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Oct. 19, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Just under three weeks after the Penn State softball team posted a 4-0 effort at its five-team fall tournament, the group enjoyed some intrasquad competition at the second annual Iron Lion Triathlon. After a runner-up finish in the inaugural triathlon, senior Cassidy Bell led the pack, followed by classmate Shannon Hutchinson and sophomore Marissa Diescher.
The Iron Lion consists of a 300-yard swim, followed by a 5.2-mile bicycle ride and capped by a 2-mile run. Bell (Bakersfield, Calif.) set a record with a time of 40 minutes and 39 seconds, edging alumna Danee Collett's mark of 40:41 from last autumn.
"The Iron Lion Triathlon is one of the hardest things I've had to accomplish," Bell said after posting the team's top time. "The fact that the whole team competed and everyone tried their hardest is an accomplishment in its own. It felt great breaking the record and I wish I could come back next year and try to break it again."
"I have a love/hate relationship with the Iron Lion Triathlon," Hutchinson commented after moving up to second from a third-place finish as a junior. "It's about 40 minutes of all-out effort but it's surprisingly fun looking back on it. Cruising on the bike is my favorite part and it's good for our team to get some healthy competition going in the offseason."
The 2012-13 team, under the direction of 17th-year head coach Robin Petrini, returns Bell (Bakersfield, Calif.) and Kasie Hatfield (Tampa, Fla.), both All-Big Ten selections a season ago, among a group of 15 returnees. Bell has one year of eligibility remaining and returns as one of the best outfielders in the conference and in the region. She was a unanimous All-Big Ten First Team selection in 2012, the only field player to be voted by the conference's coaches to the first team. Hatfield, a rising junior, was a force behind the plate in conference play last season, ranking tops among Big Ten catchers in runs (11), doubles (7), home runs (4), RBI (18), total bases (37) and slugging (.607).
In all, Petrini's squad returns six seniors and four juniors. Penn State welcomes a large group of eight freshmen this spring, as well.