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Sept. 9, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.: September 9, 2010 - Following a pair of victories at the Dolan Duals at Lock Haven a week ago, the Nittany Lion cross country teams will play host to their first home competition of the year on Saturday with the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational at the Blue and White Golf Courses. Along with the 24th-ranked Nittany Lion women's squad, a handful of ranked programs are scheduled to be in attendance, including the No. 7 Princeton, and No. 11 Georgetown on the women's side, as well as No. 16 Hoya men, and the Tiger men's squad, which sits just outside of the USTFCCCA Top 30. The races will also feature many of the teams from the Mid-Atlantic Region, as the Penn State is also set to host the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships on November 13.
About the Meet:
The Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational
10:00 a.m. - College Women (6,000-meters)
10:45 a.m. - College Men (5.2 miles)
11:45 a.m. - High School Girls (5,000-meters)
12:30 p.m. - High School Boys (5,000-meters)
Women (USTFCCCA Rank; Region Rank):
Delaware - Mid-Atlantic, No. 11
Geneseo St. - D-III USTFCCCA, No. 9; Atlantic, No. 2
Georgetown - USTFCCCA, No. 11; Mid-Atlantic, No. 3
Indiana (Pa.) - D-II Atlantic, No. 9
La Salle - Mid-Atlantic, No. 9
Navy - Mid-Atlantic, No. 13
Penn State - USTFCCCA, No. 24; Mid-Atlantic, No. 5
Princeton - USTFCCCA, No. 7; Mid-Atlantic, No. 2
St. Francis (Pa.)
St. Joseph's (Pa.) - Mid-Atlantic, No. 15
Men (USTFCCCA Rank; Region Rank):
Buffalo - Northeast, No. 15
California (Pa.) - D-II Atlantic, No. 7
Delaware - Mid-Atlantic, No. 13
Geneseo St. - D-III USTFCCCA, No. 6; Atlantic, No. 2
Georgetown - USTFCCCA, No. 16; Mid-Atlantic, No. 1
Indiana (Pa.) - D-II Atlantic, No. 10
La Salle - Mid-Atlantic, No. 6
Navy - Mid-Atlantic, No. 5
Princeton - USTFCCCA, ORV; Mid-Atlantic, No. 3
St. Francis (Pa.)
St. Joseph's (Pa.) - Mid-Atlantic, No. 4
Women's Race Preview:
The women's competition will feature a trio of nationally-ranked programs in regional rivals No. 7 Princeton, No. 11 Georgetown, and No. 24 Penn State. All three programs turned in top 25 finishes at the NCAA Championships a year ago with Princeton in fifth, the Nittany Lions in 14th, and Georgetown in 21st. The Tigers return three runners from their 2009 top five in Ashley Higginson, Sarah Cummings, and Alex Banfich, who each finished in the top 20 positions in a stacked regional meet a year ago. Georgetown's roster also features some talented front runners, headlined by junior Emily Infield, who finished eighth at the NCAA meet last year, after placing third in the region.
Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions will also bring an outstanding contingent to the starting line, including reigning Big Ten Athlete of the Week Caitlin Lane (Greenwich, N.Y.). In fact, the Nittany Lions return all but three members of the nine-member Big Ten Championship team in 2009, with junior Kara Millhouse (Boiling Springs, Pa.), and sophomores Nicole Lord (Media, Pa.) - the 2009 Big Ten Freshman of the Year - Brooklyn Ridder (Cincinnati, Ohio), Natalie Bower (Pleasant Unity, Pa.), and Lindsey Graybill (Macungie, Pa.) all set to hit their home course for the first time this season on Saturday. Lane, Lord, Millhouse, Ridder, and Bower also gained invaluable experience against elite competition last fall as five of the Lions' seven runners at the NCAA Championships.
The Nittany Lions impressed last weekend at Lock Haven, claiming a 15-50 perfect score over the Bald Eagles, thanks to a sweep of the top seven finishing spots. The Lion's front pack was outstanding throughout the race, and crossed the finish line with a stellar 26-second spread from their first to seventh finishes. Among the Lions' top seven was Lane in front, followed by senior Paige Anderson (Carlisle, Pa.), Ridder, freshman Emily Giannotti (Coudersport, Pa.), Bower, Millhouse, and senior Maura Ryan (Doylestown, Pa.).
The Nittany Lions took the team title at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational in 2009, with then-senior Cheryl Spring earning the individual crown. Millhouse, who placed fourth overall at the home opener in 2009, is the Lions' top returning finisher from a year ago.
Men's Race Preview:
The No. 16 Georgetown Hoyas enter the Spiked Shoe competition as the favorite for the team title, followed by Princeton, which has received votes in the national poll, and currently ranks third in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Also contending to finish near the top of the heap will be St. Joseph's (Pa.), which is ranked fourth in the Mid-Atlantic Region, Navy and LaSalle, which ranked fifth and sixth in the region, respectively, as well as Geneseo State, which is ranked sixth in Division III and placed second at Spiked Shoe last year.
The Nittany Lions picked up their first victory of the season a week ago, with Vince McNally (Paoli, Pa.) tallying an individual win. McNally is the Lions' top returner from the 2009 campaign, in which he qualified for his second-straight NCAA cross country appearance, via an eighth-place finish at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships. McNally will be challenged by Georgetown sophomore Mark Dennin, who place fifth at the regional last year, and was a member of the Hoyas' 22nd-place team at the NCAA Championships. Navy's Andrew Hanko, Princeton's Donn Cabral, St. Joseph's Kevin McDonnell, and Georgetown's James Grimes, all of whom record top 20 efforts in the region last year are also entered, as well as last year's individual Spiked Shoe winner, Lee Berube of Geneseo State.
Penn State recorded an outstanding opening effort last weekend, with McNally leading the way at Lock Haven, followed by junior Chris Cipro (Harmony, Pa.), sophomore Danny Pawola (Naperville, Ill.), senior Ryan Foster (Tasmania, Australia), sophomore Tom Luff (Emmaus, Pa.), junior Owen Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.) and freshman Nick Scarpello (Jamison, Pa.), who each recorded finishes within the top 11. Also back in the lineup this weekend will be junior Kyle Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.), who was the Lions' top runner on Penn State's 23rd-place squad at the NCAA Championships in 2008, as well as the 2008 Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Pawola was the Lions' top finisher at Spiked Shoe in 2009 with an 11th-place effort, helping the Blue and White to a third-place finish in the team standings.