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Young Nittany Lions Finish Seventh at Big Tens

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Nov. 2, 2014


IOWA CITY, Iowa - The Penn State women’s cross country team posted a seventh-place finish at the 2014 Big Ten Cross Country Championships Sunday at the Ashton Cross Country Course in Iowa City, Iowa. Leading the charge for the Nittany Lion women was Elizabeth Chikotas (Hellertown, Pa.).

Chikotas, who went on to place 15th, was just two seconds back of posting a Second Team All-Big Ten finish. She went on to complete the 6,000-meter course in a time of 20 minutes, 29.7 seconds. Chikotas was in 14th-place at the 3,000-meter split (10:02.30).

“Today, I think I had a solid day and this is going to lead very well into [the Mid-Atlantic Regional] meet,” Chikotas said. “Overall, I am satisfied with how things went.”

Seventeen seconds after Chiktoas crossed the finish line, another true freshman, Jillian Hunsberger (Pittsburgh, Pa.) posted a 24th-place finish (20:46.0). Chikotas and Hunsberger were the top-two true freshmen to complete the 6k race.

“Elizabeth and Jillian had a fantastic day for us,” head coach/director of cross country and track & field John Gondak said. “To come in and finish in the top-25 as freshmen is an outstanding performance.”

Senior Katie Rodden (Ardmore, Pa.) was the third Nittany Lion to finish the race, as she ran a time of 21:02.8 to place 33rd.

Tori Gerlach (Perkasie, Pa.) and Lauren Mills (West Chester, Pa.) finished 39th (21:08.5) and 73rd (21:49.9), respectively to round out the Nittany Lion scoring.

“We had some great individual performances today, but as a team we need to continue to work to get better,” Gondak said.

Stephanie Aldrich (West Chester, Pa.), Megan Hellman (Rumson, N.J.), Cara Ulizio (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Hannah Catalano (State College, Pa.) also competed Sunday at the Big Ten Championships. Aldrich finished 85th (22:06.8), Hellman placed 89th (22:18.8), Ulizio claimed 92nd (22:24.0) and Catalano placed 116th (22:56.8).

At the Big Ten meet today, six Nittany Lions made their Big Ten debut and Aldrich ran in her second Big Ten meet.

No. 1 Michigan State won the meet with their score of 26 points, followed by a second-place finish by No. 8 Wisconsin (55 points). No. 4 Michigan rounded out the top-three team finishes with their score of 93 points. The top-five team finishes at the Big Ten meet were by ranked teams. Leah O’Connor of Michigan State went onto win the 6k race with her time of 19:26.3.

As a team, Penn State finished seventh with their score of 174 points.

The Nittany Lions do not compete this upcoming weekend as they prepare for the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional (Nov. 14). Penn State is hosting the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional at the Blue-White Golf Course in University Park, Pa. The women's 6k is set for noon and the men's 10k is slated for a 1 p.m. start.

“It is a great feeling knowing that we are able to compete at home to earn an opportunity to advance to the NCAA Championships,” Gondak said. “Our kids have always run well on our home course and we are looking forward to next Friday.”

The Big Ten Network will air coverage of the B1G championships on tape delay at 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Nov. 12.

For more on Nittany Lion cross country, log onto or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.

Team Standings
1. No. 1 Michigan State – 26
2. No. 8 Wisconsin – 55
3. No. 4 Michigan – 93
4. No. 19 Ohio State – 127
5. No. 20 Minnesota – 139
6. Indiana – 159
7. (RV) Penn State – 174
8. Purdue – 241
9. Illinois – 252
10. Northwestern – 268
11. Iowa – 300
12. Rutgers – 328
13. Nebraska – 347
14. Maryland – 445




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