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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's and women's cross country teams are hosting the 2014 NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional at the Blue-White Golf Course Friday (Nov. 14). The meet starts at noon with the women’s 6,000-meter run, followed by the men’s 10,000-meter run at 1 p.m. The awards ceremony is scheduled for 2:15 p.m.
The women’s 6,000-meter run features 32 teams, four of which are ranked in the latest United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Poll. No. 2 Georgetown, No. 7 West Virginia, No. 28 Princeton and No. 30 Villanova comprise the ranked teams in the women’s race.
In the men’s 10,000-meter run, 25 teams will be competing, including No. 7 Villanova, No. 14 Georgetown, No. 24 Penn State and (RV) Princeton.
The top two teams from each race will automatically advance to the NCAA meet (Nov. 22), while the rest of the teams will hope for an at-large bid.
Individually, 36 runners will automatically advance to the NCAA meet if they are the top four individual finishers that placed in the top-25 at their regional meet and are not on a NCAA-qualifying team. Two runners will also receive an at-large bid, but they must also finish in the top-25 at their regional meet.
The first 100 fans to attend the meet receive a free NCAA Cross Country Championships beanie.
Earlier this year, Penn State hosted the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe (Sept. 13) and the Penn State National (Oct. 11). Both meets featured Mid-Atlantic Regional competition as then-No. 29 Georgetown placed third in the men’s race (Spiked Shoe) and then-No.20 West Virginia finished fifth in the women’s race (Spiked Shoe). The Harry Groves Spiked Shoe was held before the NCAA Championship qualification period started (Sept. 26).
Last Time Out
Behind a pair of top-15 finishes, the Penn State men's cross country team finished third at the 2014 Big Ten Cross Country Championships last Sunday (Nov. 2) at the Ashton Cross Country Course in Iowa City, Iowa. The Nittany Lion men edged No. 20 Indiana by a score of 92-95.
Fifth-year senior Matt Fischer (Kennett Square, Pa.) paced the Nittany Lion contingent as he completed the 8,000-meter course in 23 minutes, 52.8 seconds to finish eighth. Joining Fischer in the top-15 was Glen Burkhardt (Kennett Square, Pa.). Burkhardt finished 11th with his time of 23:55.8. Both Fischer and Burkhardt garnered Second Team All-Big Ten honors for their efforts.
As a team, the Nittany Lions finished third with their score of 92 points. Their third-place finish ties the highest finish in school history at the Big Ten meet and it is the first time since 2000 that Penn State tallied a third-place finish.
No. 6 Wisconsin won the meet with their score of 47 points, followed by a second-place finish by then-No. 14 Michigan (77 points). Individually, Malachy Schrobilgen (Wisconsin) claimed the Big Ten title with his time of 23:35.0.
With their third-place finish, Penn State, currently receiving votes in the USTFCCCA National Poll, knocked off No. 20 Indiana, then-No. 22 Michigan State and then-(RV) Minnesota.
The Penn State women’s cross country team posted a seventh-place finish at the 2014 Big Ten Cross Country Championships last Sunday (Nov. 2) at the Ashton Cross Country Course in Iowa City, Iowa. Leading the charge for the Nittany Lion women was Elizabeth Chikotas (Hellertown, Pa.).
Chikotas, who went on to place 15th, was just two seconds back of posting a Second Team All-Big Ten finish. She went on to complete the 6,000-meter course in a time of 20:29.7. Chikotas was in 14th-place at the 3,000-meter split (10:02.30).
No. 1 Michigan State won the meet with their score of 26 points, followed by a second-place finish by No. then-8 Wisconsin (55 points). Then-No. 4 Michigan rounded out the top-three team finishes with their score of 93 points. The top-five team finishes at the Big Ten meet were by ranked teams. Leah O’Connor of Michigan State went onto win the 6k race with her time of 19:26.3.
As a team, Penn State finished seventh with their score of 174 points.
Last Year at the Mid-Atlantic Regional
Junior Matt Fischer (Kennett Square, Pa.) qualified for the NCAA championships with a fourth-place finish, as both the Penn State men's and women's cross country teams posted top-five outings at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional, hosted by Lehigh University. The women's squad finished third, while the men's team placed fifth. Spearheading the Nittany Lion men, Fischer quailed for the NCAA Championships as he placed fourth in the 10,000-meter race. The Kennett Square, Pa., native crossed the finish line in 29:46 to punch his ticket to next week's championships.
On the women's side, junior Leigha Anderson (Carlisle, Pa./20:22) anchored the Nittany Lion women with a 12th-place outing. Senior Marta Klebe (Chesterbrook, Pa.) followed seven seconds later in 14th place, while classmate Emily Giannotti (Coudersport, Pa.) secured an 18th-place finish with a time of 20:41. Junior Katie Rodden (Ardmore, Pa./19th place) and sophomore Tori Gerlach (Perkasie, Pa./29th place) rounded out the Nittany Lions' top five.
With their third-place finish at the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Regional, the women were able to secure an at-large bid and advance to their fifth-straight NCAA Championships.
The men’s team is currently ranked No. 24 in the nation by the USTFCCCA. At the regional level, the men are ranked third and the women are fifth.
The Penn State women's cross country team tallied a 25th-place finish at the 2013 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, which was their fifth-straight appearance at the NCAA meet.
The men are led by fifth-year senior Fischer, who posted a third-place finish at the 2013 Big Ten Cross Country Championships and qualified for his first trip to the NCAA meet with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional. Fischer ended the 2013 cross country season with a 78th-place finish at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships.
Following a 15th-place finish at the Big Ten Championships, Chikotas was named the Big Ten Women’s Cross Country Freshman of the Year. Chikotas completed the 6,000-meter course in a time of 20:29.7 to pace the Nittany Lions to a seventh-place finish. Chikotas becomes the third Nittany Lion to win the Big Ten Women's Cross Country Freshman of the Year award (Colleen Glyde, 1992 and Nicole Lord, 2009).
After finishing third at the Penn State National, sophomore Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) was named the Big Ten Men's Cross Country Athlete of the Week on Oct. 14.
Kidder tallied a third-place finish with his time of 26:46 to lead the Nittany Lion men to a team title at the Penn State National (Oct. 11). Kidder's time of 26:46 is a season-best for him at the 5.2-mile Blue-White Golf Course.
Coming off his third-consecutive Dolan Duals title, Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.) was named the Big Ten Men's Cross Country Athlete of Week, as announced by the league office on Sept. 9. Creese opened the 2014 season as he won his third Dolan Duals title with a final time of 17:49.48 as he led the Nittany Lions to a first-place finish at the season-opening meet in Lock Haven, Pa. Creese's 6k time from the Dolan Duals was the fastest in the Big Ten over the weekend. This is the second career award for Creese; he won the award in 2012 after winning the Dolan Duals.
The 2014 NCAA Cross Country Championships are slated for Nov. 22 at the LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind. The women’s 6,000-meter run is scheduled for noon, followed by the men’s 10,000-meter run at 1 p.m.
For more on Nittany Lion cross country, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.