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W. Cross Country Set to Compete at NCAA Championships

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Nov. 17, 2016

USTFCCCA Polls and Rankings

Saturday, November 19
11:00 a.m. ET – Women's 6K



Rachel Banks Tessa Barrett
Elizabeth Chikotas Victoria Crawford
Jillian Hunsberger Julie Kocjancic
Greta Lindsley Kathryn Munks


- The Penn State women’s cross country team will travel to Terre Haute, IN for the 2016 NCAA Cross Country Championships this Saturday, Nov. 19 at the LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course.

The 2016 NCAA Cross Country Championships are hosted by Indiana State and will be contested on the LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course.

This is the sixth-time Penn State has competed in the NCAA Championships when Indiana State has hosted dating back to 2002.

The highest finish by a Penn State women’s team on the 6K course in Terre Haute, IN is a 13th-place finish in 2011 as then-senior Caitlin Lane (Greenwich, N.Y.) blitzed to a 16th-place individual finish, earning her first-career All-America finish.

The women’s race will start at 11 a.m. ET, with the awards ceremony being held at 1 p.m. ET following the conclusion of the men’s championships.

On the women’s side, No. 8 Penn State will compete against the best in the nation including the defending champion New Mexico Lady Lobos along with current top-five teams unanimous No. 1 Colorado, No. 2 NC State, No. 3 Providence, No. 4 Stanford and No. 5 Michigan.

The Penn State women posted a win over then-No. 10 Michigan earlier in the season at the Roy Griak Invitational and posted a second-place finish behind the Wolverines in a close Big Ten Championship race two-weeks ago.

Led by 2015 All-American Tessa Barrett, six of the eight student-athletes traveling this weekend have prior NCAA Championships experience. Jillian Hunsberger will be making her third NCAA Cross Country Championships following last year’s trip and an individual run in the 2014 NCAA meet.

The two newcomers, Rachel Banks and Kathryn Munks – both true freshmen – will be making their championships debut but are no strangers to the big stage following strong performances at the Mid-Atlantic Regional.

Paced by All Mid-Atlantic Region runners Tessa BarrettElizabeth ChikotasJillian HunsbergerKathryn Munks and Greta Lindsley the Penn State women's cross country team captured the Mid-Atlantic title for the second year in-a-row at the NCAA Mid Atlantic Regional meet.
The women combined for a score of 36 on Friday morning at the Blue and White golf course.

Penn State entered the meet as the defending champions on the women's side.

The Nittany Lions battled throughout the 6-kilometer course among three other ranked teams: No. 21 Villanova, No. 24 Penn, and No. 27 West Virginia.

Tessa Barrett was the top finisher on the day crossing the line in 20 minutes flat. Following Barrett was Elizabeth Chikotas (20:17) in third-place, Jillian Hunsberger (20:23) in fourth-place, Kathryn Munks (21:57) in 12th–place, and Greta Lindsley (21:06) in 16th-place. Barrett, Chikotas, Hunsberger, Munks and Lindsley combined to bring home five All Mid-Atlantic Region honors,

Round out the scoring for the Nittany Victoria Crawford (22:03) in 60th-place followed by, Julie Kocjancic (22:19) in 80th-place

Tessa Barrett (Waverly, Pa.) led the way for the Nittany Lions finishing the race as a USTFCCCA All-American (38th-place), the first since Caitlin Lane's 16th-place finish in 2011, as Penn State recorded a 16th-place finish at the 2015 NCAA Championships in Louisville, Ky. Saturday afternoon.

The Nittany Lion women scored 396 points, scoring all five runners inside the top-160, to take 16th-place.

Led by the redshirt-freshman Barrett’s All-American effort in 38th-place (20:26.7), the Lions would finish with Tori Gerlach (Perkasie, Pa.) in 20:49.3, Elizabeth Chikotas (Hellertown, Pa.) in 20:50.4, Jillian Hunsberger (Pittsburgh, Pa.) in 21:12.8, and Stephanie Aldrich recording a time of 21:15.1, to claim 98th, 102nd, 152nd, and 157th-place, respectively, to round out the scoring.

The Penn State women’s cross country team enters this weekend ranked No. 8 in the national coaches’ polls - the highest ranking this season. The women captured the Mid-Atlantic Region championship last week in University Park for the second-consecutive season.

Penn State cross country and track & field head coach John Gondak was announced as Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year, while sophomore All-American Tessa Barrett earned Mid-Atlantic Regional Athlete of the year honors. Award winners were voted upon by USTFCCCA member coaches.

Gondak received Mid-Atlantic Region indoor track & field Men's Head Coach of the Year in 2015 during his first year as the head coach and director of the Penn State cross country and track & field programs. During his time as an assistant coach with the Nittany Lions, Gondak collected five Mid-Atlantic Assistant Coach of the Year awards.

This is the second-consecutive year Gondak has earned USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic honors after receiving the award last year when his team took the Mid-Atlantic title following their championship run at the Big Ten Championships in Chicago, Ill.

Barrett, a 2015 cross country All-American, has claimed three individual meet titles, while helping her team collect three team wins during the 2016 season.

The Waverly, Pa. native led the Lions to a second-place finish at the Big Ten Championships in Minneapolis, MN before leading them to their second-consecutive Mid-Atlantic championship on her home course in University Park this past weekend.

The Penn State women's cross country team tallied a 16th-place finish at the 2015 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships and are competing in the championship meet in back-to-back seasons. The Penn State women have competed in seven of the last eight NCAA meets as a team.

For more on Nittany Lion cross country, log onto or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.





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