Nittany Lions Add 22 to Track and Field Roster
Sept. 25, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In addition to a dozen outstanding cross country recruits, the Nittany Lions will add another 22 newcomers to the track and field roster this fall, including standouts with state, national, and international success. With the newcomers, Director and Head Coach of Track and Field/Cross Country Beth Alford-Sullivanand the Nittany Lions will be poised for more success in 2014. Penn State is coming off another record-breaking campaign in 2013, which saw the women's squad capture the 2013 Big Ten Outdoor Championship - the seventh conference victory in program history - as well as outstanding NCAA finishes by the men's squad, including a top 10 effort in the team standings at the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships.
"It's exciting to add a fresh and talented incoming class to our program," said Director and Head Coach of Track and Field/Cross Country Beth Alford-Sullivan. "This class will represent in all event areas in track and field, and we look to see their progress throughout their entire careers."
Leading the way in the sprints and hurdles are Pennsylvania standout Tichina Rhodes (Philadelphia, Pa.) of Swenson Arts and Technology, and Byron Robinson (Chesapeake, Va.) of Western Branch in Virginia. Both new Nittany Lions bring a wealth of success to the table, including multiple titles at the state level over their high school careers. Rhodes starred for Swenson this spring, helping her squad to a team title at the PIAA Championships. Meanwhile, Robinson made a splash on the national scene, as a member of two winning relays at New Balance Outdoor Nationals. Also joining the sprints contingent with a state title under her belt is Megan Osborne(Chillicothe, Ohio), who was a major factor in the Ohio sprints over the past several seasons.
The Nittany Lions will also welcome the addition of field event standouts Alyssa Robinson (St. Clairsville, Ohio), Jon Yohman (Wilmington, Pa.), Cole Proffitt (Manheim, Pa.) and Division II transfer Steve Waithe(Parkville, Md.). Robinson went undefeated in the shot put in the Ohio state ranks last spring, capping her high school career with her second-straight OHSAA title in the event. Yohman was tops in the throws in Pennsylvania, finishing first in the shot and second in the discus at the PIAA Championships, and was also the Pennsylvania recipient for Gatorade Boys' Track and Field Athlete of the Year. Proffitt was another standout in the Pennsylvania ranks, taking top honors in the javelin at the PIAA Championships while competing for Manheim Central.
Waithe - a transfer from Shippensburg - is already highly decorated collegiately, with a total of four All-America finishes to his credit. Waithe is also internationally experienced, having competed at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona in 2012.
Also joining the squad after a state title run is middle distance runner Brad Rivera(Bensalem, Pa.). Rivera clocked 1:52.43 to win the PTFCA indoor 800 title in 2013. His performance also ranked among the top 15 efforts in the country during the indoor season.
The Nittany Lions are currently in fall conditioning, and will open the season with the Blue-White Instrasquad Meet on December 14. The official opener for the 2014 season is slated for January 11, with the Penn State Relays at Ashenfelter III Indoor Track.
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2013 Women's Recruiting Class
Tal Ben-Artzi|| Multi-Events || Newe Shaanan Hifa, Israel (Ankori Tesafon)
200m - 25.06
800m - 2:20.09
100mH - 14.39
High Jump - 5-8-75 (1.75)
Long Jump - 18-6 (5.64)
Heptathlon - 5079
Ben-Artiz joins the Nittany Lions all the way from Israel, following outstanding performances in the international ranks. A two-time IAAF World Youth qualifier, Ben-Artzi owns a lifetime-best total of 4804 in the heptathlon, as well as a personal-record clearance of 5-7.75 (1.72) in the high jump, and a PR of 18-6 (5.64) in the long jump.
Christina Cianciarulo|| Sprints || New Britain, Pa. (Central Bucks South)
Cianciarulo's Personal Bests:
100m - 11.96
Cianciarulo will join a talented Nittany Lion sprints contingent, after finishing third in the 100 meters at the PIAA Outdoor Championships in 2013, where she clocked 12.07 in the final. She clocked a personal-best 11.96 in the prelims at the PIAA meet, which stood as the fastest time in qualifying. The Central Bucks South product was also the runner-up in the 100 at the SOL Continental Conference Championships as a senior. She also competed in the long and triple jumps during her prep career.
Dannielle Gibson|| Jumps || Nassau, Bahamas (St. Augustine's)
Gibson's Personal Bests:
Long Jump - 18-8
Triple Jump - 39-6.5
Gibson is no stranger to the state of Pennsylvania, having competed at the prestigious Penn Relays Carnival as a senior. Gibson helped her St. Augustine's teammates to a spot in the elite Championship of America final, where her team finished seventh overall. Gibson also ran as a member of a section-winning 4x400 at Penn in 2013. Gibson has been one to watch in the Caribbean over the past several season, including a double-win effort in the long jump and triple jump at the Bahamas CARIFTA Trials in 2013. She would go on to fare well as the CARIFTA Games, placing seventh in the long jump and eighth in the triple jump against outstanding competition.
