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Oct. 3, 2014
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Freshman Elizabeth Chikotas (Hellertown, Pa.) paced the Nittany Lion women, while Glen Burkhardt (Kennett Square, Pa.) led the Nittany Lion men Friday at the Notre Dame Invitational held at the Notre Dame Golf Course in South Bend, Ind.
Chikotas ran to a 14th-place finish to lead the No. 30 Nittany Lion women to a fifth-place finish and Burkhardt placed 35th to lead the Nittany Lion men (RV) to an 11th-place finish.
Chikotas finished the 5k course in a time of 16 minutes, 37.4 seconds as she was the top finisher for Penn State. Finishing three seconds behind Chikotas was junior Tori Gerlach (Perkasie, Pa.). Gerlach posted a time of 16:40.9 to place 17th. Senior Leigha Anderson (Carlisle, Pa.) was the third Nittany Lion to cross the finish line. Anderson tallied a top-25 finish with her 24th-place finish (16:47.7).
“Coming into this competition, if you finish in the top-five as a team, it was a solid day. Was it our best? No, but it was still a day we can leave South Bend and be proud of our team,” head coach John Gondak said. “We are leaving South Bend with a positive vibe looking towards the next competition.”
Freshman Jillian Hunsberger (Pittsburgh, Pa.) was just outside the top-50 with her 52nd-place finish (17:09.2). Abbie Benson (Elma, N.Y.) rounded-out the scoring for Penn State as she crossed the finish line with her time of 17:20.3 (77th).
In the men’s race, Burkhardt clocked in at 23:55.7 to place 35th. Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.) was the second Nittany Lion to cross the finish line with his time of 24:16.0 (56th). Matt Fischer (Kennett Square, Pa.) completed the five-mile course six seconds after Creese to finish 68th (24.22.2).
“The men had a solid day, it wasn’t our best, Matt Fischer had a bit of an off day. The teams finishing ahead of us were ranked in the top-30 and we are just outside of the top-30,” Gondak said. “A day where we were off our game a bit we were still competitive amongst teams ranked ahead of us, it bodes well for us when we put it all together in a competition down the road.”
As a team, the women posted a final score of 181 points to finish fifth out of 20 teams. The Nittany Lion women finished ahead of Ohio State, Princeton, SMU and Toledo, all of which were receiving votes in the latest United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Poll.
Overall, the men finished with a final score of 336 points to place 11th out of 24 teams. All 10 of the top-10 teams at the Notre Dame Invitational were ranked in the latest USTFCCCA National Poll. The Nittany Lion men finished ahead of 12th-place Air Force (RV).
The Nittany Lions also competed in the “Open” section of the Notre Dame Invitational. Bobby Hill finished 31st in the men’s five-mile run with his time of 25:38.5. In the women’s 5k race, Cara Ulizio (Redondo Beach, Calif.) finished 22nd (18:16.6), Hannah Catalano (State College, Pa.) took 30th (18:24.8), Megan Hellman (Rumson, N.J.) posted a 45th-place finish (18:44.5) and Lisa Bennatan (Lake Forest, Ill.) claimed 81st (19:35.3).
The Penn State men's and women's cross country teams return home on Oct. 11, to host the Penn State National 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.