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July 8, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
A slew of Nittany Lions have been selected to represent their respective national teams during the summer of 2014. Interim-Head Coach John Gondak has earned his first career opportunity to lead the United States on the international stage this summer after being named as the men's distance coach of the U.S. for the North American, Central America, and Caribbean (NACAC) Athletic Association Under-23 Championships, set for August 8-10, in Kamloops, Canada.
Joining Gondak on the United States team at the NACAC championships will be Darrell Hill (Philadelphia, Pa.), Michael Shuey (Johnsonburg,Pa.), Kiah Seymour (Washington, D.C.), and Brittney Howell (Wyncote, Pa.). Also competing at the NACAC Championships, representing Trinidad and Tobago, will be Steve Waithe (Parkville, Md.). Additionally, freshman Dannielle Gibson (Nassau, Bahamas), has been selected to represent the Bahamas at the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships, to be held July 22-27 in Eugene, Oregon.
Gondak earns his first United States coaching role through the success seen by his distance and middle distance athletes. During Gondak's eight year tenure at Penn State he has coached 19 USTFCCCA First Team All-Americans, 22 Big Ten Champions, had athletes set 20 Penn State records, five Penn Relays championship wins in distance relays, as well as coaching three of the four Penn State Nittany Lions to run a sub-4 minute mile. Most recently Gondak was named Interim-Head Coach of the Penn State Track and Field/Cross Country teams.
Darrell Hill, who just concluded his junior season, has continued the Nittany Lion tradition of highly successful shot putters. During 2014, Hill became the number two thrower in Penn State history while winning the 2014 Outdoor Big Ten Championships shot put title. His throw of 67-6 (20.57m) is behind only current United States champion Joe Kovacs in the record books. Hill was also honored as the Big Ten Field Athlete of the Championships, and Big Ten Field Athlete of the Year.
Joining Hill in Kamloops, will be sophomore javelin thrower Michael Shuey. Shuey concluded his 2014 collegiate season with a best throw of 238-6 (72.69m) which places him number 2 all-time in the Penn State record books. Shuey claimed his first Big Ten title of his career when winning the outdoor javelin title.
On the women's United States squad will be graduating senior Brittney Howell. Howell had a banner 2014 year including All-American finishes both indoors and outdoors in the multi-events. 2014 highlights for Howell included her first ever Big Ten title when claiming the outdoor heptathlon - as well as heptathlon champion of the prestigious Texas Relays with a lifetime best of 5,625 points - good for number 3 all-time.
Also claiming a spot on the United States team is Kiah Seymour who will represent in her pet event, the 400-meter hurdles. Seymour was a revelation for the Nittany Lion team in 2014 tallying four All-American finishes, and claiming four Big Ten titles, as well as two runner-up Big Ten finishes. Seymour set the number 2 all-time Penn State performance at 400-meter hurdles, running 55.88.
Outside of the United States national team, Steve Waithe will represent Trinidad and Tobago in the men's triple jump. Waithe during his first season in Nittany Lion colors would claim All-American triple jump finishes at both the indoor and outdoor NCAA Championships. Additionally, Waithe was the indoor Big Ten triple jump runner up, before claiming his first Big Ten championships by winning the same event outdoors.
Dannielle Gibson, after an outstanding personal best triple jump of 42-0 (12.80m), has been selected to represent the Bahamas at the IAAF World Junior Championships. Gibson's leap moved her to number 6 all-time for Penn State. Gibson's 2014 season highlights included a runner-up finish at the outdoor Big Ten Championships as part of the 4x100-meter relay, as well as scoring in the outdoor triple jump.