After staying home for the first two meets of the 2012 season, the Penn State cross country teams hit the road for the Greater Louisville Classic at Tom Sawyer Park.
The women’s team proved to be road warriors as three members finished in the top 30 in the womens 5K gold. The team as a whole racked up 161 points to finish in fifth place out of the 31 teams in the field.
The fifth place finish for the women, ranked 17th in the nation, was even more impressive considering the star-studded field of teams involved in the Classic. The Nittany Lions outpointed No. 8 Vanderbilt as well as conference foe No. 29 Wisconsin.
Junior Rebekka Simko led the way for the women, finishing in 15th place, while teammate junior Tori Perri finished close behind at 17th place. Senior Brooklyn Ridder came in at 26th place to round out the top three for Penn State.
Arizona, with 71 points, came away with the victory after narrowly defeating top-ranked Washington who finished with 80.
On the men's side, senior Sam Masters and sophomore Matt Fischer paced the team with 17th and 37th place finishes respectively. The team as a whole finished in tenth place out of the 31 teams involved after accumulating 303 points.
This served as the second consecutive race in which Masters found himself in the top 20 after finishing 13th at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational on September 8.
The tenth place finish at Tom Sawyer Park is encouraging for Penn State as that same venue is set to host the NCAA Cross Country Championships in November.
The team also performed well against a loaded entry list that included No. 6 Texas, No. 8 Iona and Big Ten foe Michigan State. The Spartans served as the first conference opponent for Penn State.
The eighth-ranked Gaels, with 47 points, claimed first place in a landslide victory over the rest of the pack. Columbia University finished in second place with 110 points.