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Nov. 10, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With their sights set on earnings qualifying bids to the NCAA Championships, the Nittany Lion cross country teams will take to the course this Saturday, at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships at the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore. Both Penn State men's and women's squads are ranked fourth in the latest United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) poll going in to the weekend.
The Nittany Lions are also coming off outstanding finishes at last month's Big Ten Championships, where senior Caitlin Lane (Greenwich, N.Y.) captured top honors individually to lead the women's squad on an impressive third-place finish. On the men's side, seniors Kyle Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.) and Vince McNally (Paoli, Pa.) turned in 12th and 13th-place efforts, respectively, pacing the Nittany Lions to a sixth-place finish behind a quintet of nationally ranked programs.
The field will be just as challenging this weekend, with No. 2 Villanova favored to come out on top of a fray of a quartet of top 25-ranked teams on the women's side, and No. 9 Princeton entering as the favorite in the men's race. Villanova, which has claimed the last two NCAA titles, has enjoyed an outstanding season thus far, including a victory at the recent Big East Championships with 2010 NCAA Champion Sheila Reid taking top honors. Also in the mix will be No. 7 Georgetown, and front-runner Emily Infield. Infield, who was the NCAA runner-up a year ago, paced the Hoyas to a third-place finish in a loaded field at the Big East Championships.
Another solid squad from the Big East is No. 13, West Virginia. The Nittany Lions have already seen the Mountaineers once this season, as the West Virginia squad topped a challenging field at the Penn State National in October, with the Lions placing third. The Mountaineers, who tied for fourth in the Big East, and Nittany Lions claimed four of the top finishing spots at the event, with WVU's Kate Harrison and Kaitlyn Gillespie going one-two, and senior Kara Millhouse (Boiling Springs, Pa.) and Lane following in fourth and fifth. Along with the third-place finish at the Penn State National, the Nittany Lions have posted several impressive finishes throughout the season, including a fourth-place effort at the Notre Dame Invitational in September.
Princeton - led by multiple-time All-American Donn Cabral - is the favorite on the men's side, coming off a run-away victory at the Ivy League Championships. The Tigers' stellar season has also included a fourth-place finish at the high-powered Wisconsin Adidas Invitational last month. Also running well in the latter portion of the fall campaign has been No. 13, Villanova. The Wildcats posted a dominant victory at the Big East Championships, bettering regional foe and No. 23 Georgetown by more than 50 points. One of Georgetown's top performance of the season was at the Paul Short Invitational, where the Hoyas finished second in a field of nearly 50 teams.
The Nittany Lions, who spent much of the season just outside of the national top 30, have also enjoyed a tremendous fall on the men's side, including a victory at the Penn State National and a fifth-place standing in a stacked field at the Roy Griak Invitational at Minnesota.
About the NCAA Regional Championships ...
When: Saturday, November 12
Where: Princess Anne, Md. (University of Maryland-Eastern Shore)
Race Distances (Start Times): Men's 10,000-meters (12:00 p.m.), Women's 6,000-meters (1:15 p.m.)
Host Website: http://www.umeshawks.com/sports/c-xc/spec-rel/11ncaaregional.html
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Qualifying for the NCAA Championships ...
The top two-finishing teams (plus the top four individuals not on qualifying teams) in each of the nine NCAA Regional Championships will receive automatic bids to the NCAA Championships. The NCAA will then select another 13 "at-large" qualifiers according to seasonal performance. A complete description of the NCAA selection process can be found in the NCAA "Pre-Championships" Manuel.
At the 2010 NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships: Bolstered by a grand total of seven NCAA All-Region finishes, the Nittany Lion cross country teams recorded a third-place standing on the women's side, to go along with a fourth-place effort from the men, Saturday at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships at the Blue and White Golf Courses. Juniors Kyle Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.) and Vince McNally (Paoli, Pa.) propelled the men's efforts individually, taking second and third, respectively, while junior Caitlin Lane (Greenwich, N.Y.) paced the women with a 12th-place showing.
Postseason Accolades: On the heels of a convincing victory at the Big Ten Championships, senior Caitlin Lane (Greenwich, N.Y.) has been named Big Ten Athlete of the Year, announced by conference offices on November 1. Also earning conference recognition were junior Tyler Corkedale (West Windsor, N.J.) and Emily Giannotti(Coudersport, Pa.), who were the Nittany Lion recipients of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.
