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Nov. 29, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Elected by a team vote on Monday evening, the Nittany Lion track and field squads have announced their team captains for the 2012-13 indoor and outdoor seasons, including redshirt-junior Will Barr (Urbana, Ohio), junior Brandon Bennett-Green (Philadelphia, Pa.), senior Casimir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.) and senior Sean Reilly (Lagrangeville, N.Y.) on the men's side, while senior Doris Anyanwu (Beltsville, Md.), junior Melissa Kurzdorfer (Lancaster, N.Y.), senior Caitlin Lane (Greenwich, N.Y.) and junior Laura Loht (McClure, Pa.) have been chosen to represent the women's team.
"I am very proud of the captains that our teams chose to represent them this year," said Director and Head Coach of Track and Field/Cross Country Beth Alford-Sullivan. "All eight of these young people are truly outstanding representatives our program, both in their success in the athletic realm, and in their leadership abilities on and off the track. With this tremendous group of leaders in place, I believe we have some really great things in store for us in 2013!"
Barr came on strong last spring, qualifying for the NCAA Eastern Preliminary Round in both the discus and hammer throws, parlaying the effort into his first career-appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, where he would earn USTFCCCA Honorable Mention All-America status. Named the team's "Most Improved Athlete" of 2012, Barr has already made his way up the all-time Nittany Lion top 10 lists, as he currently stands third in the hammer at 198-7 (60.53), and sixth in the discus with a lifetime-best 183-6 (55.93).
Bennett-Green - two-time USTFCCCA All-America selection in just one year in a Penn State uniform - also stepped to the front of the Lion lineup a year ago, as an integral member of the Nittany Lion men's 4x400-meter relay, which placed second at the NCAA Indoor Championships, and fourth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Individually, Bennett-Green excelled in the sprints, placing third in the 400-meters at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, thanks to a PR 45.94 - which stands at the third-fastest effort in Penn State history.
Loxsom - a six-time Penn State record holder - is one of the more decorated athletes in recent history, coming into his senior year with four USTFCCCA First Team All-America finishes to his credit, as well as six NCAA Championship appearances. The New Haven, Conn., native was also a member of the Nittany Lions' record-setting 4x400 in 2012, as well as a US Olympic Trials qualifier in the 800-meters. Loxsom earned a total of three Big Ten gold medals as a junior, bringing home titles in the indoor distance medley relay, the outdoor 800-meters, and the outdoor 4x400. All told, Loxsom, who boasts a personal-best 1:45.28 for 800, has claimed five Big Ten crowns over his career, and has also been a part of a trio of "Championship of America" winning relays at the prestigious Penn Relays.
Reilly has also been one of the Lions' top athletes in the field over the past several seasons, claiming bronze-medal status in the high jump at the Big Ten Championships on two occasions - most recently at the 2012 Big Ten Indoor Championships. Owning PR clearances of 7-1.75 (2.18) indoors and 7-0.25 (2.14) outside, Reilly stands among the all-time Penn State greats in the event, to go along with a pair of appearances at the NCAA Eastern Preliminary Round.
Anyanwu has been a key cog in the Nittany Lions sprints, hurdles, and relays corps over her career, having three First Team All-America finishes to her credit, as well as a trio of Big Ten gold medals. Anyanwu found her stride in the 400-meter hurdles as a junior in 2012, placing fifth in the event at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, and advancing to the NCAA Eastern Preliminary Round, thanks to a PR 58.93. The Eleanor Roosevelt High School product also assisted on silver-medal efforts on the 4x400 at both the Big Ten Indoor and Outdoor Championships. She also helped the team to a Second Team All-America standing at the NCAA Outdoor Championships last spring.
Kurzdorfer made an immediate impact in her first year with the Nittany Lions in 2012, capturing third place in the hammer throw at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, and moving on to the Second Team All-America finish in the event at the NCAA Championships. Kurzdorfer swiftly moved through the Penn State record book as a sophomore, going 207-10 (63.35) in the hammer - the second-farthest throw on the all-time PSU top 10 - and 64-10.50 (19.77) in the 20-lb weight throw indoors, which ranks third all time. In fact, the junior currently stands on the all-time lists in a total of five events over the indoor and outdoor seasons.
Lane, who has the outdoor season remaining, had a year to remember in 2011-12, beginning with an individual victory at the Big Ten Cross Country Championships, and following up with a 16th-place and All-America effort at the NCAA Championships in 2011. Indoors, Lane tore through the competition at the Big Ten Championships, taking top honors in the mile, and adding bronze-medal finishes in both the 3000- and 5000-meters. Lane bettered her own school record in the 1,000-meters in 2012, going 2:44.24, and also turned in a PR 9:15.16 for 3K - the third-fastest performance in Penn State history.
Loht owns the highest individual finish of any returner this season, coming off a third-place effort in the javelin at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. As a sophomore, Loht tossed a PR 169-4 (51.62) - the third-best throw in program history - for bronze medal honors in her second-straight NCAA appearance. Loht also scored a victory in the event at the Big Ten Championships, leading a one-two sweep with teammate Lauren Kenney (State College, Pa.).
The Nittany Lions kick off the indoor season with the Blue-White Instrasquad Meet on December 15, at Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track.