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Lock Haven, Pa.
Friday, September 2
6:00 p.m. ET – Women's 4K
6:30 p.m. ET – Men’s 6K
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's and women's cross country teams kick off the 2016 regular season on Friday at the Dolan Duals. The Dolan Duals are hosted by Lock Haven University at the West Branch Cross Country Course in Lock Haven, Pa. The meet begins with the women’s (4K) at 6:00 p.m. followed by the men’s (6K) run at 6:30 p.m.
"It's always been for our men's team a very challenging competition," said head coach John Gondak.
"Lock Haven is an extremely competitive (PSAC) Pennsylvania State Athletics Conference school, for them this is their chance to knock off Penn State. They come after us with high intensity and our guys need to be ready. Overall, what this meet is for is to get out on a forgiving course. The course at Lock haven is nice and flat and its less distance. Our athletes aren't going to the well so to speak over five miles or 6K for the women, its a meet to get out there and get the rust off and go through the pre-race routines and get the nerves out so when we have our home meet next weekend we've got that rust buster out of the way and we're ready to go."
Last year’s Dolan Duals featured a Penn State sweep of the individual titles on both the men’s and women’s side while also sweeping team titles as the women’s cross country team recorded a perfect score of 15 for the seventh consecutive year.
At the regional level, the women were picked as the preseason favorite holding the No. 1 spot in the Mid-Atlantic by the USTFCCCA. The men of Penn State checked in at No. 4 in the Preseason Mid-Atlantic Regional Rankings behind Georgetown, Penn University and Princeton.
During the 2015 campaign, the women won the Big Ten Cross Country Championships, captured the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional and finished 16th as a team at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, competing at the NCAA Championships as a team for the sixth time in the past seven years.
The women return four of the five runners that scored at last year's Big Ten Championships in Chicago, Ill., with the lone loss from that group being Tori Gerlach. The 2016 team is led by team captains Elizabeth Chikotas, Tessa Barrett, and Julie Kocjancic.
Chikotas, Barrett, and Kocjancic were a part of the team that won the Mid-Atlantic Regional last November. Barrett claimed fourth-place at that meet (21:02.2) while Chikotas and Kocjancic finished 10th and 19th, respectively. Redshirt-Sophomore Tessa Barrett ,who earned second-team All-Big Ten honors and finished the season as an NCAA cross country All-American, paired with Chikotas and Jillian Hunsberger gives the Nittany Lions experience as they were all on last year's NCAA team.
The men are led by junior Tim McGowan and sophomore Colin Abert, both of whom are team captains for the 2016 season
The Nittany Lions return home next weekend as they host the annual Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational on Sept. 10.
For more on Nittany Lion cross country, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.