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Oct. 13, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.: October 13, 2010 - Featuring a field that is scheduled to include the number-one ranked Villanova women, and the 14th-ranked Syracuse men, the Nittany Lion men's and women's cross country teams - which are also both nationally ranked - are set to host the highly-competitive Penn State National, Saturday at the Blue and White Golf Courses. Races are set to get underway with the men's 5.2-mile competition at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, followed by the women's 6,000-meter race at 11:00 a.m.
Both Nittany Lion squads are coming off their most outstanding efforts of the early season at the Notre Dame Invitational earlier this month, where the Penn State men impressed with a fifth-place finish, and the women's team captured 10th-place overall. Following the competition, both teams were recognized in the USTFCCCA rankings, with the men earning the program's highest ranking since the 2000 season in 23rd, while the women are currently ranked 30th.
About the Meet:
The Penn State National
When: Saturday, October 16
Where: Penn State Blue and White Golf Courses
Race Times (Distances): 10:00 a.m. - Men's 5.2-Miles; 11:00 a.m. - Women's 6,000-Meters
Results: Will be posted following the competition at www.GoPSUsports.com; and www.runhigh.com
Twitter: Follow @JessRiden for all the latest updates from Penn State Cross Country. Facebook: Check out the inside scoop on Nittany Lion Cross Country on Facebook
Scheduled Men's Teams (USTFCCCA National Rank; Region, Rank)
Cornell (Northeast, No. 7)
Dickinson (USTFCCCA DIII No. 12, Mideast, No. 3)
Duquesne (Mid-Atlantic, No. 9)
Eastern Michigan (Great Lakes, No. 9)
George Mason (Southeast, No. 14)
Grand Valley State (USTFCCCA DII, No. 4; Mid-West, No. 1)
IUP (DII Atlantic, No. 5)
Lehigh (Mid-Atlantic, No. 13)
Lock Haven (USTFCCCA DII, No. 14; Atlantic, No. 2)
Marist (Northeast, No. 14)
Maryland (Mid-Atlantic, No. 10)
Penn (Mid-Atlantic, No. 6)
Penn State (USTFCCCA, No. 23; Mid-Atlantic, No. 3)
Slippery Rock (DII Atlantic; No. 5)
Syracuse (USTFCCCA, No. 14; Northeast, No. 1)
Temple (Mid-Atlantic, No. 14)
Villanova (USTFCCCA, ORV; Mid-Atlantic, No. 4)
Yale (Northeast, No. 6)
Scheduled Women's Teams (USTFCCCA National Rank; Region, Rank)
Colgate (Northeast, No. 11)
Cornell (Northeast, No. 6)
Dickinson (USTFCCCA DIII, No. 18; Mideast, No. 2)
Eastern Michigan (Great Lakes, No. 15)
Ferris State (USTFCCCA DII, No. 9; Midwest, No. 2)
Grand Valley State (USTFCCCA DII, No. 1; Midwest, No. 1)
IUP (DII Atlantic, No. 7)
Lehigh (Mid-Atlantic, No. 14)
Lock Haven (DII Atlantic, No. 9)
Maryland (Mid-Atlantic, No. 10)
Miami (Ohio) (USTFCCCA, ORV;)
Penn (Mid-Atlantic, No. 9)
Penn State (USTFCCCA, No. 30; Mid-Atlantic, No. 4)
Slippery Rock (DII Atlantic, No. 6)
Syracuse (USTFCCCA, No. 7; Northeast, No. 1)
Towson (Mid-Atlantic, No. 12)
Villanova (USTFCCCA, No. 1; Mid-Atlantic, No. 1)
West Virginia (Mid-Atlantic, No. 6)
ORV - Others Receiving Votes
Men's Meet Preview -
A trio of nationally-recognized men's squads will be in attendance at the Penn State National, led by No. 14, Syracuse, and No. 23, Penn State, while perennial power Villanova is just outside of the national rankings in the "others receiving votes" category. The Nittany Lions recently vaulted into the USTFCCCA Top 30 following a fifth-place effort in the stacked field at the Notre Dame Invitational, led by a seventh-place effort from junior Vince McNally (Paoli, Pa.), and a 13th-place finish from classmate Kyle Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.). The Lions matched up with Villanova for the first of this season in South Bend, bettering the Wildcats, who would place 14th overall. Meanwhile, the Orange of Syracuse also had an outstanding weekend at the Adidas Wisconsin Invitational, placing fifth in a challenging interregional field. Several other squads could challenge for finishes in the top tier of the field, including Grand Valley State and Lock Haven, which currently stand fourth and 14th, respectively, in the Division II rankings. The field will also feature solid Ivy League squads from Cornell, Yale, and Penn.
