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Track and Field to Kick Off Season at Blue-White Meet

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Kirsten Nieuwendam

Dec. 13, 2012

About the Event ...
|| Meet Schedule || Heat Sheets || Meet Program and Rosters || USATF Clinic Info || Live Results ||

Catch Up With the Nittany Lions During Pre-Season ...
|| Sprints and Hurdles || Men's Jumps || Women's Jumps || Throws ||

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.: December 13, 2012 - The Nittany Lion track and field squads will finally get a chance to show their stuff this weekend, competing at the annual Blue-White Instrasquad Meet, Saturday at Ashenfelter III Indoor Track. Competition is slated to get underway at 8:30 a.m., with a special indoor javelin competition set to be contested at Holuba Hall. Meanwhile, the remainder of the meet will get underway at 1:00 p.m., at Ashenfelter III Indoor Track.

The Blue-White Meet is scored using international scoring rules as follows - Two individual entries per team shall score (5-3-2-1), and one relay entry per team shall score (5-3). The competition will be scored as both the men's and women's meets; then combine scores to declare an overall team champion.

The Nittany Lion track and field program will also play host to its annual USATF Officials Clinic, which is scheduled to start at 9:00 a.m., Saturday morning.

About the Blue-White Meet ...
When: Saturday, December 15

Where: Ashenfelter III Indoor Track Start Time: 8:30 a.m. (Javelin); 1:00 p.m. (Field Events); 2:15 p.m. (Track Events)

About the USATF Officials' Clinic ...
The Nittany Lion track and field program will also play host to its annual USATF Officials Clinic, which is scheduled to start at 9:00 a.m., Saturday morning. All current and interested officials are welcome to attend, regardless of level of experience. Anyone interested in attending can contact Director of Track and Field Operations Jess Riden at

Nittany Lion Notes

Returning with a Roar ...

The Nittany Lions welcome back a bevy of talented returners from the 2012 indoor campaign, including all four legs of Penn State's NCAA runner-up men's 4x400-meter relay from a year ago. Back and ready for more success in 2013, are All-Americans Aaron Nadolsky (Altoona, Pa.), Brandon Bennett-Green (Philadelphia, Pa.), Casimir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.) and Brady Gehret(Altoona, Pa.), who would also go to finish fourth in the 4x400 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, clocking a blistering school-record 3:01.52 in the NCAA preliminaries. Gehret also excelled individually as a sophomore in 2012, placing sixth overall in the 400-meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, and went on to finish eighth in the even at the US Olympic Trials.

The Nittany Lions also return three of four members of its NCAA Second Team All-America women's 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 three Nittany Lions were also members of the runner-up 4x400 at the Big Ten Indoor Championships, including fellow returner Mahagony Jones(Cleveland, Ohio).

Coming Off Cross Country ...
The Nittany Lions are poised for a successful season in the distances, as the Penn State women's squad is coming off a 14th-place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships - the program's third top 14 finish in the last four years. Emerging as one of the squad's top competitors was junior Tori Perri (Philadelphia, Pa.), who turned in an impressive 47th-place finish at the NCAA Championships, to go along with a fourth-place showing at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional. Joining Perri in the longer distances this season will be seniors Natalie Bower (Pleasant Unity, Pa.) and Brooklyne Ridder (Cincinnati, Ohio). Along with their impressive cross country careers, Bower and Ridder have extensive resumes on the track, as both qualified for the NCAA Eastern Preliminary Round a year ago, and also turned in scoring performances at the Big Ten Indoor or Outdoor Championships. Also joining the fold will be freshman Tori Gerlach(Perkasie, Pa.), who made great strides during the cross country season following a highly decorated high school career that included multiple Pennsylvania state titles in the distances.

Hurdle Hops ...

Senior Evonne Britton (El Paso, Texas), 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. 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.

Middle Distance Madness ...
Building on an already outstanding Penn State tradition in the middle distances, the Nittany Lions are once again set up to excel in the event area with Loxsom, and last year's freshman phenom Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.) back on the track in 2013. Loxsom, who has claimed five school records over his Nittany Lion career, is also one of the Lions' biggest individual threats, as the senior has qualified for the NCAA Championships in all six opportunities, including a fourth-place effort in the 800-meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2010. Loxsom owns impressive PRs of 1:01.28 for 500-meters, 1:16.66 for 600 meters, and 1:47.36 for 800 meters indoors, and is also a three-time Big Ten Champion individually. Creese enjoyed one of the most impressive freshman campaigns on record in 2012, setting a collegiate record 2:19.53 for 1,000 meters in first individual appearance in the Lion uniform. Creese would go on to run 3:58.94 for the mile indoors, and win Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors during both the indoor and outdoor season.

