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Sept. 11, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men’s and women’s cross country teams make their 2014 home debut this weekend as they host the annual Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational on Saturday. The Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational takes place at the Blue-White Golf Course starting at 10 a.m., with the women’s 6k and the men take the course at 10:45 a.m., with a 5.2 mile run.
Following the collegiate races, the high school divisions will both be running a 5k. The girls’ 5k starts at 11:30 a.m., and the final race of the day, the boys’ 5k, takes place at 12:15 p.m.
College CompetitorsCortland, Duquesne, Georgetown (M), Monmouth, Mount St. Mary’s (Md.), Penn State, Pittsburgh, St. Bonaventure, St. Joseph’s (M), SUNY Geneseo, Susquehanna, Syracuse, West Virginia (W)
The High School Contingent
Albion, Bayport-Blue Point (Boys), Bellefonte Area, Carlisle, Clearfield, Daniel Boone, Governor Mifflin (Girls), Hazleton Area, Lake Lehman, Muhlenberg, North Clarion, Phoenixville Area, Ridgewood, Scranton Prep, Selinsgrove Area, Shikellamy South, Williamsport, St. Mary's Area, State College, Tunkhannock Area, University (W.V.), Williamsport Area, Wilson
The 2014 Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational features nationally ranked competition. On the men’s side, two ranked teams in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Preseason Poll will be competing this weekend. The Syracuse men (8) and the Georgetown men (29) are both ranked in the USTFCCCA Preseason Poll. At the regional level, the meet features five top-15 Mid-Atlantic teams. Georgetown leads the way with their third-place ranking, Penn State is fifth, Duquesne is ninth, St. Joe’s is 10th and Monmouth rounds out the top-15.
Three ranked teams on the women’s side will be competing on Saturday. The Syracuse women enter this weekend ranked No. 13, the Mountaineers from West Virginia are ranked No. 20 and the Penn State women are No. 29. At the regional level, West Virginia and Penn State are third and fourth, respectively. Duquesene sits at No. 7 and Pittsburgh is No. 14.
The event is named after long-time Nittany Lion men's track and field and cross country coach Harry Groves. Groves spent nearly forty years at the helm of the men's program, beginning in 1968 until retiring at the conclusion of the 2006 track and field season. Groves is a 2001 USTCA Hall of Fame inductee, was named national Coach of the Year on five occasions, and is a 26-time Regional Coach of the Year honoree. Throughout his Lion career, Groves coached 11 American record holders and 21 national champions. On the international level, 14 Groves-coached athletes made Olympic teams. Groves has also made countless international appearances of his own, including a trip to Barcelona, Spain, where he served as an assistant coach of the 1992 Olympic staff.
Last Time Out
Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.) defended his 2013 Dolan Duals individual title and Abbie Benson (Elma, N.Y.) won the women's race as both Penn State cross country teams claimed team titles at the 2014 Dolan Duals Friday in Lock Haven, Pa. Creese won the Dolan Duals for the third consecutive year as he ran the 6,000-meter course in 17 minutes, 49.48 seconds. On the women's side, Benson improved from her second-place finish last year at the Dolan Duals to claim the individual title with her final time of 14:44.33.
Last Year at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe
Emily Giannotti (Coudersport, Pa.), and Creese took advantage of their home course, both capturing individual titles at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational at the Blue-White Golf Course. The Nittany Lion women's squad picked up a team title in stellar fashion, scoring a perfect 15 points to better the rest of the field. Meanwhile, the Nittany Lion men's squad placed second overall, despite holding several of the squad's top athletes out of the lineup.
A year after posting a 25th-place finish at the 2013 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, the Penn State women's cross country team enters the 2014 season ranked No. 29 according to the USTFCCCA Preseason Poll. At the regional level, the women are ranked fourth and the men are fifth.
The Penn State women’s cross country team tallied a 25th-place finish at the 2013 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, which was their fifth-straight appearance at the NCAA meet.
The men are led by fifth-year senior Matt Fischer (Kennett Square, Pa.), who posted a third-place finish at the 2013 Big Ten Cross Country Championships and qualified for his first trip to the NCAA meet with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional. Fischer ended the 2013 cross country season with a 78th-place finish at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships.
Coming off his third-consecutive Dolan Duals title, Creese was named the Big Ten Men's Cross Country Athlete of Week, as announced by the league office on Sept. 9.
Creese opened the 2014 season as he won his third Dolan Duals title with a final time of 17 minutes, 49.48 seconds as he led the Nittany Lions to a first-place finish at the season-opening meet in Lock Haven, Pa. Creese's 6k time from the Dolan Duals was the fastest in the Big Ten over the weekend. This is the second career award for Creese; he won the award in 2012 after winning the Dolan Duals.
The Penn State men’s and women’s cross country teams return to action on Oct. 3, at the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Ind.
For more on Nittany Lion cross country, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.