Lexi Masterson|| Pole Vault || Jeannette, Pa. (Hempfield Area)
Masterson's Personal Bests:
Pole Vault - 12-0
Masterson was the PIAA state runner-up in the pole vault as a senior, clearing a personal-best 12-0 at the state meet. Masterson also scored a silver medal finish at the state level during the indoor season, placing second at the PTFCA Indoor Championships - with a clearance of 12-0 once again. All told, Masterson qualified for the PIAA Outdoor Championships on all four occasions, and made the indoor state meet during her sophomore, junior, and senior seasons. She also competed at New Balance Indoor Nationals as a senior, placing 15th overall.
India McCoy|| Jumps || Ambridge, Pa. (Ambridge Area)
McCoy's Personal Bests:
High Jump - 5-9
McCoy concluded her prep career with a sixth-place finish in the high jump at the 2013 PIAA State Championships. A four-time District 7 AAA Champion in the high jump, McCoy was also a three-time state qualifier in the event, with her top finish coming via a second-place effort as a sophomore in 2011. McCoy owns a career-best clearance of 5-9.
Megan Osbourne || Sprints || Chillicothe, Ohio (Chillicothe)
Osbourne's Personal Bests:
60m - 7.73
100m - 11.96
200m - 23.95
400m - 55.35
The 200-meter champion at the OATCCC Indoor State Championships, Osborne will come to Happy Valley with a significant amount of sprinting success under her belt. Her state-winning time of 24.73 is also the top time in Ohio last indoor season. Osborne posted outstanding results during the 2012 outdoor season, including a fifth-place and All-America finish in the 200 at the New Balance Outdoor National Championships. Osborne made a statement in front of a national audience at the event, clocking a lifetime-best 23.95 in the preliminaries. Osborne also had a stellar weekend at the Ohio Outdoor Championships as a junior, earning a trio of podium finishes by placing second in the 100, third in the 400, and fifth in the 200.
Tichina Rhodes|| Sprints || Philadelphia, Pa. (Swenson Arts and Technology)
Rhodes' Personal Bests:
200m - 24.97
300m - 42.50
400m - 54.75
500m - 1:19.49
300mH - 44.14
400mH - 1:03.29
Rhodes enjoyed a sensational weekend at the PIAA State Outdoor Championships as a senior, competing in the 200- and 400-meters, as well as the 100-meter hurdles, individually, to help her Swenson Arts and Technology squad to the 2013 AA Team Title. Rhodes would take top honors in the AA 400 at the state level, in addition to a fifth-place finish in the 200, and victories on the 4x100 and 4x400. Rhodes was also a double place winner at the 2013 PTFCA Indoor Championships, finishing fifth in both the 400 and the 60-meter hurdles. Rhodes' state meet success extends to 2012, where she garnered runner-up honors in the 300-meter hurdles at the PIAA Outdoor Championships, to go along with a fourth-place standing in the 200 as a junior. Boasting an outstanding range, Rhodes holds the top time in Pennsylvania in the 500 meters (1:19.49) during the 2013 indoor season, and ranked second in the outdoor 400 in 2013 (54.75).
Alyssa Robinson|| Throws || St. Clairsville, Ohio (St. Clairsville)
Robinson's Personal Bests:
Shot Put - 46-7.50
Robinson is another addition to a long line of outstanding Nittany Lions from the state of Ohio. Robinson ended her high school career with a victory at the Midwest Meet of Championships, as well as a state title in the shot put at the OHSAA Track and Field Championships. In fact, Robinson went untouched the entire outdoor season, finishing first in every shot put competition she entered. Robinson's was also highly successful during her senior indoor campaign, in which she finished third OATCCC Indoor State Championships last winter, in addition to a fifth-place standing at New Balance Indoor Nationals. Robinson was also the Ohio State Champion in the shot during the indoor and outdoor seasons as a junior.
Natalie Shiffler|| Multi-Events || Irwin, Pa. (Hempfield Area)
Shiffler's Personal Bests:
High Jump - 5-6
Long Jump - 16-4
Javelin - 139-8
Shiffler comes to Penn State with several strong PRs to her credit, making her an outstanding prospect in multi-events. The Hempfield Area product excelled this summer, winning the javelin at the USATF Three Rivers Junior Olympic Championships. In fact, her javelin PR of 139-8 was the seventh-best toss in Pennsylvania in 2013. Shiffler also has a lifetime-best clearance of 5-6 in the high jump to her credit.
