Women's Cross Country Upends Ranked Foes; Finishes Fourth at Notre Dame Invitational
Oct. 3, 2009
SOUTH BEND, Ind.: October 2, 2009 - Knocking off several nationally-ranked foes, including No. 3 Florida State, the Nittany Lion women's cross country team impressed at the Notre Dame Invitational on Friday, placing fourth in an elite field at the Notre Dame Golf Course. Senior Bridget Franek (Hiram, Ohio) did not disappoint in her first appearance of the 2009 campaign, placing seventh overall against outstanding competition. Sophomore Vince McNally (Smoketown, Pa.) paced the men's team, turning in a 66th-place effort over the men's 8,000-meter course.
Thanks to outstanding runs from the entire Lion top seven, Penn State - which entered the weekend ranked 22nd in the latest USTFCCA poll - totaled 152 points to finish fourth in the team standings, upending stalwart programs from Arizona State (No. 13), New Mexico (No. 25), Florida State (No. 3), Southern Methodist, and Providence (No. 12). The No. 1 Washington Huskies topped the team standings with a 33-point total, followed by regional rival and No. 6 Princeton with 68. No. 15 Florida took third overall with 104. Washington claimed the top four finishing spots, led by Kendra Schaaf, who finished in 16:31.
In her first competition since running the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the IAAF World Championships in August, Franek picked up right where she left off on the cross country course, crossing the finish line in 16:52 for 5,000-meters. Classmate Cheryl Spring (The Woodlands, Texas) also provided a sensational effort, coming in 13th in 17:07 to better several NCAA All-Americans and national qualifiers.
Freshman Nicole Lord (Media, Pa.) continues to impress in her first-ever season of cross country, finishing 39th overall in 17:25. Classmate Brooklyne Ridder (Cincinnati, Ohio) followed as the Lions' fourth, finishing 45th in 17:33. Sophomore Caitlin Lane (Greenwich, N.Y.) provided an outstanding effort as the final Lion scorer, placing 47th in 17:34.
Crossing the line as the Lions' sixth finisher, freshman Natalie Bower (Pleasant Unity, Pa.) finished 73rd in 17:45, while sophomore Kara Millhouse (Boiling Springs, Pa.) managed a 77th-place effort, stopping the clock at 17:50.
The Lions also engineered a brilliant effort in the women's open race, led by an individual victory from senior Claire Berryman (Morgantown, W.Va.), who covered the course in 18:04. Fellow senior Jessica Babcock (Irvine, Calif.) followed in second place, finishing in 18:12. Junior Paige Anderson (Carlisle, Pa.) finished fourth in the race, running 18:30.
McNally was the top finisher on the men's side, finishing in 24:56. Redshirt sophomore Samuel Borchers (Yellow Springs, Ohio) followed as the Lions' second finisher, taking 72nd overall in 25:00. Junior Lucas Zarzeczny (Pittsburgh, Pa.) was the third Lion across the finish line, stopping the clocking at 25:26 for 106th-place overall.
Freshman Danny Pawola (Naperville, Ill.) ran strong as the Lions' fourth, placing 126th overall in 25:40. Sophomore Ryan Foster (Tasmania, Australia) completed the Lion scoring effort, taking 129th place in 25:46. Sophomore Chris Cipro (Harmony, Pa.) and freshman Sam Havko (Fairview, Pa.) rounded out the Lion top seven, placing 135th, and 138th, respectively. Senior Will Nowicki (Hillsdale, N.J.) was the top Penn State finisher in the men's race, turning in a fifth-place effort in 26:02. Matt Groves (State College, Pa.) was 12th in the race in 26:25.
Washington also won the men's competition, followed by Providence in second and New Mexico and Butler tied for third. The Lions placed 21st in the team standings.
Next up for the Lions is the high-powered Penn State National, set for Oct. 16 at the Blue-White Golf Course. Races are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.