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June 9, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
Traveling a healthy contingent of competitors, the Nittany Lions will be poised for outstanding finishes against the nation's best competition, this week at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Historic Hayward Field at the University of Oregon. Both Nittany Lion squads are touted for impressive finishes, as the Penn State men's team enters the competition at No. 19 in the latest United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) rankings, while the women's contingent - the 2014 Big Ten Outdoor Champions - come into the national championships at No. 11.
About the NCAA Outdoor Championships...
When: June 11-14, 2013
Where: Hayward Field (University of Oregon)
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Penn State will travel an already decorated group of individual athletes, led by junior Darrell Hill (Philadelphia, Pa.), who was recently named Big Ten Field Athlete of the Year. Hill, who will compete in the shot put, has been on a tear all season, picking up multiple victories, including the Big Ten Championships, and Penn Relays. The junior, who missed qualifying in the event a year ago, is the sixth seed going into the meet.
Also back and looking to improve from last year's outdoor championships is sophomore and Big Ten Outdoor runner-up Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio.), who finished third in the 800-meters at NCAAs last spring. Kidder will take on the 1500-meters this year as he goes in seeded 15th. The sophomore is in prime position to finish on the podium after running 3:38.82 a month ago on the west coast.
A strong group of Nittany Lions will be making their first appearances at the NCAA outdoor championships. Junior Matt Fischer (Kennett Square, Pa.) will compete in the men’s 5000 meter run after finishing fourth in the qualifying rounds last week. Red-shirt freshmen Robert Cardina (Lancaster, Pa.) will compete in the men’s decathlon after putting on an impressive performance at Texas Relays in March. In the field, juniors Steve Waithe (Parkville, Md.) and Brian Leap (Bellwood, Pa.) will compete in the men’s triple jump.
The Nittany Lions will also travel a stellar squad on the women's side, with Kiah Seymour (Washington, D.C.), Evonne Britton (El Paso, Texas.), Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio), Melissa Kurzdorfer (Lancaster, N.Y.), Laura Loht (McClure, Pa.), Brittney Howell (Wyncote, Pa.), and Tori Gerlach (Perkasie, Pa.) are set to represent Penn State individually.
The women's 4x400-meter relay will also toe the line, marking the eighth-straight year that the Nittany Lions have qualified a team in the event, including an NCAA title in 2008. Jones will compete in the women’s 100 and 200-meter dash just as she did at last years championships. Britton will also compete in two events as she qualified in the 100 and 400-meter hurdles.
Action in Eugene is slated to begin on Wednesday morning. For more on Nittany Lion track and field, log on to www.GoPSUsports.com.