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Sept. 5, 2014
LOCK HAVEN, Pa. - Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.) defended his 2013 Dolan Duals individual title and Abbie Benson (Elma, N.Y.) won the women's race as both Penn State cross country teams claimed team titles at the 2014 Dolan Duals Friday in Lock Haven, Pa.
Creese won the Dolan Duals for the second consecutive year as he ran the 6,000-meter course in 17 minutes, 49.48 seconds. On the women's side, Benson improved from her second-place finish last year at the Dolan Duals to claim the individual title with her final time of 14:44.33.
"It was the first meet of the year and it was an excellent performance from both the men's and the women's teams," interim head coach John Gondak said. "Our race strategy on both sides of the program was to run as a pack in the first half of the race and then test yourselves over the second half."
As a team, the men's side posted an overall score of 16 points, one point shy of a perfect score. The women were able to capture a perfect score of 15 points as they swept the first- through fifth-place scoring spots.
"We placed six of the top-seven runners on the men's side, and that's the best we have finished in a while here at the Dolan Duals and that was without our top runner, Matt Fischer (Kennett Square, Pa.)," Gondak said.
Junior Glen Burkhardt (Kennett Square, Pa.) took the runner-up spot in the men's race with his overall time of 17:55.91.
A handful of cross country runners on both sides of the program made their first appearance in a Nittany Lion uniform. After redshirting last year, Ean DiSilvio (Pittsburgh, Pa.) posted a third-place finish with his time of 18:01.62. Also for the men, freshman Anthony Russell (West Chester, Pa.) claimed fourth with his final time of 18:03.94. Conner Quinn (Horsham, Pa.) rounded out the scoring for the men as he ran a time of 18:14.47 to place sixth.
"For the women, we had a pack of about 10 runners running together through the first half of the race and when they started to test themselves over the last half, they really kept the pack together well," Gondak said.
In the women's race, freshmen Elizabeth Chikotas (Hellertown, Pa.) and Jillian Hunsberger (Pittsburgh, Pa.) claimed second and third, respectively, in their Nittany Lion debuts. Chikotas posted a time of 14:44.63 and Hunsberger was close behind with her time of 14:45.05. Lauren Mills (West Chester, Pa.) was a little over three seconds off of Hunsberger's time to finish fourth (14:48.80). Rounding out the scoring for Penn State was Stephanie Aldrich (West Chester, Pa.). Aldrich finished the 4,000-meter course in a time of 14:57.10.
"We had a group of about five or six women finish together and they looked fantastic."
The Nittany Lions return home next weekend for the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational on Sept. 13, at the Blue-White Golf Course.
For more on Nittany Lion cross country, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.