May 10, 2012
Meet Notes | Championship Central
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion track and field squads will embark on the "championship" portion of the outdoor season this weekend, traveling to the Big Ten Outdoor Championships on the campus of the University of Wisconsin. Coming off several outstanding weeks of competition, including a record-setting effort at the Penn Relays Carnival last month, the Nittany Lions are in position to come home with stellar finishes both individually, and in the team standings.
The Nittany Lions return a wealth of experience from the 2011 outdoor championships, including nine Big Ten medalists from a year ago, led by reigining conference 10,000-meter champion Kara Millhouse (Boiling Springs, Pa.) and two-time defending outdoor champion Casimir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.) in the 800-meters.
Penn State also has several other athletes in position to vie for titles, as senior Joe Kovacs (Nazareth, Pa.) leads the conference - as well as the NCAA - in the shot put at 65-5 (19.94). In fact, the Nittany Lions have claimed the shot title over the past two seasons, with graduate Blake Eaton winning the crown in 2010 and 2011. Kovacs returns after finishing second in 2011.
The Lions will have plenty of competition along the way, including No. 8 and conference indoor champions Indiana, and No. 15 Wisconsin on the men's side, and No. 24 Ohio State - last year's outdoor champions - as the top ranked women's program coming into the weekend.
About the Big Ten Championships ...
When: May 11-13, 2012
Where: Madison, Wisc. (University of Wisconsin)
Host Website: http://www.uwbadgers.com/sports/m-track/Big-Ten-Championships.html
Live Results: http://www.uwathletics.com/live/track/
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On Twitter: @PennStTFXC
Latest Nittany Lion Notes:
Last Time Out ...
Sophomore Kirsten Nieuwendam (Parimaribo, Suriname) turned in a pay of winning efforts, thanks to personal-best performances, Friday at the Jim Thorpe Open at Nittany Lion Track. Leading the way in the field events was Nike athlete and Nittany Lion volunteer assistant Ryan Whiting, who posted a facility-record 70-06.50 (21.50) in the shot put, which also ranks as the fourth-farthest throw in the world this outdoor season. Nieuwendam had an outstanding afternoon, posting victories in both the 100- and 200-meters, both in career-record fashion. The sophomore 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.
Strength Training All American ...
Junior Will Barr (Urbana, Ohio) has been named a National Strength Coaches' All American, announced by the organization this spring. Barr is a junior thrower on the Nittany Lion track and field squad, who specializes in the discus, 35-lb weight, and hammer throw. According to the NSCA website, the NSCA All-American Strength and Conditioning Athletes of the Year program recognizes collegiate and high school athletes whose athletic accomplishments, in the opinion of the strength coach - track and field strength coach Cam Davidson - reflect their dedication to strength training and conditioning. These athletes are also recognized for their academic and personal accomplishments as well as their integrity as student athletes. This year, the NSCA awarded 225 collegiate and high school athletes across 90 schools with this well-regarded award.
Another Athlete of the Week...
Following an NCAA-leading performance at the Penn Relays, senior Joe Kovacs (Nazareth, Pa.) has been named Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week for the third time this season. Kovacs bested a national-class shot put field at Penn last week, thanks to a career-outdoor best performance of 65-5 (19.94), which also ties the longstanding Penn State record in the event.
Another Wheels for a Bicycle...
Brought home by a stunning finishing kick by freshman Robby Creese (Mt. Airy, Md.), the Nittany Lions - including senior Owen Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.), freshman Ryan Brennan (Chester, N.Y.) and junior Casimir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.) - added more hardware to the trophy case, winning the 4x800-meter relay at the historic Penn Relays Carnival, Saturday at Franklin Field. The Nittany Lions also added a Penn Relays victory on Friday evening, with Aaron Nadolsky (Altoona, Pa.), Brandon Bennett-Green (Elkins' Park, Pa.), Brady Gehret (Altoona, Pa.) and Casimir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.) picking up the program's second-straight "Championship of America" victory in the sprint medley relay.
Big Tosses in the Throws...
Sophomore Melissa Kurzdorfer (Lancaster, N.Y.) and freshman Lauren Kenney (State College, Pa.) turned in victories in the "championship" sections of their respective events, Thursday at the 118th running of the Penn Relays at Franklin Field, on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. Kurzdorfer dominated the hammer competition, bettering the competition by nearly 10 feet, while Kenney paced an outstanding showing by the Nittany Lions in the javelin, with sophomore Laura Loht (McClure, Pa.) coming in third in the event. Kovacs would make it three Lion victories on Friday in his school-record and winning effort in the men's championship shot put.
Two Weeks, Two Records...
Senior Kara Millhouse (Boiling Springs, Pa.) has ripped through the Nittany Lion record books over the past several weeks, beginning with a school-record 33:31.37 for 10,000-meters at the Mt. SAC Relays. Millhouse would return to run the anchor on the record-setting distance medley relay at Penn, along with teammates Bekka Simko (Mentor, Ohio), Ijeoma Iheoma (Holland, Pa.), Marta Klebe (Chesterbrook, Pa.). The squad clocked 11:08.41 to better a 30-year old school record.