Men's Track and Field and Cross Country Programs Finishes 14th in John McDonnell Program of the Year Standings
June 21, 2009
Complete Team Rankings
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.: June 20, 2009 - The Nittany Lion men's track and field/cross country team has proven itself as one of the top programs in the nation, finishing 14th in the John McDonnell Program of the Year standings, announced late last week by the United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The Nittany Lion men posted scoring efforts at all three championships this year, including the NCAA Cross Country, and Indoor and Outdoor Championships.
"This is a great demonstration of the fact that our men's program is on the move forward with success," said Director and Head Coach of Track and Field/Cross Country Beth Alford-Sullivan. "We represented well at all three national championships and I know that we will continue to climb the ladders to the top at each one. I am proud of this top 15 finish and can't wait for next year."
Last fall, 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. Dawson was also named Big Ten Freshman of the Year during the season, leading the men's squad to a fourth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships. The Nittany Lions would finish second at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional, highlighted by all-region finishes from Dawson, Vince McNally (Smoketown, Pa.), Dawson, Tyler McCandless (Bath, Pa.) and John Mahoney (Richboro, Pa.).
Indoors, senior Ryan Fritz (Parkesburg, Pa.) led the charge, finishing third in the high jump at the NCAA Indoor Championships, where the Lions finished tied for 39th in the team standings. Also turning in impressive seasons were Ryan Foster (Tasmania, Australia), who won the Big Ten 800-meter title, and conference triple jump champion Clarence Smith (Coatesville, Pa.).
Foster and Smith were both on fire during the outdoor season, both posting eighth-place finishes and All-America efforts in their respective events at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. The Lions would finish tied for 64th at the championships. At the conference level, the Lions saw gold-medal finishes from Tanner Evak (State College, Pa.) in the javelin, Foster in the 800, and Smith in the triple jump.
Oregon won the honor of the nation's top program after winning national titles in cross country and indoor track and field, and finishing second outdoors. The Lions were also the top rated program among Big Ten Conference schools.
The NCAA Division I John McDonnell Program of the Year Award is awarded annually to the most outstanding NCAA Division I men's cross country/track & field program. The award honors the institution that has achieved the most success in each academic year (spanning the cross country, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field seasons) based on the institution's finish at the NCAA Division I Championships.
In order to be eligible for the award, teams must qualify for the NCAA Championships. Scoring is based on the team's finish at each NCAA Division I Championship in cross country, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field (i.e. 1st = 1 point, 2nd = 2 points, 31st = 31 points) with the lowest total score for all three championships combined determining the award recipient.