Women's Cross Country Captures Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational Title
Sept. 11, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Despite chilly conditions and heavy rain, the Nittany Lion women's cross country team topped the competition at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational, Friday at the Blue-White Golf Course. Taking the individual title for the second-straight year was senior Cheryl Spring (The Woodlands, Texas), while freshman Danny Pawola (Naperville, Ill.) paced the Nittany Lion men to a third-place finish with an 11th-place individually.
Spring ran away from all competitors, finishing the 6,000-meter course in 21:13 - 11 seconds faster than the second-place finisher. Despite the wet and muddy conditions, Spring shaved 16 seconds off her winning time from the same competition in 2008. Spring's low stick led the Nittany Lions to victory in the team standings, as the Penn State squad totaled 33 points to better Big Ten foes Ohio State (47 points), and Illinois (54 points).
Sophomore Kara Millhouse (Boiling Springs, Pa.) finished as the Lions' second runner, taking fourth overall in 21:41. Millhouse also proved to be in outstanding shape, cutting over 30 seconds off of her 2008 finishing time. In her first collegiate appearance, freshman Natalie Bower (Pleasant Unity, Pa.) placed sixth overall, and third for the Lions, crossing the finish line in 21:56. Fellow rookie Lindsey Graybill (Macungie, Pa.) also posted a top 10 finish, placing ninth overall in 22:05. Senior Jessie Babcock (Irvine, Calif.) crossed the line as the Lions' fifth in final scorer, placing 13th among team competitors in 22:29.
Paige Anderson (Carlisle, Pa.) and Katie Shelley (Columbia, Pa.) rounded out the Nittany Lions top seven, providing 22nd and 31st place-finishes, respectively.
In the men's race, Pawola - a Footlocker Cross Country finalist as a high school senior in 2008 - led all Lions over the 5.2 mile course, placing 11th in 26:48. Junior Lucas Zarzeczny (Pittsburgh, Pa.) finished on Pawola's heels, coming in 12th overall in 26:51. Freshman Tom Luff (Emmaus, Pa.) finished in the Lion top five for the second-straight week, taking 17th place in 27:05. Junior Owen Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.) finished as the Lions' fourth, taking 19th with a finishing time of 27:15. Senior Will Nowicki (Hillsdale, N.J.), running as the Lions' fifth finisher, placed 22nd among team competitors, clocking 27:30.
Big Ten rival Michigan won the men's competition with a score of 25 points, while Geneseo State managed a second-place showing with a 40-point total. The Nittany Lions captured third-place overall with a total score of 81 points.
The Lions will be back in action next weekend, traveling to the Cappy Anderson Invitational at Maryland-Eastern Shore. Competition is set for Saturday, September 19, in Princess Anne, Md.