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Nov. 22, 2010
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - TERRE HAUTE, Ind.: November 22, 2010 - The Nittany Lion men's and women's cross country teams capped sensational seasons on Monday, both posting top 30 finishes at the NCAA Championships at LaVern Gibson Championship Course at Indiana State University. Sophomore Brooklyne Ridder (Cincinnati, Ohio) paced the Nittany Lion women to a 26th-place showing in the team standings, while junior Kyle Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.) was the top Nittany Lion finisher in the men's race, headlining Penn State's 30th-place finish.
"The conditions weren't ideal, but I'm very proud of how both our teams represented themselves well within an outstanding competition," said Director and Head Coach of Track and Field/Cross Country Beth Alford-Sullivan. "Neither team had a perfect day, but they experience they've gained is invaluable for next year as we have almost everyone from both teams returning. Overall, I couldn't be prouder of what our program has accomplished this year."
The Nittany Lion women totaled 550 points to place 26th overall, in the program's second-consecutive appearance at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, qualifying for the 14th time in women's NCAA era. Instate foe Villanova would capture the women's team crown for the second-straight year, thanks to an individual victory by standout Sheila Reid. Reid outkicked a tightly clumped lead pack down the final straightaway, bettering Emily Infield of Georgetown in second, and Oregon's Jordan Hasay in third. The Wildcats totaled 120 points, followed by Florida State in second with 154, Texas Tech in third with 165, and Georgetown rounding out the top four with 167. The Lions placed third amongst Big Ten competitors, with Michigan claiming 22nd with 476, and Michigan State in 23rd with 481. Penn State would nip a talented Minnesota squad that placed 27th with 55.
Making their second appearance at the NCAA meet in the last three years, the Nittany Lion men's squad took 30th overall with 659 points. Historically, Nittany Lions have seen a team toe the line at the national championships on 42 occasions - the third-most appearances among Division I competitors. Big 12 stalwart Oklahoma State won the men's title - also for the second-consecutive year - with a dominant 73-point effort. Florida State would also take second on the men's side, scoring 193, with Big Ten foe Wisconsin capturing third with 223, and Stanford finishing fourth with 237. Liberty's Sam Chelanga won his second-career individual title, finishing in 29:22 for 10,000-meters to outlast Arizona's Stephen Sambu, who ran 29:26.
Individually, Ridder paced the women's effort placing 111th overall, and 82nd in team scoring. The sophomore, who improved her 2009 finish by nearly 100 places, toured in the 6,000-meter course in 21:23. Junior Caitlin Lane (Greenwich, N.Y.), who was also competing in her second NCAA Championships, crossed second for the Nittany Lions, taking 130th overall, and 96th among team competitors. Junior Kara Millhouse (Boiling Springs, Pa.) was the Lions' number three on the day, finishing in 21:40, to add 106 points to the team total, and score a 140th-place finish overall.
Sophomore Natalie Bower (Pleasant Unity, Pa.) also enjoyed an outstanding improvement from a year ago, placing 158th overall, and 124th in the team scoring to better her 2009 effort by nearly 50 places. Bower crossed the finish line in 21:47. Senior Maura Ryan (Doylestown, Pa.) - running in her first-career NCAA meet - finished as the Lions' number five, completing the course in 22:05 for 180th-place overall, and 142nd in scoring.
Sophomore Lindsey Graybill (Macungie, Pa.) and freshman Emily Giannotti (Coudersport, Pa.) - both racing at the NCAA Championships for the first time - would finish as the Lions' six and seven, with Graybill crossing in 192nd overall.
Dawson ran a tremendous race over the 10,000-meter course, finishing 62nd overall, and 52nd in team scoring to improve on his 81st-place standing as a freshman in 2008. Dawson, who clocked 30:43 for the race, also held strong among Big Ten competitors, posting the sixth-highest finish of any athlete from the conference in the men's race. Classmate Vince McNally (Paoli, Pa.) also recorded his highest-career effort at the NCAA meet, taking 92nd overall and 77th in scoring in 31:05. McNally bettered his 2009 performance by over 40 places in his third-consecutive NCAA appearance.
Senior Owen Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.) ran as the Lions' number three on the afternoon, finishing 171st among team competitors and 203rd overall. Dawson, who was an All-American at 800-meters last year, and running in his first-ever NCAA Cross Country Championships, completed in the course in and only in his second-career 10,000-meter competition. Sophomore Danny Pawola (Naperville, Ill.) and junior Chris Cipro (Harmony, Pa.) - also in their first NCAA cross country appearances - were Penn State fourth and fifth scorers, placing 212th and 213th - 179th and 180th in scoring - with finishing times of 32:28, and 32:30, respectively.
Finishing as Penn State's sixth and seventh runners were senior Ryan Foster (Tasmania, Australia), and freshman Nick Scarpello (Jamison, Pa.). Foster took 222nd overall in 189th in scoring, finishing in 32:47, while Scarpello turned in a 226th-place effort - placing 193rd in scoring - with a finishing time of 32:53.
The Nittany Lions will now move into indoor track and field season, beginning with the Blue and White Intrasquad Meet on December 11. The regular season begins with the Penn State Relays, on January 8.