Cross Country Off to Maryland-Eastern Shore for Cappy Anderson Invitational
Sept. 17, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion cross country squads will be in action for the third-straight week on Saturday, traveling to the Cappy Anderson Invitational on the campus of Maryland-Eastern Shore. This will also be the first of two trips to Princess Anne, Md., for the Nittany Lions, who will return to UMES on Nov. 14 for the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships. The race will feature several of the Nittany Lions' inter-region foes, including Villanova and Princeton.
About the Cappy Anderson Invitational:
Big Ten Runner of the Week - Two In-A-Row: A driving rain and mud-cover course didn't stop Cheryl Spring (The Woodlands, Texas) from taking top honors at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational at the Blue-White Golf Course last Friday, and her efforts did not go unnoticed, as the Nittany Lion senior was named Big Ten Runner of the Week on Tuesday. The honor is the first career conference citation for Spring, and the second-straight for the Nittany Lion women, as sophomore Caitlin Lane (Greenwich, N.Y.) won the honor last week after her individual victory at the Lock Haven Dolan Duals.
In the Rankings - Preseason:
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.
Last Time Out - The Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational: Despite chilly conditions and heavy rain, the Nittany Lion women's cross country team topped the competition at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational, Friday at the Blue-White Golf Course. Taking the individual title for the second-straight year was senior Cheryl Spring (The Woodlands, Texas), while freshman Danny Pawola (Naperville, Ill.) paced the Nittany Lion men to a third-place finish with an 11th-place individually. Spring ran away from all competitors, finishing the 6,000-meter course in 21:13 - 11 seconds faster than the second-place finisher. Despite the wet and muddy conditions, Spring shaved 16 seconds off her winning time from the same competition in 2008. Spring's low stick led the Nittany Lions to victory in the team standings, as the Penn State squad totaled 33 points to better Big Ten foes Ohio State (47 points), and Illinois (54 points). In the men's race, Pawola - a Footlocker Cross Country finalist as a high school senior in 2008 - led all Lions over the 5.2 mile course, placing 11th in 26:48. Big Ten rival Michigan won the men's competition with a score of 25 points, while Geneseo State managed a second-place showing with a 40-point total. The Nittany Lions captured third-place overall with a total score of 81 points.
Before That - The Dolan Duals at Lock Haven: Sophomore Caitlin Lane (Greenwich, N.Y.) scored an individual win, while the Nittany Lion women swept the top seven spots, Friday at the Dolan Duals at Lock Haven University. Sophomore Ryan Foster (Tasmania, Australia) was the top Penn State finisher on the men's side, taking third overall in the Nittany Lions' first competition of the cross country season.
Lane, who also won the Lock Haven meet as a freshman, led an impressive contingent of underclassman, finishing in the 4,000-meter course in 13:54.90 - nearly 50 seconds faster than her winning time in 2008. Lane led the race wire-to-wire, distancing herself from the field during the second half of the competition, eventually bettering the field by over 15 seconds. Foster, an NCAA All-American at 800-meters, excelled over the 6,000-meter course, placing third overall and first for Penn State, clocking 18:16.10, thanks to a furious finishing kick. Teammate Owen Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.), also a middle distance standout, finished neck and neck with Foster, taking fourth overall with a finishing time of 18:16.30.
Up Next - The Notre Dame Invitational: Following a weekend off, the Nittany Lions will travel to South Bend, Ind., for the Notre Dame Invitational on Oct. 2. The Notre Dame Invitational will feature some of the top competition from around the country and give the Lions a chance to earn points towards a bid to the NCAA Championships.