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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Following their win last week at the Lock Haven Dolan Duals, the No. 23 Penn State women's cross country team collected their second win of the season claiming the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational title lead by senior Tori Gerlach (Perkasie, Pa.) who claimed the individual title for the Nittany Lions.
"I thought we had an excellent day today," said head coach John Gondak.
"The women started things off and we executed the race plan perfectly. Penn State and Syracuse were feeling each other out the first half of the race and then Syracuse made a move about 3000-meters in and I thought our kids responded very well. Tori at one point was probably down 50-60-meters to the Syracuse athlete who had taken the lead at that point. She (Tori) had a fantastic finish the last 200m to really close it up and pull off the victory. For us to place five athletes in the top-seven, I was very pleased with that. I was very excited to see our two freshmen, Greta Lindsley and Tessa Barrett, compete in their first race in a Penn State uniform today to round out scoring and come out with a good win over a team that was ranked higher than us coming into the meet."
The Nittany Lion women scored 21 points, placingfive runners inside the top-seven, to take the team title over No. 10 West Virginia, No. 17 Syracuse and Grove City.
Led by Gerlach's first-place effort (21:02), the Lions would close fast as Elizabeth Chikotas (Hellertown, Pa.) (21:17), Jillian Hunsberger (Pittsburgh, Pa.) (21:37), Tessa Barrett (Waverly, Pa.) (21:43), and Greta Lindsley (Lancaster, Pa.) (21:49) would claim third, fourth, sixth, and seventh-place, respectively, to round out the scoring.
"I'm really happy with the way I raced," said Gerlach.
"I was very patient, our whole team was patient, and we ran really nicely. With me I feel it was a good race, not focused so much on my time or the course, just mentally how I felt during the race was more important than anything else, and I felt really good. The first mile the goal was to keep it pretty controlled, keep everyone together, and respond based off what the other team do. It's all downhill the first mile so it felt really easy, very controlled. One of the Syracuse girls made a move about a mile or two in and we made a huge surge after that and the race kind of started from there."
"On the men's side, the results were as I expected," said Gondak.
"Syracuse is a team that's in contention for a trophy this year. They held out a few guys but still ran well today. Big props to Michigan for pulling off a win, they were without their one of their top guys as well. We (Penn State) put four guys in the top-12 and we weren't at full strength today either. I'm excited for when we put Glen Burkhardt, Robby Creese, and Tim McGowan to see how things go. Overall, it was a very encouraging showing on both sides today. "
The Penn State men were paced by junior Ean DiSilvio (Pittsburgh, Pa.) who would finish as the top Nittany Lion for a second consecutive week, finishing in seventh-place with a time of 25:46.
Following DiSilvio were teammates Conner Quinn (Horsham, Pa.)(25:54), Wade Endress (Altoona, Pa.)(25:56), and Colin Abert (Easton, Pa.)(26:00) in 10th, 11th, and 12th-place, respectively. Austin Pondel (Columbus, Pa.) would round out the scoring for Penn State recording a time of 27:06 (23rd).
The Nittany Lions do not compete again until Oct. 3, when they travel to Louisville, Ky., for the Greater Louisville Classic. The Greater Louisville Classic will be the first meet that will count towards NCAA Championship points, and will also serve as a preview of the NCAA championship course as they will be held in Louisville, Ky. Nov. 21.
For more on Nittany Lion cross country, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.