It seems that a trend has been developing within the Penn State track and field team — set at least a few collegiate records each meet.
The Penn State 4x200-meter men’s contingent set the NCAA indoor record of 1:24:70 on Friday night at the Penn State National, which was held at the Multi-sport Facility.
The time shattered the prior record of 1:25:05, which was set by Rutgers in 2007.
The relay was opened by senior Emunael Mpanduki, followed by sophomore Matt Gilmore, junior Brandon Bennett-Green, and anchored by redshirt junior Aaron Nadalsky.
The only senior of the four, Mpanduki wanted to make sure his leadership presence was felt.
“I asked to lead off because we needed to be in a great position. If you’re gonna run a fast time you need to start it off well,” the Zimbabwe native said. “I said I’ll take that role and try to set it up for my guys.”
The foursome had set the Penn State record earlier this month with a 1:25:52, and being so close to the national record provided some extra motivation.
“We were motivated. We set a school record and were very close to the national record,” Mpanduki said. “It was in the back of our minds, and obviously you’re always working to improve.”
Nadolsky said that the team worked on its baton handoffs, and that contributed greatly to the improved time.
But Bennett-Green had a different explanation for the improvement.
“The atmosphere helped a lot, the crowd was cheering,” he said. “That plays a very big part of what I do, ‘cause I like to give back to the fans. They come out, we want to give them a show, so that’s what we did.”
All four team members were incredibly proud of the honor, as taking down a nearly six-year-old record isn’t a feat that is easily accomplished.
“I have a couple PSU records, but to get a collegiate record, that’s probably one of my biggest accomplishments here,” Nadolsky, an Altoona native, said.
The youngest on the team, Gilmore, said that age played no part in the team, and all the guys treat each other as equals.
When he learned that they had gotten the record, Gilmore was “running around, screaming, and pumping [his] chest.”
Mpanduki was excited by the moment, specifically.
“Personally, it’s huge to have that achievement. It’s what we live for as athletes. You want to put your name in the record books. You want to do significant things,” he said.
This was the last 4x200 running of the year for the Lions, but they know that there is still a long part of the season ahead of them.
“People are going to be looking at us now like ‘What else can you do?’ and we’ve got to show them we can do it individually as well,” Bennett-Green said. “It’s about getting out really, really strong, and finishing even stronger.”