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April 18, 2013
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 charges will stay close to home, competing at the Bucknell Team Challenge in Lewisburg, Pa. Action at Mt. SAC gets underway on Thursday afternoon, and concludes on Saturday, while the Bucknell competition is set to get started at 9:30 a.m., Saturday morning.
Some of the Lions' top middle and long distance athletes will represent the Blue and White out West, including sophomore Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.) in the 1500 meters, and senior Casimir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.), and freshman Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) in the 800 meters. Creese is the reigning Big Ten Athlete of the Week, thanks to a career-best effort of 3:41.32 in the event at the Bison Outdoor Classic last weekend. Creese's performance currently stands as the second-fastest mark in Division I this year. Kidder isn't far behind, standing as the third-ranked 1500 meter runner in the NCAA this season, having clocked 3:42.07, a week ago.
Loxsom, who earned runner-up honors at the NCAA Indoor Championships last month, will take on his first half mile of the outdoor season against a sensational field on Saturday. Loxsom, who owns a personal-best 1:45.32 for 800, will take on some of the best in the world in the event, including 2012 US Olympian Duane Solomon of Saucony, and former NCAA Champion Charles Jock of Nike, as well as Eric Sowinski - the World Indoor Record Holder at 600 meters.
The Nittany Lions will also take on the longer distances at Mt. SAC with seniors Caitlin Lane (Greenwich, N.Y.), Brooklyne Ridder (Cincinatti, Ohio), and Sam Masters (Columbia, Mo.) toeing the line in the 5,000 meters.
The Nittany Lions will send the majority of their sprints, hurdles, and field event athletes to Lewisburg, including redshirt-junior Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio), who garnered Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week honors for her performance at the Battle on the Bayou at LSU last weekend. Jones also posted an outstanding weekend, capturing a victory in the 100 meters, to go along with a second-place finish in the 200 meters at LSU. Jones sprinted to a career-best effort of 11.55 to take top honors in the 100, which moves her to No. 3 in the all-time Penn State standings in the event. Jones was equally as impressive in the 200, turning in a PR 23.43 to finish second-to-only LSU's Kimberlyn Duncan - a multiple-time NCAA Champion at the distance.
Also turning in a sensational performance at LSU was sophomore Darrell Hill (Philadelphia, Pa.) in the men's shot put. Hill launched a lifetime-best 62-7 (19.08), taking over the Big Ten lead in the event, as well as No. 5 in the all-time Penn State standings.
About the Bucknell Team Challenge ...
When: Saturday, April 20
Where: Christy Mathewson Memorial Stadium (Lewisburg, Pa.)
Meet Information/Live Results: www.bucknellbison.com
Nittany Lions Notes ...
Awards Abound ...
Sophomore Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.) and redshirt-junior Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio) have both run their way Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week honors, announced by conference offices on Wednesday, April 17. Creese posted a lifetime-best performance in the 1500 meters at the Bison Outdoor Classic last weekend, while Jones held her own against stellar sprint competition at the Battle on the Bayou at Louisiana State University.
Big Performances on the Bayou ...
The Nittany Lion men's and women's track and field squads held their own against outstanding competition - both turning in second-place finishes in the team standings - April 13 at the LSU Invitational - Battle on the Bayou at Bernie Moore Stadium. Sophomore Darrell Hill (Philadelphia, Pa.) led the way individually, launching a career-best effort in the shot put to take over the No. 3 spot in the national rankings in the event. Hill was one of a host of Nittany Lions to pick up event victories on the weekend, including redshirt-junior Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio), who came away with top honors in the stacked 100-meter field, to go along with a personal best in the 200 meters. Sophomore Brian Leap (Bellwood, Pa.) was equally as outstanding in the field events, taking home a victory in the long jump, and finishing as the top collegiate competitor in the triple jump.
Bests at Bucknell ...
Sophomore Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.) set a facility record in the 1500 meters, leading a host of outstanding performances by the Nittany Lions track and field squads, April 13, at the Bison Outdoor Classic at Bucknell University. Junior Marta Klebe (Chesterbrook, Pa.) led the way on the women's side, who took top honors in the women's 1500 meters. Creese paced a bevy of Nittany Lions in the 1500, leading a 1-2-3-4 sweep in the event along with teammates Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio), Tyler Corkedale (West Windsor, N.J.), and Ricky West(Toronto, Ontario). The sophomore clocked a personal-best 3:41.32 - bettering his own facility record 3:43.79, set in 2012.
Early Big Ten Accolades ...
Sophomore Lauren Kenney (State College, Pa.) and freshman Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) have both received Big Ten Athlete of the Week accolades, announced by conference offices on Wednesday, April 10. Both Kenney and Kidder came away with event victories at last weekend's Crimson Tide Invitational at the University of Alabama, putting up conference leading performances in their respective events.
Season Opener ...
Bolstered by six event victories, including the NCAA's second-ranked javelin mark from sophomore Lauren Kenney (State College, Pa.), the Nittany Lion captured the women's team title, Saturday at the Crimson Tide Invitational at the University of Alabama. The Nittany Lion men's squad also fared well, adding three victories to the program title, highlighted a Big Ten leading effort by freshman Brannon Kidder(Lancaster, Ohio) in the 800 meters. Clinching the team title with a dramatic victory in the 4x400-meter relay, the Nittany Lion women totaled 115.50 points on the evening, edging out conference rival Nebraska with 108.50.
Tremendous Tosses ...
Kenney, who finished fourth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships a year ago, wasted no time in proving she'll be a national contender again in 2013, unleashing a personal-best 176-11 (53.93) on her first attempt at the Crimson Tide Invitational. Kenney's PR, which was nearly 10 feet better than her previous lifetime best, is not only the second-farthest effort in the NCAA this year, but also ranks as the second-best toss in Nittany Lion history. Teammate Laura Loht (McClure, Pa.) made it a Nittany Lion sweep in the event, turning in an effort of 159-7 (48.65) for second. Freshman Michael Shuey (Johnsonburg, Pa.) stood out for the Nittany Lions in the men's javelin, taking second-place overall with a career-best throw of 226-6 (69.04) to improve on his high school PR by nearly 15 feet. Shuey's mark currently stands at No. 16 on the NCAA descending order list.
Off and Running ...
The Nittany Lion track and field squads enjoyed a successful season opener - with all seven competing athletes turning in lifetime bests - last Friday evening at the Stanford Invitational. The Nittany Lions took advantage of the ideal weather conditions in Palo Alto, posting outstanding performances in the distance events. A trio of Nittany Lions also earned spots on the all-time Penn State Top 10 lists in their respective events at Stanford, including senior Natalie Bower (Pleasant Unity, Pa.), who now stands at No. 7 all-time in the women's 5,000 meters, thanks to a PR 16:12.88. Bower's performance is also the current Big Ten leader. Also moving up the all-time rankings were Abbie Benson (Elma, N.Y.), and Emily Giannotti (Coudersport, Pa.). Benson clocked a PR 10:33.30 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase to climb to No. 9 all-time, while Giannotti went 34:54.26 for 10,000 meters, which stands as the 10th fastest effort in school history.
Indoor Wrap Up ...
The Nittany Lion men's track and field program wrapped up a record-setting indoor campaign last month, 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.
Sensational Senior ...
Loxsom, 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.
Nittany Notables ...
With the men's indoor 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.
Leading Ladies ...
The Nittany Lions also garnered a top tier conference standing on the women's side during the indoor season, 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.
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