Nieuwendam, Kovacs Earn Big Ten Honors
May 10, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Sophomore Kirsten Nieuwendam (Parimaribo, Suriname) and senior Joe Kovacs (Nazareth, Pa.) have been named Big Ten Track and Field Athletes of the Week, announced by conference offices on Wednesday. Nieuwendam, who is receiving the first conference citation of her career, won a pair of events at last week's Jim Thorpe Open at Nittany Lion Track, while Kovacs turned in another stellar performance in the shot put to hear his fourth weekly honor of the outdoor season.
Nieuwendam enjoyed a pair of outstanding performances in the final home competition of the season, taking top honors in both the 100- and 200-meters. The sophomore, who placed second in the 400-meters at the Big Ten Indoor Championships this year, started out with victory in the 100, via a personal-best 11.60, which also stands as the third-best time in the Big Ten this season. Nieuwendam came back to pick up another win in the 200, going 23.47 - the second fastest mark in the Big Ten this season, and fourth-best effort in the Penn State record books.
Kovacs, who currently leads the Big Ten, as well as the NCAA in his signature event, placed third in the shot at Jim Thorpe, going 64-9.25 (19.74). Kovacs' toss was just off his outdoor PR of 65-5 (19.94), which he posted to win the Penn Relays shot put title last month. Kovacs, who remains undefeated among collegiate competitors, placed third in a world-class competition behind IAAF World Indoor Champion Ryan Whiting, who threw 70-6.50 (21.50). Coming in second was 2011 Penn State graduate Blake Eaton, thanks to a PR toss of 65-0.50 (19.82). Kovacs also turned in a win in the discus on the afternoon.
Nieuwendam and Kovacs will look to lead their respective Nittany Lion squads into action this weekend at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships. Competition is slated for May 11-13, at the University of Wisconsin.
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