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Sept. 3, 2010
Women's Results | Men's Results | Video
LOCK HAVEN, Pa. - The Nittany Lion men's and women's cross country teams opened the 2010 campaign in style on Friday evening, collecting individual victories from juniors Caitlin Lane (Greenwich, N.Y.), and Vince McNally (Paoli, Pa.), as well as a pair of team victories at the Lock Haven Dolan Duals at West Branch Cross Country Course. The Penn State women put together a top seven sweep over their opponents, to post a perfect score of 15-50, while the Nittany Lion men always came away with a victory, winning 23-35.
After leading the Penn State pack through the first half of the race, Lane gapped the field just after 2,000-meters, earning a 10-second victory over the rest of the field with a finishing time of 14:02 for the 4,000-meter course. The victory marked the third in-a-row for Lane at the Lock Haven competition, after taking top honors as a freshman, and again as a sophomore. McNally was also conservative throughout the early stages of the men's 6,000-meter competition before pulling away from the competition. The junior broke the tape 18:09, just over three seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. The win is also McNally's first top finish as a collegiate in cross country.
Senior Paige Anderson (Carlisle, Pa.) mounted an outstanding effort for second, finishing in 14:12 to shave nearly 40 seconds off of her finishing time at the same meet a year ago. Also running well was sophomore Brooklyne Ridder (Cincinnati, Ohio), who turned in a finishing time of 14:18 for third, with freshman Emily Giannotti (Coudersport, Pa.) on her heels in fourth, clocking 14:19 in her first collegiate appearance.
Sophomore Natalie Bower (Pleasant Unity, Pa.) finished up fifth for the Lion and fifth overall in 14:27, while junior Kara Millhouse (Boiling Springs, Pa.) was Penn State's number six, crossing the finish line in 14:26. Rounding out the Lions' top seven was senior Maura Ryan (Doylestown, Pa.), who was competing in her first-career cross country race following a four-year stint on the Penn State women's soccer team.
"This was an excellent opener for our women's program," said Nittany Lion assistant coach John Gondak. "To have a 26-second spread from number one through seven shows the great pack that we had today. Our goal going into the race was to run as a pack, and we executed that plan and ended up with some great results."
With Lock Haven's top five in good position with 1,000-meters to go, the Nittany Lions engineering an outstanding final stretch, coming back to earn the team victory, thanks to gutsy finishes from the entire Lion line up. Following McNally's win, junior Chris Cipro (Harmony, Pa.) was the second Lion finisher, crossing third overall in 18:17. As the Lion's number three man, sophomore Danny Pawola (Naperville, Ill.) picked off several Lock Haven athletes in the closing meters to cross fourth overall in 18:25.
Senior Ryan Foster (Tasmania, Australia), sophomore Tom Luff (Emmaus, Pa.), and senior Owen Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.) were also outstanding down the homestretch, placing eighth, ninth, and 10th, respectively, with total efforts of 18:31, 18:32, and 18:33, to break up a pack of Lock Haven finishers. Freshman Nick Scarpello (Jamison, Pa.) also fared well in his NCAA debut, placing 11th overall and seventh for Penn State in 18:34.
"Our men's team ran against an outstanding Lock Haven program that's ranked in Division II and came away with a good win," said Gondak. "The most impressive things with our men's team today, was that they competed. When Lock Haven made a move, we responded then came back with a move of our own. Over the 1,000-meters of the race, they really fought hard to pull out the victory. If we can race with that competitiveness for the rest of the season, we could do some great things."
The Lions will make their first appearance at home next weekend, hosting the annual Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational at the Blue & White Golf Courses. The women's 6,000-meter race will lead off the event - which is set to feature college and high school competitions at 10 a.m., on Saturday, September 11.