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Nov. 13, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions return a wealth of decorated sprints, hurdles, and relay specialists this season, under the direction of first-year assistant coach Randy Bungard. Bungard inherits a bevy of talent in the event area, including junior Brady Gehret (Altoona, Pa.), who placed sixth in the 400-meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships a year ago, as well as the Nittany Lions' high-powered men's 4x400-meter relay, which placed second at NCAA Indoors, and fourth at the outdoor national meet. Bungard will also oversee standout hurdler Evonne Britton (El Paso, Texas), who has multiple NCAA appearances to her credit, along with several trips to the Big Ten medal stand.
Gehret - already a five-time USTFCCCA All-American - was highly impressive as a sophomore, ending his 2012 campaign with an eighth-place finish at the 2012 US Olympic Trials - just shy of a spot in the US relay pool. Gehret, who owns a personal-best 45.22 in the quarter mile, hit his stride during the outdoor season, picking up his first-career Big Ten title, via a first-place finish in the 400.
The Altoona, Pa., native would also assist on the Lions' conference-winning 4x400, which included teammates Aaron Nadolsky (Altoona, Pa.), Brandon Bennett-Green (Philadelphia, Pa.), and Casimir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.) - all of whom return in 2012-13. The quartet turned in an outstanding showing at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, running a blistering school-record 3:01.52 in the 4x400 prelims, eventually finishing fourth overall in the final - once again running sub-3:02.
The same foursome would also make a splash at Penn Relays in 2012, winning the "Championship of America" crown in the men's sprint medley relay, capturing Penn State's second-straight title in the event.
Bennett-Green also posted a stellar campaign individually in 2012, finishing third in the Big Ten 400 with a PR 45.94 - the third-fastest performance in school history - to go along with a personal-best 21.13 in the 200, which ranks eighth in the Penn State record books.
The men's sprints and hurdles stable goes much deeper than the four Nittany Lions on last year's 4x400, however, as it includes sophomore Matt Gilmore (Philadelphia, Pa.), senior Emunael Mpanduki (Harare, Zimbabwe), and freshman and former State College High School standout Alex Shisler (State College, Pa.).
The Nittany Lions also return three of four members of its NCAA Second Team All-America squad from a year ago, including senior Doris Anyanwu (Beltsville, Md.), sophomore Dynasty McGee (Flint, Mich.), and junior and 2012 Olympian Kirsten Nieuwendam (Parimaribo, Suriname). The foursome, along with graduate Ijeoma Iheoma, also turned in a second-place finish in the event at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, where Nieuwendam also scored a bronze-medal finish in the 200.
Britton, who redshirted the 2012 outdoor season, paced the Lions in the sprints and hurdles indoors, qualifying for the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 60-meter hurdles, thanks to a personal-best 8.20. Britton's PR ranks second in PSU history in the event. Anyanwu emerged as Penn State's top hurdler during the outdoor season, running 58.93 in the event to crack Penn State's all-time top 10 list, and also earn a spot at the NCAA Eastern Preliminary Round.
The hurdles look to be one of the Lions' deeper events on the women's side, with sophomore Shelley Black (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.), and freshman Kiah Seymour (Washington, D.C.) in the fold. Black, who competed for Penn State during the indoor season in 2012, ran 13.63 in the 100-meter hurdles as a high school senior, while Seymour ran 59.78 in the 400 hurdles as a prep - the seventh-fastest performance by a high schooler in 2012.
The Nittany Lions are set to open up the 2012-13 indoor campaign at the Blue-White Intrasquad on December 15. The season officially begins with the Penn State Relays, set for January 5, at Ashenfelter III Indoor Track.