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Sept. 13, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Senior Emily Giannotti (Coudersport, Pa.), and redshirt-sophomore Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.) took advantage of their home course on Friday, both capturing individual titles at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational at the Blue-White Golf Course. The Nittany Lion women's squad picked up a team title in stellar fashion, scoring a perfect 15 points to better the rest of the field. Meanwhile, the Nittany Lion men's squad placed second overall, despite holding several of the squad's top athletes out of the lineup.
Giannotti led six-straight Nittany Lions across the finish line, taking top honors in 21:17 over the 6,000-meter course. The victory was the first-career cross country win for the senior.
Following in second place was junior Leigha Anderson (Carlisle, Pa.), who crossed in 21:27. Sophomore Victoria Gerlach was the Nittany Lion number three in third overall, finishing in 21:38. Senior Marta Klebe (Chesterbrook, Pa.) - who was the overall winner at the Lock Haven Dolan Duals a week ago - ran a strong race once again, taking fourth overall in 21:40.
Finishing on Klebe's heels as the Nittany Lions' fifth and final scorer was junior Katie Rodden, who crossed in 21:41 for fifth.
Freshman Stephanie Aldrich (West Chester, Pa.) and junior Abbie Benson (Elma, N.Y.) rounded out the Nittany Lion top seven, finishing in sixth and eighth, respectively, with finishing times of 21:48, and 21:56. Redshirt-freshman Sarah Jane Underwood (Alexandria, Va.) made it eight Nittany Lions in the top 10 - as well as eight Penn State athletes under the 22:00-minute barrier - finishing ninth overall in 21:58.
The Nittany Lions' 15-point total bettered Bucknell in second with 60 points, and Pittsburgh in third with 84.
Creese coasted to his second victory in as many weeks, touring the 5.2. mile-course in 25:50, bettering Bucknell's Michael McGowan by 13 seconds. Redshirt-sophomore Wade Endress (Altoona, Pa.) and redshirt freshman Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) also found spots in the top five, with Endress taking fourth in team scoring in 26:31, and Kidder running 26:35 for fifth.
Junior Chris Campbell (Newtown, Pa.) was the Lions' number four finisher, taking ninth in the team standings in 26:50. Redshirt freshman Za'von Watkins (Liverpool, N.Y.) was Penn State's fifth man on the afternoon, scoring a 20th-place finish in 27:49.
Freshman duo Austin Pondel (Corry, Pa.), and Conner Quinn (Horsham, Pa.), who both ran unattached, proved to have outstanding Nittany Lion futures ahead of them, finishing sixth and ninth in the overall standings, with finishing times of 26:28, and 26:35, respectively.
The Nittany Lions fared well in the team standings, despite holding out redshirt-junior Matt Fischer (Kennett Square, Pa.), and senior Nick Scarpello (Jamison, Pa.), placing second in the team scoring with a total of 39 points. Bucknell was took home top honors, narrowly defeating the Lions with 33 points. Pittsburgh was third with 58.
The Nittany Lions will train through the next several weeks before traveling to the Paul Short Run at Lehigh University on October 5. The race will also serve as a regional preview, as the Mountain Hawks are set to host the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship in November.