Franek Captures All-America Honors; Nittany Lion Men 25th at NCAA Cross Country Championships
Nov. 24, 2008
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Junior Bridget Franek (Hiram, Ohio) posted a 23rd-place finish to earn All-America honors, while the Nittany Lion men took 25th in the team standings, Monday at the NCAA Cross Country Championships at Indiana State University. Franek's finish was the best of her three appearances at cross country nationals, and her first career All-America finish in cross country. The Nittany Lion men, in their first NCAA appearance since 1994, recorded victories over perennial powers Florida State, UCLA, and Arkansas in the team standings, led by Kyle Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.), who placed 81st overall and 64th among team competitors.
Franek finished the 6,000-meter course in 20:31 in cold and windy conditions. The junior more than held her own among the nation's best, placing fifth among competitors from the Big Ten. Franek's finish is the tied for the third highest placing by a Penn State women in the NCAA era, behind Susanne Heyer (14th, 2000) and Doreen Startare (20th, 1982), and tied with Stacy Prey (23rd, 1988).
"This was Bridget's best competition to date," said Director of Track and Field/Cross Country Beth Alford-Sullivan. "I couldn't be more proud of her execution of her race plan and her competitive fire as she closed the race. She's now a four-time All-American and has more than proven she's a force on the track and on the course."
Texas Tech's Sally Kipyego won the her third-straight NCAA title on the women's side, finishing in 19:28. Florida State's Susan Kuijken was second, with Virginia Tech's Tasmin Fanning following in third.
"I'm proud of the men today," "This team qualified for this meet because of outstanding senior leadership and great performances from our two freshmen, and really put Penn State cross country back on the map. This was an outstanding day for our men's team and the entire Penn State program."
Senior Tyler McCandless (Bath, Pa.) capped his collegiate cross country career with a 141st-place overall finish and 112th place effort in the team scoring in 31:10. Classmate John Mahoney (Richboro, Pa.) followed up as the Lions' fourth, running 31:14 for 148th, and 118th among team athletes. Senior Dennis O'Connor (Philadelphia) completed the Lion five in 197th (160th), running 31:46 for the 10K.
Senior Teddy Quinn (Rush, N.Y.) placed 210th (173rd) in his final cross country appearance, finishing in 31:56, while senior Brian Fuller (Camp Hill, Pa.) took 232nd overall and 194th in the team rankings.
Oregon's Galen Rupp won individual honors in 29:03, leading the Oregon Ducks to their second-straight team title. Iona finished second with Stanford coming in third. The Lions totaled 547 points for 25th.