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Aug. 29, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Going into the season's first competition on Friday evening, both Nittany Lion cross country squads have been rated among the top four teams in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region, according the United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) rankings, released on Monday morning. Both the Nittany Lion men's and women's contingents will be looking to build on NCAA appearances in 2010. In fact, both teams have become mainstays on the NCAA scene of the past several seasons, with the women's team qualifying for the national meet for the past two seasons (2009 and 2010), and the men's squad making the 31-team field in two of the last three campaigns (2008 and 2010).
Led by a quartet of returning all-region finishers in seniors Caitlin Lane (Greenwich, N.Y.), and Kara Millhouse (Boiling Springs, Pa.), and juniors Natalie Bower (Pleasant Unity, Pa.) and Brooklyne Ridder (Cincinnati, Ohio), the Nittany Lion women will begin the season as the third-ranked team in the Mid-Atlantic Region, behind stalwarts Georgetown in first and Villanova - the defending NCAA Champion - in second. Rivals Princeton, and West Virginia follow the Nittany Lions in fourth and fifth, respectively. The Nittany Lions provided a third-place effort at the regional championships a year ago, to go along with a fourth-place standing at the Big Ten Championships.
The men's team also returns a strong core of harriers, including seniors Kyle Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.), and Vince McNally (Paoli, Pa.), who went two-three to propel the Nittany Lions to a fourth-place finish at the regional championships a year ago. The duo will be joined by returning NCAA team members Chris Cipro (Harmony, Pa.), Owen Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.), and Nick Scarpello (Jamison, Pa.) at the front of the Nittany Lion pack. Princeton, Villanova, and Georgetown cover the top three positions in the rankings, after finishing in the same order at last year's Mid-Atlantic Regional, while the Naval Academy rounds out the top five.
The Nittany Lions open up the 2011 campaign at the Dolan Duals at Lock Haven, this Friday night.