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Sep 5, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In what has become a fall tradition, the Nittany Lion cross country squads will open the 2013 campaign at Lock Haven University, squaring off against the Bald Eagles in the annual Dolan Duals. The women's race is slated to kick things off at 6:00 p.m., while the men's competition is set to follow at 6:30 p.m.
The Nittany Lion women's team is currently rated at No. 11 in the latest United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) rankings, and holds a No. 2 ranking in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region. The women's squad will be led this season by tri-captains Emily Giannotti (Coudersport, Pa.), Katie Rodden (Ardmore, Pa.), and Rebekka Simko (Mentor, Ohio). Also returning from the Nittany Lions' NCAA-qualifying contingent a year ago are junior Leigha Anderson (Carlisle, Pa.), and senior Victoria Perri (Philadelphia, Pa.).
The Nittany Lions finished 14th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships last fall, marking the team's fourth-straight NCAA appearance, as well as the squad's third top 15 finish in the last four years.
The men's squad, which ranks fifth in the preseason Mid-Atlantic Regional poll, also boasts a significant amount of returning talent, with senior Nick Scarpello (Jamison, Pa.), and redshirt-junior Matt Fischer (Kennett Square, Pa.) captaining the squad.
Also back with outstanding experience under their belts are redshirt-sophomore Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.), and juniors Chris Campbell (Newtown, Pa.), and Wade Endress (Altoona, Pa.). The Nittany Lions will also hope for a strong mid-distance presence in the 2013 lineup, adding in redshirt-freshmen Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio), and Za'von Watkins (Liverpool, N.Y.). Kidder and Watkins - along with Creese - each finished with All-America status during the 2013 indoor season - as all were members of the Nittany Lions' NCAA runner-up distance medley. Kidder and Creese would also go on to finish in All-America standing during the outdoor campaign, with Kidder taking third in the NCAA 800 meters, and Creese finishing sixth in the NCAA 1500-meter final.
Following the Lock Haven competition, the Nittany Lions will return home to host the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational on September 13.
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