Nittany Lion Cross Country Programs Both Appear in USTFCCCA Preseason Polls
Sept. 15, 2009
Complete USTFCCCA Rankings
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With two races already under their belts this fall, the Nittany Lion men's and women's cross country programs are receiving early season acclaim, as both teams appear in the United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Preseason Top 30, released by the organization on Tuesday. Already off to outstanding starts this season, the Nittany Lion women enter the rankings at No. 26, while the Penn State men appear in 28th.
At the front of the Nittany Lion women's pack is senior and team co-captain Bridget Franek (Hiram, Ohio), who is coming off of a 23rd-place, and All-America effort at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in 2008. Starting the 2009 season off on stellar notes have been sophomore Caitlin Lane (Greenwich, N.Y.), and senior and team co-captain Cheryl Spring (The Woodlands, Texas), who have both claimed individual victories as well as Big Ten Runner of the Week honors over the past two weeks.
On the men's side, the Nittany Lions return sophomore and men's team captain Kyle Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.) - the 2008 Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Dawson and fellow sophomore Vince McNally (Smoketown, Pa.) were the one-two punch on the Nittany Lions' 25th-place squad at the NCAA Championships last year. Adding to the Lion effort this fall have been sophomore Ryan Foster (Tasmania, Australia) - the top Penn State finisher at the Lock Haven Dolan Duals - and freshman Danny Pawola (Napierville, Ill.), who ran as the Lions' number-one at the recent Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational.
Washington tops the women's standings after capturing the NCAA team title in 2008, while Oregon, the 2008 team men's champion, headlines the men's rankings. At the conference level, Minnesota opens the season at No. 8 in the women's standings, with Wisconsin leading all conference competition on the men's side at No. 4.
Regionally, the Nittany Lion men start the season as the second-rated team in the Mid-Atlantic Region with Georgetown leading the ranks. The Nittany Lion women are currently ranked fifth in the region with West Virginia opening at No. 1.
The Lions are on the road this weekend, competing at the Cappy Anderson Invitational at Maryland-Eastern Shore on Saturday, September 19.