Fischer, Hunsberger Ready for NCAA Championships

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Nov. 20, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Fifth-year senior Matt Fischer (Kennett Square, Pa.) and freshman Jillian Hunsberger (Pittsburgh, Pa.) will be representing Penn State this Saturday (Nov. 22) at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. The NCAA Cross Country Championships are held at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind.

The Penn State duo qualified for the meet with their finishes last Friday at the Mid-Atlantic Regional. Fischer won the men's 10,000-meter run with his time of 30 minutes, 16 seconds and Hunsberger finished 11th in the women's 6,000-meter run (20:49) to secure an automatic berth to the NCAA meet.

The women's 6,000-meter run is slated for noon, followed by the men's 10,000-meter run at 1 p.m. Both races will be streamed live via NCAA.com for free.

Last Time Out
The men's and women's cross country teams finished third and fifth, respectively last Friday at the Mid-Atlantic Regional.

Matt Fischer (Kennett Square, Pa.) paced the men's team with his first-place finish (30:16) and Jillian Hunsberger (Pittsburgh, Pa.) paced the women with her 11th-place finish.

Glen Burkhardt (Kennett Square, Pa.), Wade Endress (Altoona, Pa.) and Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.), along with Fischer garnered all-region honors as they tallied top-25 finishes.

Burkhardt was just outside the top-10 as he posted a 12th-place finish (30:27). Joining Burkhardt in the top-20 was Endress; Endress clocked in at 30:33 to finish 17th.

The final men's all-region honoree, Creese finished 22nd with his time of 30:47.

As a team, then-No. 24 Penn State finished third with their score of 87 points edging out (RV) Princeton by one point (88 points). Then-No. 7 Villanova went onto win the team title with their score of 41 points, followed by a second-place finish by then-No. 14 Georgetown (74 points).

Hunsberger along with Tori Gerlach (Perkasie, Pa.) and Katie Rodden (Ardmore, Pa.) were named all-region for their top-25 performances. Gerlach completed the 6k course in a time of 21:13 to finish 21st, while Rodden took 24th with her time of 21:15.

In the women's race, No. 2 Georgetown won the team title with their score of 38 points, while No. 7 West Virginia placed second (42 points). Individually, Katrina Coogan (Georgetown) won the women's race with her time of 20:06.

Fifth-year Fischer
Heading into his final cross country race as a Nittnay Lion, Matt Fischer (Kennett Square, Pa.) will be looking to end his career on a high note Saturday at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. At the 2013 NCAA Cross Country Championships, Fischer posted a time of 31:06 to finish 78th.

Fischer became the first Nittany Lion to win the men's race at the Mid-Atlantic Regional since Dan Mazzocco took home the title in 2003. With his first-place finish at the regional meet, Fischer was named the Mid-Atlantic Region Men's Athlete of the Year by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). He also became the second Nittany Lion to garner the award (Mazzocco, 2003)

During the 2014 cross country season, Fischer won both races he competed in at the Blue-White Golf Course. He completed the 5.2-mile course at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe (Sept. 13) in a time of 26:12 to finish first.

At the Big Ten Cross Country Championships, Fischer was named Second Team All-Big Ten as he placed eighth with his time of 23:52.

NCAA Debut
Jillian Hunsberger (Pittsburgh, Pa.) will be making her NCAA Cross Country Championships debut this weekend.

During the 2014 season, Hunsberger finished third at the Dolan Duals (14:45), fifth at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe (21:15), 52nd at the Notre Dame Invite (17:09), 67th at the Pre-National Invitational (21:46), 24th at the Big Ten Championships (20:46) and 11th at the Mid-Atlantic Regional (20:49).

B1G Honors
Following a 15th-place finish at the Big Ten Championships, Elizabeth Chikotas (Hellertown, Pa.) 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 is 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).

Matt Fischer (Kennett Square, Pa.) and Glen Burkhardt (Kennett Square, Pa.) were both named Second Team All-Big Ten for their finishes at the Big Ten Championships; Fischer placed eighth and Burkhardt finished 11th at the Big Ten meet.

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.

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


 

 

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