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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.: September 28, 2010 - Coming off solid finishes at the Roy Griak Invitational last weekend, the Nittany Lion cross country squads will be back on the course on Friday at the Notre Dame Invitational in Sound Bend, Ind. The Nittany Lions will take on some of the nation's top programs on the Notre Dame Golf Course, including national stalwarts Oregon, Washington, Alabama, Arkansas, Princeton and Villanova. Action is scheduled to get underway with the combined "Junior Varsity" competition at 3:30 p.m., Friday afternoon, followed by the women's and men's varsity races.
About the Notre Dame Invitational:
Where: South Bend, Ind. (Notre Dame Golf Course)
When: Friday, October 1
Race Distances: Women - 5,000-Meters; Men - 5 Miles
Start Times: Combined JV - 3:30 p.m.; Women - 4:15 p.m.; Men - 5:00 p.m.
Host Website: www.UND.com
Video Coverage: www.FloTrack.org
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Women's Blue Division (USTFCCCA Rank; Region, Rank)
Alabama (South, No. 5)
Arkansas (USTFCCCA, ORV; South Central, No. 2)
Brigham Young University (USTFCCCA, No. 21; Mountain, No. 5)
Butler (Great Lakes, No. 9)
Florida State (USTFCCCA, No. 2; South, No. 1)
Iowa (USTFCCCA, No. 24; Mid-West, No. 2)
New Mexico (USTFCCCA, No. 18; Mountain, No. 3)
Notre Dame (USTFCCCA, No. 30; Great Lakes, No. 5)
Ohio State (Great Lakes, No. 7)
Oregon (USTFCCCA, No. 5; West, No. 2)
Penn State (USTFCCCA, ORV; Mid-Atlantic, No. 5)
Princeton (USTFCCCA, No. 8; Mid-Atlantic, No. 3)
Southern Methodist (USTFCCCA, No. 23; South Central, No. 1)
Southern Utah (Mountain, No. 12)
Stony Brook (USTFCCCA, ORV; Northeast, No. 3)
Tulsa (Mid-West, No. 6)
UCLA (West, No. 12)
UC Santa Barbara (West, No. 11)
Utah State (Mountain, No. 15)
UTEP (USTFCCCA, No. 19; Mountain, No. 4)
Villanova (USTFCCCA, No. 1; Mid-Atlantic, No. 1)
Washington (USTFCCCA, No. 3; West, No. 1)
Weber State (Mountain, No. 10)
Men's Blue Division
Alabama (USTFCCCA, No. 5;
Arizona State (USTFCCCA, No. 18;
Butler (USTFCCCA, No. 27; Great Lakes, No. 4)
Florida State (USTFCCCA, No. 21;
Indiana State (Great Lakes, No. 10)
New Mexico (USTFCCCA, No. 16; Mountain, No. 3)
Notre Dame (Great Lakes, No. 6)
OaklandOregon (USTFCCCA, No. 3
Penn State (Mid-Atlantic, No. 7)
Southern Utah (Mountain, No. 14)
Tulsa (Mid-West, No. 7)
UCLA (USTFCCCA, No. 30
Utah State (Mountain, No. 6)
UTEP (Mountain, No. 8)
Villanova (USTFCCCA, No. 14; Mid-Atlantic, No. 1)
Washington (USTFCCCA, ORV
Weber State (Mountain, No. 12)
Men's Race Preview -
The Notre Dame Invitational will feature one of the most highly-touted fields of the 2010 campaign, with No. 3 Oregon, and No. 5 Alabama headlining a national-class competition, which also stands to include the Nittany Lions' Mid-Atlantic Region foe No. 14 Villanova. The Ducks return four of five members of their scoring five from the NCAA runner-up squad from 2009, while Alabama, which finished third at the NCAA meet a year ago, also boasts five returners from its 2009 national team. Washington is the defending event champion, while No. 16 New Mexico - last year's third-place squad at Notre Dame - is also scheduled to be in attendance. The Lobos' Nicholas Kipruto finished second individually at the Roy Griak Invitational last weekend and will likely lead the field at Notre Dame, along with 2009 All-Americans Luke Puskedra and Matthew Centrowitz of Oregon.
The Nittany Lions recently held their own in an elite field at the Roy Griak Invitational last weekend, placing ninth in the team standings behind a 13th-place effort from junior Kyle Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.), individually. Junior Vince McNally (Paoli, Pa.) also ran strong in Minnesota, turning in a 22nd-place finish overall. McNally was the Lions' top finisher at the Notre Dame Invitational a year ago, coming in 67th. The Lions will also look to junior Chris Cipro (Harmony, Pa.), and sophomore Danny Pawola (Naperville, Ill.), who have both been consistent members of the Nittany Lion top five throughout the early season, along with sophomore Tom Luff (Emmaus, Pa.), and freshman Nick Scarpello (Jamison, Pa.), who are both coming off strong efforts in Minnesota.
Coming off the rolling hills of the Griak Invitational, the flat and fast five-mile course at Notre Dame may play into the hands of middle-distance standouts and seniors Ryan Foster (Tasmania, Australia) and Owen Dawson (Coatesville, Pa), who are both All-Americans at 800-meters. Foster impressed with his speed in the second half of the Griak competition, passing 30 competitors over the last 3,000-meters of the race.