Individually, McNally and Dawson could challenge for the individual title, along with Syracuse juniors Steven Weeks, and Tito Medrano, who both posted top 20 finishes at Wisconsin. The Wildcats will also be at the top of their game, with sophomore Mathew Mildenhall scheduled to race. Mildenhall was Villanova's top finisher on its 11th-place squad at the NCAA Championships a year ago. Syracuse is also building on a solid NCAA finish in 2009, as the Orange placed 14th last fall.
Women's Meet Preview -
Defending NCAA Champion Villanova is the favorite to lead the field on the Blue and White Golf Courses on Saturday, with four 2009 All-Americans returning to the lineup, including top 15 NCAA finishers Amanda Marino and Sheila Reid. The Wildcats cruised to victory at Notre Dame two weeks ago - bettering top-five ranked squads from Oregon and Florida State - with Reid in second-place individually, and Marino in fifth. Syracuse was just as successful at Wisconsin, topping a field that included North Carolina, Michigan State, and Michigan at the front of the pack. Orange frontrunners Katie Hursey and Lauren Penney were outstanding at Wisconsin, with Hursey placing third overall. Miami (Ohio) will also be in the running in the team race, after receiving votes in the most USTFCCCA poll.
Also vying for a big finish will be the Nittany Lions, who have also been consistent all fall, placing ninth at the Roy Griak Invitational at Minnesota, and 10th at Notre Dame - ahead of a quintet of ranked foes. The Nittany Lions have used tremendous pack running on their way to success this fall, finishing with a 16-second spread from first to fifth finishers at Notre Dame. The Lions have also proved their depth this season, as four different athletes have run as the Lions' top finisher in the fall's first four competitions. Sophomore Brooklyne Ridder (Cincinatti, Ohio) was the most recent number one, placing 50th in South Bend.
The race is also set to include a pair of top ranked Division II squads, with top-ranked Grand Valley State making the trip, along with No. 9, Ferris State. The Lakers recently impressed in against tough competition this year, taking top honors at the Greater Louisville Classic, two weeks ago.
Last Time Out -
The Nittany Lion men's cross country squad knocked off a total of five nationally ranked opponents on Friday, October 1, on their way to a fifth-place finish in the team standings at the highly-charged Notre Dame Invitational at the Notre Dame Golf Course. The Penn State women's team also impressed in a national-class field, placing 10th overall - also besting a handful of teams in this week's USTFCCCA Top 30. Junior Vince McNally (Paoli, Pa.) led the way for the Nittany Lion men, turning in a seventh-place finish, while classmate Kyle Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.) was on his heels in 13th overall. Sophomore Brooklyne Ridder (Cincinnati, Ohio) was the top Penn State finisher on the women's side, placing 50th.
The men's team engineered an outstanding performance, led by outstanding front-running performances from McNally and Dawson, who covered the 8,000-meter course in 24:04, and 24:11, respectively. The junior duo held their own in a stellar front pack, which featured numerous NCAA All-Americans, including eventual winner Luke Puskedra of Oregon.
The Lions would total 205 points for fifth overall, following only No. 3 Oregon (69 points), No. 16 New Mexico (78), No. 21 Florida State (99), and Tulsa (196). The effort yielded victories over a wealth of talented opponents, with No. 30 UCLA in sixth (206), Notre Dame in seventh (208), fifth-ranked Alabama in eighth (242), UTEP in ninth (260), and Indiana State in 10th (260). The Lions would also score wins over No. 14 Villanova, No. 17 Arizona State, and No. 28 Butler.
At the Roy Griak Invitational -
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.
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.