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April 21, 2012
LEWISBURG, Pa.: April 21, 2012 - Individual victories abounded as the Nittany Lion track and field squads participated in a trio of competitions across the country on Saturday, with portions of the team competing at the Bucknell Team Challenge at Bucknell, the War Eagle Invitational at Auburn, and the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif. The Nittany Lions enjoyed outstanding success across all event areas, yielding nearly a dozen victories in Lewisburg, while adding another four wins at Auburn.
The Nittany Lion throws contingent dominated the competition at Bucknell for the second-straight weekend, picking up wins in the men's shot put, men's discus, women's hammer, and men's and women's javelin throws. Leading the way in facility-record fashion was freshman Lauren Kenney (State College, Pa.), who won the javelin in a facility-record and personal-best toss of 157-08 (48.07). Junior Eli Skinner (Jersey Shore, Pa.) made it a Penn State sweep in the event, taking the men's competition in 199-08 (60.85).
Senior Joe Kovacs (Nazareth, Pa.) remained undefeated on the season in the shot put thanks to a throw of 63-6 (19.35). Kovacs led a dominate Penn State effort in the event, with Logan Caldwell (Ebensburg, Pa.) and Nabil Mubarak (Loganville, Ga.) following in second and third, respectively, with throws of 57-10.50 (17.44), and 54-05.25 (16.59). Also taking top honors in a throwing event was redshirt-sophomore Will Barr (Urbana, Ohio), who bettered the discus field with an effort of 176-00 (53.65). Barr also added a second-place finish in the men's hammer with a mark of 194-04 (59.24).
Leading the way in the ring on the women's side was sophomore Melissa Kurzdorfer (Lancaster, N.Y.), who turned in a victory in the hammer, and a second-place finish in the shot put. Kurzdorfer won the hammer with a performance of 197-02 (60.09), well over 20 feet ahead of the rest of the field.
Senior Tanaya Lloyd (Philadelphia, Pa.) turned in a victory in the women's triple jump for the third-straight week, going 40-07.50 (12.38) in the win. Sophomore Marlene Ricketts (Westbury, N.Y.) placed second in the event. Freshman Brian Leap (Bellwood, Pa.) was tops on the men's side, via a mark of 48-07.50 (14.82) - a victory by nearly a foot over the second-place finisher.
The Nittany Lions racked up a trio of victories in the distances, thanks to wins from junior Brooklyne Ridder (Cincinnati, Ohio), freshman Wade Endress (Altoona, Pa.) and sophomore Nick Scarpello (Jamison, Pa.). Ridder paced a blanket of Lion finishers in the women's 1500-meters, winning in a PR 4:32.40. Freshman Abbie Benson (Elma, N.Y.) followed in second in 4:33.91, with sophomore Tori Perri (Philadelphia, Pa.) in fourth in 4:34.70, and junior Lindsey Graybill (Macungie, Pa.) in fifth in 4:36.57.
Endress won the men's 1500 in 3:53.27 in an exciting sprint finish, while Scarpello engineering a victory in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in a season-best 9:21.75.
In Auburn, sophomore Brady Gehret (Altoona, Pa.) led the way for the Nittany Lion sprinters, topping the 400-meter field with a personal-best 46.05. Gehret's performance was not only good for top honors on the day, but stands second in Penn State history and currently ranks among the top 10 efforts in Division I. The Lions were well represented in the event, with Brandon Bennett-Green (Elkins Park, Pa.), and Matt Gilmore (Elkins Park, Pa.) taking fourth and fifth, respectively. Senior Ijeoma Iheoma (Holland, Pa.) was the top Lion in the women's quarter, finishing fourth in 53.98.
Also impressing in the sprints was sophomore Kirsten Nieuwendam (Parimaribo, Suriname), who placed third in the 200-meters with a PR 23.72 - the sixth-fastest effort in the Nittany Lion record books. Nieuwendam and Iheoma also covered half of the winning women's 4x400-meter relay, along with teammates Dynasty McGee (Ypsilanti, Mich.) and Doris Anyanwu (Beltsville, Md.). The Nittany Lion quartet combined to run 3:37.60 in the victory - nearly two seconds over the second-place squad.
The Nittany Lions were also successful on the West Coast, with senior Owen Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.) highlighting the middle-distance efforts with a PR 3:42.54 in the 1500-meters on Friday evening. Dawson's mark stands eighth in Penn State history, and ranks second among Big Ten competitors this spring. Junior Casimir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.) was the top Nittany Lion finisher on Saturday at Mt. SAC, taking ninth in the "invitational" 800-meters in 1:47.89. Loxsom's mark matches his season-best effort, which is currently ranked third in the conference.
Penn State will return to action this week, traveling to Philadelphia for the annual Penn Relays Carnival. Multi-event action begins on Tuesday, April 24, with relay and individual events slated for Thursday-Saturday April 26-29 at Franklin Field.
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