2013 Men's Recruiting Class
Dylan Bilka|| Pole Vault || Seven Fields, Pa. (Penn State-Behrend)
Bilka's Personal Bests:
Pole Vault - 16-6.75 (5.05)
An NCAA qualifier at Penn State-Behrend, Bilka finished ninth in the pole vault at the NCAA Division III Championships last spring. Bilka, who will have junior eligibility with the Nittany Lions, was the ECAC D-III Champion in 2013, and owns a PR of 16-6.75 (5.05). Placed third in the pole vault at the 2011 PIAA Championships as a senior at Seneca Valley High School.
Kory Decesaris|| Throws || Danielsville, Pa. (Northampton)
Decesaris' Personal Bests:
Shot Put - 55-8
Discus - 145-4
Javelin - 175-7
Decesaris won the shot put at the PIAA District 11 AAA Championships this spring, and would go on to finish eighth in the event at the PIAA Outdoor Championships. The Danielsville, Pa., native had a highly successful outing at the Colonial/Lehigh League Championships as a senior, winning the shot, and placing third in both the discus and the javelin.
Riley Gaibler|| Sprints || Lansdale, Pa (North Penn)
Gaibler's Personal Bests:
400m - 49.57
North Penn graduate Gaibler was the SOL Continental Conference Champion in the 400 as a senior, as well as the conference runner up in the 110-meter hurdles. Gaibler, who owns a lifetime-best 49.57 in the 400, also competed in the 300-meter hurdles as a prep, running 39.82.
Jonathon Jacoway || Jumps || Sharon, Pa. (Sharon)
Jacoway's Personal Bests:
Long Jump - 22-4
Triple Jump - 48-4.50
Sharon High School product Johnathon Jacowaywas a two-event qualifier at the 2013 PIAA Outdoor Championships, placing sixth in the long jump and 10th in the high jump. Jacoway enjoyed outstanding results at the PIAA District 10 Championships as a senior, earning victories in the high jump, long jump, and triple jump. Jacoway made his first-career trip to the PIAA Championships as a junior in 2012, qualifying in the high jump, long jump, and triple jump, with his highest finish coming via a bronze-medal effort in the AA triple jump.
Ryan Kerr|| Throws || Brookville, Pa. (Brookville Area)
Kerr's Personal Bests:
Javelin - 207-2
A transfer from Nebraska, Kerr will join the Nittany Lions this fall with all four years of eligibility remaining. As a senior at Brookville Area High School, Kerr capped his high school career with third-place finishes in the javelin at both the PIAA Outdoor Championships and New Balance Outdoor Nationals. A three-time state qualifier in track and field, and a multiple-time District 9 Champion, Kerr owns a lifetime-best toss of 207-2 - Kerr was ranked as a top five thrower in Pennsylvania as a senior, along with rising Nittany Lion sophomore and NCAA qualifier Michael Shuey(Johnsonburg, Pa.).
Cody Minnig|| Jumps || Levittown, Pa. (Neshaminy)
Minnig's Personal Bests:
60m - 6.91
100m - 10.73
200m - 21.97
Long Jump - 23-8
With a PR of 10.73, Minnig was the No. 6 ranked Pennsylvania prep in the 100 meters this spring, coming away with a fifth-place finish at the PIAA Outdoor Championships. Minnig was just as successful at the PFTCA State Championships during his senior indoor season, finishing second in the 60, third in the long jump, and fifth in the 200. He was a double winner at the Kevin Dare Invitational in 2013, taking titles in the 60 and the long jump. Minnig will likely compete in both the sprints and jumps for the Nittany Lions, coming to Happy Valley with an impressive PR of 23-8 in the long jump - the top-rated mark in the Pa. indoor ranks in 2012.
Will Pope|| Throws || South Salem, N.Y. (Iona Prep)
Pope's Personal Bests:
Shot Put - 59-11.5
Discus - 167-2
Pope made his mark on the New York high school scene as a student at Iona Prep, finishing second in the discus and third in the shot put at the 2013 NYSPHSAA State Championships. Pope also fared well against top competition at the Eastern States Championships as a senior, placing second in both the shot and the discus. He was equally as successful during the indoor season, taking second at the NY State Indoor Championships. Pope came on the radar as a junior, after taking top honors in the Emerging Elite section of the shot at the 2013 New Balance Outdoor Nationals.
