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Oct. 12, 2012
MADISON, Wisc.: October 12, 2012 - The 14th-ranked Nittany Lion women's cross country squad proved their position among the nation's elite, finishing eighth in the team standings, Friday at the high-powered Adidas Wisconsin Invitational at Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course. Paced by a 34th-place effort from junior Rebekka Simko (Mentor, Ohio), the Nittany Lions held their own against a sensational field, bettering a total of 13 nationally ranked programs, and finishing tops among Big Ten foes.
Simko toured the 6,000-meter course in 20:20, which was good for 34th overall. Next up was senior Brooklyne Ridder (Cincinnati, Ohio), who finished up in 20:39 for 69th overall and second for Penn State. Junior Victoria Perri (Philadelphia, Pa.) was on Ridder's heels as the Lions' number three, clocking 20:41 for 75th overall.
Senior Natalie Bower (Pleasant Unity, Pa.) also turned in a top 100 effort, placing 97th overall with a finishing time of 20:49. Freshman Tori Gerlach (Perkasie, Pa.) came through with her best performance of the year thus far as the Nittany Lion's fifth and final scorer, taking 108th with a 6,000-meter PR of 20:52.
The Nittany Lions continued to run strong through their sixth and seventh finishers, with sophomore Leigha Anderson (Carlisle, Pa.) placing 131st in 20:59 - also a career best at the distance - while junior Emily Giannotti (Coudersport, Pa.) crossed the line in 21:16 - good for 182nd.
The effort was good for a 383-point total, which was good for victories over No. 10 Michigan State (420 pts) in ninth, and No. 13 Weber State in 10th (439 pts). Finishing eighth overall in field of 48 squads, the Nittany Lions also picked up wins over New Mexico, Notre Dame, Toledo, and Yale, all of whom were ranked in the latest USTFCCCA Top 30.
The Nittany Lions once again reaped the benefits of a tight pack at the finish, with just 32 seconds separating the Lions first and fifth finisher.
Iowa State totaled 109 points for the team title, followed by Stanford (181 pts), Arizona (242 pts), Washington (252 pts), Cornell (264 pts), Providence (265 pts), and Duke (364 pts).
Penn State also enjoyed a solid effort in the women's "B" race, where the Nittany Lions placed fourth with 103 points. Sophomore duo Abbie Benson (Elma, N.Y.), and Katie Rodden (Ardmore, Pa.), who placed 11th and 14th, respectively, led the way for the Nittany Lions finishing in 21:16 and 21:18. Junior Marta Klebe (Chesterbrook, Pa.) also turned a strong finish, placing 15th overall in 21:19.
Junior Nick Scarpello (Jameson, Pa.) was the top finisher on the men's side, placing 128th in team scoring, after finishing the 8,000-meter course in 24:25. Redshirt sophomore Matt Fischer (Kennett Square, Pa.) was the Lions' number two, finishing in 24:52 for 215th. Redshirt freshman Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.), senior Tyler Corkedale (West Windsor, N.J.), and sophomore Chris Campbell (Newtown, Pa.) rounded out the Nittany Lion top five, coming across in 233rd, 235th, and 254th, respectively.
The men's squad placed 41st in the team standings, picking up wins over Mid-Atlantic Region rival La Salle, as well as Big Ten foe Nebraska. Stanford was tops in the men's race, with Iona, Oklahoma, and Texas rounding out the top four, while Arkansas and Columbia tied for fifth overall.
The Nittany Lions will now head into the postseason portion of their season, traveling the East Lansing, Mich., for the Big Ten Cross Country Championships on Sunday, October 28.
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