The Nittany Lions also add standout high schoolers Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio), and Za'Von Watkins (Liverpool, N.Y.). Both key members of the Nittany Lions fifth-ranked recruiting class, Kidder comes to Happy Valley with multiple Ohio state titles to his credit, as well a PR of 4:03.12 in the mile, while Watkins is the 2012 Millrose Games Champion in the 1500, and owns career 800 bests of 1:49.70 outdoors, and 1:50.11 inside - the third-fastest effort ever run by a prep indoors. The Nittany Lions will also add 800 All-American Ricky West (Toronto, Ontario) - a graduate school transfer from the University of Missouri.

In the Pit ...

Back at the forefront of the horizontal jumps contingent will be juniors Marlene Ricketts (Westbury, N.Y.) and Brittney Howell (Wyncote, Pa.), who have both posted outstanding results in their first two years in a Nittany Lion uniform. Ricketts enjoyed a promising outdoor campaign last spring, coming within inches of a bid to the NCAA Outdoor Championships. As a sophomore, Ricketts turned in a leap of 41-10.75 (12.77) to finish 15th at the NCAA Eastern Preliminary - just off of capturing one of the top 12 advancing slots. Howell has been the Nittany Lions top athlete in the multi-events over the past several seasons, including a fifth-place finish in the pentathlon at the Big Ten Indoor Championships as a sophomore. Howell also led Penn State in the long jump standings a year ago, with performances of 19-3.25 (5.87) indoors, and 19-4 (5.89) during the outdoor season.

Over the Bar ...

Returning in the field are a pair of seven-foot high jumpers in senior Sean Reilly (Lagrangeville, N.Y.), and junior Jon Hendershot (Nazareth, Pa.), who will lead the Lion vertical jumps contingent. Both Reilly and Hendershot enjoyed personal-best clearances during the indoor season a year ago, with Reilly going over 7-1.75 (218), and Hendershot topping out at 7-0.25 (2.14). Reilly would also turn in scoring finishes at both the Big Ten Indoor and Outdoor Championships in 2012, including a bronze-medal effort during the indoor season. The Nittany Lions will also welcome a group of talented newcomers in the vertical jumps, including pole vault standouts Patrick Anderson (Kane, Pa.) and Kasey Kemp (Norwin, Pa.) - both PIAA State Champions as preps.

In the Ring ...

The Nittany Lions welcome wealth of returning talent in the throws, including 2012 NCAA qualifiers Will Barr (Urbana, Ohio), and Melissa Kurzdorfer (Lancaster, N.Y.). Kurzdorfer made waves in her first year with the Nittany Lions in 2012, capped by a third-place finish in the hammer throw at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships. The then-sophomore also wasted no time in making her mark in the Nittany Lion record books, moving to second in the all-time Penn State hammer rankings at 207-10 (63.35). Kurzdorfer was just as productive indoors, ending the season at third overall on the Nittany Lion Top Five, thanks to a toss of 64-10.50 (19.77) in the 20-lb weight. Joining Kurzdorfer on the women's roster is senior Jane Swenson (Brandon, S.D.), who has a full year of eligibility remaining following a redshirt campaign last spring. The Nittany Lions have also added freshman Rachel Fatherly (Williamsport, Pa.) to the throws roster. Fatherly enjoyed an outstanding high school career, turning in double victories at the PIAA Outdoor Championships as a senior, thanks to wins in the shot put and the discus.

Barr made impressive strides during his redshirt-sophomore campaign, qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the discus, via a PR performance of 183-6 (55.93) at the NCAA Eastern Preliminary Round. Barr also improved upon his hammer career best a year ago, posting a throw of 198-7 (60.53), which was good for seventh overall at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships. Barr was the Nittany Lions top competitor in the 35-lb weight throw in 2012, ending the season with a toss of 63-9.50 (19.44)

Recognizable Recruiting ...

The 2012 Nittany Lion men's track and field recruiting class has been ranked No. 5, nationally, according to the latest edition of Track & Field News. Penn State welcomes a bevy of talent to the 2012-13 roster, including middle distance standouts Kidder, and Watkins as well as highly touted javelin specialist Michael Shuey (Johnsonburg, Pa.). The Nittany Lions also welcome All-American Ricky West, who is attending graduate school at Penn State following a decorated career at the University of Missouri.




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