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March 29, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions will take to the track for the first time of the outdoor season, this weekend at the Jim Click Shootout at the University of Arizona. Penn State is looking to ride the momentum of an outstanding indoor season, which concluded with a second-place finish by the men's 4x400-meter relay at the NCAA Indoor Championships earlier this month. Jim Click is a scoring event, which features head-to-head competition between conferences, with Arizona and California representing the PAC 12, Clemson and Miami competing ACC, and Ohio State and the Nittany Lions from the Big Ten. Action begins with the combined events on Thursday and Friday, with the team competition slated for Saturday at Drachmann Stadium.
The men's decathlon, and women's heptathlon are set to kick things off on Thursday morning, with the men's decathlon 100-meters slated to go at 11:30 a.m., PDT.
The Nittany Lions will face some stiff competition across all event areas, with the Arizona men's squad coming in at No. 11 in the USTFCCCA Preseason Rankings. Ohio State will also field a solid men's squad, as the Buckeyes currently rank 25th. Clemson leads things in the women's rankings in fourth, while Arizona starts the season in 18th. The Nittany Lions are hovering just outside the top 25 on both sides, as the Penn State women currently stand 26th, and the men rank 29th.
About the Jim Click Shootout ...
When: March 29-31
Where: Drachmann Stadium (University of Arizona)
Meet Website: www.arizonawildcats.com
Competing Teams: Arizona, California, Clemson, Miami, Ohio State, Penn State
Following the Nittany Lions ...
On Twitter: @PennStTFXC
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/pennstatecrosscountryandtrackandfield
Nittany Lion Outdoor Notes
Indoor Success ...
The men's 4x400-meter relay, with team members Aaron Nadolsky (Altoona, Pa.), Brandon Bennett-Green (Elkins Park, Pa.), Casimir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.) and Brady Gehret (Altoona, Pa.), helped to end the 2012 indoor campaign with a bang, earning runner-up honors at the NCAA Indoor Championships - the highest-ever finish by a Nittany Lion team in the event. The foursome hit their stride at the Big Ten Championships, where they turned in a second-place finish, and followed up with a school-record 3:05.22 at the Alex Wilson Invitational. The Lions traveled a healthy contingent of individuals to the championships, with Loxsom, Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.), and Evonne Britton (El Paso, Texas) all earning Second Team All-America status.
Conference Crowns ...
A duo of Nittany Lions claimed individual titles at the Big Ten Indoor Championships in February, including Caitlin Lane (Greenwich, N.Y.) in the mile, and Kara Millhouse (Boiling Springs, Pa.) in the 5,000-meters. The pair dominated the distances, running a total of 96 laps, and scoring a total of 40 points between them at the championships, as Lane also added third-place efforts in the 3,000-meters and 5K, while Millhouse was the 3K runner up. On the men's side, the quartet of Wade Endress (Altoona, Pa.), Nadolsky, Loxsom, and Creese combined to win the distance medley relay - earning the Nittany Lions' first-ever men's relay victory since joining the Big Ten in 1992.
Fast Freshman ...
Freshman Robby Creese enjoyed one of the more successful freshman campaigns in recent memory during the indoor season, becoming just the third Nittany Lion in program history to better the 4:00 mile. Creese would better the barrier on two occasions, running 3:58.94 at the Alex Wilson Invitational to clinch his spot at the NCAA Indoor Championships, where he was the only freshman in the men's mile field. Creese, who anchored the winning distance medley relay at the Big Ten Championships, was recognized throughout the season as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, as well as the USTFCCCA Track Athlete of the Year. The freshman burst onto the national radar in January after setting Collegiate, American Junior, and Penn State records in the 1,000-meters at 2:19.53.
Back in Uniform ...
The Nittany Lions will add a pair of seasoned veterans back into the mix outdoors, as seniors Owen Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.), and Joe Kovacs (Nazareth, Pa.) will be in their final season of outdoor eligibility after sitting out the indoor season. Kovacs, who is the defending NCAA bronze medalist in the shot put and a two-time All-American, impressed at the national level while competing unattached, placing sixth in the event at the USATF Indoor Championships thanks to a PR throw of 66-1 (20.14). Dawson, who also an All-America finish on his resume, also had a productive indoor season, running a PR 4:01.37 for the mile and competing in both the 800- and 1500-meters at USATF Indoor.
Javelin Back on Board ...
Back on the event slate for the outdoor season in the javelin throw, which has typically been one of the Lions' signature events. Back after a Second Team All-America finish in 2011 is sophomore Laura Loht (McClure, Pa.), who owns a personal-best 161-3 (49.14). Also in the mix in 2012 will be freshman Lauren Kenney (State College, Pa.), who came to Penn State with a career-best 156-2 - the sixth-best toss among preps in 2011. 2011 Big Ten scorer Eli Skinner (Jersey Shore, Pa.) is the top returner on the men's side.
Going the Distance ...
The outdoor season also brings the addition of the 10,000-meters - an event where the Lions excelled a year ago, thanks to a Big Ten victory by Kara Millhouse. Millhouse, who competed in the 10K at both the NCAA and USATF Championships a year ago, also ran to school record in the event, going 33:31.93 at the Stanford Invitational.
Next Up ...
The Nittany Lions will be back on the road next weekend, traveling to Baton Rouge, La., for the Battle on the Bayou at Louisiana State University. Teams slated to attend include LSU, Texas Tech, Mississippi State, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Houston and Connecticut.