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Nov. 3, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.: November 3, 2009 - Following its Big Ten Championship victory, the Nittany Lion women's cross country team made a steady climb in this week's United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) rankings, vaulting from 18th to 11th. The Nittany Lions, who are now the number-one ranked team in the conference, also stand ahead of several perennial cross country powerhouses, including Georgetown (No. 12), and Stanford (No. 14).
The Nittany Lions posted a history making performance at the Big Ten Cross Country Championships at the Blue/White Golf Course last weekend, winning the program's first team title by narrowly defeating conference foes Illinois and Minnesota. Senior Bridget Franek (Hiram, Ohio) paced the Nittany Lion contingent with an individual victory - the first by a Penn State athlete since Kim McGreevy won the title in 1996. Also running well was freshman Nicole Lord (Media, Pa.), who placed ninth overall to earn second team all-conference honors. Fellow rookie Brooklyne Ridder (Cincinnati, Ohio) also captured a top 20 finish, placing 16th overall.
The Lions are now ranked fourth in the stacked Mid-Atlantic Region, behind No. 2 Villanova, No. 4 Princeton, and No. 7 West Virginia. The NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships are set for Nov. 14, at the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore. The top two teams will receive automatic bids to the NCAA Championships, while the remaining teams will be eligible for one of 13 at-large bids to the national meet. Defending NCAA Champion Washington remains atop the standings as it has all season, followed by No. 3 Florida, and No. 5 Oregon.