Cole Proffitt|| Throws || Manheim, Pa. (Manheim Central)
Proffitt's Personal Bests:
Javelin - 205-11
One of the most outstanding javelin throwers in the Northeast over the past several seasons, Proffitt was the 2013 PIAA State Champion in the javelin, after earning runner-up honors as a junior in 2012. Proffitt's 205-11 PR was the ninth-best performance in the country in 2013, as well as the second-farthest toss in the Pennsylvania prep ranks. The Manheim, Pa., native has also fared well against national competition, placing fourth at New Balance Outdoor Nationals in 2012.
Brad Rivera|| Middle Distance || Bensalem, Pa. (Bensalem)
Rivera's Personal Bests:
800m - 1:52.43
1000m - 2:29.38
Rivera was in top form during his senior year at Bensalem High School, winning the 800 at the 2013 PTFCA Indoor State Championship, thanks to a lifetime-best 1:52.43 at Ashenfelter III Indoor Track. His effort was not only good for a state championship, but also the best in the Pennsylvania prep ranks during the indoor season, and a top 15 time nationally in 2013. Rivera followed up with a runner-up standing in the half mile at the PIAA Outdoor Championships. Rivera turned in several outstanding finishes as a senior, taking first in the 800 at the SOL National Conference Championships, and second at the District I Championships.
Byron Robinson|| Sprints/Hurdles || Chesapeake, Va. (Western Branch)
Robinson's Personal Bests:
100m - 10.69
200m - 21.09
300m - 34.32
400m - 47.29
500m - 1:04.37
110mH - 14.66
300mH - 36.61
400mH - 51.01
From Western Branch in Virginia, Robinson will be a welcome addition to the Nittany Lions' already stacked sprints contingent, boasting PRs of 10.69 for the 100 meters, 21.09 for the 200, and 47.29 for the open 400. Robinson is also a talented hurdler, arriving in Happy Valley with lifetime-bests of 14.66 for the 110s, 36.61 for the 300 hurdles (2013 US, No. 5), and 51.01 in the 400 hurdles (2013 US, No. 4). A highly decorated athlete throughout his career, Robinson was named the All-MileStat.com Outdoor Track & Field Boys Hurdler of the Year in 2013, and was also recognized as the top performer in the indoor 500 meters as a senior. In fact, Robinson's 500 PR of 1:04.37 was the No. 3 performance in the country in 2013. With outstanding national success on his resume, Robinson was a two-event winner at New Balance Outdoor Nationals in 2013, running as a member of the winning 1000-meter sprint medley, and anchoring Western Branch's 3:11.09 effort to win the Championship 4x400. Robinson was highly impressive in the final, splitting 46.0, officially.
Brandon Teribery|| Pole Vault || Bradford, Pa. (Bradford Area)
Teribery's Personal Bests:
Pole Vault - 15-0
A three-time PIAA District 9 Champion in the pole vault, Teribery enjoyed an outstanding senior season in the field, finishing 11th in the vault at the Penn Relays Carnival. The Bradford High School graduate was also a two-time PIAA State qualifier as a prep, with his highest finish coming with a fifth-place standing at the state meet in 2011.
Steve Waithe|| Jumps || Parkville, Md. (Shippensburg University)
Waithe's Personal Bests:
Long Jump - 23-0.75 (7.03)
Triple Jump - 52-1.75 (15.89)
A transfer from Shippensburg University, Waithe comes to Penn State with two years of NCAA success under his belt, including a trio of All-America efforts at the Division II level. A force at the conference level, Waithe was a perfect four-for-four in conference triple jump title while competing in the PSAC. While at Shippensburg, Waithe, who also competed at the IAAF World Junior Championships in 2012, set school records in both the indoor and outdoor triple jumps, including a leap of 51-6.50 (15.71) during the outdoor season in 2012. Waithe attend Loch Raven High School, where he was the Maryland State Champion in the triple jump as a prep. Waithe owns a lifetime-best triple jump of 52-1.75 (15.89).
Jon Yohman|| Throws || Wilmington, Pa. (Wilmington)
Yohman's Personal Bests:
Shot Put - 62-1
Discus - 189-6
The 2013 Gatorade Boys' Track and Field Athlete of the Year in Pennsylvania, Yohman capped his prep career at Wilmington High School with a PIAA state title in the shot put, to go along with a runner-up effort in the discus. Yohman has been one-to-watch in Pennsylvania throws for the past several seasons, having won state gold in the discus as a junior in 2012, and finished second in the shot at the same competition. The Wilmington, Pa., product, who also finished seventh in the shot at Penn Relays as a senior, ranked first in Pennsylvania in 2013 with a PR 62-1 in the shot. He also ranked third in the discus among Pa. preps at 189-6.