Oct. 30, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.: October 29, 2008 - Following outstanding regular season success, the Nittany Lion cross country teams are poised to begin the championship portion of the 2008 campaign, beginning with the Big Ten Championships on Nov. 2, at the University of Michigan. Arguably the most challenging distance conference in the country, the Big Ten Championships will feature over a dozen nationally-touted programs between the men's and women's races.
The women's field, which includes the No. 19 Nittany Lions, will be a battle to the finish as seven of the 11 teams - Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State, Illinois, Wisconsin, Penn State, and Iowa - in the conference are ranked in the nation's top 30, six of which that are ranked among the top 20, and four of those in the top 10. The men's competition will be just as high-powered with four teams - Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and Minnesota - listed among the top 30, while the Nittany Lions and Michigan State are just outside the of the top 30 in Others Receiving Votes.
About the Races:
When: Sunday, November 2, 2008
Where: Ann Arbor, Mich.
Start Times: Women - 10:45 a.m.; Men - 11:30 a.m.
Distances: Women - 6,000m; Men - 8,000m
Results will be available at www.mgoblue.com following the races. Log onto www.gopsusports.com for full results and Penn State recaps on Sunday afternoon.
Women (NCAA, Ranking; Region, Ranking)
Illinois - NCAA, No. 10; Midwest, No. 2
Indiana - Great Lakes, No. 4
Iowa - NCAA, No. 21; Midwest, No. 3
Michigan - NCAA, No. 8; Great Lakes, No. 2
Michigan State - NCAA, No. 9; Great Lakes, No. 1
Minnesota - NCAA, No. 7; Midwest ,No. 1
Northwestern - Midwest, No. 12
Penn State - NCAA, No. 19; Mid-Atlantic, No. 5
Purdue - Great Lakes, No. 11
Wisconsin - NCAA, No. 16; Great Lakes, No. 3
Men (NCAA, Ranking; Region, Ranking)
Illinois - Midwest, No. 9
Indiana - NCAA, No. 19; Great Lakes, No. 3
Iowa - Midwest, No. 6
Michigan - NCAA, No. 9; Great Lakes, No. 2
Michigan State - NCAA, ORV; Great Lakes, No. 5
Minnesota - NCAA, No. 20; Midwest, No. 2
Ohio State - Great Lakes, No. 8
Penn State - NCAA, ORV; Mid-Atlantic, No. 3
Wisconsin - NCAA, No. 6; Great Lakes, No. 1
Penn State Preview:
Junior Bridget Franek (Hiram, Ohio) has been at the front of the Nittany Lion pack this season, leading Penn State to a third-place finish at the Bill Dellinger Invitational at Oregon, and a runner-up standing at the Penn State National. Franek, who led the Lions with a fourth-place finish at the Penn State National, finished sixth at the Big Ten Championships in 2007.
The Lions have had a solid scoring contingent all season, including redshirt sophomore Leah Rosenfeld (Ridgefield, Conn.), junior Cheryl Spring (The Woodlands, Texas), seniors Claire Percival (Sarnia, Ontario) and Janelle Young (Lemoyne, Pa.) and freshman duo Kara Millhouse (Boiling Springs, Pa.) and Caitlin Lane (Greenwich, N.Y.). Seniors Meghan Noecker (Reading, Pa.) and Kathryn Fitzgerald (Pittsburgh, Pa.) will also compete at the conference meet.
"Our program is really looking forward to the championships," said Director and Head Coach of Track and Field/Cross Country Beth Alford-Sullivan. "Both teams have had outstanding regular seasons. Our athletes are healthy and excited to compete at this level. It will be an outstanding Big Tens as both races will produce some of the most impressive results in the country."
The Nittany Lion women have experienced stellar front running this fall, as a Penn State athletes took top individual honors in the first three meets of the year, as Lane won the Lock Haven Dolan Duals, Spring took the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational, and Rosenfeld led the Lions to a team title with a first-place finish at the Iona Meet of Champions.
Redshirt freshman Kyle Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.) recently stepped into the Lion spotlight, posting a fifth-place finish amongst talented competition at the Penn State National, and leading the Nittany Lions to a second-place finish in the team standings. Senior Tyler McCandless (Bath, Pa.) - Penn State's number one at the conference meet in 2007 - has also been running well this fall, finishing as the Lions' top runner at both the Iona Meet of Champions and Bill Dellinger Invitational.
The Penn State men's squad features seven seasoned seniors in total, including Brian Fuller (Camp Hill, Pa.), Dennis O'Connor (Philadelphia, Pa.), John Mahoney (Richboro, Pa.), Teddy Quinn (Rush, N.Y.), Dennis Pollow (Ransomville, N.Y.), and Tim Johnson (New Cumberland, Pa.). Also making the trip will be freshman standout Vince McNally (Smoketown, Pa.) - the Lions' top finisher at the Spiked Shoe Invitational in September.
2008 So Far:
At the Penn State National:
The Nittany Lion men's and women's cross country teams both engineered second-place finishes in talented fields at the Penn State National on Oct. 17, at the Blue/White Golf Course. Both Penn State squads posted outstanding efforts, let by a fifth-place showing by redshirt freshman Kyle Dawson in the men's race, and a fourth-place finish by junior Bridget Franek in the women's race. The Nittany Lion men provided arguably their best performance of the 2008 campaign, finishing second behind only No. 8 Georgetown, and upending Villanova, which was rated 28th nationally going into the race. Georgetown scored 43 points in the win, followed by the Lions in second with 93, and Villanova in third with 126. The No. 20 Penn State women were just as successful placing second behind No. 7 West Virginia, and topping No. 25 Wake Forest, and No. 28 Duke.
At the Bill Dellinger Invitational:
Running through a consistent rain and muddy conditions, the Nittany Lion women's cross country team impressed among several of the nation's top programs, finishing third in an outstanding field at the Bill Dellinger Invitational at the Springfield Country Club on Saturday, Oct. 4. Led by a fifth-place effort from junior Bridget Franek in her 2008 opener, the Nittany Lion women scored a total of 107 points, finishing third to No. 1 Oregon and 11th-ranked Arkansas, while upending No. 17 Colorado State, No. 23 BYU, as well as solid squads from Wake Forest and Portland. The Nittany Lion men's team, competing in a stellar field which included three of the NCAA's top seven-rated programs, managed a ninth-place finish, highlighted by a 36th-place finish from senior Tyler McCandless.
At the Iona Meet of Champions:
For the second time in as many weeks, a member of the Nittany Lion women's cross country team captured an individual victory, this time with redshirt sophomore Leah Rosenfeld topping a competitive field at the John "Paddy" Doyle Meet of Champions at historic Van Cortlandt Park. Entering the meet as the defending champions, the Nittany Lion women didn't disappoint, totaling 40 points to capture the runaway victory. Senior Tyler McCandless led an impressive second-place effort from the Penn State men, turning in a 14th-place standing.
At the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational:
The Nittany Lion cross country teams turned in impressive finishes in their first home competition at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational in September, with the Penn State women taking runner-up honors, and the men's squad earning a third-place finish. Junior Cheryl Spring led the way for the women's team, posting her first collegiate victory, while freshman Vince McNally earned the top placing on the men's squad with a seventh-place standing.
At the Lock Haven Dolan Duals:
Freshman Caitlin Lane and senior John Mahoney led the way with individual wins as the Nittany Lion cross country teams opened their 2008 campaigns on August 29, competing at the Dolan Duals at Lock Haven University. Holding out several of their frontrunners, the Nittany Lions successfully displayed the depth within their squads, coming away with team wins in both the men's and women's races.