegiate bests in two disciplines.
With the finish, Director and Head Coach of Track and Field/Cross Country Beth Alford-Sullivan becomes the first female director to lead a men’s program to a top 10 finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships. That said, Sullivan was also named USTFCCCA “Mid-Atlantic Region Men’s Coach of the Year” for the Nittany Lions’ successes in 2013, marking the second time she has won the men’s award, as well as the 27th “Coach of the Year” citation over her decorated career. Sullivan wasn’t the only Nittany Lion earning hardware during the indoor season, as USTFCCCA “Mid-Atlantic Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year” honors went to Associate Head Coach John Gondak, and the USTFCCCA “Mid-Atlantic Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year” award when to first-year assistant Randy Bungard.
Senior Casimir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.), who was named USTFCCCA “Mid-Atlantic Men’s Track Athlete of the Year,” capped his sizzling indoor season with a second-place finish in the 800 meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships – the best-ever finish by a Nittany Lion in the event. Loxsom was nearly unstoppable in the middle distances this season, as the senior claimed Big Ten Athlete of the Championship and Athlete of the Year honors for his record-breaking efforts.
At the conference meet, Loxsom tore to an all-time, all-conditions indoor American and collegiate best en route to an individual victory in the 600 meters. The senior clocked a sizzling 1:15.42 in the event, bettering his own school-record 1:15.92. Loxsom’s 1:15.92, which he ran at Ashenfelter III Indoor Track in January, stands as the current American Collegiate Record, as it was run on a 200-meter track.
Loxsom’s performance, along with winning efforts from the DMR, freshman Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) in the 800, and sophomore Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.) in the mile, the Nittany Lions captured a third-place standing at the Big Ten Indoor Championships – tying the highest indoor finish in program history.
The Nittany Lions also garnered a top tier conference standing on the women’s side, as the Blue and White finished fourth overall to mark the program’s 11th-straight top four finish at the indoor conference championships. Juniors Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio), and Marlene Ricketts (Westbury, N.Y.) led the Lions, thanks to silver-medal finishes in the 60-meters and triple jump respectively. The duo would also go on to represent Penn State at the NCAA Indoor Championships, with Jones capturing Second Team All-America status in the 200 meters, and Ricketts earning the same honor in the triple jump.
Also garnering a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championships was the distance medley quartet of freshman Kidder, junior Brandon Bennett-Green (Philadelphia, Pa.), freshman Za’Von Watkins (Liverpool, N.Y.), and Creese. Earlier in the season, the same foursome combined to run a sizzling 9:26.60 – the fastest collegiate performance this season - at the Alex Wilson Last Chance at Notre Dame. Not only was the effort a new Penn State record, but also stands as the second-fastest relay ever run in the collegiate ranks.
Creese would also earn a school record individually, clocking 3:57.11 for the mile run during the Washington Husky Classic. Senior Sam Masters (Columbia, Mo.) also claimed a spot on the Penn State record books in Seattle, setting a new school standard in the 3000-meters at 7:54.52.
Redshirt junior Will Barr (Urbana, Ohio) also ended his season in record-setting fashion, resetting his own school record in the weight throw at 69-11.75 (21.33). Barr’s effort was good for a sixth place and All-America finish at NCAA Indoors.
Speaking of records, the Nittany Lions also saw a collegiate-record setting performance in the 4x200-meter relay, thanks to the efforts of Emunael Mpanduki (Harare, Zimbabwe), Matt Gilmore (Philadelphia, Pa.), Brandon Bennett-Green (Philadelphia, Pa.), and Aaron Nadolsky (Altoona, Pa.).
The Nittany Lions will take a short break, before picking up action for the outdoor season beginning with the Stanford Invitational on March 29-30, in Palo Alto, Calif.