Women's Race Preview -
The women's race will also include the majority of the nation's top-ranking programs, with four the top five teams in the latest USTFCCCA rankings schedule to attend, with No. 1 Villanova, No. 2 Florida State, No. 3 Washington, and No. 5 Oregon set to compete. Up front, Villanova's Amanda Marino, and Sheila Reid will likely lead the way, with both boasting top 12 finishes, individually, at the NCAA Championships in 2009. The Huskies will have last year's third-place finisher Marie Lawrence up front. Lawrence finished 25th during Washington's NCAA Championship effort in 2008. The women's race will always give the Lions' a look at some Big Ten competition, with Iowa and Ohio State both scheduled to race.
The Nittany Lion women's squad has displayed outstanding depth during the early fall, finishing with three different number-one runners throughout the first three races of the season. Most recently, sophomore Natalie Bower (Pleasant Unity, Pa.) paced Penn State to a ninth-place finish at the Roy Griak Invitational, thanks to a 34th-place finish. Junior Kara Millhouse (Boiling Springs, Pa.) and Caitlin Lane (Greenwich, N.Y.) have also been at the front of the Lion pack throughout the season. The Lions' depth has also been evident in strong throughout the season, as Penn State's one-to-five spread has been no more than 35 seconds in any of the squads' first three competitions. Also among the Lions' scoring pack this fall have been sophomore Brooklyne Ridder (Cincinnati, Ohio), senior Paige Anderson (Carlisle, Pa.) and freshman Emily Giannotti (Coudersport, Pa.).
The Nittany Lions heavily impressed in South Bend last fall, scoring a fourth-place finish behind only Washington, Princeton, and Florida, which would all go on to post top 10 finishes at the 2009 NCAA Championships. The Lions enjoyed outstanding efforts from then-seniors Bridget Franek, and Cheryl Spring, who placed seventh and 14th, respectively. Penn State's top returning finish at Notre Dame in 2009 is sophomore Nicole Lord (Media, Pa.), who turned in a 39th-place effort, followed closely by a pair of Lions with then-freshman Ridder Lane taking 45th, and 47th.
Last Time Out -
Dawson turned in a 13th-place finish individually, leading the Nittany Lion men to a ninth-place finish in a national-class field, Saturday, September 25, at the Roy Griak Invitational at the University of Minnesota. The Penn State women's squad, which is currently ranked 27th in the latest USTFCCCA rankings, would also end up ninth in the team standings, paced by 34th-place effort from Bower.
"The Roy Griak Invitational was an outstanding competition and a wonderful celebration of Coach Griak's career, and legacy at Minnesota," said Director and Head Coach of Track and Field/Cross Country Beth Alford-Sullivan. "It was an honor to be there for such a great display of the sport of cross country."
Dawson and the rest of the Nittany Lion pack were out well from the gun, positioning themselves near the front of a field over well over 200 athletes. The junior ran consistently among the top 15 competitors throughout the race, winding up in 13th overall, clocking 24:41 for the 8,000-meter course. Dawson was also the second finisher among Big Ten competitors, with Minnesota's Ben Blankenship turning in a 10th-place finish.
As has been the case throughout the early season, the Nittany Lion women provided a strong display of pack running, posting a 35-second spread between their first and fifth finishers. Bower ran as the Lions' number one for the first time in her career, placing 34th overall in 21:54. Millhouse also dipped under the 22-minute mark, finishing just six seconds behind Bower in 21:59 to place 41st.
At the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational -
Juniors Kara Millhouse and Kyle Dawson each posted top 10 finishes, leading their teams to outstanding finishes in stellar fields, on Saturday, September 11 at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational at the Blue and White Golf Courses. Millhouse recorded a seventh-place effort, pacing the 24th-ranked women's squad to a third-place finish in the team standings, while Dawson's third-place showing helped the Nittany Lion men to a fourth-place standing.
The Nittany Lion women totaled 59 points for third - thanks to five finishers in the top 17 - behind No. 11 Georgetown with 28 points, and No. 7 Princeton with 45 points. Princeton took the team title on the men's side, edging No. 16 Georgetown, 48-52, with Navy in third with 79, and Penn State in fourth with a 92-point total.
Dawson held his own among a tremendous men's field, placing third overall in 25:19 for the 5.2-mile tour - just six seconds off individual champion Donn Cabral of Princeton. Junior Vince McNally (Paoli, Pa.) would also turn in a top 10 finish, placing seventh with a finishing time of 25:34. Junior Chris Cipro (Harmony, Pa.) was the Lions' third finisher, crossing the finish line in 26:03 to take 21st in team scoring.
Big Ten Recognition -
Following individual victories at the Dolan Duals at Lock Haven on September 3, juniors Caitlin Lane and Vince McNally have been named Big Ten Runners of the Week, announced by conference offices on Tuesday, September 7. The award was the third citation for Lane, while McNally received conference recognition for the first occasion.
Season Opener -
The Nittany Lion men's and women's cross country teams opened the 2010 campaign in style on September 3, collecting individual victories from juniors Caitlin Lane (Greenwich, N.Y.), and Vince McNally (Paoli, Pa.), as well as a pair of team victories at the Lock Haven Dolan Duals at West Branch Cross Country Course. The Penn State women put together a top seven sweep over their opponents, to post a perfect score of 15-50, while the Nittany Lion men always came away with a victory, winning 23-35.