Mt. SAC Relays, Bucknell Team Challenge Await Track & Field Team this Weekend
April 17, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion track and field team will split its squads again this weekend, sending a small contingent to the Mt. SAC Relays at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif., while the majority of the Penn State team will stay close to home, competing at the Bucknell Team Challenge in Lewisburg, Pa. Action at Mt. SAC for the Nittany Lions will take place Friday evening, while the Bucknell competition is set to get started at 9:30 a.m., Saturday morning.
Representing the Blue and White out west will be distance standouts, sophomore Tori Gerlach (Perkasie, Pa.), and red-shirt junior Matt Fischer (Kennett Square, Pa.). Gerlach was the indoor Big Ten 3,000-meters champion in 2014, with a time of 9:10.76, which ranks as the number-two all-time for the Nittany Lions. Gerlach will make her 2014 season debut in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, an event that she qualified through to the NCAA Championships First Round in 2013. Fischer will also be looking to open his season in a specialty event, as he takes on a talented field in the men's 5,000-meters. Fischer stepped down to run the 1,500-meters at the Bison Classic last weekend, where he ran a lifetime best of 3:46.95. He will be looking to continue on that strong form as he takes on many of the best Big Ten and NCAA 5,000-meter runners.
The Nittany Lions will send the majority of their sprints, hurdles, and field event athletes to Lewisburg, for the Bucknell Team Challenge. Leading the charge will be Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio), who garnered Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week honors for her performance at the Sun Angel Classic at ASU last weekend. Jones posted an outstanding weekend, capturing two runner-up finishes in the 100-meters and 200-meters at ASU. Jones sprinted to an outdoor career-best effort of 22.97 in the 200-meters, which moves her to No. 2 in the all-time Penn State standings in the event, and leads the Big Ten in 2014.
Another Big Ten conference leader who will hit the track at the Bucknell Team Challenge is sophomore Kiah Seymour (Washington, D.C.). Seymour will look to step-down a distance to the 200-meter dash after improving her Big Ten lead in the grueling 400-meter hurdles at last weekend's Sun Angel Classic.
In the field, seniors Laura Loht (McClure, Pa.) and Melissa Kurzdorfer (Lancaster, N.Y.) will look to extend their Big Ten leading marks once again. Loht will line-up in the women's javelin, an event in which she remains undefeated in 2014, while Kurzdorfer will represent in her specialty event, the women's hammer throw.
Competing on both the track and in the field will be the current Big Ten number-two ranked decathlete, Rob Cardina (Lancaster, Pa.). Cardina will have a busy day as he puts on display all three components of track and field as he competes in the 400-meters, 110-meter hurdles, pole vault, and javelin.
About the Bucknell Team Challenge ...