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Sept. 16, 2013
By Tyler Feldman, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State protected its house on Friday at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational at the Blue-White Golf Courses. Senior Emily Giannotti and redshirt-sophomore Robby Creese both preserved their home course late Friday afternoon by collecting individual first-place titles.
The women's team dominated the entire race, placing first with a perfect score of 15 points. Meanwhile, the men's team, who was without captains Matt Fischer and Nick Scarpello, managed to place second overall.
Led by Giannotti, who finished with a time of 21:17, the women's squad was able to seize the top six places en route to a perfect score.
"I am thrilled with the ladies. I know we ran very competitively," said head coach Beth Alford-Sullivan. "The times were quick today. It's impressive to see them run as a strong pack like that and our depth showed all the way through."
Finishing second right behind Giannotti was junior Leigha Anderson, who led for an extended portion of the race. Together they worked as a team to conquer their home course, especially during the laborious hill.
"It is much easier to run with someone, so I just kept trying to work up to [Leigha]," said Giannotti. "I finally got her on the hill and we worked together for a little while until the end. The hill is a big asset to us to train on this course, so we use that to our advantage."
The men's team showed zeal on the course during a very competitive race. Creese, who crossed the finish line 13 seconds before Bucknell's Michael McGowan, dominated the entire race with a final time of 25:50.
"I just wanted to take it easy and run with the front pack for most of the race," said Creese. "Once I got within a mile to go or less, I just decided to take over."
"Robby winning back to back races is very impressive. He ran very fast on this course," said Alford-Sullivan. "I really like what I am seeing from Creese right now because he is running very controlled and patiently pacing himself."
"The guys side didn't come out with the win, but we really raced really well. I was very impressed with our guys," said Alford-Sullivan. "A really big race out of Brannon Kidder. A lot of other runners came through in the unattached situation and ran very tough."
With a first place finish for the women and a second place finish for the men, the Nittany Lions are off to a hot start to the season. With that being said, however, it is essential to find ways to reach even greater heights.
"You have to stay hungry. That's the one thing that all athletes are used to, competing for their spots," said Alford-Sullivan. "It is a synergy that you have to have to stay together as a team and be connected."
The Nittany Lions do not race until Oct. 5 when they travel to Lehigh to run in the Paul Short Run. That means the team has three weeks to rest up and prepare.
"We will take a week to recover and then we will get into a two week cycle up until the next competition," said Alford-Sullivan. "We are really looking forward to it. We are going to be outstanding come October."