Nittany Lions Named Nation's Top Relay Program
Aug 30, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The Nittany Lions were named the top men's squad in the Annual Relay Rankings by Track and Field News, announced in the latest edition of the publication. The honor comes after a sensational outdoor campaign, which included a pair of victories by the Nittany Lions at the prestigious Penn Relays Carnival.
Over the course of the outdoor campaign, the Nittany Lions clocked the top times in of collegiate season in distance medley, as well as the 4x800-meter relay. Penn State posted a total of 34 points on the Track and Field News scoring scale, finishing ahead of Division II powerhouse St. Augustine's with 28. Texas A&M would finish third in the rankings, while Florida and Oregon tied for fourth with 25-points apiece.
Last April, the Nittany Lions captured the program's first Penn Relays distance medley title since 1959, freshman Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio), junior Brandon Bennett-Green (Philadelphia, Pa.), senior Casimir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.), and sophomore Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.) brought home a DMR "Championship of America" victory.
The Nittany Lions' performance - 9:24.68 - was historic in more ways than one, as the foursome broke the former Penn State benchmark of 9:30.10 - set by Larry Mangan, Paul Lankford, Mike Cook, and Alan Scharsu in 1980. Penn State's sizzling school-record effort also moves the Nittany Lions to the sixth-fastest program in collegiate history, following only Arkansas (9:20.10), Georgetown (9:20.96), Villanova (9:21.03), Mt. St. Mary's (9:21.44), and Michigan (9:22.57). In fact, the Nittany Lions' winning time was the fastest at Penn since the Wolverines took the Championship of America in 2005 with the school's all-time best 9:22.57.
The Lions' success continued the following afternoon at Penn, winning the program's second-straight title in the 4x800, thanks to the efforts of Creese, Za'Von Watkins (Liverpool, N.Y.), Loxsom, and Kidder. The foursome clocked 7:14.14, bettering the rest of the field by over three seconds, and turning in the nation's best time for the collegiate season.
For his efforts on both winning relays, Loxsom was named "Athlete of the Relays" at Penn. The then-senior would go on to finish second in the 800 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Kidder - who was just a freshman - followed up Loxsom's finish with a third-place standing in the same race, making the Nittany Lions the first program to have two top three finishers in the men's outdoor 800 since Michigan in 1945. Creese would also finish off the outdoor season in All-America fashion, finishing sixth in the 1500 meters.
The Blue and White also scored an impressive finish in the men's 4xmile relay at Penn, finishing fourth in a stacked field with a time of 16:19.72, with outstanding legs from Tyler Corkedale (West Windsor, N.J.), Matt Fischer (Kennett Square, Pa.), Ricky West (Toronto, Ontario) and Sam Masters (Columbia, Mo.). The Nittany Lions more than held their own against some of the nation's greatest milers, finishing behind only Oregon, Indiana, and Villanova. The squad put up impressive splits throughout the race, including efforts 4:01.4 - the third-fastest split of the afternoon - for West, 4:05.2 for Masters, 4:05.3 from Fischer, and 4:07.8 from Corkedale. The Lions' finishing time was also the fourth best in the country on the year.
The Lions were also ranked in the yearly top 10 in the sprint medley, via a performance of 3:18.52 - also at Penn. The Lions' came away with a third-place standing at Penn, while the relay fourth nationally in 2013. The sprint medley relay squad included Matt Gilmore (Philadelphia, Pa.), Emunael Mpanduki (Harare, Zimbabwe), Bennett-Green, and Ricky West (Toronto, Ontario).
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