At the Big Ten Championships: Senior Caitlin Lane (Greenwich, N.Y.) took top honors, leading the Nittany Lion women's squad to a third-place finish in the team standings, Sunday, at the Big Ten Cross Country Championships at the University of Illinois Arboretum. Lane led a trio of Nittany Lions on the women's all-conference team, with senior Kara Millhouse (Boiling Springs, Pa.) earning first team status, and sophomore Emily Giannotti (Coudersport, Pa.) claiming second team honors. Seniors Kyle Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.) and Vince McNally (Paoli, Pa.) paced the Nittany Lions' sixth-place finish on the men's side, placing 12th and 13th, respectively, both capturing all-conference second team accolades.
At the Penn State National: Despite a driving rain, and extremely muddy conditions, the Nittany Lion men took top honors in the team standings, on October 14, at the Penn State National. The women also held their own in a challenging field, placing third overall. Senior Kyle Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.) led the men with a third-place effort, while senior Kara Millhouse(Boiling Springs, Pa.) placed fourth individually in the women's race, with classmate Caitlin Lane(Greenwich, N.Y.) following on her heels in fifth overall.
At the Notre Dame Invitational: Running in rainy and windy conditions, senior Kara Millhouse (Boiling Springs, Pa.) turned in a 12th-place finish individually, leading the Nittany Lion women's squad to a fourth-place standing at the Adidas Notre Dame, Friday at Notre Dame Golf Course. The women's squad also knocked off a pair of ranked teams in the effort, upending No. 22 and regional foe Princeton, as well as No. 29 BYU. The Nittany Lions finished 14th in the men's standings, paced by a 27th-place effort from senior Kyle Dawson(Coatesville, Pa.).
At the Roy Griak Invitational: Led by top 10 efforts from seniors Kyle Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.) and Caitlin Lane(Greenwich, N.Y.), the Nittany Lion cross country squads both tallied solid finishes in a national-class field, on September 24, at the Roy Griak Invitational at Les Bolstad Golf Course, at the University of Minnesota. Both Nittany Lion number ones improved upon their 2010 Griak finishes, with Lane turning in a seventh-place effort to lead the women, and Dawson taking eighth overall in a talented men's field. Dawson's finish would propel the Nittany Lion men to a fifth-place finish in the team standings, while Lane paced the women's contingent to an eighth-place standing.
At the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational: The Nittany Lion cross country squads hosted a quartet of competitions last Saturday, including college and high school races, at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational at the Blue-White Golf Courses. Sophomore Lucia Sofo (State College, Pa.) was the top finisher on the women's side, while junior Colin Anderson (Northport, N.Y.) led the men's efforts. Sofo paced the women's team, placing 25th in team scoring with a time of 22:51 over the 6,000-meters course. Sophomore Marta Klebe (Chesterbrook, Pa.) finished on her heels, coming in 26th in team scoring - also crossing in 22:51. Anderson scored a top 10 finish in the men's 5.2-mile race, covering the course in 27:07, as the Nittany Lions' number one. Sophomore Colin Baker (Haddonfield, N.J.) also raced for the Nittany Lions, coming in 23rd in 27:34. Redshirt-freshman Shawn Quinn (Ambler, Pa.) crossed as Penn State's number three, placing 27th overall in 28:09.
At the Lock Haven Dolan Duals: Seniors Caitlin Lane (Greenwich, N.Y.) and Kyle Dawson(Coatesville, Pa.) both captured individual titles, leading the Nittany Lion cross country squads to a pair of one-through-five perfect scores at the annual Dolan Duals at the Lock Haven University on September 2. Both Nittany Lion captains also posted course records in the effort, with Lane breaking the tape at 13:26.52 over the 4,000-meter women's course, and Dawson running 17:36.40 to win the men's 6,000-meters. Lane also recorded her fourth-straight victory at Lock Haven, completing a four-year sweep at the Dolan Duals.
Big Ten Honors: Seniors Caitlin Lane (Greenwich, N.Y.) and Kyle Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.) have been named Big Ten Runners of the Week following winning efforts at the Dolan Duals, on September 2, at West Branch Cross Country Course, at Lock Haven University. Both seniors paced their respective Nittany Lion squads to 15-50 "perfect" score victories over Lock Haven, each setting course records in the process. Dawson was also named Penn State Athlete of the Week for his efforts.